Is Australia pulling its weight when it comes to the resettlement of Syrian refugees? Elibritt Karlsen [APH – Parliamentary Library – 2/4/15]





Yarmouk refugees hold Sidon solidarity rally



Daily Star [13/4/15]:

Dozens of Palestinians who fled the embattled camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, demonstrated Monday in solidarity with their friends and family trapped between warring sides.

“Save the [Yarmouk] camp,” the crowd cried out during a sit-in outside the offices of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the southern city of Sidon.

“We are not with [the rebels] nor with [Syrian President Basahar Assad’s forces],” they chanted.

“We want to return to our camp.”

The protesters handed a letter to UNRWA’s Sidon chief Ibrahim Khatib, urging food aid to reach Yarmouk’s remaining 18,000 refugees, now caught in the crossfire between the jihadis, rival rebels, and government forces.

The Yarmouk camp, once home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria, has been cut off from food and supplies they desperately need.

The letter also urged help in securing a safe passage for those trapped in Yarmouk.




Six months after donors pledged billions of dollars (euros) for devastated Gaza, most of the money remains blocked, and reconstruction efforts are painfully slow, a coalition of aid groups said in a report Monday.

The report also condemned the international community for failing to help open the blockaded Gaza Strip to the West Bank, to broker a lasting ceasefire with Israel and to hold the two sides accountable.


The war displaced more than a quarter of Gaza's population of 1.8 million and left 100,000 people homeless.

The report meanwhile urged Israel to allow Palestinians to freely move back and forth between the West Bank and Gaza, "in line with their obligations as an occupying power".

"The international community, in particular the Quartet of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN, should propose a time-bound plan to support an end to the blockade," AIDA added. ... [Ahram - 13/4/15]





Car bombing kills at least 6 civilians in Baghdad




Daily Star [13/4/15]:



Iraqi officials say that a car bomb in a commercial area in the capital, Baghdad, has killed at least six civilians.

A police officer says the explosives-laden car, which was parked near an outdoor market in the southwestern Amil neighborhood, went off in the early afternoon Monday.

He says the explosion also wounded at least 15 civilians.

A medical official confirmed the causality figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

The attack comes as Iraqi government troops and allied Shiite and Sunni fighters are battling ISIS extremists in a campaign trying to dislodge the militant group from nearly a third of Iraq.




Bomb Explodes outside Moroccan Embassy in Libya [Naharnet – 13/4/15]



Several wounded as police open fire on Guinea protests

Ahram [13/4/15]:

Guinean police opened fire on anti-government protesters wounding several during violent clashes in the capital Conakry on Monday, medical and opposition sources told AFP.

Rioting broke out around 9:30 am (0930 GMT) in several suburbs including Simbaya and Hamadallaye, and angry protests continued as at least eight youths were treated for gunshot wounds.

The opposition had called for demonstrations in all parts of the capital against the ongoing lack of security for which it blames the regime of President Alpha Conde.

"There were violent clashes between young protesters and police in Hamdallaye, where security forces shot three young protesters," a hospital doctor said on condition of anonymity.

The medic told AFP two of the protesters sustained leg injuries while a third with a serious stomach wound was dragged several metres by police before being abandoned.

"He was quickly rescued by his comrades," a policeman told AFP.

The gunfire continued after the wounded were taken to hospital as youths rallied in the streets, according to an AFP correspondent on the ground who witnessed panicked residents trying to get home.

Four other protesters were wounded in the northeastern suburb of Simbaya, witnesses and a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Guinea's opposition boycotted parliament in March in protest over the timetable for a presidential election, accusing Conde of using the Ebola epidemic as an excuse to postpone voting.




Riots in Gabon after leading opposition figure's death [France 24 - 13/4/15]




Afghanistan: Minister-designate for culture found dual citizen




Pajhwok [13/41/5]:




Minister-designate for Information and Culture, Abdul Bari Jehani, has been found holding dual nationality, the Wolesi Jirga secretary said on Monday.

Abdul Rauf Inami told Pajhwok Afghan News they had vetted documents of all the 16 newly-introduced cabinet nominees.

He said the documents of all, except Jehani, were acceptable to the national assembly until his American nationality was confirmed cancelled by the authorities concerned.

The remaining 16 ministers-designate were introduced to the lower house for a vote of confidence by the second vice president earlier this month.

Inami said they had sent letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Kabul to confirm if Jehani’s American nationality had been cancelled, but there was not response as yet.

He said if Jehani’s dual nationality was cancelled, he would be given time to share his future plans with lawmakers before being granted the trust vote.

The Wolesi Jirga has decided not to vote for dual citizen cabinet nominees. So far eleven of the 16 nominees have explained their future plans to lawmakers.

So far no one is nominated to head the Ministry of Defence.



See Iran's Foreign Minister eagerly awaiting Australia's Foreign Minister to lecture him on refoulement??



IRNA [13/4/15]:



Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to head to Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday.

It will take place after Zarif's visit to the Spanish capital on the same day.

The Iranian foreign minister is travelling to these two European countries in response to the visit of their Portuguese and Spanish counterparts to Iran.

The visits aim at reviewing ways to expand bilateral relations.

