Looking for a career opportunity that could lead to a future appearance at The Hague?
Connect Settlement Services takes over role exiling Australia's refugees (and dealing with pesky locals) on Nauru. [RNZI - 12/1/15]:
An Australian consortium of refugee settlement agencies has taken over from Save the Children in helping to settle refugees on Nauru.
Connect Settlement Services has won the contract to provide services in helping asylum seekers who've gained refugee status adjust to life in the Nauru community.
The agency is now looking for a director to run the operation on a 12 month package worth 160 thousand US dollars.
About 100 asylum seekers have won refugee status on Nauru which has housed about 1000 asylum seekers in camps set up under Australia's offshore processing policy.
A spokesman for one of the agencies in the consortium, Ames, says it has done similar work in the past settling refugees in rural Australia.
The service will help refugees in areas like accommodation, finances, healthcare and mixing with the local community.
Last year, Canberra accused Save the Children workers of fabricating stories about abuse at the asylum seeker detention centre on Nauru and workers were ordered to leave the island.
Aurasian Minerals gets clear run at Myanmar licences
Proactive Investors [12/1/15]:
Aurasian Minerals (LON:AUM) has been granted temporary exclusivity over three licence applications in Myanmar.
The explorer submitted the applications in December for copper, gold and silver.
It has now received confirmation they have been registered and that no other company can lodge an application that overlaps the areas they cover.
“For the moment our applications are regarded as ‘pending’ due to the current security situation in the relevant areas,” it said.
When the areas have been given security clearance, the authorities will process Aurasia’s applications leaving out the jade and gem mining concessions that currently exist over the areas.
Talks have started over other potential licences in Myanmar, it said, while it is mulling whether to apply for licences in Lao PDR after a team visited the country in December.
On the legacy assets from the company’s previous incarnation as Triple Plate Junction, an agreement on the disposal of its interest in Wamum, Papua New Guinea, is hoped for in the near future.
Discussions over the sale of one of the properties at Manus Island are described as “quite advanced”.
Chairman Tony Shearer, meanwhile, is to step down and Aurasian said it will look at whether other changes should be made to the composition and structure of the board and the management team.
Canberra consulting region on Pacific meeting
Australia is yet to confirm a date for its proposed meeting next month with Pacific leaders on regional agencies.
The top-level meeting to review the regional architecture was agreed by Australia and Fiji in October following Suva's refusal to rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum unless there are changes to the Forum's make-up.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Canberra will consult closely with the region on the concept but was not able to offer any more details.
Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said last week he was looking forward to the meeting in Sydney next month.
A New Zealand foreign affairs official says no invitation to the meeting has been received and Wellington is waiting to find out when it will be held.
US Embassy, Port Moresby [12/1/15]:
A site survey team from the United States Pacific Fleet met with PNG Defence Force personnel today.
The team also met with the National Coordination Office of Bougainville Affairs.
They hope to survey potential areas for U.S. assistance in Arawa under a program called Pacific Partnership.
Pacific Partnership was founded to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster resilience to Pacific nations following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Activities range from medical, dental, and veterinarian care to construction projects and crisis response trainings.
PNG previously benefitted from the program, most recently in Wewak and Vanimo in 2013.
This year’s engagement is planned for Bougainville and Rabaul.
The program is a great opportunity to expand people to people ties with the United States and deliver benefits for the people of Bougainville.
PNG: Body found at sea
The National [12/1/15]:
Police believe that a private landowner consultant whose body was found in waters off Tatana Island near Port Moresby was murdered.
The body of Harold Farapo, 40, was found early on Saturday morning.
He was from Lese in Malalaua district, Gulf, and the eldest son of former diplomat Anthony Farapo.
He was a consultant for the Kikori Gas Pipeline Landowners Association and recently visited China for talks with the China Petroleum and Energy Company in Beijing.
11 PNG people found after missing at sea
A rescue mission has found 11 people who were reported missing at sea for almost two weeks in Papua New Guinea.
The group of people, including three children, were found drifting near West New Britain by Maritime Search and Rescue after they failed to arrive on Pana Island, in Madang province.
The Acting Director of the Disaster and Emergency services in Madang, Rudolph Mongalee, says nine people were found on board while two of the group swam a long distance in the open sea to get help.
They were drifting towards that small island known as Vitu and those two, they swam all the way to that island and that's where they set their alarm that the boat was drifting towards West New Britain."
Rudolph Mongalee says all survivors are in good condition.
18 persons-including children and women - have been killed and wounded in the random bombing during 24 last hours..........
"tweeted" by @IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [12/1/15]
Nigeria 'needs same support as France' after Boko Haram attacks
Daily Star [12/1/15]:
A Nigerian archbishop called Monday for the same international support to tackle Boko Haram as France has received since it was hit by Islamist attacks last week.
"I see the very positive response of the French government tackling this issue of religious violence after the killing of their citizens," said the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos in central Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama.
"We need that spirit to be spread around, not just when it happens in Europe, (but) when it happens in Nigeria, in Niger, Cameroon and many poor countries, that we mobilize our international resources to confront the people who bring such sadness to many families," he told BBC World Service radio.
Kaigama was speaking after another bloody weekend for Nigeria in which three female suicide bombers, including one thought to be as young as 10, killed at least 23 people in the restive northeast.
His comments echoed those from the head of the U.N. children's fund, Anthony Lake, who said Sunday that harrowing reports from survivors of the a massive attack on Baga on January 3 and the use of a 10-year-old girl as a human bomb "should be searing the conscience of the world."
"These images of recent days and all they imply for the future of Nigeria should galvanize effective action. For this cannot go on," the UNICEF executive director said.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been criticized for his failure to end the insurgency, issued a statement condemning the Paris attacks but rarely comments on attacks in his own country.
As Nigeria was attacked again Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to the streets in solidarity with millions in France to protest against Islamist attacks that left 17 people dead in Paris last week.
More than 13,000 people have died in the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria since 2009 and hundreds of thousands more have been made homeless.
In the Baga attack, Boko Haram fighters are thought to have carried out the worst massacre in the six-year insurgency, razing the town and at least 16 surrounding settlements on the shores of Lake Chad.
There have been local claims of mass slaughter in Baga but there is as yet no independent corroboration of the figures.
France asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris march: report [Daily Star – 12/1/15]
Israeli Opera refuses to pay tribute to Paris victims, French conductor protests [RT – 12/1/15]
Increase in hate incidents against Muslims last month: OIC
Channel News Asia [12/1/15]:
Hate incidents targeting Muslims in Europe have taken on an alarming note in many countries in the region last month, according to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)'s Islamophobia Observatory.
It noted that incidents in France, Sweden and Germany were statistically high and is cause for serious concern with regard to the significant number of casualties.
"In the United Kingdom, the reported number of Muslim women suffering hate crimes increased by 10 per cent, while offensive insults and threats against Muslims in general has doubled, especially through social media," said an OIC statement issued in Jeddah on Sunday.
Meanwhile in Sweden, five Muslims were injured in an arson attack targeting a mosque in the city of Eskilstuna. The statement added that Muslim communities in Austria had suffered intense hate crimes such as assault against imams (Islamic leaders), pig's heads discarded at mosques or schools, graffiti drawn at walls of mosques and several attacks against women wearing headscarves.
In the Netherlands, it said that mosques continued to be the target of vandalism while in Germany, grassroots resistance against Islam and Muslims had reached an unprecedented level. Meanwhile in the United States, Islamophobia has shown a declining trend during the month, with much fewer incidents than the two preceding months.
The statement noted that some incidents in the US last month were still of concern, such as the purposive killing of a Muslim boy in Kansas City, the intense vandalism against a mosque in St Cloud and a brutal attack on a Muslim taxi driver in Magnolia.
On a positive note, Islamophobia Observatory highlighted that other countries like Russia, India and South Africa tended to show friendly gestures towards Islam and Muslims in general.
"There were also some comforting trends in certain western countries, as burqas and veils started to be fashioned as part of a women's dress code. Nevertheless, the Burqa-ban policy remains a 'hot' issue throughout the American and European continents," it said.
It also noted that last month was a hard time for Muslims, especially those living as a minority group in non-Muslim countries as they were blamed or became victims of hatred over crimes initiated by terrorists or radical groups claiming to be Muslims.
Examples of such incidents include the hostage situation at Sydney's Lindt Cafe, which claimed two innocent lives; the horrific attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a military-run school in Peshawar, killing 141 people and the terrorist act by Nigeria's Boko Haram group, kidnapping 142 women and children from a village in the Nigerian northeast.
The Islamophobia Observatory is an initiative of the OIC to monitor and counter Islamophobia around the world, with the first report published in 2008.
John Kerry unhurt after car accident in India
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry emerged unscathed after his motorcade was involved in a minor car accident in India.
Kerry was riding in the first of two vehicles involved in the collision, which resulted in "some damage to both cars," said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The SUV in which Kerry was traveling was rear-ended as it made its way through streets of the city of Ahmedabad, where Kerry had attended an international business conference.
Kerry suffered "no injuries nor did any staff or personnel," Psaki said. "One vehicle was switched out and the motorcade proceeded to the airport without further incident."
Road Accidents Leave More than 40 Dead in Peru
More than 40 people were killed in several road accidents over two days in Peru, police and media reports said late Saturday.
Twenty-three people were killed Saturday after a bus plunged off a 100-meter (350-foot) cliff in the southern Cusco region of Peru, police said.
The accident occurred in the afternoon, and police blamed the crash on heavy rain and a poorly maintained narrow road, according to local media.
The road accident was the latest in a series of deadly crashes in Peru, known for its steep winding roads that climb to altitudes of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).
Poor conditions of buses, lack of training and lax policing have also worsened the nation's road accident rate.
Earlier in the Arequipa region in the south of the country, a bus from the Lomas del Sur transport company fell off a cliff, killing 10 passengers.
The crash occurred early Saturday morning and also left 30 people injured.
Friday afternoon, nine people were killed in a collision between a minibus and a truck at around 3,800 feet in the southern region. About a dozen people were injured.
During the first half of 2014, 1,406 people were killed in road accidents, according to police.
Road accidents claimed 3,590 lives in 2013 in the nation of about 30 million people.
Sri Lanka to investigate 'Rajapaksa coup plot'
The new government of Sri Lanka has said that it will investigate what it says was a coup attempt by defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa after he lost elections on Friday.
"People think it was a peaceful transition. It was anything but," leading presidential aide Mangala Samaraweera told a press conference.
Mr Rajapaksa's spokesman has said that the allegations are baseless.
The deposed president endured a shock defeat to Maithripala Sirisena.
Mr Sirisena was the main opposition candidate who only two months ago was a minister in the government of the ousted president.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, the new president called for a government of national unity to carry out political and economic reforms he advocated during his election campaign.
Mr Rajapaksa, who had been South Asia's longest-serving leader before losing last Thursday's elections, had initially been widely praised for conceding defeat to Mr Sirisena before the final results were announced.
Among those who gave him credit for overseeing a smooth transition of power was US Secretary of State John Kerry.
But Mr Samaraweera told reporters on Sunday that Mr Rajapaksa had in fact attempted to persuade army and police chiefs to help him stay in power - if necessary with the use of force.
"The first thing the new cabinet will investigate is the coup and conspiracy by President Rajapaksa," he said.
"[The president] stepped down only when the army chief and the police inspector general refused to go along with him."
Mr Samaraweera said diplomatic pressure had also been brought to bear on Mr Rajapaksa to ensure a peaceful transition.
Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya told the AFP news agency that he was "not aware" of any coup attempt.
The deposed president's spokesman has also dismissed the allegations as untrue.
"In fact, at 3:30 am on 9 January when the counting was still under way, the president made an assessment and decided what the results would be," Mohan Samaranayake said.
"Then he gave instructions to all secretaries about a smooth transfer of power."
Sri Lanka has largely been free of military interference in politics except for a coup in 1962 that failed to oust the government. Since then, there has been no direct military role in the government.
Hey ANZAC! Never invade a country if you don't know where it is on the map.
Sergeant Jemal in The Water Diviner
Todays Zaman [25/12/14]:
Perhaps I’m from an ilk of skeptics, and one of those who immediately roll their eyes at cinematic evocations of grandiose heroism and unhinged sacrifice and maybe that’s why I cannot fully admire or be swept away by Russell Crowe’s debut directorial endeavor “The Water Diviner,” a cross-cultural exchange project between Australia and Turkey wrapped in the glamorous package of a historical war drama.
Rest assured, a large number of Turkish moviegoers will be glad to watch a meticulously crafted high-value production that honors the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli from an intentionally balanced point of view encompassing both the Turks and the Aussies (sometimes too much in your face) after being subjected to so many blatantly sleazy, macho and jingoist illustrations of the Turkish fronts in World War I on the big screen.
Backed by the terrifyingly prolific industry leviathan Mars Media Group and its vertically integrated movie theater chain Cinemaximum, Crowe is bound to reach a high mark at the Turkish box office. (Mars Media CEO Muzaffer Yıldırım was also prominently present at the İstanbul press conference and gala for the film earlier this month, which also hosted co-stars Olga Kurylenko, Yılmaz Erdoğan and Cem Yılmaz. The Turkish actor/celebrities seemed wildly excited about the release as well.)