The two will also negotiate about international developments.

Foreign ministers of Portugal and Spain have flown to Tehran last year.

They have had good and constructive talks with the Iranian officials on the bilateral ties.






Iran, Kazakh FMs stress promotion of Tehran-Astana ties [IRNA - 13/4/15]





Guardian [13/4/15]:



... Asked if Iran was prepared to consider accepting forced returns of asylum seekers, he said: “This is a very difficult question. This is not an issue that is only being raised during this visit. It is a continuous issue in the relations … this is a very complicated situation and according to international laws and regulations there is no rule that can dictate a country to force the people who are seeking asylum to be back to their country.”  ...





SEA-US submarine communication cable development set to commence


Jakarta Post [12/4/15]:

The consortium for the submarine communication cable system for Southeast Asia and US (SEA-US) has officially announced the commencement of construction on what will be the first submarine cable connecting Indonesia and the US.

The project -- which will be conducted by the NEC Corporation and NEC Corporation of America, with total investments reaching US$250 million, is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter in 2016.

The SEA-US global consortium consists of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Globe Telecom, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Hawaiian Telcom, Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies), and Telkom USA.

Telin president director Syarif Syarial Ahmad stated that the construction of the submarine communication cable system was one of the most important steps for meeting the rapid growth of Indonesia's communication needs.

He also demonstrates Telin's commitment in providing Indonesia consumers with state-of-the-art technology.





Indonesia wants to hold regular military exercises with the United States near the sparsely populated Natuna archipelago, an area of the South China Sea near China's claims, a navy spokesman said on Monday. ... [Reuters - 13/4/15]







Five people died and scores were injured when a wildfire caused by the burning of dry grass swept through southern Siberia, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents, Russian officials said Sunday. ... [Naharnet -12/3/15]






Animal carcasses found dumped on disused rail line in Tasmania [ABC – 13/4/15]




A Queensland couple has been given two-year suspended sentences for causing the death of an elderly woman by making her sleep in a shipping container in freezing conditions in Tasmania. ... [ABC - 13/4/15]




Deal secures future of SA remote Indigenous communities




SBS [13/4/15]:

A multi-million dollar deal between the Federal and South Australian governments has secured the future of remote Indigenous communities, but the fate of their Western Australian counterparts remains in limbo.

More than 1500 members of the remote Indigenous communities will be able to remain in their homes under the $15 million agreement, signed by the Federal and South Australian governments on Monday.

Under the deal, the South Australian Government will deliver municipal and essential services - including power, water, and sewage and rubbish collection - to the state’s remote Indigenous communities from July 1.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the funding would secure the future of communities outside the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara region in the north west of the state.

Senator Scullion described the announcement as an historic and “positive move away from the ad hoc” service delivery provided to date.

A compromise announced this morning will also see the Federal Government continue to pay for services in the APY Lands, for the time being.

The funding announcement follows widespread protests against the closure of up to 150 remote communities in Western Australia.

The WA Government has cited cuts in federal funding as the reasons for the expected closures, which were initially flagged seven months ago.

A spokesperson for Senator Scullion said an agreement had been reached with the WA Government in September, when the state government accepted $90 million in funding to take on responsibility for delivering the essential services.

The spokesperson said the future of the 150-odd remote Indigenous communities now lay with state politicians.

"The future of remote communities in Western Australia is a matter for the WA Government and does not relate in any way to financial arrangements between that state and the Commonwealth for municipal services," they said.

"... It is up to the WA Government to determine the level of services it provides to remote communities."

But Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues Rachel Siewert has urged her Liberal counterpart to reinstate the funding, stating that “communities, the broader public and the Senate all oppose the forceful closures of these communities”.

“They deserve to remain,” Senator Siewert said.

“It is time for Senator Scullion to do the right thing”.

Her push follows that from former One Nation Party politician Pauline Hanson, who told NITV News that the choice by Indigenous people to stay in remote communities needed to be respected.



India surrogacy case: Documents show NSW couple abandoned baby boy despite warnings

ABC [13/4/15]:

An Australian couple who abandoned a baby boy born via a surrogacy arrangement in India misled High Commission staff in New Delhi and were repeatedly warned the baby could be left stateless, documents show.

Freedom of Information (FOI) documents obtained by the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program reveal startling new information about the case, which saw the couple return to Australia with a baby girl while leaving her healthy twin brother behind, with the full knowledge of Australian Government officials.

The documents show Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) staff, as well as the Australian High Commission in India, knew the couple was from New South Wales, where it is illegal to engage in international surrogacy arrangements.

The highly redacted FOI documents shed more light on the Australian couple's desperate bid to leave behind the twin boy.

Emails and cables between the Australian High Commission in New Delhi and Government officials in Canberra reveal the couple travelled to India late in 2012 to seek citizenship for a baby girl but told consular staff they would be leaving her twin brother behind because they could not afford him, they already had a son at home and wanted to "complete their family" with a girl.

According to the documents, the Australian man then misled consular staff when he told them he would be giving the boy to some friends in India "who were unable to conceive a child".

A cable from Australian High Commission staff to Canberra in early 2013 said: "The proposed adoptive parents are in fact not close family friends of the biological parents, but are known to the biological parents through a mutual friend."

The couple was repeatedly told abandoning the boy could leave him stateless because India did not recognise surrogate children as citizens.

"If the parents do not apply for Australian citizenship for the child, the child will be stateless in India our ability to provide assistance to a non Australian citizen is limited," a DFAT email on December 19, 2012 said.

The FOI material shows the High Commission in New Delhi sought "urgent" advice from three separate government departments in Canberra, and also raised the issue with the office of then prime minister Julia Gillard.

But three days later, consular staff were seemingly given the green light to allow the Australians to return home with just the baby girl.



Family of accused murderer Vincent Stanford help police in investigation into death of Stephanie Scott



Sydney Morning Herald [13/4/15]:

The family of a school cleaner accused of murdering Leeton teacher Stephanie Scott has been holed up in a local motel as they help police investigate the killing.

Fairfax Media understands Vincent Stanford, 24, has not been co-operating with police but his mother, Anika, and older brother, Luke, have spent countless hours since Wednesday assisting detectives in any way they can.

They remained in hiding in a motel in the Leeton area on Sunday. They declined to speak to Fairfax Media.

Leeton mayor Paul Maytom said he had no concerns about reprisal attacks on the family despite chatter online indicating that some residents in the town of 10,000 were vowing revenge.

"I've heard more people who are concerned about what's happened with the rest of the family and wondering whether they are being looked after," he said.

"People do have concerns for how they're placed now because they're also going through the trauma. I would hope there are people helping them through this."

The death of the popular drama and English teacher continued to be mourned on Sunday in church services and sporting events across the country.

In her hometown of Canowindra, hot air balloonists held a sunrise memorial and sent yellow balloons into the cool dawn sky.

Church services in Leeton were dedicated to the 26 year-old and yellow armbands were worn by players in the NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm.

Forensic investigators also returned to Leeton High School on Sunday, the place where Ms Scott was last seen on Easter Sunday making last-minute preparations for her wedding to Aaron Leeson-Woolley.

It's not yet known where or how Ms Scott was killed or when her body was dumped five metres off a bush track in the Cocoparra National Park.

Mr Stanford, a cleaner at Leeton High School, was arrested on Wednesday at his family's home on Maiden Avenue in Leeton and charged with murdering Ms Scott on Easter Sunday.

Mr Stanford's mother and brother had previously helped police locate her charred remains on Friday, 70 kilometres from Leeton in a national park where the Stanford family had regular camping trips.

They fled their family home following Mr Stanford's arrest and it remains a crime scene under police observation.

Mr Stanford, who was born in Tasmania, moved to Leeton last year with his mother and brother after living in the Netherlands for 10 years.

He was described by neighbours as a quiet and polite man who kept to himself. He had no criminal record, according to the company that employed him to clean the school.

An autopsy on Ms Scott's body will be carried out in Glebe this week, delaying plans for a funeral.

Mr Stanford will return to Griffith Local Court in June.


How dare you cynically hijack our cynical campaign. [Nine MSN - 13/4/15]:



Bug spray company Mortein has apologised for provoking a social media storm by having its cartoon mascot Louie the Fly gatecrash the #putyourdressout campaign for slain NSW teacher Stephanie Scott. ...




Victorian backpacker's inquest closed

Nine MSN [13/4/15]:

The Victorian inquest into the death of backpacker Britt Lapthorne, who disappeared from a Croatian night club in 2008, will be closed.

Ms Lapthorne was last seen at the Latin Club Fuego in the coastal, tourist town of Dubrovnik where she was partying with about 10 other backpackers.

Croatian police never solved the mystery of how the 21-year-old student's body came to be in nearby Boninovo Bay, where it was found almost three weeks after she disappeared on September 18.

State Coroner Ian Gray will officially close the inquest at a hearing in Melbourne on Thursday.

He will hear a summary of previously unreleased reports prepared by both the Australian Federal Police and Croatian authorities.

Then the coroner will prepare his finding, to be released at a later date.

Ms Lapthorne's family believes Britt was murdered, her body weighted down and dumped at sea.

In 2009, her father, Dale Lapthorne, said the only information he would release from one of the reports was that Britt's body was in the water the whole time she was missing.

He was confident she had been weighted down before being dumped into the Adriatic Sea because there was no other explanation for her body not coming to the surface.

"It's the reason for the rapid decomposition of her body, and the fact it was only found 18 days later in a high visibility area, virtually out the front of a hotel and only a kilometre from the club," Mr Lapthorne told AAP in 2009.

At the time, the coroner confirmed Ms Lapthorne's body should have surfaced within two or three days.

The criminal investigation remains open in Croatia, but the Lapthorne family does not have confidence in police there.

Croatian authorities suspect Ms Lapthorne died due to "misadventure", though in 2013 they conceded it was unlikely her death was a suicide.

The Lapthorne family were not told their daughter was missing for six days after she disappeared, despite Australian officials being aware she had vanished.





Husband charged with 1991 Portland murders


Nine MSN [13/4/15]:


The 83-year-old husband of a woman found dead in a Victorian hair salon in 1991 has been charged with her murder.