Anyway, let’s get back to the story: Starting off in the outback of Australia, we are introduced to farmer Connor (Crowe) and his wife, the proud parents of three boisterous boys. Connor is what they call a water-diviner, a person who taps into their psychic ability to find underground water -- a talent that will be tragically of use to him in the years to come. Connor is drawn out to be the perfect father figure; protective yet liberal, dependable but non-intrusive. Years pass by, he sends his boys off to Gallipoli under the patronage of British imperialism. When the boys are declared dead, the family is shattered and Connor promises himself that he will find the bodies of his sons and bring them back home. But, of course, what is home, as Crowe’s film seeks to ponder?
Connor lands at the shore of the Bosporus, smack in the middle of a tense period when the seeds of the Turkish War for Independence are being sown beneath a conquered İstanbul divided between Britain and the Allied powers. He must get to Çanakkale, but first he must indulge in the Western-movie-favorite bazaar chase, where a young boy leads him to a boutique hotel managed by his beautiful mother Ayşe (Olga Kurylenko, who deserves attention in this role as a virtuous İstanbulite widow, though I’m not sure she will be convincing to the Turkish audience. Also note that her voice was dubbed over with that of a Turkish actress which really does not do her performance justice). Connor takes refuge in the hotel and undergoes an “Ottoman Culture 101.” His culture shock will eventually transform into admiration, thanks to Sufi philosophy, another favorite Anatolian export in movies and literature besides spice bazaars.
Shunned by dismissive high-ranking members of the British military, Connor nevertheless finds a way to arrive in Çanakkale with a fishing boat. There he is reluctantly received by Lt. Col. Cyril Hughes (Jai Courtney of “Divergent”), who is appointed to clear the deceased Australian soldiers with the help of Turkish Maj. Hasan (Yılmaz Erdoğan, channeling his wise-beyond-one’s-years role as the poet in “The Butterfly’s Dream”). Hasan takes a liking to Connor and tries to help him, despite the questioning eyes of his second-in-command Cemal (Cem Yılmaz, channeling his humorous detective from 2010’s “Hunting Season”). After all, as Hasan notes, “He is the only father who came searching for his sons.”
A tragic sequence presents itself as Connor locates the specific battlefield where his boys were killed and through a quasi-psychic depth-of-knowledge flashback, we watch that horrible night where both Turkish and Australian soldiers face their doom. With its truthful depiction of individuals suffering in war, this could be the strongest and most genuinely human scene in this film. Grandiose depictions of valor are traded for a gut-wrenching crescendo of wailing from dying soldiers.
When Connor finds out that his eldest son’s body is nowhere to be found, the film takes on a new trajectory and the good father suddenly finds himself assisting Hasan and Cemal in their cause of Turkish independence.
Good to see that Crowe is still befitting for action sequences.
Sadly, the depiction of an encounter with Greek soldiers comes off as ineffectual and two-dimensionally represented. Poor Greeks and Byzantines, there’s still a long way to go before they get their share of cinematic justice. But at least it’s not as bad as it was in “Conquest 1453,” a 2012 Turkish movie about the fall of Constantinople.
Integrity, loyalty and cultural tolerance make up the motto of “The Water Diviner.” To give credit where credit’s due, Crowe and his team have made a huge effort in order to portray Turkish characters as complex and veritable -- maybe sometimes there’s too much of an effort. The cinematography by “Lord of the Rings” veteran Andrew Lesnie is especially alluring.
This war drama that upholds family values of compassion instead of suffocating traditionalism and insists that patriotism is not a blinded mission of triumph and vanquish but should instead be a humble and grounded sense of independence and intrinsic belonging, is still too ambitious, Pollyannaish and message-anxious for its own good.
The English translation of the film’s Turkish title is “The Last Hope.” Well, let’s be frank, in these dreadful times perhaps the Turkish audience will seek to hold on to anything that gives a glimpse of hope.
Japan defeat Palestine in Asian Cup opener
Holders Japan enjoyed a Monday stroll in the Newcastle breeze as they swatted aside the meagre challenge of outsiders Palestine to kick off their Asian Cup title defence with a 4-0 victory.
Yasuhito Endo, Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda notched first half goals with Maya Yoshida adding another after the break in a contest that was predictably one-sided for the record four-times champions.
Palestine, who qualified to play in the Asian Cup for the first time despite the restrictions placed on them, received a harsh lesson about the standards needed to trouble the very elite in the continent.
Midfielder Endo set the Blue Samurai on their way with an eighth-minute fizzing long-range drive after being allowed far too much room to stroll towards the Palestinian area.
The 34-year-old, winning his 149th cap, shrewdly kept his 30 metre shot low under the stiff breeze that Japan were playing into at the Newcastle Stadium but goalkeeper and skipper Ramzi Saleh seemed to dive too early and should have kept it out.
The chances continued to come for Japan as Javier Aguirre's side predictably dominated the West Asians, ranked 115th in the world by FIFA, who manfully tried to restrict their more illustrious opponents despite the gulf in class.
They added a second in the 25th minute when striker Okazaki used his head smartly to stoop low and redirect a wayward volley from Shinji Kagawa past Saleh from close range.
The Palestinians then gifted their opponents the chance to add a third four minutes before the break when defender Musab Battat clumsily bundled over Kagawa in the penalty area.
Honda, player of the tournament four years ago, stepped up to send Saleh the wrong way with the spot kick just before the break.
The Blue Samurai continued to dominate in the second period and, aided by the breeze, added a fourth in the 49th minute when Yoshida rose unchallenged to meet Kagawa's left-wing cross.
Palestine defender Ahmed Mahajnabut made it a tough final 20 minutes for his team mates after being sent off following a second yellow card for scything down Kagawa, but the Japanese were unable to add to their tally as complacency set in.
Defender Abdallatif Al-Bahdari almost snatched a consolation for Palestine and their noisy fans in the 82nd minute but his header flashed wide.
Japan move on to face 2007 champions Iraq in Brisbane on Friday after Palestine take on Jordan in Melbourne earlier in the day.
Asian soccer tournament is field of dreams for Palestine's players [Christian Science Monitor – 11/1/15]
Sanctions choking Iran's progress, says coach Queiroz [France 24 – 12/1/15]
Egypt court acquits 26 detained over bathhouse ‘gay orgies’
France 24 [12/1/15]:
An Egyptian court on Monday acquitted 26 men arrested in a raid last month by police looking for gays at a Cairo public bathhouse, a ruling that set off cheers and jubilation inside the courtroom as some of the defendants cried with relief.
“The court has ruled that all the accused are innocent,” the judge said.
The trial, which had caused an uproar among activists and rights groups, captured public attention after a pro-government TV network aired scenes of half-naked men being pulled from the bathhouse by police.
Same-sex relations are not explicitly prohibited in Egyptian law but homosexuality is a social taboo in the conservative, Muslim-majority country. Same-sex marriage is unheard of, and only in recent years have movies and fiction included gay characters.
The most recent case to make headlines saw eight men sentenced to three years in jail in November after they appeared in an online video purporting to show the country’s first gay marriage ceremony.
The men in the bathhouse raid faced various charges, including debauchery and performing indecent public acts. Monday’s verdict came after only three hearings, during which families quarreled with journalists who tried to photograph their relatives in the dock.
The courtroom erupted into a frenzy after the word “acquittal” was heard from the judge and women ululated. Scott Long, an American researcher who had followed the case, said he was both “shocked and delighted.”
“I hope this is a sign that these raids will come to an end,” Long told The Associated Press amid the cheering. “Finally there was a judge who listened to the evidence.”
Rights activists say 2014 was the worst year in a decade for Egypt’s gay community, with at least 150 men arrested or put on trial.
“They destroyed our lives. God rescued us,” said one of the defendants, who did not give his name to protect his privacy.
The trial opened only two weeks after the December 7 raid on the bathhouse, or hammam.
There are no laws in Egypt criminalizing homosexuality but a decades’ old law criminalizing prostitution is often used in penalizing the gay community. Five of the defendants in Monday’s trial - the owner of the bathhouse and four staff members - were tried for facilitating debauchery in exchange for money.
In the official charges, the prosecutor said the investigation revealed the owner and the staff ran the bathhouse as a place for “parties of debauchery, orgies among male homosexuals in exchange for money.” The rest of the defendants were charged with practicing debauchery and “indecent public acts.”
The crackdown on the gay community in Egypt, and also recently on atheists, goes hand in hand with a wider campaign against all forms of dissent and diversity in a country gripped by rising nationalism and a militant insurgency.
ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell moves to expunge historic convictions for homosexual acts [Canberra Times - 9/1/15]
Police don't shoot man, Mount Isa
History shows that a low key approach is the best kind of policing.
Image: @FairfaxRegional [12/1/15]
North West Star [12/1/15]:
A 21-year-old man who allegedly threatened police with a rifle was forcibly taken into custody, just before 5pm on Monday.
Police arrested the man in Pioneer at 4.53pm – about four hours after they declared an emergency situation under the Public Safety Preservation Act.
Mount Isa police inspector Trevor Kidd said nobody was injured.
“No shots were fired, which is great,” he said.
He said it was unclear at this stage the circumstances behind the man’s actions or whether drugs played a part.
The Mount Isa Criminal Investigation Branch still has to list what the man’s charges will be.
The main area cordoned off was Short Street between Simpson Street and Tadman Avenue.
Inspector Kidd said the situation began when police were investigating a matter relating to threatening behaviour.
“He physically threatened police,” Inspector Kidd said.
During negotiations police spoke with family, and had to evacuate people from the area.
“We thank the community for their patience and support, which is excellent,” he said.
Toddler killed in Ipswich driveway by reversing government agency car [ABC – 12/1/15]
Asbestos riddled structure on Mornington Island "would’ve been demolished a long time ago" if it were in Canberra
North West Star [12/1/15]:
Time has run out for Mornington Island’s asbestos-riddled old hospital.
Silkwood Sands director Fabian Watt and his team will arrive on Mornington Island next week to demolish the Lardil Street eyesore.
Mr Watt said the demolition should start on January 18 and take eight days.
“We basically dismantle the building and carefully wrap the asbestos in plastic before loading it into a double-lined semi-trailer, which will dispose the rubbish off island,” Mr Watt said.
“We will also take the top level of soil away to make sure the asbestos is completely removed from the community.”
The decaying building, situated across the road from operating health organisations, has loomed in the town centre for decades.
Mayor Brad Wilson said the removal of the structure was a huge accomplishment for Mornington Shire Council, who recently collaborated with Queensland Health.
“Previously, there was a lack of accountability or assistance from state organisations,” Cr Wilson said.
“Our community has had to be diligent in teaching their children the dangers the building posed; if it was in the middle of Canberra it would’ve been demolished a long time ago.”
Council chief executive officer Frank Mills said the inhalation of asbestos fibres was of great concern to council, adding “once the building is removed, our community can breathe a huge sigh of relief”.
Information can be found on the council’s website www.mornington.qld.gov.au., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawyers charged with money-laundering proceeds of crime
Brisbane Times [12/1/15]:
The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission has charged two lawyers who allegedly helped clients launder money.
It follows a two-year investigation by the CCC's organised crime team.
The CCC will allege the lawyers helped clients avoid criminal confiscation proceedings by restructuring cash payments.
All payments of $10,000 or more are legally required to be reported to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), as part of efforts to stop money laundering or funding terrorist activity.
The lawyers allegedly helped break the payments up into smaller amounts, thus avoiding automatic reporting to AUSTRAC.
A 34-year-old Broadbeach Waters man has been charged with one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, and one count of structuring.
A 45-year-old man from Potts Point in Sydney has been charged with two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and four counts of structuring.
Both men will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on February 16.
ICAC investigates Ausgrid engineer
A former Ausgrid engineer is being investigated by the NSW corruption watchdog for allegedly receiving kickbacks from contractors over a six-year period.
The ICAC is probing the allegations concerning Phillip Cresnar, who used to work for the state-owned electricity company.
Between 2008 and 2014, Mr Cresnar is accused of soliciting and receiving benefits from Ausgrid contractors and subcontractors in exchange for assistance with the awarding of and variations to contracts.
Mr Cresnar also allegedly disclosed to contractors, and others, confidential information acquired in the course of his official functions, the ICAC said in a statement.
The inquiry is set to start on January 19.
Serious traffic crash, Dagun
QPS Media [12/1/15]:
A 32-year-old woman was transported to hospital with serious injuries following a single vehicle crash at Dagun this afternoon.
Preliminary information indicates that a around 4pm, the car was travelling south on the Mary Valley Road when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.
The driver and sole occupant of the sedan sustained head and internal injuries and was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. Investigations into the incident are being conducted by members of the Forensic Crash Unit.
Police investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Indigenous man detained for three nights after claiming Canberra property as embassy
Canberra Times [12/1/15]:
A former federal press gallery journalist was kept in custody for three nights on a minor trespass offence after refusing to leave a Canberra property that he claimed as an embassy for the Yidindji people last week.
Former National Indigenous Television correspondent Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, 40, charged as Jeremy Geia, was arrested by police on Friday.
Geia had allegedly failed to comply with efforts by the ACT Government to evict him from a Kambah building, saying he didn't recognise the government, and claimed the building as an embassy for the Yidindji people of north Queensland.
The former reporter, who was the first Western journalist to interview Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, recently renounced his citizenship, and severed all official ties with the federal government and Australian institutions.
He now follows his nation's own laws, and came to Canberra to set up an embassy.
His arrest on Friday followed a previous attempt to evict him from the Kambah building.
Police held him in custody until Monday morning, when he appeared before Magistrate Bernadette Boss in the ACT Magistrates Court.