Margaret Penny and Claire Acocks were found murdered at the Old London Coiffure Hairdressers in Portland.

Robert Penny appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court today charged with two counts of murder.

Unsteady on his feet in the dock, Mr Penny was not required to speak during the hearing that lasted less than five minutes.

In 2006 police launched a cold case investigation into the murders that shocked the picturesque coastal town on the state's far southwest coast.

The women were stabbed to death and had their throats cut in the shampoo room of the salon in Bentinck Street, but police could not find a motive for the attack.

Mr Penny resurfaced as a suspect last year, despite being cleared of any involvement during the original investigation.

Convicted serial killer and rapist Peter Dupas was also cleared of the crime.

Mr Penny was remanded in custody to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court for a committal mention on July 6.

In the meantime, he is expected to apply for bail in the Supreme Court this afternoon.


Grandmother wakes from coma after hit-and-run on the NSW Central Coast

Nine MSN [13/4/15]:

A grandmother critically injured and allegedly left for dead in a hit-and-run on the NSW Central Coast has woken from her coma, but is still expected to be a paraplegic.

Kerrie Edwards, 56, was driving home on Saturday night when she stopped at traffic lights on Sparks Road in Woongarrah just after 10pm.

But the aged care nurse had to be cut from the wreckage of her vehicle after a car allegedly smashed into it and sent it spinning into a kerb.

The impact left her with serious injuries, including bleeding on the brain and a broken pelvis.

Today, she was surrounded by family when she awoke from a coma but doctors fear she will not walk again.

Police allege the 24-year-old driver fled from the scene after smashing into Mrs Edwards’ car.

They are now investigating if he had been drinking at the Wyong Leagues Club before getting behind the wheel.

Further charges, evade police incident, Yatala




QPS Media [13/4/15]:


Police have charged a 20-year-old man with further offences following his alleged involvement in an evade police incident and traffic crash at Yatala on April 11.

At around 11:15pm police were conducting a covert hooning operation with the assistance of Polair when a vehicle was allegedly observed driving dangerously on Stanmore Road.

Police will allege that when they attempted to intercept the vehicle twice, the Holden Commodore evaded them.

Police will further allege that the Commodore then continued along Stanmore Road at high speed before travelling through a red traffic light and almost crashing into another vehicle.

The vehicle then collided with a pole, flipping the vehicle onto its roof.

Yesterday the man was charged with seven offences and appeared before the Beenleigh Magistrates Court this morning.

This afternoon, the Forensic Crash Unit charged the man with a further two offences including one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm and unlicensed driving. The man is due to appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

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





Police pursuit (following "covert hooning operation" in Yatala) ends in serious crash, hospitalisation  [QPS Media - 12/4/15]



Oklahoma police shooting captured on body camera [CBS – 12/4/15]





Armed robbery and assault charges, Ipswich

QPS Media [13/4/15]:

Detectives have charged a man and a boy after an alleged armed robbery at a shopping centre in Ipswich this afternoon.

It will be alleged that around 2.30pm the duo, one armed with a syringe, threatened a boy whilst inside an elevator at a shopping centre on Nicholas Street.

Police will further allege that the duo then demanded property from the boy before assaulting him.

The boy complied with demands and the duo ran away.

The boy suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident.

A 20-year-old Rosewood man was charged with one count each of armed robbery in company and assault occasioning bodily harm.

The man is due to appear in the Ipswich Magistrate’s Court tomorrow morning.

A 15-year-old boy was also charged with one count each of armed robbery in company and assault occasioning bodily harm. The boy will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

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

Accused cocaine smuggler in Cairns court

Yahoo [13/4/15]:




A Spanish national charged with trying to smuggle five kilograms of cocaine into far north Queensland has been remanded in custody.

Jose Lozano Garcia is accused of attempting to smuggle the drug through Cairns International Airport on Saturday night.

He was picked up after customs officers noticed something odd about the lining of his carry-on baggage.

Further searching uncovered a white powder, which later tested positive as cocaine.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

If found guilty, he faces up to 25 years in jail or a $850,000 fine.

The 59-year-old did not apply for bail when he fronted the Cairns Magistrate Court on Monday.

He's been remanded in custody to reappear in the same court on June 11.




Supreme Court Upholds Life Sentence for Indonesian Drug Kingpin

Jakarta Globe [13/4/15]:

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a life sentence for an Indonesian drug kingpin found guilty of smuggling thousands of ecstasy pills and kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from Malaysia.

“Sentencing [the defendant] to a life in prison,” the court wrote on its official website on Monday.

La Ode Masri was a part of an international syndicate that smuggled drugs from Malaysia to Jakarta via Batam, the largest city in Riau Islands province.

The 45-year-old started smuggling drugs in January 2012, according to testimony read in court. He claimed he was ordered to smuggle the drugs by a woman identified as Ling Ling, who is still at large.

La Ode’s first attempt to import drugs to Indonesia — 100 kilograms of ecstasy pills and 20 kilograms of methamphetamine — failed in January 2012 when police arrested a courier.

La Ode and Ling Ling made their second attempt in November 2012, successfully smuggling 175,000 ecstasy pills and 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine to Jakarta, according to testimony heard in court.

La Ode’s luck ran out in February 2013, however, when he was arrested in Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta with 116 ecstasy pills on him. Police later seized 100,000 ecstasy pills and 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from his couriers.

La Ode was sentenced to life by North Jakarta District Court in November 2013 and immediately filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.









Dutton terrified. Feigns bravado and points feebly at ALP ---->  Chris Bowen – Labor’s Sergeant Schultz [Media Release – 13/4/15]





Australia tortures refugees. It is a bipartisan policy.






Manus Island concentration camp goon stood down because social media exposed his bigotry




Guardian [13/4/15]:

A guard at the Manus Island detention centre who posted links on Facebook to Reclaim Australia and a boycott of halal certified foods has been stood down pending an investigation.

John Akrigg was contracted by Wilson Security on behalf of Transfield Services to work on Nauru in February 2014, and recently listed a change in his employment to the Manus Island detention centre.

Over the past 12 months he has posted several articles and comments that appear to indicate support for a campaign to boycott halal food and stem Islamic immigration to Australia.

Several posts are images sourced from pages hosted by Reclaim Australia, which recently led protests across the country against halal certification, sharia law and increased Muslim immigration.

A spokesman from the immigration department confirmed an investigation was under way. ...





Radio Australia [13/4/15]:


Fear of being sent to offshore detention on Manus Island or Nauru has caused a sudden spike in self-harm incidents at Darwin's detention centre, with up to 15 in the past three weeks, advocates said.

Asylum seekers believed it was "a fate worse than dying" to be sent offshore, according to Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) spokesman Ben Pynt.

He said the removals were happening every fortnight on a Thursday and people were not being informed.


Meanwhile, DASSAN said a Lebanese asylum seeker also climbed onto the roof of the detention centre on Monday night as an act of protest.

The detainee's eye was allegedly injured by a guard and he was denied medical treatment.

"We were told by multiple people inside the detention centre that he had been assaulted by a guard in his many detention transfers," Mr Pynt said.

"He'd been at about four or five centres around the country and was due for removal to Christmas Island over the next couple of days."

The ABC has approached the Department of Immigration for comment.







Failed asylum seekers can have their personal information disclosed to foreign governments in order to obtain travel documents if they are involuntarily deported, according to an immigration department manual.

The immigration department’s manual for “Returns and removals” for asylum seekers says it is lawful for the agency to disclose the information even if the individuals do not give their consent. ... [Guardian - 13/4/15]







Senator Stephen Parry and Australia's High Commissioner to PNG visit Bomana Police College [PNG Loop - 13/4/15]:

The President of the Australian Senate Stephen Parry toured the Bomana Police College this morning to have a look at the facilities and observe the work being carried out by Australian Federal Police instructors at the college.

Senator Parry was accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes as well as the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Allan Scott and PNG’s Deputy Police Commissioner for Administration Awan Sete.

Parry later addressed reporters where he stressed the close relations that Australia had with PNG as its closest bilateral partner.

He says given that law and order is a top priority in both countries, a lot is done in terms of strengthening this vital aspect of development.

Senator Parry says Australia considers itself a key partner with PNG in terms of the developmental aspects of policing.

Meantime, AFP Commissioner Scott said that the AFP had spent up to K300 million in terms of vital infrastructure development as well as vital vehicle logistical support both in Port Moresby and in Lae.

He says the AFP in the country is happy to be here and assist their PNG counterparts in the work that they carry out in terms of sustaining the law and order in the country.

Assistant Commissioner Awan Sete thanked the Senator for his visit and says that the RPNGC continues to embrace the partnership with the AFP and looks forward to working alongside them in the years to come.



PNG opens consulate in Cairns [The National – 13/4/15]




Court hears Education Queensland's director of child safety had sex with child six times

Tweed Daily News [13/4/15]:

Education Queensland's director of child safety Brett Anthony O'Connor appeared at Tweed Local Court today, faced with ten child sex charges dating to 1987 and 1989, when he was a dorm master at two elite all-boys boarding schools.

The court heard allegations that in 1987 when Mr O'Connor was a dorm master at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, he had sexual intercourse six times with a 12-year-old boy.

It is claimed the 52-year-old also stroked the victim's genitals on three occasions.

Police also alleged in 1989 when Mr O'Connor was a dorm master at St Gregory's College, Campbelltown, he committed sexual assault against another 12-year-old, stroking his genitals.

According to court documents the strength of the prosecution's case will rest on witness and victim statements.

The case has been adjourned to June 10 at Campbelltown court. Until then Mr O'Connor will remain on bail to reside with his wife of four years in Mount Gravatt.

The former Marist Brother turned psychologist was represented by Crystal Creek defence lawyer Phillip Mulherin, who said he could not comment for this story.

In court, Mr Mulherin said media coverage would cause Mr O'Connor undue stress and embarrassment, but Magistrate Michael Dakin refused this argument as sufficient for a suppression order.

Mr O'Connor did not comment to the media.






The husband of a north Queensland woman who has been missing for more than a month has been charged with murder and interfering with her corpse. … [ABC – 13/4/15]





Growing inequality prompts Gladstone police and media to remind residents that begging is a crime

Gladstone Observer [13/4/15]:



Gladstnne residents have been reminded not to give money to beggars.