The proceedings were disrupted significantly, and Geia refused to co-operate with the court and Dr Boss.
He interrupted Dr Boss as she spoke, saying "do not talk while I am speaking". That prompted the magistrate to adjourn the court.
Geia then said: "He who leaves the battlefield first loses by default. I dismiss all charges."
He was brought back before the court twice more – the second time via video link – and was eventually formally charged with the trespass offence.
Dr Boss strongly urged the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw the charge, noting Geia had spent a "considerable" amount of time in custody for what is a fine-only offence.
But the DPP said that, at this stage, it was pursuing the charge against the Yidindji community leader.
Dr Boss entered a plea of not guilty to the charge on Geia's behalf.
She asked the prosecutor if he was aware that the accused had already spent "considerable time" in custody for the offence and that the continuation of proceedings would be an "impost on the public purse", because it would need to go to hearing.
"I hope that the director is well aware of the course of action that you are taking," Dr Boss said.
Geia was released on unconditional bail and will reappear in February.
He renounced Australia and lives solely by tribal law. Now Murrumu is hitting the road [Guardian - 9/1/15]
Mount Isa police negotiate with man holed up in house
North West Star [12/1/15]:
Mount Isa police are still negotiating with a 21-year-old man who threatened to shoot officers with a rifle on Monday.
Inspector Trevor Kidd said no one has been injured. The man is known to police.
The situation began around noon on Monday in Noakes Avenue and Short Street and prompted police to declare an emergency situation under the Public Safety Preservation Act at about 12.45pm.
This gives police authority to restrict movements of civilians, Inspector Kidd said.
“We’re asking people not to move around the area,” he said.
At least one Short Street resident was prevented from passing through the cordoned off area to enter his property. He was not surprised to learn threats with a gun caused police to cordon off an area in Pioneer.
“It would not surprise me in this place,” the resident said.
A comment believed to be from the gunman was published on The North West Star’s Facebook site.
The message was forwarded to police and then deleted from the site.
The area affected includes the area inside the boundaries of Short Street, Simpson Street, George Street and Abel Smith Parade.
Police are asking anyone who is planning on travelling in the area to avoid it if possible, and anyone who is in the area to stay inside until advised by police.
A police spokeswoman urged the community to avoid Short Street between Simpson Street and Tadman Avenue, and Fisher Drive and Hungerford Avenue while police resolve the matter.
Toddler hit by car in Ipswich driveway dies
A 15-month-old boy has died after being hit by a car on a driveway in Ipswich, west of Brisbane.
Emergency services said the toddler was struck by the car on Clarke Street at Ripley at 1:20pm (AEST) and died a short time later.
New lawyer once more for murder-accused
Murder-accused Gable Tostee has fronted a Queensland court with another new lawyer by his side.
Tostee is facing one charge of murder following the death of New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright in August last year, after she fell from the balcony of his high-rise apartment on the Gold Coast.
The 28-year-old faced Southport Magistrates Court on Monday alongside lawyer Nick Dore, his third legal representative since his arrest.
Tostee has previously been represented by Gold Coast-based Potts Lawyers and civil liberties crusader Terry O'Gorman.
Tostee's matter has been adjourned until March 13 for a committal mention with the accused to remain on bail with strict conditions.
Feel safe Queensland? More anti rights arrests, Chinchilla, Beerwah, Brisbane and the Gold Coast [QPS Media - 12/1/15]
Bundaberg Mayor says hacking of library website was 'random' [News Mail – 11/1/15]
Report this Queensland media you duopoly dictatorship promoting lying sacks of shit
“The real story behind Mr Newman calling the election during the vacation period is that Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald sought earlier this week to have a meeting to disband the Senate Inquiry while its chairman Senator Glenn Lazarus was on holidays in the United States.”
Palmer United Party Media Release [12/1/15]:
Campbell Newman has called an early election in Queensland during the holiday period to avoid the fallout from the Senate Inquiry into the activities of his LNP Government, says Palmer United Party federal leader Clive Palmer.
“The real story behind Mr Newman calling the election during the vacation period is that Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald sought earlier this week to have a meeting to disband the Senate Inquiry while its chairman Senator Glenn Lazarus was on holidays in the United States,” Mr Palmer said.
“Labor and other Senators moved to stop this sneaky move from Senator Macdonald.”
Mr Palmer said the LNP and Premier Newman have panicked by calling an election for January 31 during the holiday period to avoid serious breaches of public law and trust.
“The Newman Government is running scared calling an early election in the holiday period with a short campaign period,” he said.
“Serious questions need to be asked about what the Government has to hide? What prosecutions will they face following the Senate Inquiry’s report to federal parliament. I’m informed there a number of alleged corruption submissions to come before the inquiry.”
Mr Palmer said Queenslanders can send Tony Abbott a clear and strong message by getting rid of Campbell Newman and the LNP and restore honesty and integrity to government
“For 40 years I have been active in politics and business but I have never been subject to unprecedented harassment and attention this Government has put on myself, my businesses and my staff,” he said.
“It’s time to say goodbye Campbell Newman as he will do every unscrupulous thing under the sun to hold onto power at all costs. This is a dangerous time for all Queenslanders but also a chance for renewal of the state’s objectives.”
Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party and its state leader John Bjelke-Petersen and the party’s election candidates were focussed on building the state’s economy, creating jobs and providing opportunities for local industries.
“The Palmer United Party will not bow to threats and will do all it can to restore honesty in government for all Queenslanders,” he said.
If they are so worried about a hung parliament/minority government, why don't the ALP and LNP (who frequently vote together and have identical neocon policies) form a single party and let the crossbenchers be the opposition?
Brisbane Times [12/1/15]:
12:37pm Tony Moore: Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has this morning ruled out forming a "minority government."
Nine times in 17 seconds, she said "No" to the question. At one stage she emphatically said "No, no, no." Then "No deals."
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he would rather lose government than rule by making a deal with minor parties. ... [SBS - 12/1/15]
Man dies in custody at Bowral Police Station after being tasered, capsicum sprayed
A man who died in police custody in the New South Wales southern highlands had earlier been tasered and sprayed with capsicum spray.
Officers were called to a fast food restaurant at Mittagong shortly before 9:30pm (AEDT) on Sunday after 38-year-old Kevin Norris claimed he had been attacked.
Police said they were involved in a confrontation with Mr Norris when they arrived at the scene.
Officers used capsicum spray and then a Taser before arresting him.
He was taken to Bowral Police Station and died a short time later.
Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys said two officers were injured in the effort to arrest Mr Norris.
"When police first arrived they spoke to the individual and there was some physical confrontation in terms of the arrest," he said.
"Police also used capsicum spray and they eventually had to Taser the man to get control of him."
The two police officers were taken to hospital for head injuries but have since been discharged and are recovering at home.
Assistant Commissioner Worboys said a critical incident investigation to examine the man's death would be overseen by NSW Police's Professional Standards Command.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
The Assistant Commissioner said he expected CCTV footage from the restaurant and police station would form part of the investigation.
Lawyer Bill Potts says negotiations will start later this month to determine the compensation paid to the family of Rockhampton teenager Rueben Barnes.
Rueben, 16, was one of four young men who died on the Rudd government's failed home insulation scheme. He was electrocuted in the roof of a house near Rockhampton in 2009. ... [Morning Bulletin - 12/1/14]
A Perth mother wants her son's death investigated by the State Coroner, believing medication he was taking to help him stop smoking contributed to his decision to take his own life more than three years ago. ... [West Australian - 12/1/15]
Twisted priorities abound when politicians care not a jot for life and liberty ---> Miscarriages recognised in NSW [West Australian – 12/1/15]
Passports cancelled, young people monitored in racist, overhyped fear mongering [West Australia – 12/1/15]
... Lawyer Zali Burrows, who represents some of the people who tried to help police, wonders: "Why didn't they just print one out?"
A laser printer could have produced the flag on cloth and they could have delivered it in half an hour, she says. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/1/15]
Teenager faked transactions to pay bills [Daily Mercury – 12/1/15]
... Mr Pyke, who was employed when they first became homeless, said he tried everything he could think of to secure a place to stay so he could provide stability for his then 15-month-old son Slater. ... [Sunshine Coast Daily - 12/1/15]
Just under 100,000 attended the "Unity Rally" in Paris
"I'm marching but I'm conscious of the confusion and hypocrisy of the situation."
Image: @FrancoisF24 [11/1/15]
The rally was not "historic". It was a pathetic and awkwardly choreographed exercise in PR.
Something tells me the slain Charlie Hebdo staff would've lampooned the crap out of this creepy spectacle @mtracey
Far from the madding crowd, so called world "leaders" nervously bumble down a Paris street before being bundled onto a big, black bulletproof bus [VIDEO]
The cops blocked us in and delayed the march for over an hour so world leaders could take a bus to the front and lock arms or whatever @deptstorespook
Israel moves quickly to exploit Paris attacks [Electronic Intifada - 11/1/15]:
After hesitations reportedly over cost and security, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally decided to attend the “solidarity” march in Paris on Sunday, ostensibly in support of “free expression” and other “Western values.”
The march had been called in the wake of the attacks in Paris last week in which two gunmen murdered twelve people at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, and a third murdered four people at a Jewish grocery store.
Netanyahu evidently could not resist the publicity given that it is election season in Israel, and he would not want to risk being upstaged by political rivals who had announced their attendance, including such violent racists as foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and economy minister Naftali Bennett.
Many people circulated images like the one above of world leaders linking arms with Netanyahu, noting the perverse irony of a march for such things as “freedom” and against “terrorism” being led by such figures, including the man who ordered the bloodbath in Gaza last summer.
As people in the Gaza ghetto continue to die of cold as a direct consequence of the destruction and ongoing siege, one observer in Gaza, Dima Eleiwa, had a wry explanation for why the leaders embracing Netanyahu have kept silent about their ordeal:
Let them eat McDonalds and keep fighting our wars [Guardian - 12/1/15]:
... Speaking to NBC from Paris, where he was attending a counter-terrorism summit and the march, [US Attorney General] Holder said: “That is the thing that I think keeps me up most at night, this concern about the lone wolf who goes undetected.” Questioned by CNN about how the Paris attackers were known to authorities but still managed to act, he said such people “float under the radar screens”.
“I certainly think we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks and corrupt the Islamic faith to try to justify their terrorist actions,” he told ABC during a tour of Sunday talk shows as he led the Obama administration’s response to the attacks.
“That’s who we are at war with and we are determined to take the fight to them.” The White House said on Sunday it will host a conference on anti-extremism on 18 February. Holder said: “We will bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world.” ...
Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who exposed a US strike in Yemen that allegedly killed dozens of civilian women and children, is now reported freed by the country's authorities. He had been jailed after a personal phone call from Washington to Yemen's leadership. ... [RT - 24/7/13]
The righteous attack on freedom of expression: Noam Chomsky on Charlie Hebdo We Are All - Fill in the Blank [ICH - 11/1/15]:
... Erlanger vividly describes the scene of horror. He quotes one surviving journalist as saying that “Everything crashed. There was no way out. There was smoke everywhere. It was terrible. People were screaming. It was like a nightmare.” Another surviving journalist reported a “huge detonation, and everything went completely dark.” The scene, Erlanger reported, “was an increasingly familiar one of smashed glass, broken walls, twisted timbers, scorched paint and emotional devastation.” At least 10 people were reported at once to have died in the explosion, with 20 missing, “presumably buried in the rubble.”
These quotes, as the indefatigable David Peterson reminds us, are not, however, from January 2015. Rather, they are from a story of Erlanger’s on April 24 1999, which made it only to page 6 of the New York Times, not reaching the significance of the Charlie Hebdo attack. Erlanger was reporting on the NATO (meaning US) “missile attack on Serbian state television headquarters” that “knocked Radio Television Serbia off the air.” ...
These 'staunch defenders' of the free press are attending today's solidarity rally in Paris: A list by @DanielWickham93
Police Commissioner investigating Charlie Hebdo attack commits suicide [Le Populaire - 8/1/15]
United States continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On Jan. 10, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack, fighter, and bomber aircraft to conduct 10 airstrikes.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted nine airstrikes in Iraq, using attack and fighter aircraft against ISIL terrorists. All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Jan. 10, and 8 a.m., Jan. 11, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
* Near Kobani, nine airstrikes destroyed 15 ISIL fighting positions.
* Near Abu Kamal, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL shipping container, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL supply cache.
* Near Erbil, an airstrike struck a large ISIL unit.
* Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck a large ISIL unit and destroyed two ISIL buildings.
* Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and an ISIL building, and destroyed an ISIL sniper firing position and an ISIL building.
* Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL armored vehicle, an ISIL tactical unit, and a large ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle, five ISIL vehicles, and 21 ISIL boats.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
Afghanistan: US drone strike kills 8 in Nangarhar
Eight insurgents have been killed and three others wounded in a drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province.
Edris Mohamand, spokesman for the border police in the east says that the drone strike occurred in Lal Pura district this morning.
Since January 1, 2015 NATO has carried at least 7 drone strikes in different parts of the country.
In one air strike some important commanders of Haqani group got killed in Khost province.
Insurgents are suffering heavy casualties in drone strikes.
Flash flooding hits Gold Coast
Flash flooding gripped parts of the Gold Coast overnight as an intense rain system lashed the city for hours.
The heavy rainfall moved north up the coast about 6.30pm before becoming stationary over northern suburbs prompting the weather bureau to issue a severe weather warning for flash flooding.
Hardest hit areas included Coombabah, Arundel, Pacific Pines and Helensvale where major roads were cut off due to rising flood waters.
Coombabah received a staggering 213mm in just a few hours, while Pacific Pines collected 155mm and 122mm fell at Monetery Keys.
The deluge caught many motorists off guard, with drivers forced to abandon their vehicles on Napper Road, Arundel Drive, Brisbane Road and Pacific Pines Boulevard.
Numerous roads had to be closed, including the Pacific Motorway off-ramp to Oxenford which was affected by flooding.
A woman and her five-week-old baby were stuck inside one of two cars that had to be pushed out of rising waters at Arundel.
Backyards were also inundated and several residents at Pacific Pines and Helensvale reported water streaming into their homes.
Some minor creek flooding was also reported, with waterways around Biggera Creek Dam recording sharp rises in water levels.
The Gold Coast’s light rail network was also suspended due to flooding on the tracks between Southport and the Gold Coast University Hospital.
At 11.21pm, the weather bureau had cancelled their severe weather warning, advising that showers had weakened although further activity was expected over the next 24 hours.
At 12.30am Monday, areas of moderate rain were still impacting coastal areas between Jacobs Well and Palm Beach.
The situation will be monitored carefully.
Burglary with violence, Labrador
QPS Media [12/1/15]:
Police are investigating after two men entered a unit and assaulted the resident in Labrador last night.
At around 8.10pm, a 64-year-old man verbally challenged two men who were standing in the car park of his Frank Street unit complex.
The men then forced entry to the victim’s unit and assaulted him with golf clubs.
The men stole some property from within the home and fled.
The victim was transported to hospital for treatment to lacerations to his head.
One of the men was observed later walking along Frank Street. Police gave chase before taking the man into custody. He is currently assisting police with their enquiries.
Investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Hicks officially innocent, Pentagon admits
Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia [11/1/15]:
The government lie that claimed David Hicks committed any crime is now done and dusted, officially.
Hicks was, and is, innocent of any crime he has been charged with.
The lie that he was a terrorist who had committed a crime was promoted by the Howard government, notably Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and by the Pentagon and US Administration. It has been perpetuated by the Abbott government, notably by AG George Brandis.
But all their claims have now been officially admitted to be false and wrong in law.
The Australian government faces the prospect of a considerable payout – in the many millions of dollars range – to Hicks for false imprisonment and for defamation.
Hicks was sold to US forces in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Northern Alliance militia for about $6000. He was kidnapped by the US and flown secretly to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he remained for six years and was tortured, he says. His claim is entirely believable, because the CIA and the US military have now admitted being involved in torture at Guantanamo.
In February 2007, Hicks was repatriated to Australia after agreeing to a plea deal on the single charge of “providing material support for terrorism”. At the time, Hicks says, he was being beaten and being deprived of sleep.
He was given a seven-year suspended sentence by the Guantamo kangaroo court on what has turned out to be a non-legal charge. At the behest of the US Administration, Hicks was jailed in Australia for nine months at Yatala prison in Adelaide to complete the terms of his sentence.
Essentially, Hicks “copped a plea” to get out of the torture hellhole that was Guantanamo. But, as it turns out, the “crime” that the Pentagon and US Administration – and the Howard government – claimed Hicks had committed was, in fact, not a crime. There was no such crime (material support for terrorism) on the statute books of the USA.
The Pentagon, after years of claiming the white was black, has now in 2015 finally admitted white is white, and Hicks is innocent and could never have been guilty.
On Friday, 9 January 2015, a former prisoner of Guantanamo won a legal victory in the US, a year after he was sent back to his homeland in Sudan, the US Military Times newspaper reported in relation to another case with the same charge as that levelled against Hicks.
Noor Uthman Muhammed pleaded guilty in February 2011 at a special US court for wartime offenses known as a military commission. The crime he pleaded guilty to was providing material support to a terrorist organisation and conspiracy.
He was sentenced to 34 months on top of the nine years he had already spent at Guantanamo.
But the Pentagon said on 9 Jan that the charges had been dismissed. A brief statement cited rulings by an appeals court that material support is not a legitimate war crime under the law authorising military commissions.
Noor is officially innocent. Therefore, so too is David Hicks.
Ruddock is still an MP in the federal parliament. He should be called to account by the parliament for why he jailed an Australian who had committed no crime. He, John Howard and their advisers were told clearly at the time by all sorts of people that material support for terrorism was not a legal charge available to the Pentagon and the US Administration, and that Australia should have no part in jailing someone charged with a non-crime.
Howard, Ruddock and Australia had no right to jail Hicks: they acted illegally. Hicks has every right to sue the current Australian government for false imprisonment and for defamation for all the lies told about him being a terrorist and a criminal.
In a world where there was better justice, he would be able to sue the US government also for kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture. But the US government does not play by the rule of law: it refuses to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
The family of Sulayman Khalid, the 20 year old charged with a terrorism-related offence, have spoken of their frustration at being prevented from visiting or speaking to him since his arrest in December and his transfer to Australia's highest-security prison.
His mother and sisters told Fairfax Media on Saturday of their anguish that Mr Khalid, also known in the media as Abu Bakr, has been transferred to the Goulburn Supermax prison, where he has not been allowed any contact with the outside world. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/1/15]
80yo man tied up, bashed and left fighting for life during burglary in Victoria
An 80-year-old man who was tied up by burglars and bashed in his home is fighting for life in hospital.
The man and his 75-year-old wife were woken this morning when two burglars broke in to their home at Delburn, in Victoria's east, and began searching their bedroom with torches sometime between 2:00am and 6:00am.
The couple was then tied up and bashed by the burglars who were wearing balaclavas.
The thieves stole cash and jewellery before fleeing in a car.
The woman managed to free herself and called the police from a neighbour's house.
She suffered minor injuries while her husband was flown to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Anyone with information about the attack is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
Man in critical condition after Sydney stabbing
Nine MSN [11/1/15]:
A Sydney man is fighting for his life in hospital after he was stabbed a number of times.
The 32-year-old has undergone emergency surgery in Westmead hospital after he was found on a footpath at Carlingford in the city's northwest, suffering from stab wounds, just after 9.30pm yesterday.
A 60-year-old man was arrested over the attack in Homebush and is under police guard in hospital.
Police say the men knew each other prior to the incident.
Man dies after being run over by passing motorist during brawl in Melbourne's north-west
A man run over by a passing car during a brawl at St Albans, in Melbourne's north-west last night, has died in hospital.
Police believe the victim was lying on Furlong Road after getting into a fight with another man about 11:30pm (AEDT).
The 25-year-old from Point Cook was run over by a passing car and later died at the Sunshine hospital.
The other man involved in the fight, a 29-year-old from Deer Park, handed himself into police and was charged with assault.
He will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Sunday.
The motorist stopped at the scene and was questioned by police.
Fatal traffic crash, Neusa Vale
QPS Media [11/1/15]:
Police are investigating a single vehicle traffic crash which occurred at Neusa Vale (Gympie) this morning.
Initial investigations indicate that at around 11.40am a motorcycle was travelling on The Gap Road when it left the roadway and crashed into a tree.
The rider, a 55-year-old woman from Gympie was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical condition but this afternoon has died as a result of injuries received from the crash.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Serious traffic crash, Mount Larcom [QPS Media - 10/1/15]
Evade police, Minden
QPS Media [11/1/15]:
Police have charged three people after a stolen vehicle allegedly evaded police in Minden last night.
At around 7.20pm, a stolen Mitsubishi Magna was observed by patrolling police driving on the Warrego Highway.
Police followed the vehicle onto Lowood Minden Road before activating their lights, before the vehicle allegedly sped away.
Polair 1 and Polair 2 were tasked to follow the vehicle as it drove through Springfield, and police have coordinated the deployment of a tyre deflation device.
The deployment was successful, and the vehicle eventually stopped at Cross Street, Goodna where police will allege the three occupants of the car have then fled the scene.
Two men and a woman were located nearby a short time later.
An 18-year-old Collingwood Park man has been charged with two counts of failure to stop a motor vehicle and one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, driving whilst disqualified and obstruct police.
A 23-year-old Westlake man has been charged with one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and obstruct police.
A 19-year-old Riverview woman has been charged with one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Assault police, charges, Coomera [QPS Media - 11/1/15]
Armed robbery, Mackenzie [QPS Media – 10/1/15]
Break and enter charges, Strathpine [QPS Media – 10/1/15]
US judge tosses lawsuit vs. UN over Haiti cholera outbreak
The United Nations is immune from a lawsuit seeking compensation for victims of a deadly cholera outbreak, a US judge said Friday in dismissing a case that government lawyers said could open the international body to an onslaught of litigation.
The suit stemmed from an outbreak that has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened more than 700,000 since human waste was dumped into Haiti's principal river in October 2010. Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced in Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.
The lawsuit, filed by human rights groups and others, argued the UN hadn't screened the peacekeepers for the disease and was responsible for poor sanitation and waste disposal practices that spread it. Seeking unspecified damages, the suit said the UN sacrificed its immunity by not giving victims any avenue for compensation.
But US District Judge J. Paul Oetken noted that the UN's charter provides broad legal immunity and that the international body hasn't waived it.
"Where such an express waiver is absent, the UN and (its operation in Haiti) are immune from suit," Oetken wrote.
Lawyer Beatrice Lindstrom said the rights groups plan to appeal. Two other similar federal suits also are ongoing.
"The court's decision implies that the UN can operate with impunity," Lindstrom said in a statement. "We don't think that is the law."
US federal prosecutors argued against the suit at a hearing last fall. They said that the UN needed immunity to complete its global mission, and letting the case continue would subject the international body to many more lawsuits from around the world.
A spokesman for the US attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment on the court's decision. The US government wasn't named in the suit, but federal prosecutors said they got involved because the US is the UN's host nation.
The UN has repeatedly declined to comment on the lawsuit but has said it is working with Haiti's government to eradicate cholera. In December 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
In November, the head of Doctors Without Borders' Haiti mission said the country's health system still lacks the capacity to treat cholera patients adequately.
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.
These 17 Journalists Were Killed by Israel In Gaza [Countercurrent - 29/8/14]:
During the recent War on Gaza, a disproportionate number of civilians – many of them children – were killed in attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces.
But there is another casualty of war which has received surprisingly little international attention. Since the bombing raids began, 17 journalists have been killed in Gaza, prompting calls for war crimes charges to be brought against the State of Israel and those involved in carrying out this war.
Paris welcomes world leaders for mass "unity rally", under high security [France 24 - 11/1/15]
Hayat Boumeddiene, the wanted partner of one of the gunmen shot dead by police after three days of high drama in France, arrived in Turkey before the killings and may now be in Syria, a Turkish security source told AFP Saturday.
"She entered Turkey on January 2," the source said, adding that Boumeddiene had a return ticket from Madrid to Istanbul. ... [Yahoo - 11/1/15]
Live from #sydney #JeSuisCharlie
Image: @skoudy [11/1/15]
Being Charlie, Marcelo García [Buenos Aires Herald - 10/1/15]:
... The natural reaction by the Western public of defending the trenches of absolute freedom of expression is welcome but it does not solve the riddle. A universal condemnation of murder is not necessarily matched by a universal consensus that being Charlie is the right thing to be at a time a nation is in a virtual state of undeclared war. Irony and satire works when the audience (but also its object) shares the language and the tone. Otherwise it is either useless or even offensive. And in the world today, the audience is not only your immediate readers but the entire planet. ...
Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennett all headed to Paris for "solidarity" rally [YNet - 10/1/15]
#Assange and #Snowden are not to blame for Paris bloodbath [10/1/15]
Kouachi brothers never set foot in Algeria: Source [Turkish Press - 10/1/15]
The Sin of Torture and Guantánamo Bay, Jason Wright, former US army lawyer [Amnesty - 11/1/15]
The Dark Art Of Empire
Professor Stephen Eisenman takes a unique approach to the study of imperialism in his book 'The Abu Ghraib Effect' (2007). He deconstructs the Abu Ghraib images while engaging in an analysis of Western visual art to illustrate how the images resonate with the symbolism of empire. Eisenman argues that since ancient times, artistic representations of torture and individual subjugation have aggregated in the collective memory, and this explains why contemporary westerners were generally so unaffected by what happened at Abu Ghraib.
At a time when Americans are torturing people without any international recriminations, this book bears witness and forms an important part of the explanation:
"The torture photographs from Abu Ghraib precisely enshrine objectification and heteronomous thought: the idea that certain people by virtue of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual preference may be denied rights to basic freedoms of action, association and thought (or even to life itself), and that the greatest ethical imperative is to follow orders."
Eisenman articulates that this "pathos formula", which eroticises violence, rationalizes torture and celebrates slavery and punishment, is evident throughout history, and particularly in Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and painting.
"Imperial authority, however, in Italy and abroad, was not only exercised by military means; it was also culturally enforced. The dissemination of the Latin language and Roman customs, political structures, kinship systems, property relations, law, art and architecture--in short, an entire cultural infrastructure--functioned to cement ties between the imperial centre and the colonial periphery."
The works of the grand masters--including Raphael and Titian--also emphasise theatricality and display. Raphael's Battle of Ostia depicts the image of the "infidel who willingly embraces his own chastisement and captivity." While, Titian's Philip II Offering the Infante Don Fernando to Victory "with its beautifully poised, bound Turk in the foreground - again recalling the Trojan Column and the Gemma Augustea--is another monument that embraces Classical, and subsequent Pauline and Augustinian precepts concerning divinely sanctioned torture and enslavement."