Gladstone police Senior Sergeant Royce Devlin said it was a common problem in Gladstone.

"We do get quite a few reports of things like this," he said.

"It comes under the Begging Alms Offence.

"If people do find themselves in this situation they should ring the Gladstone police straight away and get a description of the person too. Don't give them any money," Sgt Devlin said.














Defending Begging Offenders, Tamara Walsh [QUT Law Review Vol 4, No 1 (2004)]:







Begging is a criminal offence in most Australian States and Territories. It is a strict liability offence, and thus the bases upon which those arrested for begging may defend the charge are limited. Most people charged with begging plead guilty and incur a penalty, and very few decisions in relation to the offence of begging are appealed or reported. The criminalisation of begging is unjust and unwarranted. Begging is directly associated with extreme poverty and homelessness, and common justifications for the retention of begging offences, including safety fears, aesthetics and mere annoyance are unpersuasive. In view of the fact that there seems to be little prospect of the removal of the offence of begging from Australian statute books, this paper suggests a number of bases upon which a charge of begging might be defended. It argues that the criminal law defence of necessity may be available to demonstrate that the resort to begging was proportionate to the peril of being unable to meet material needs such as food and shelter. It also raises constitutional arguments upon which the criminalisation of begging may be challenged, making use of the implied freedom of political communication and rule of law principles. Further, it provides an analysis of the various provisions of international human rights law which the criminalisation of begging contravenes.




15-year-old girl charged with robbery, Wurtulla

QPS Media [13/4/15]:

A 15-year-old Kings Beach girl has been charged following investigations into the robbery of a Wurtulla service station on April 8.

It will be alleged at about 1.50am a female, armed with a knife, entered the store with a mask covering her face and made demands for cigarettes.

Police initially thought the offender was a man, but a review of CCTV footage revealed it was a female.

A 15-year-old girl has been charged with one count each of enter premises with intent to commit an indictable offence and armed robbery and will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

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







McKinlay’s Cannington mine and its Townsville based support hub are expected to make 40 redundancies.

BHP Billiton’s demerger of South32 and transition to a Perth-based headquarters is cited as the reason for the redundancies. ... [North West Star - 12/4/15]






Assault case adjourned





Daily Mercury [13/4/15]:





A man who pleaded guilty to assaulting his former partner has had his matter adjourned because police have brought fresh wilful damage charges against him.

Brendon Jay Midwood was remanded in custody overnight so Magistrate Damien Dwyer could consider his sentence, during which time the police brought forward the fresh charge.

He's only pleaded guilty to one count each of assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage.

He was granted bail and the matter was adjourned to next month.








A father-of-four described as paranoid and suspicious stabbed his wife to death as two of their children desperately tried to fight him off, a Supreme Court trial has been told.

Messaoud Chiha, 52, is accused of murdering his wife Souad Benhammadi, 45, at their Canning Vale home in 2013, during what prosecutors described as a frenzied attack.

He is also accused of unlawfully wounding his teenaged son Youcef by smashing a vase over the boy's head as he attempted in vain to save his mother's life. ... [West Australian - 13/4/15]









Precautions such as code words, keeping petrol in the car, and having ready cash are all strategies women experiencing domestic violence should consider to increase their safety, an academic says.

Joyce Wu – a Canberra scholar who formerly worked at the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service, a service that provides information and refuge referral services for women – has urged women subjected to domestic violence to develop a safety plan. ... [Canberra Times - 12/4/15]









Gay-hate murder theory: Third inquest into Scott Johnson's cliff-fall death [Sydney Morning Herald - 13/4/15]





House fire, Southport

QPS Media [13/4/15:

Police are investigating a house fire that damaged a vacant premises at Southport in the early hours of this morning.

Around 1.35am today a security officer performing patrols in the area noticed smoke coming from the Lather Street building and contacted emergency services.

The fire was extinguished, and police are investigating the cause.

Investigations are continuing.

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



Ute pulled from highway drain, Palmview

Sunshine Coast Daily [13/4/15]:

A Holden Commodore ute has been retrieved from a waterlogged drain between the northbound and southbound lanes of the Bruce Hwy at Palmview.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swift water rescue specialists did an initial search of the water before tow truck drivers started the retrieval process.

Emergency crews were alerted to the stricken vehicle about 7am.

There were fears the driver may have been trapped in the water underneath the ute.

However, registration checks allowed police to contact the owner, who confirmed he was alright and the ute had been there since last night.

The rescuers stood down but tow truck drivers had to step up their efforts in the difficult retrieval.

Highway traffic in both directions was reduced to one lane while tow truck drivers tried to recover the ute.

It caused queues for more than 3km.

The retrieval team almost had the ute out and then it dropped back into the drain before a second successful attempt about 8.40am.

Skid marks suggested the ute may have been travelling south when it left the highway.

Police are investigating.




Woman hurt in highway cattle truck rollover

Chronicle [13/4/15]:

A female passenger was injured after a cattle truck rolled on the New England Hwy yesterday.

The truck rolled on Turner's Creek Rd, near Dalveen, just after 1pm.

Of the 42 head of cattle, 11 either died on impact or had to be put down.

The male driver, who turns 23 today, was given the all-clear from paramedics while the female passenger was airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital by RACQ CareFlight with suspected spinal injuries.

Four cattle had to be killed and it is believed more were later put down due to injuries.




Fatal traffic crash, Chinchilla


QPS Media [13/4/15]:

A man has died following a single vehicle traffic crash at Chinchilla yesterday afternoon.

Information suggests around 1.15pm, a motorcycle was travelling on a track running parallel with Chinchilla Tara Road when the rider lost control and collided with a tree and then a metal sign.

The rider, a 38-year-old Chinchilla man, was transported to the Chinchilla hospital where he later died.

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 24hrs a day.







Minor earthquake hits south-west of Calliope [Gladstone Observer – 12/4/15]





Frackman premieres in Brisbane tonight


@lockthegateQLD [12/4/15]:  Lock the Gate Qld Sadies frock up for Frackman at the Gold Coast Film Festival ... 


Lock The Gate:

Frackman tells the story of Mr Pratzky’s struggle against international gas companies including QGC, a subsidiary of British Gas.

His protest began against what he described as “the industrialisation of residential and rural Queensland”, with up to 40,000 wells planned.

His protest has extended across the nation and overseas as Australia is set to become the world’s biggest gas exporter.

Lock the Gate spokesperson, Julie Devine said the film was “an important representation” of what Queenslanders were suffering every day.

“CSG mining is sucking the life-blood out of Queensland, threatening our water, foodbowls and communities,” Ms Devine said.

Frackman faithfully depicts the nightmare that many Queenslanders and other Australians are living through every day because they can’t sell their industrialised properties, but they can’t safely stay there either because their lives are so seriously impacted.”

She called on the State Government to “stop the rot” and restore the democratic balance to all Queenslanders, instead of favouring multinational mining companies.

A Senate Inquiry report last month recommended a moratorium on new csg approvals, a royal commission into the human impacts of CSG mining, and a ban on fracking in Queensland.

The movie won the Best Film and Best Environmental Film categories at the Byron Bay Film Festival last month.


Events Cinemas Indooroopilly at 6.30pm.

Tickets for can be purchased online at





At a panel discussion - chaired by ABC Local Radio - following last night's screening on the Gold Coast, Frackman's producer Trish Lake said she had received significant and disturbing news about the health of Tara residents - specifically the children.  She was unable to elaborate at this stage.





Dr Geralyn McCarron: Living with Coal Seam Gas. Health Impacts in QLD's Tara/Chinchilla unconventional gas fields [VIDEO - 6/4/15]





June 2009:  The last time SEQ media considered the welfare of children in Tara - by demonising the locality [Brisbane Times - 5/6/09]:


... Dalby Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown this week expressed concern that children were living in 'Third World' conditions on so-called "lifestyle blocks" near the town of Tara, four hours west of Brisbane.

"There is a small minority group there who have socially chosen to live a certain way and it concerns me greatly when children are involved," Cr Brown said.

"We've been given some information in relation to young teenage girls living in absolute squalor and that concerned myself and my council and we've decided we will do our upmost to assist.

"We are not saying the parents of these kids are mistreating them or anything, it's just the standard of living is not satisfactory in this day and age."  ...






Since 60 Minutes' May 2010 report - Undermined - there has been a virtual media blackout on what is happening in Tara.




SEQ media jackals have nothing better to do than attack independent voices




Personal statement Nicole Johnston ‏@CrNicJ [13/4/15]:




Today I forfeited 50 cents in response to a non criminal charge issued under s10 Summary Offences Act 2005. 

I believe this matter stemmed from a misunderstanding with a policeman when I could not catch a taxi and wanted to walk home from the city.

There were no allegations presented to the court, I was not required to attend court and the matter is not being pursued by the Queensland police and, as such, has been finalised.

Reports today by the Brisbane Times online and other Fairfax outlets that I was detained outside a bar and refused entry to a venue are factually inaccurate and untrue.

I am at work today and like every day am focussed on representing my constituents on matters of local importance to the community I represent.








Graphic Story: Fortress Detention and Lost From the System [Immigrant X - 9/4/15]






Australia tortures refugees and is responsible for pedophilia in its offshore concentration camps.



Protected and unaccountable Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton 'n Murdoch Press Monday dogwhistle "Refugees must remain incarcerated because of the Sydney siege"  repeated ad nauseum by other media outlets.



‏@racvictoria [13/4/15]:  New Serco rules for visiting MITA Broadmeadows: treating asylum seekers like prisoners not "bringing service to life"





This stalement could be resolved if Australia complied with its obligations under the UN refugee convention  ---->   @Tavurvur - Deni ToKunai  [13/4/15]:  Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura has clarified that there's no refugee policy yet to allow asylum seekers in #Manus to settle in #PNG





RNZI [13/4/15]:

The Human Rights Law Centre in Australia says a bill which would allow the use of force on people in immigration detention centres is a recipe for trouble.

This comes amid repeated incidents of unrest at Canberra's detention centres in Papua New Guinea.