Eisenman draws parallels between a 1925 post card showing African Americans 'scrambling for money' before amused, Southern, white male onlookers, with the Abu Ghraib image of a pile-up of Iraqis and the broad grins of the US soldiers, Charles Graner and Sabrina Harman.
Both pictures were intended to be funny. In the first instance, the putative humour derives from the contrast between the patronizing calm of the white men with straw hats who face us, and the frenzy of the black men, seen mostly from behind, who dive for coins. In the second, the humorous intention is similar; the white people look out at us with knowing grins, while the prisoners with hoods form an ugly and indecorous mass...The humour is frankly racist, and we can guess how the white instigators of this joke would respond to stares of horror or incomprehension: 'What, don't you get it? Where's your sense of humour?' In colonial or settler contexts--whether domestic or exotic--nearly all humour is racist.
More recently, James Bond movies, and television shows such as 24 display elements of the pathos formula.
Eisenman says that although the pathos formula may have been a dominant feature of Western visual art--and is especially apparent under fascist regimes--it hasn't remained unchallenged.
"The representation of introverted oppression, eroticised chastisement or rationalized torture disappeared from painting and sculpture most quickly in those places in which absolutism--the idea that the monarch is above the law and unconstrained by human sanction - was weakest."
Over the years, many artists--Goya, Picasso, Shahn, Golub and Hogarth--have sought to subvert the mass culture tradition. (Eisenman also includes crockery king and abolitionist propagandist Josiah Wedgwood in his group of rebels.) A tapestry version of Picasso's Guernica (it protests the bombing of the defenceless Basque town of that name during the Spanish Civil War), which hangs at the entrance of the United Nations, is so potent in its message that US State Department officials deemed it "inappropriate for Colin Powell and UN Ambassador John Negroponte to be photographed in front of the tapestry on the day they presented mendacious testimony concerning Iraqi mobile weapons labs and weapons of mass destruction."
Eisenman also refers to Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film 'The Battle of Algiers' as a "repudiation" of the pathos formula.
"A group of Frenchmen stand around, smoking, chatting, joking, while an Algerian is being tortured. It is a job for them. They take a measured pride in their work, and when they achieve a success--the tortured man talked--they are pleased. They call their boss, they extend congratulations all around, including to the torture victim, to whom they now offer comfort and encouragement, the same men who a few minutes before were burning him with cigarettes, subjecting him to electric shocks, or plunging his head into water until he nearly drowned--a technique called 'water-boarding'. "
It's a fine line. Stephen Grey, who wrote 'Ghost Plane: The untold story of the CIA's torture programme' was reportedly thanked by CIA officers for letting people know what's going on.
So there can be no confusion, Professor Stephen Eisenman places what the United Nations Convention Against Torture defines as the term 'torture' at the beginning of the book:
"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting an official capacity."
Presented in a slim, stylish volume of 142 pages with sixty-six black and white images, 'The Abu Ghraib Effect' isn't a long read, but it traverses revolutionary terrain in its unravelling of the function of artistic metaphor in the justification of imperialist power.
Idaho Gunman Kills 3 in Multiple Shootings
ABC News [11/1/15]:
A gunman killed three people and wounded another during a shooting spree Saturday at three locations in Moscow, Idaho, the authorities said.
The suspect, 29-year-old John Lee, was captured in the afternoon following a high-speed chase in nearby Washington state.
Moscow Police Chief David Duke said Lee killed his adoptive mother, 61-year-Terri Grzebielski, at her home before heading to Northwest Mutual life insurance.
The gunman shot David Trail, 76, a Moscow businessman, and Michael Chin, 39, of Seattle. Trail died at Pullman Regional Hospital. Chin was treated for critical wounds at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow before being flown to a Seattle hospital, Duke said
The shooter then drove to an Arby's restaurant and asked for the manager. When she appeared, he pulled out a gun and opened fire. The manager, 47-year-old Belinda Niebuhr, died at the Moscow hospital.
Duke said that Trail, the brother of a former Idaho state representative, was Lee's landlord. He said there were "some issues" regarding the apartment, but didn't know of any eviction proceeding.
Chin was discussing business with Trail when the gunman arrived. Duke said Chin was shot in the arm and leg.
Investigators were trying to determine if there were any links between Lee and the Arby's manager.
"We know he didn't work there," Duke said. The chief said that the surviving workers did not recognize Lee.
Duke told The Associated Press later that police have determined that Lee's parents ate at the restaurant and knew the manager well.
Kelsey Stemrich said she was working at a cafe near Arby's when she and a customer heard three gunshots and then saw people running from the restaurant. She says they took down the license plate number of a car seen pulling away from the Arby's and called it into police.
Few details were available Saturday on Lee's background. Duke said that he had been adopted at birth and he recently returned to Moscow after living for a few years in the Midwest.
Police in Washington spotted the suspect's black Honda and a chase involving multiple agencies ensued. Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the pursuit lasted nearly 25 miles and Lee's vehicle at times topped 100 mph before crashing off Highway 195 north of Colfax and rolling to a stop.
Lee was taken to a Colfax hospital for treatment of minor injuries before he was booked into the Whitman County Jail on a charge of felony eluding.
Investigators had yet to recover the gun. Duke said it was probably still in the car and detectives were awaiting a search warrant Saturday night before looking for it.
Moscow authorities had yet to announce any Idaho charges late Saturday, saying the investigation remains active.
Moscow is a city of about 25,000 people in northern Idaho. It's about 10 miles from Pullman, Washington.
Man Holds Hostages at Texas Hospital
ABC News [10/1/15]:
Authorities say a man believed to be the father of a patient has taken at least two people hostage at a hospital near Houston. It was not immediately clear if the man was armed.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Saturday night it believed the man was a distraught parent of a patient and at least two people were being held hostage at the Tomball Regional Medical Center.
A supervisor at the county's emergency dispatch center said the situation was in the critical care unit and began around 7 p.m.
The hospital is on a 150-acre campus about 30 miles northwest of Houston.
Police in Tomball did not immediately respond to a message. No other information was immediately available.
Haiti: Port-au-Prince sees clashes between police, pro democracy demonstrators
Press TV [11/1/15]:
Police have clashed with Haitian anti-government demonstrators demanding resignation of the president over long-delayed legislative and municipal elections.
Shouting slogans against President Michel Martelly on Saturday, the protesters, mostly young men, marched on the National Palace in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The protest turned ugly after riot police used tear gas and batons against the demonstrators.
Angry protesters set tires on fire and threw rocks at security forces in retaliation for police brutality.
Jean Joseph, a protester said, “They want to kill us with (tear) gas. We will die, but we still continue to call for Martelly to resign. We’ve been fighting for three months and we’ll continue until Martelly leaves.”
Parliamentary polls should have been held three years ago, but have been repeatedly delayed amid political deadlock in the country.
The country is facing a major political crisis, as the mandates of its lawmakers expire at midnight Monday.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigned on December 14, 2014 in the wake of continued protests.
Opposition politicians accuse Martelly of wanting to stay in power by decree. The president took office in May 2011 and is due to leave next year.
#SAR #MarinaMilitare #NaveLibra inserita in #Triton è giunta al porto di #Augusta per lo sbarco di 373 migranti
Image: @ItalianNavy [10/1/15]
Hunger striking Iranian asylum seeker hospitalised in Darwin
An asylum seeker on a hunger strike in Darwin's Wickham Point detention centre has been admitted to hospital with an infection.
The 33-year-old Iranian man has been on an extended hunger strike and refused food for 53 days before stopping briefly when his lawyer appealed the rejection in November.
He was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital on Friday and is being treated intravenously for infected mosquito bites.
Darwin lawyer John Lawrence said his client has been in detention for four years and is in legal limbo, unable to return to Iran and unable to stay in Australia.
He said his client is protesting on behalf of other asylum seekers in the same situation.
"They see on a daily basis at Wickham Point, they all know what he's doing and why," Mr Lawrence said.
He said his client is thin and wheelchair bound but determined not to break his strike.
"This is just another stage in the journey that he's chosen to take."
Asylum seeker advocate Pamela Curr said the man's actions highlighted the plight of people in indefinite detention.
"It certainly is a test for the Abbott Government. Are they going to let people die to prove their point?"
The man is expected to be released from hospital after treatment for his infection.
Indonesian children who crewed asylum seeker boat to Australia incarcerated
since March 2013 [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/1/15]
Bus-oil tanker collision kills 30 in Pakistan
Channel News Asia [11/1/15]:
At least 30 people were killed when a passenger bus crashed into a speeding oil tanker in southern Pakistan early Sunday, setting off a fierce blaze, police said.
"The bus carrying some 50 passengers hit the oil tanker, which according to initial reports was coming in a wrong direction," senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwaar told AFP. "The bus caught fire after the accident, killing at least 30 people."
The bus was en route to the town of Shikarpur from the southern port city of Karachi when the collision occurred.
The victims included women and children, some of whom were charred beyond recognition, Anwaar added.
A few passengers escaped unhurt after they jumped out of the bus windows, another police official Muhammad Jan said, confirming the toll.
"We are trying to ascertain if the driver of the oil tanker was solely at fault or whether the bus driver also showed negligence," Anwaar said.
US to help Pakistan overcome terror challenge: Pentagon [The Nation - 11/1/15]
Pakistan's plan to set up military courts to try terror suspects is prompting concerns about civil liberties in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre. ... [BBC - 6/1/15]
North Korea offers to suspend nuclear tests if US suspends military drills
North Korea said on Saturday it was willing to suspend nuclear tests if the United States agreed to call off annual military drills held jointly with South Korea, but Washington rejected the proposal as a veiled threat.
The offer, which the North's official KCNA news agency said was conveyed to Washington on Friday through "a relevant channel", follows an often repeated demand by Pyongyang for an end to the large-scale defensive drills by the allies.
"The message proposed (that) the U.S. contribute to easing tension on the Korean peninsula by temporarily suspending joint military exercises in South Korea and its vicinity this year," KCNA said in a report.
"(The message) said that in this case the DPRK is ready to take such a responsive step as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the U.S. is concerned," KCNA said, using the short form for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the nuclear tests and military exercises were separate issues.
"The DPRK statement that inappropriately links routine US-ROK exercises to the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea is an implicit threat," Psaki told reporters traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry in Europe.
The United States and South Korea have carried out the joint military exercises for roughly 40 years, she added.
Gorbachev warns of major war in Europe over Ukraine [Reuters - 10/1/14]
... Speaking on the Ukraine crisis, the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner warned the dire situation in Ukraine, that has already left 4,317 people killed and 9,921 injured (UN estimates), may lead to a nuclear catastrophe.
"A war of this kind would unavoidably lead to a nuclear war. Anyway, declarations and propaganda from both sides make me fear the worst.”
According to Gorbachev, "we won't survive the coming years if someone loses their nerve in this overheated situation."
Sanctions against Russia harm both Moscow and those who imposed them, said the former Soviet leader, adding that excluding Russia from the G8 was wrong.
“It reminds me of blood revenge and leads nowhere. Sanctions are not the suitable instrument in case we want to save our model relations,” he said, pointing at the level of cooperation between Moscow and Berlin in the 1990s and 2000s.
A bomb strapped to a girl aged around 10 years old exploded in a busy market place in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 20, security sources said. ... [Reuters - 10/1/15]
Suicide attack at cafe kills at least seven, Tripoli [Reuters – 10/1/15]
Libya's factions agree to new talks in Geneva next week [Reuters – 10/1/15]
Syria Car Bombs Kill 16
Car bombs killed at least 16 people, most of them civilians, when they targeted al-Qaida and Kurdish fighters Saturday in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, a monitor said.
The first bomb hit a checkpoint manned by fighters from al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syria franchise, killing 12 people, said the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman.
Most of the dead were civilians but included two Nusra fighters, he said, adding that several people were also wounded.
The second bomb detonated less than 30 kilometers (18 miles) away at a checkpoint held by Kurdish fighters, killing four people, two of them civilians and causing an unspecified number of injuries.
Mourad Hamyd describes himself as a normal 18-year-old who lives with his parents but on the day France was gripped by the Charlie Hebdo massacre, he became known as "the third suspect" -- even though he was in class at the time of the shooting.
The brother-in-law of one of the two gunmen turned himself into police on Wednesday, horrified and baffled to hear his name circulating in the news and on social media.
But the teenager was released without charge on Friday evening, relieved but badly shaken. … [France 24 – 11/1/15]
Magnifique : un avion trace le signe de la paix dans le ciel Lyonnais #jesuischarlie #lyon #onlylyon
Image: @julien_ducerf [10/1/15]
Mobilisation a #Marseille pour la #paix et la #Liberté #NousSommesCharlie
Image: @Juliehya [10/1/15]
Mahmoud Abbas et Benyamin Nétanyahou présents à la marche de dimanche [Liberation - 10/1/15]
Muslim Man Hailed as Hero for Actions in Kosher Grocery Store Attack [TIME - 10/1/15]
Claims of torture by security forces in West Papua
The spokesperson for the global Free West Papua Campaign claims up to 1000 police and military deployed to the Timika region in West Papua have tortured people in the area.
In a statement, Benny Wenda says up to 116 people living in the region surrounding the Freeport McMoran mine have been tortured and detained since the deployment.
The deployment was in response to the killing of two police officers in Utikini village last week, in which 13 people have been arrested.
Attached to the statement are pictures of dozens of people sitting in front of a house with their hands tied behind their banks, surrounded by armed plain clothed police officers, although the picture has not been verified.
Mr Wenda says houses have been burnt down after independence banners were found inside.
He says he believes the deployment is a deliberate attempt to divert public attention away from the killing of 5 schoolboys in Paniai last month.
Over 100 West Papuans arrested and dozens of houses burned down [Free West Papua Campaign – 9/1/15]
Two Palestinian babies freeze to death in Gaza storm
Al Akhbar [10/1/15]:
Two Palestinian babies have died due to cold weather in the Gaza Strip, an official said Saturday, as winter storms lashed the region.
A two-month-old girl from the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis died on Friday of "a pulmonary obstruction caused by the cold," health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
A one-month-old boy, also from Khan Yunis, died on Saturday, he said without giving further details.
Gaza's civil defense service said that dozens of homes in the coastal territory, already ravaged by the Israeli summer assault on the Palestinian enclave, were flooded in the brutal storms that brought freezing rain and gale-force winds.
Gaza's sole power station, which was damaged during the war, is struggling with a severe lack of fuel and is only able to supply the enclave with six hours of power per day.
Raed al-Dahshan, head of Gaza's civil defense, said his staff were facing "a difficult situation which was compounded by a lack of infrastructure" to help those suffering from the storm.
Gaza is also prone to severe flooding, exacerbated by a chronic lack of fuel that limits how much water can be pumped out of flood-stricken areas.
The fuel shortages are a result of the eight-year Israeli blockade, which limits the import of other kinds of machinery related to pumping and sewage management that could help Gazans combat the floods.
The most recent war has exacerbated the crisis.
Gazans are now living by candlelight and wood fire because of electricity shortages, and rely on sandbags to stop their ruined homes from flooding.
Some Gazans have sought shelter in the Sheikh Shaaban cemetery outside Gaza City, living in makeshift hut and tents.
US: Activists Stop Commuter Rail before AFC Playoff Game
A train going to the NE Patriots game just got shut down #BlackLivesMatter #ShutItDown #NFL ...
Image: @NickyTheKat [10/1/15]
Black Lives Matter Boston [10/1/15]
Activists from across New England delayed an MBTA commuter rail train at the Dedham, MA station traveling to the New England Patriots game in order to interrupt “recreation as usual.”
This peaceful demonstration was organized to continue lifting up the message of the Black Lives Matter movement and in honor of the “2015 Year of Resistance.”
Organized by a diverse group of white, non-black people of color, and black activists, the action was meant to highlight white complicity that allows police and state violence to be carried out against Black people.
“As white allies, we are taking direct action to challenge white supremacy and amplify the demands for an end to the war on Black communities across the county,” said one of the organizers, Mallory Hanora of Boston, MA.
“As non-Black people of color, we know that the struggle for our autonomy starts with the liberation of Black people in the United States,” said Sherrie'Anne André of Providence, RI.
The train was delayed for four and half minutes to represent the four and half hours Michael Brown’s body was left lying in the street; this span of time has become symbolic within the movement. Protestors quietly replicated the sound of a beating heart during that time.
“As a black woman, I agree that these actions are important, they demonstrate solidarity with our liberation and challenges white complacency with this racist system,” said Seneca Joyner of Boston, MA.
In Boston, Black people experience racial disparities at every point of the justice system, from unnecessary and unconstitutional stops by police, to overrepresentation in prisons, to the murder of unarmed Black people.
The ACLU of Massachusetts released a report in October that found 63 percent of Boston police-civilian encounters from 2007 to 2010 targeted Blacks, even though Black people make up less than 25 percent of the city population.
Even after controlling for crime, the study showed that police officers were more likely to initiate police encounters with Black people. Police gave no justification for 75 percent of these stops.
While white New Englanders celebrate our region as one grounded in principles of freedom and liberty, in reality white supremacy continues to impede the safety and well-being of Black people and their families.
New Englanders continue to live under intense segregation and violent policing.
At this game many white fans will cheer and celebrate Black athletes in the stadium while ignoring the racism Black people face in daily life.
The AFC Division Playoff Game required us to insist that Black lives matter all the time, everywhere, on and off the field.
George Zimmerman, the one-time neighbourhood watch volunteer from central Florida acquitted of the 2013 murder of an unarmed black teenager, was arrested last night for an alleged armed aggravated assault. ... [Independent - 10/1/15]
35.000 Mann gegen Rassismus und Intoleranz, #dresden wir waren dabei und haben Gesicht gezeigt :) #nopegida
Image: @piratenandre [10/1/15]
Dresden'de 35.000 antifaşist, müslüman düşmanı ırkçı Pegida^ya karşı yürüdü. ...
Image: @kutaymahir [10/1/15]
ASIO reverses finding refugees pose a threat
Canberra Times [11/1/15]
A group of 10 refugees assessed by ASIO as threats to national security have been freed to live in the Australian community after the agency quietly reversed its decision.
Some of the group had been held in immigration detention more than five years without having been charged with a crime under a system civil liberty advocates have slammed as "completely unsatisfactory".
Most of the men have been released since August from a detention centre in Melbourne's north, where the majority of the remaining 34 refugees given a negative assessment by ASIO are still being held.
Two others have also had their assessments overturned since August, but it is understood they have not been granted a visa for release yet.
United States continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Camp in #Duhok for #displaced #Iraq people, hosting more than 3,000 ppl now.
Image: @lieneveide [9/1/15]
American-led forces launched 12 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria since Friday, all but one of them near the contested city of Kobani, the U.S. military said.
The strikes near Kobani hit two large Islamic State units and destroyed 15 of its fighting positions, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement Saturday.
They also destroyed an Islamic State building and one tactical unit, it said.
Another strike in Syria, near al Hasakah, destroyed two Islamic State guard facilities, the statement said.
U.S. and partner nations also launched three air strikes in Iraq, striking an Islamic State-controlled bridge near Erbil, destroying two militant vehicles near Ramadi and two Islamic State fighting positions near Mosul, it said.
Two bombings kill 8 people in Iraq [Daily Star – 10/1/15]
US prosecutors recommend criminal charges against Petraeus – New York Times [Reuters – 9/1/15]
Four men shot dead in San Francisco: California newspaper [Reuters - 10/1/15]
Unknown gunmen kidnap 12 civilians in northern Afghanistan
Twelve people have been kidnapped by unknown gunmen in northern Afghanistan.
According to reports a group of unidentified gunmen attacked a civilian house in the Bughawya Afghanya area of the provincial capital of Sar-i-Pul and kidnapped 12 guests last night.
Reports indicate that two of the twelve kidnapped have been killed by the gunmen while the fate of the ten is unknown.
Enayatullah Habibi, security officer of the provincial police headquarters of Sar-i-Pul confirmed the report.
He said that there was no information about who the attackers were but added that an investigation was initiated into the incident.
Thousands protest in Yemen against president, Shiite rebels
Daily Star [10/1/15]:
Thousands of people have demonstrated in Yemen's capital to demand both the ouster of Shiite Houthi rebels who control the city as well as the country's beleaguered president.
The demonstrations Saturday were the first of their kind demanding President Abed Rabbuo Mansour Hadi step down since he took over the presidency after a popular revolt toppled his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in 2011.
Many in the streets chanted slogans accusing Hadi of mismanaging the country to the point where state institutions collapsed and militants could take over.
They have named their protest the "rejection" movement.
The demonstrators, from a variety of political groups, also denounced last week's attack on a police academy in Sanaa that killed 37 people, calling for a swift investigation and trial of the culprits.
Police don't shoot man, central Victoria
A man accused of firing several shots and making threats in central Victoria, has been arrested, after a tense five-hour stand-off with police.
Police closed several streets around the 46-year-old man's Eaglehawk house in Bendigo, after gunshots were heard early this afternoon.
Acting Sergeant Peter Dyer said the man also made threats about explosives.
"We were dealing with an extremely angry male offender who was threatening to blow up the premises he was in as well," he said.
"During the course of the incident, several more shots were discharged, I think seven in total.
"At 6.20pm (AEDT) tonight he was arrested and no-one was injured in that arrest and the community is safe again.
"He did have a small incendiary type device that's been disarmed, that was found in the property."
Police said investigators do not believe anyone was injured during the incident.
Martin Place siege victim Katrina Dawson struck by a police bullet investigations show [Sydney Morning Herald - 10/1/15]
Adelaide man charged over New Year's Day murder of Sydney woman [Sydney Morning Herald - 10/1/15]
In Queensland, the government demolishes public hospitals for the benefit of developers and corporate health providers
Body found at Pimpama
An investigation is underway after the discovery of a body at Pimpama at around 10am(AEST).
Authorities responded to reports that a body had been found on a property at Green Meadows Road, Pimpama, at the northern end of the Gold Coast.
Police attended and uncovered the remains.
They say the body appears to have been there for some time.
Anyone with information is urged to come forward.
Fatal traffic crash, Little Mountain
QPS Media [10/1/15]:
Police are investigating a fatal traffic crash that occurred early this morning on the Sunshine Coast.
Police were called to Casuarina Drive at Little Mountain around 2.55am following reports that a motorcycle had struck a ute that was parked on the side of the road.
A 24-year-old Nundah man was located deceased at the scene.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Traffic incident, Gladstone
QPS Media [10/1/15]:
Police are advising of possible delays on the southern side of Gladstone following a traffic incident this afternoon.
Around 12.30pm police received reports of a truck having lost its trailer in the area and knocking down a power pole.
Works are being undertaken in the area and there will be traffic control at the following intersections:
Bonar Street and Pier Street
Pier Street and Auckland Street
Ann Street and Coon Street
Oak Street and Lyons Street
Off Lane and Bonar Street
People are asked to exercise caution in this area and to follow any directions provide by traffic control.
As a result of the incident a number of traffic lights in the Gladstone area are out of operation so drivers are asked to exercise caution in the area.
Building and truck fire, Toolooa [Gladstone Observer - 10/1/15]
Crash on Bruce Hwy, north just before Beerwah. One lane closed at this point. Truck vs car, please slow down #qldtraffic [Queensland Police Service - 9/1/15]
Light plane crashes on Gold Coast
Brisbane Times [9/1/15]:
Two people have escaped unharmed after their light plane crashed into a paddock north of the Gold Coast.
Emergency services were called at 3pm after the small aircraft came down in a field along Gross Road at Woongoolba.
A 68-year-old man has been taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with minor back pain.
A female occupant was injured, but taken to the PA as a precaution.
The crash is now being investigated.
Nebraska court approves controversial Keystone XL pipeline route
A Nebraska court has signed off on the proposed route for the Keystone XL, bringing the controversial project a crucial step closer to reality after six years of legal and political fighting.
The Nebraska supreme court said the state’s governor, Dave Heineman, had indeed acted within his authority in January 2013 when he approved the pipeline’s route. Four judges on the seven-member court agreed with the landowners, but a super-majority of five was needed to strike down the plan.
“The legislation must stand by default,” the court said.
A lower court had ruled that Heineman should have consulted Nebraska’s public service commission, an obscure body which regulates grain bins, taxi cabs, and mobile homes among other things.
The state supreme court ruling clears one of the last remaining obstacles before Barack Obama is forced to render his decision on the future of Keystone, a controversial pipeline designed to deliver crude from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.
The decision is one of the most loaded of his presidency – and Obama has repeatedly deferred his determination, claiming he wants to let the process play out.
Now, after six years of delays, that procedure is all but exhausted. With the Nebraska route settled, the State Department is expected to come out with its final decision on whether the pipeline is in the national interest.
Then it is down to Obama.
The Senate energy committee voted 13-9 on Thursday in favour of a bill that would force construction of the Keystone XL, moving the measure towards the Senate floor.
AGL has become mired in fresh controversy over its coal seam gas activities near Gloucester after a contractor shipped untreated waste water to the Hunter region despite explicit rejection of the plan from the local water authority. … [Sydney Morning Herald – 9/1/15]
Thousands protest public transit fare hikes in Brazil
A few thousand people took to the streets of Brazil's biggest city Friday to protest over an 18-cent increase in bus and subway fares, and some clashed with police.
The Sao Paulo police department said on its Twitter page that the demonstration by at least 2,000 people began peacefully. But two hours after the protest began, some people started throwing rocks at patrol cars and smashing store and bank windows.
TV images showed police dispersing the crowds with tear gas and pepper spray. Police said at least 50 people were taken into custody.
Police in Rio de Janeiro said about 400 people protested there.
The fare hike went into effect earlier this week, some 18 months after a 10-cent rise helped trigger historic nationwide demonstrations.
The June 2013 protests against higher transportation fares mushroomed into demonstrations against corruption, poor public services and the billions spent on last year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Friday's protest was organized by the Free Pass movement, which kicked off the 2013 demonstrations.
Public transport disincentivising Sunchine Coast Council ends popular free summer holiday bus service
Sunshine Coast Daily [18/12/14]:
The Sunshine Coast Council has been labelled a grinch after pulling funding for free buses over the Christmas-New Year period.
Council has funded free buses on the Coast for 10 days after Christmas, at a cost of $500,000, for the past couple of years.
Although Noosa will keep the free holiday buses, Sunshine Coast Council has dropped them and says it will use the funds to improve bus stops for the disabled and provide better information on services.
The free buses have been criticised by some ratepayers who want to see the public transport levy used to improve year-round services, but others are dismayed they have been dropped.
Maureen Darcey, of Kings Beach, said she used the free buses while entertaining children aged four, five and six.
"What's our transport levy for? We pay $40 a year - what's it going to now?" she said.
A Marcoola resident said ratepayers were paying more money than ever before and the council was being "a grinch".
Thousands of jellyfish wash up on Redcliffe Peninsula [Brisbane Times – 9/1/15]
Phoenix Activist Condemns US Aid to Repressive Mexican Government
Two days after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's visit to Washington, protests have continued this Thursday in Phoenix demanding President Barack Obama to end the shipment of U.S. arms to Mexico and to cancel Plan Merida, a security agreement with the Latin American country that includes aid worth US$2 billion, according to an activist who spoke with teleSUR.
The protesters and activists from organizations in defense of people that are native of the Americas, who demonstrated in connection with Obama´s visit to the Arizona city, also condemned the U.S. government for its subtle complicity in arming Mexican security forces that have no regard for human rights.
“The Iguala, Guerrero, incident in which 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Teachers Trainee College were forcibly disappeared is a despicable crime committed by the State, representing corruption, impunity and authoritarianism by the Mexican government,” said the leader of The Neighborhood Defense Committees, Salvador Reza.
He is also the head of the Center of Native Peoples Tonatierra Nahaucalli.
The activist told teleSUR that the organizations he represents demand Peña Nieto be “punished for crimes against humanity.”
“We demand Obama suspends the shipment of arms and money to Mexico, because the country is plagued with violation of human rights in complicity with the U.S. government,” he said. “It's time to end the bi-national state-sanctioned terrorism, which among other things, is responsible for the enforced disappearance of 25,000 people and more than 100,000 executions.”
Reza, followers, other activist and protesters were awaiting the arrival of Obama to let him know their outrage regarding the president's failure to come through with his long-ago promise to put in place immigration reform in favor of over 12 million undocumented migrants, which are mostly Mexicans.
Activists are highly concerned because instead of pushing forward immigration laws, Obama has stood out in deportations, as over 500,000 migrants in Arizona alone have been thrown out of the United States in the past few years under the racist SB1070 law that is still in effect.
At a national level, the Obama administration has deported well over two million people, arguing that there is a yearly budget to expel 400,000 undocumented migrants per year, and that therefore it is obligated to do so.
... We are at a point in human history when we have to wake up and realize that the only people who can save the world are us.
Every hour that goes by without us doing anything about it affects us, and affects the world that we love so much. ...
Yoko Ono Lennon 18 February 2011
Doll Clothes for American Girl Dolls: 4 Pc Peace to the World Outfit:
"Dress Along Dolly" (Includes Skirt, Sweatshirt, Leggings,and Sneakers)
Hand Made, designed especially for that special Doll in your life (Doll Not Included)
The perfect outift for that special occassion Fits all American Girl sized dolls of approximately 18" tall
Who will call for peace?
85 people mostly Muslim rally for peace and opposed to #terror attacks in #France at state Capitol in @thecityofsac
Image: @BobMoffitt - Reporter - Capital Public Radio, Sacramento [9/1/15]
Unifying for what?
Is Sunday's "Unity Rally" in Paris for peace or ongoing war?
Cameron to fly to Paris with other world leaders to stand shoulder to shoulder with France in 'unity rally' [Daily Mail – 9/1/15]:
... The Prime Minister said he had accepted an invitation from President Hollande to celebrate 'the values behind Charlie Hebdo'. ...
Representatives of the French extreme right party were invited to the Presidential Palace on Friday, while some politicians believe they should be excluded from the republican march, due to take place on Sunday. ... [EurActiv -9/1/15]
Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible. @rupertmurdoch [9/1/15]
United States continue bombing Syria and Iraq
... Obama pledged to the French people that in the wake of the attack "the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow."
"We fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values we share, universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies," the president declared, adding "we stand for freedom, hope, and the dignity of all human beings and that's what the city of Paris represents to the world." ...
[CNBC - 9/1/15]
U.S. and partner nation military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, Jan. 8, using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct five airstrikes.
Separately, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted six airstrikes in Iraq, Jan. 8, using fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Jan. 8, and 8 a.m., Jan. 9, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
* Near Kobani, five airstrikes struck an ISIL fighting position and two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building and seven ISIL fighting positions.
* Near Al Qaim, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL bunker.
* Near Al Asad, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and a large ISIL unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.
* Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL heavy weapon.
* Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL building and an ISIL tactical unit.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.
Coalition warplanes kill 17 ISIS militants southern Kirkuk [IraqiNews.com – 9/1/15]
Judiciary to hold important press conference on Sunday [IraqiNews.com – 9/1/15]
@IraqiSMCEn – Iraqi Spring Media Center – 9/1/15]:
Babel: News reported that a detainee died due to the torture in Hilla Intelligence department ..........
Confusion at #GuantanamoBay after "Charlie Hebdo" attack. ...
Image: @boun0479 [9/1/15]
French forces kill newspaper attack suspects, hostages die in second siege
Two brothers wanted for a bloody attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were killed on Friday when anti-terrorist police stormed their hideout, while a second siege ended with the deaths of four hostages.
The violent end to the simultaneous stand-offs northeast of Paris and at a Jewish supermarket in the capital followed a police operation of unprecedented scale as France tackled one of the worst threats to its internal security in decades.
With one of the gunmen saying shortly before his death that he was funded by al Qaeda, President Francois Hollande warned that the danger to France - home to the European Union's biggest communities of both Muslims and Jews - was not over yet.
"These madmen, fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion," Hollande said in a televised address. "France has not seen the end of the threats it faces."
An audio recording posted on YouTube attributed to a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP) said the attack in France was prompted by insults to prophets but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Sheikh Hareth al-Nadhari said in the recording, "Some in France have misbehaved with the prophets of God and a group of God's faithful soldiers taught them how to behave and the limits of freedom of speech."
"Soldiers who love God and his prophet and who are in love with martyrdom for the sake of God had come to you," he said in the recording, the authenticity of which could not immediately be verified.
A Yemeni journalist who specializes in al Qaeda said it was clear that AQAP had provided a "spiritual inspiration" for the attack on the newspaper offices, but there was no clear sign that it was directly responsible for the assault.
Following heavy loss of life over three consecutive days, which began with the attack on Charlie Hebdo when 12 people were shot dead, French authorities are trying to prevent a rise in vengeful anti-immigrant sentiment.
Hollande denounced the killing of the four hostages at the kosher supermarket in the Vincennes district of Paris. "This was an appalling anti-Semitic act that was committed," he said.
Officials said Cherif Kouachi and his brother Said, both in their thirties, died when security forces raided a print shop in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where the chief suspects in Wednesday's attack had been holed up. The hostage they had taken was safe, an official said.
Automatic gunfire rang out, followed by blasts and then silence as smoke billowed from the roof of the print shop. In thick fog, a helicopter landed on the building's roof, signaling the end of the assault. A government source said the brothers had emerged from the building and opened fire on police before they were killed.
Before his death, one of the Kouachi brothers told a television station he had received financing from an al Qaeda preacher in Yemen.
"I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by Al Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there and it was Anwar al Awlaki who financed me," he told BFM-TV by telephone, according to a recording aired by the channel after the siege was over.
Al Awlaki, an influential international recruiter for al Qaeda, was killed in September 2011 in a drone strike. A senior Yemeni intelligence source earlier told Reuters that Kouachi's brother Said had also met al Awlaki during a stay in Yemen in 2011.
Attacks on muslim community, places of worship escalate [20mins - 9/1/15]
Men arrested after counter-terror raids in Sydney to apply for bail
Two men arrested on Friday following counter-terror raids in Sydney have no links with terrorism and will apply for bail on Monday, their lawyer says.
Omar Ammouche, 33, and Jibryl Almaouie, 21, were charged after separate raids in Sydney's south-west.
Ammouche was arrested at a Greenacre home on Friday and charged with acquiring and possessing ammunition subject to a prohibition order and without having a permit.
Almaouie was charged with weapons offences after a raid in December at a home in Condell Park, where police allegedly found guns and ammunition.
Neither man appeared when their cases were dealt with at Parramatta Local Court.
Lawyer Adam Houda, who represented both men, was questioned about the arrests by reporters outside court.
"These matters are absolutely nothing to do with terrorism or terror-related issues," Mr Houda said.
He said the prosecution's case against his clients was weak and they would apply for bail on Monday at Bankstown Local Court.
Both men will remain in custody over the weekend.
The raids were part of a long-running investigation into domestic terrorism threats and support given to Australians fighting overseas.
Investigators seized documents and computers, which are being forensically examined.
Disturbing, unnecessary and oppressive. Certainly not good policing ---> Gold Coast Police: Help us promote a culture of fear and suspicion and go in the draw for an iPad mini [QPS Media - 9/1/15]:
... Come along and have a little fun on the day and help us to promote the Neighbourhood Watch Crime Fighter. For your efforts you’ll go into the draw to win an iPad Mini.
To deter criminals from our neighbourhoods it is important that we all take ownership and step up and claim these areas as a no go zone for criminals.
It’s simple really – take an interest in what is happening around you, get to know your neighbours and the vehicles they drive. If you happen to see something out of the ordinary, take notes of vehicle registration plates, vehicle make and model and even a description of the person or people involved.
... One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents (Zersetzung, literally meaning decomposition). ... [Stasi]
Suicide bomber targets Pakistan mosque
Al Jazeera [9/1/15]:
A suicide bomber has struck a Shia mosque in Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing seven people and wounding several others, police have said.
Police told Al Jazeera that the attacker blew himself up when he was stopped at the gate of the mosque.
The blast occurred as minority Shias gathered in the mosque to distribute alms to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
Witnesses said the explosion was powerful and blew out windows.
Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar declared an emergency in all hospitals in the Rawalpindi area.
Nisar condemned the attack and asked law enforcement agencies to provide a report on the incident.
"These kinds of attacks cannot break the will of the people of Pakistan. The whole nation is united against terrorism," he said in a statement.
Nobody has yet claimed responsibility but fighters linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda have targeted the country's Shia minority in the past.
A bomb targeting Shia at a volleyball match killed at least four people and injured eight in Pakistan's restive northwest last Sunday.
The incident happened at the Hussaini ground, owned by the local Shia community in the Kalaya neighbourhood of the Orakzai tribal district.
Pakistan has strengthened its own offensive against the Taliban since their attack on a military-run school on December 16 killed 150 people, 134 of them children.
New Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria drive more than 7,000 into Chad – UN
UN Media Release [9/1/15]:
The number of Nigerian refugees seeking safety in Chad has almost quadrupled over the past 10 days after attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in northeastern Nigeria uprooted thousands, the United Nations refugee agency has reported.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that attacks in Borno state have uprooted about 7,300 Nigerians, forcing them into western Chad, where most are staying with local communities in villages around 450 kilometres north-west of the capital, N’Djamena.
A spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the 3 January attack on the town of Baga alone caused 3,400 people to flee to Chad.
“The Government of Chad has requested international assistance,” said the spokesperson. “The Chadian Government has sent a mission and a medical team to the areas and is providing food assistance and other basic supplies. Humanitarian agencies including OCHA, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently in the area assessing needs.”
UNHCR is assessing the protection situation and coordinating aid delivery. “We’re already providing plastic sheets, jerry cans, mats, blankets and kitchen tools. Other humanitarian organizations are distributing aid too,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards noted in Geneva.
Mr. Edwards said UNHCR teams are seeking more information on the new arrivals and their needs and noted that the attack on Baga left hundreds dead and forced most of the town’s surviving inhabitants to flee.
Meanwhile in Niger, UNHCR has started to relocate refugees from the border area, so far moving 336 people to a camp deeper inside Niger, with more planned for next week. The refugees fled after a November attack on the Nigerian town of Damassak.
UNHCR, working alongside the National Eligibility Commission of Niger, is registering refugees as they arrive at the new camp, giving them identity documents and providing basic relief items, including drinking water and latrines.
In December, the first results of a continuing Government census, organized with UNHCR’s technical support, revealed that at least 90,000 people, including Niger nationals previously living in Nigeria, have found refuge in Niger’s Diffa region since May 2013. Many have chosen to remain close to the border, hoping to return to their home villages when the situation calms down.
Some 200,000 people have fled Nigeria to neighbouring countries, including Chad, Cameroon and Niger, according to figures from OCHA.
UN Confirms Hundreds Slaughtered in S.Sudan Atrocities
Rebels in South Sudan slaughtered at least 353 civilians in April last year, including people sheltering in a mosque, hospital and a United Nations base, U.N. rights investigators said Friday.
The report is the first detailed account of two incidents that have highlighted a pattern of gross abuses and atrocities committed during the year-old civil war in the world's youngest nation.
The U.N. also noted that nearly nine months after the events, "no perpetrator has been held accountable" for the killings.
In the April 15 attack on the northern oil-town of Bentiu, fighters backing South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar murdered at least 287 civilians sheltering in a mosque, many of them traders and their families from neighboring Sudan's Darfur region.
Later that day, 19 civilians were killed in the town's hospital, U.N. investigators said.
Fighters also took to the radio urging rival groups to be forced from the town and for men to rape women from the rival tribe.
"Victims were deliberately targeted on the basis of their ethnicity, nationality or perceived support for one of the parties to the conflict," the U.N. said in a 33-page report.
Two days later on April 17, in the eastern town of Bor, a gang of heavily-armed men marched on the U.N. base, where hundreds of civilians had fled to for protection.
The "mob forcibly entered the protection site and went on a rampage of killing, looting and abductions", the report by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said, adding the assault left at least 47 dead and was likely to have been "planned in advance".
The attack on Bentiu and the U.N. base in Bor are two of the most high profile massacres in a long list of atrocities carried out in the more than a year-long civil war.
At least 353 civilians were killed and another 250 were wounded in the two attacks, the U.N. said.
No overall death toll for the war has been kept, either by the government, rebels or the United Nations, although the International Crisis Group says it estimates that at least 50,000 people have been killed.
Some diplomats suggest it could be double that figure, while hunger and disease have killed thousands more.
Fighting broke out in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, in December 2013 when President Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.
The fighting in the capital Juba set off a cycle of retaliatory massacres across the country, pushing it to the brink of famine. Both government forces loyal to Kiir and rebels loyal to Machar continue to fight, despite numerous ceasefire deals.
Darfur: UN receives reports of significant civilian displacement [Media Release - 8/1/15]
Indonesia's Human Rights Committee readies Papua investigation of Paniai shooting
Jakarta Globe [9/1/15]:
Indonesia’s Human Rights Committee announced on Thursday that it had formed a team to investigate possible human rights abuses committed in the fatal shootings of at least five young civilians by security forces in Papua early last month.
Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai said in a statement that the team — which includes the committee’s other leaders Manager Nasution, Hafid Abbas and Siti Nurlaila — would take three months to complete their report into the shootings in Paniai district on Dec. 8.
“The team’s task is to investigate and gather evidence — information, data and facts,” Natalius said. “They will also have to conduct an extensive investigation on everyone suspected to have been involved in the case.”
Indonesian security forces are accused of having opened fire on a crowd of 800 peaceful demonstrators, including women and children on Dec. 8. Five protesters were killed and at least 17 others — including elementary school students — were injured, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
President Joko Widodo visited Indonesia’s restive easternmost province over Christmas and committed to a thorough inquiry in a speech at the Mandala stadium in Japayapura, the capital.
“I want this case to be solved immediately so it won’t ever happen again in the future,” the president said on Dec. 28. “By forming a fact-finding team, we hope to obtain valid information [about what actually happened], as well as find the root of the problems.”
The team will disclose its report during a plenary meeting held by Komnas HAM in April.
Bali Nine member loses clemency bid [Jakarta Post – 9/1/15]
Police Sink Malaysian Ship Allegedly Caught Fishing Illegally in Indonesian Waters [Jakarta Globe - 9/1/15]
Indonesian immigration officials arrested two Australians on Thursday after they reportedly conducted illegal mining activities in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. … [Jakarta Globe – 9/1/15]
Another stooge acceptable to US empire
Tamil Guardian [9/1/15]:
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, commended incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa for accepting his election defeat, and said he looked forward to working with president-elect Maithripala Sirisena to ensure Sri Lanka was "inclusive" and "democratic".
"I look forward to working with President-elect Maithripala Sirisena as his new government works to implement its campaign platform of a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, inclusive, democratic, and prosperous," Kerry said in a statement.
"I commend President Rajapaksa for accepting the results of the election in the proud tradition of peaceful and orderly transfers of power in Sri Lanka. His words tonight about accepting the verdict of the people and moving forward are important," he added.
"The Sri Lankan people deserve great credit on the successful conclusion of their elections. They turned out in great numbers to exercise their democratic rights and every vote was a victory for Sri Lanka."
"The United States applauds the Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner, the security forces, Sri Lankan civil society, and the candidates themselves for making sure this election was not marred by unrest and for ensuring a significant drop in campaign-related violence. It will be important for that effort to continue in the coming days," he said.
Search Called off at Myanmar Jade Mine
Rescuers Friday called off the search at a jade mine in war-torn northern Myanmar that was struck by a landslide this week after all missing people were accounted for, police said.
Four bodies were pulled from the rubble at the mine in Hpakant town, Kachin state, which was engulfed by a wall of mud on Tuesday evening.
The landslide is believed to have occurred when debris heaped beside the mine collapsed after it was loosened by heavy rains.
"We stopped our search and rescue today as we found all missing persons," Police Major Naing Win of Hpakant police station told Agence France Presse.
The death toll could have been considerably higher had the landslide hit earlier in the day, he added. Instead it struck around 7:05 pm (1235 GMT) after most miners had returned home to eat dinner.
"About eight tents selling food were there with very few customers inside when the landslide occurred. That's why there were fewer casualties," Major Naing Win said.
Up to 90 percent of the world's jadeite -- the most sought-after type of jade -- is mined in Hpakant, feeding a vast appetite for the green stone in Asia and particularly China, where it is believed to ward off evil spirits and improve health.
Accidents and landslides at Myanmar's jade mines are commonplace.
The famously murky trade in the resource-rich nation has seen lower sales in recent years in part because of an upsurge in fighting in Kachin.
But it remains highly lucrative and observers say a slice of all jade revenue finds its way into the pockets of Kachin rebels, who have a large presence in the area.
Some 100,000 people have been displaced in the state since a 17-year ceasefire between the government and ethnic Kachin rebels broke down in June 2011.
Tensions have soared in recent weeks during an uptick in violence between the army and rebels in the region, near the border with China.
#UltimOra #SAR Nave Libra #MarinaMilitare inserita in #Triton dirige verso il porto di Augusta per sbarco dei 373 migranti.
"tweeted" by @ItalianNavy [9/1/15]
Labor and LNP would send this person to Nauru.
Image: @bigal2canberra [9/1/15]
Nusra Front attacks besieged Shiite villages in Syria
Daily Star [9/1/15]:
Syria's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other Sunni militants fought during the night to capture two Shiite villages in the country's north but were repelled, activists on both sides of the war said Friday.
The insurgents were briefly able to control streets in the southern part of Zahra and buildings in the nearby village of Nubl, north of Aleppo city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The militants, who used tanks, were pushed back from both areas by the National Defense Force, a grouping of loyalist militias under the umbrella of the army, it said.
Pro-government activists published photos on social media that they said showed the bodies of Nusra Front fighters in a ditch near the villages. Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the photos.
The clashes were not reported on the state news agency SANA and the Information Ministry was not immediately available for comment Friday.
Both towns have been under a long siege by anti-government forces. The army has used helicopters to drop supplies to the villagers.
Aleppo and surrounding areas have been hit by heavy fighting in a conflict which is now in its fourth year and has killed some 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.
In Syria, insurgents have besieged 26,500 people and the government has besieged 185,500 people, the U.N. says.
The conflict began in March 2011 with popular protests against President Bashar Assad and spiralled into civil war after a crackdown by security forces.
Canada opens doors to 13,000 Syrian, Iraqi refugees [Al Arabiya – 8/1/15]
The dirty work of empire
Australian special forces work with Iraqi security group accused of killing prisoners, torture [Canberra Times – 10/1/15]
Afghanistan parliament approves night raids [Khaama - 8/1/15]:
The government of Afghanistan approved special military operations in a bid to tackle the terrorist activities by anti-government armed militant groups.
During a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the special military raids were approved after incorporating new changes, the Presidential Palace said following a statement.
According to the National Security Council (NSC), special military raids are one of the most effective approaches to fight terrorism and organized crimes.
The statement by the Palace further added that the Afghan national security force use less power to eliminate the terrorist threats in less time and in a cost effective way and without incurring casualties to civilians or security forces.
The NSC members are also added that the special military raids will further increase the responsibilies of the Afghan security forces towards the Afghan citizens.
The Afghan national security forces were instructed to take all necessary measures to respect the Islamic values, the Afghan culture, Afghan constitution and other laws of the country while executing a special military operation.
The approval of the special military raids by the National Security Council (NSC) comes as the insurgency activities by the militant groups have been rampant during the recent months.
The militants are frequently carrying insurgency attacks in various parts of the country including capital Kabul.
Counter-terrorism police conduct Sydney raids
Nine MSN [9/1/15]:
Police have carried out a series of counter-terror raids in Sydney's southwest.
The Joint Counter Terrorism Team Sydney said a number of search warrants were executed as part of Operation Duntulm this morning.
The AFP did not provide any more details about the "investigative operation" but said further details would be provided in due course.
Operation Duntulm focuses on foreign incursion offences.
It has also resulted in Fatima Elomar being arrested after she was stopped at Sydney Airport when she tried to board an international flight with her children last May.
She was later charged with supporting incursions into a foreign state with the intention of engaging in hostile activities.
Australia's terror alert level is currently high, meaning a terrorist attack is likely.
Eleven people have also been charged under another counter-terror investigation, Operation Appleby, which has targeted a nameless group of up to 20 people who sympathise with militant group Islamic State.
Today's raids come as Sydney continues to grieve for Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson who were killed in the Lindt Cafe siege in December.
In recent weeks, police have raided homes in Marsfield, Regent's Park and Condell Park as part of ongoing counter-terrorism investigations.
Sulayman Khalid, 20, was charged with plotting a terrorist act after being arrested last month. Police allege he was part of a group plotting to target an AFP building and carry out guerrilla warfare in the Blue Mountains.
Police taser, arrest man for allegedly refusing to drop knife, Dalby [Chronicle - 9/1/15]
Armed robbery, Grange [QPS Media – 9/1/15]
Robbery, Springwood [QPS Media - 9/1/15]
Man charged with murder after woman's body found, Melbourne
Nine MSN [9/1/15]:
A man has been charged with murder after a woman's body was found in a Melbourne unit.
Police were called to the Brunswick West unit about 1.30am on Friday and found the body inside.
A 29-year-old man was arrested and has been charged with one count of murder.
He will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon.
Police believe the pair were known to each other.
Yemen arrests six suspects in police academy attack
Al Akhbar [9/1/15]:
Police in Yemen have arrested six people suspected of involvement in Wednesday's bombing of a police college in Sanaa, the capital's police chief told Yemeni television on Thursday.
The car bomb, which exploded in the street outside the college, killed 40 people and wounded another 71, according to the latest casualty toll provided by state news agency Saba on Thursday. The authorities have blamed al-Qaeda militants.
More fugitive suspects were still being pursued, police chief Abdelrazaq al-Muayyid told al-Masirah television, which is owned by members of the powerful Houthi northern rebel clan.
Muayyid gave no further details.
Earlier on Thursday, al-Masirah reported that the suspects had been caught by police in collaboration with the Popular Committees, which are Houthi-led groups of fighters.
The militias have themselves been the target of suspected Qaeda attacks in recent weeks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's bombing but an official source in Yemen's Supreme Security Committee, cited by Saba, blamed "al Qaeda terrorist elements" for the attack.
"This cowardly criminal action reflects the bloodthirsty and savage character of elements belonging to the terrorist al-Qaeda organization," the Supreme Security Committee said in a statement published by the official Saba news agency.
Situation in Ukraine ‘nearing humanitarian catastrophe’ – Amnesty
Eastern Ukraine is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe, as residents struggle to get food and medicine, rights group Amnesty International told Reuters. The UN refugee watchdog added that the elderly in the region could be severely hit by Kiev’s policies.
People in the southeastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions are struggling financially and are barely scraping by, according to the deputy director of Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, Denis Krivosheev.
“While it may be too early to call this a humanitarian catastrophe, it’s clearly progressing in that direction,” Krivosheev said, adding that pensioners are the most vulnerable part of the population.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also expressed major concern for the elderly, pointing to Kiev’s dangerous decision to transfer payouts of social benefits and pensions to government-controlled areas.
UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said that not everyone is able to pick up and leave their homes in southeastern Ukraine. So, the most vulnerable are neglected as they fail to receive needed financial support.
According to UN figures, around 5.2 million people in Ukraine are living in conflict zones. Of that number, 1.4 million are in very vulnerable conditions and require assistance as they struggle with the cold winter, money problems, and lack of services.
Moreover, Krivosheev stressed that aid sent to southeastern Ukraine from Russia and other countries – such as food and medicine – is often stifled by pro-Kiev private armies that are preventing it from reaching those in need, with the goal of starving the population there.
“Attempting to create unbearable conditions of life is a whole new ballgame using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime,” Krivosheev said.
He described the private armies as “renegade gangs” which need to be handled.
Some of the latest data from Ukraine points to a massive movement of people, with over one million forced to leave their homes.
Figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) show that 610,000 people have been uprooted in Ukraine and 594,000 have been forced to leave the country as refugees.
The fighting in Ukraine began in April, after the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev, which formed a Western-backed interim government at the time. The death toll has exceeded 4,700 people, with over 10,300 wounded, according to the latest UN estimations.
The situation on the ground then worsened, with non-stop bombing taking place in the southeastern regions, including residential areas. On top of that, things were exacerbated by Kiev’s tactics to periodically turn off water and electricity supplies to the areas not controlled by the government.
Various non-governmental groups have tried to garner attention around the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that over 1.7 million children have been affected by the crisis in Ukraine, with at least 130,000 displaced.
Moreover, up to 150 schools have been shut down due to fighting in the Donetsk region. Around 50,000 children did not return to school in September, as their places of learning were completely destroyed or shut down for safety reasons, UNICEF said in its report.
A total of US$32.4 million is needed to help children survive through the winter, the report concludes. The most needed items are warm clothes, shelter, hygiene supplies, and medicine.
10 January 2015