The Australian government is seeking to pass a law which would make immigration officers largely immune from liabilty for using force on detainees, if it is believed necessary to protect others in detention or maintain good order.

The HRLC's director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb, has raised concern about increasing powers to use force while decreasing checks and balances on the exercise of those powers.

He says Australia is the only country in the world that subjects asylum seekers to mandatory and indefinite detention as a first resort.

He says the average length of time people are spending in immigration centres is now more than 400 days.

Mr Webb says instead of creating excessive and unchecked powers to supress unrest, its root causes should be addressed - the amount of time innocent people are being locked in limbo.

The bill is the subject of a Senate inquiry that is due to report next month.





Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015





Warwick man remanded in custody over 145 child sex charges for exploitation of 28 children [ABC – 13/4/15]




Italy says refugee boat rescue operations ongoing

Reuters [12/4/15]:

Italian ships have picked up almost 700 migrants in seven inflatable boats and further rescue operations are underway as calm seas favored departures from Libya for the Italian coast, the coast guard said on Sunday.

Italian navy and coast guard vessels and one merchant ship rescued the migrants from dangerously overcrowded boats on Saturday, a coast guard spokesman said, adding that other boats had been identified on Sunday and operations continued.

On Friday, around 1,000 migrants were rescued, with more than 500 reaching Porto Empedocle in Sicily on Sunday. Most of the migrants who disembarked were Eritrean and Somali, said a port official.

There were dozens of women among them wearing colorful headscarves, and they brought several children with them. Many of the migrants were barefoot. Another 600 migrants were expected to arrive in the port of Reggio Calabria later today.





United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria



Reuters  [12/4/15]:




 U.S.-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Syria with three air strikes from Saturday to Sunday morning, and also conducted 10 air strikes in Iraq, the U.S. military said.

All strikes in Syria were near Kobani, while the Iraq strikes hit near Bayji, Mosul, Ramadi and Sinjar, it said in a statement.








A suicide car bomb targeting a police station in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula has killed six people and wounded 44 others, police and medics say. ... [Al Jazeera - 12/4/15]





Unidentified gunmen fired shots at the South Korean embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday killing two local security guards, South Korean and Libyan officials said.  ... [Reuters - 12/4/15]





The first major debate heading to the June 7 elections has come in the wake of the first major clash between the Turkish military and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in over two years. ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 12/4/15]





Kenya stampede over Nairobi terror scare after Garissa

BBC [12/4/15]:

A student has died and more than 100 were hurt in a stampede which followed the explosion of an electricity transformer at a Kenyan university.

Residents of Nairobi university's Kikuyu campus mistook the blast for a terrorist attack and jumped out of hostel windows early on Sunday morning.

Tensions are high among students after an Islamist attack on a Kenyan college 10 days ago which left 148 dead.

Meanwhile activists criticised Kenya for ordering Somali refugees home.

Human Rights Watch Africa Deputy Director Leslie Lefkow said justice for the victims of the attack in Garissa - by members of the Somali militant group al-Shabab - would not be served by forcing more than 500,000 Somalis in the Dadaab refugee camp to leave Kenya.

"Instead of scapegoating refugees, Kenya is legally obliged to protect them until it is safe for them to return home and should identify and prosecute those responsible for the killings in Garissa," she said.

UNHCR Kenya chief Emmanuel Nyabera described the possible relocation as a "logistic challenge".

The remarks follow calls on Saturday by Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto to close Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in Africa.

Mr Ruto said UNHCR had three months to close Dadaab and make alternative arrangements for its residents - otherwise, Kenya would "relocate them ourselves", he said.

Dadaab was set up in 1991 to house families fleeing conflict in Somalia. Some people have been living at the site for more than 20 years.






Two local journalists reportedly killed near Donetsk [RT - 12/4/15]






... She recalls that there was a children's barrack where most of the kids, aged from seven to 10 years old, were held, separated from their parents. Children were given special badges with their names and some information on them. They would play with them, exchange them. As a result some of them would lose their names. 


Meanwhile former camp prisoners say they are alarmed by Nazi Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters who hold annual marches in Riga. Up to a thousand marched through Latvia’s capital in their annual commemorating procession in mid-March.  ...  ['They tortured us, now they march along central streets' - Survivors of Latvian concentration camp - RT - 12/4/15]






I have only committed this mistake of believing in you the Americans.”




Remembering ‘Operation Eagle Pull’ 40 Years On [Cambodia Daily - 11/4/15]:



For those living in Phnom Penh on April 12, 1975, the U.S. Embassy helicopters that took off on a one-way journey that day, carrying a few hundred foreigners and Cambodians to safety, signaled the end of civil war and the victory of the Khmer Rouge

The U.S. Embassy staff in Phnom Penh had no doubt what to expect from the Khmer Rouge.

“Our messages from Phnom Penh [to Washington] were crystal clear: If the Khmer Rouge take control of the country, there was going to be a bloodbath,” said John Gunther Dean, the U.S. ambassador at the time, in oral history documents kept at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

“It turned out to be even worse: a genocide.”

Mr. Dean was surprised at the low number of Cambodians who accepted his offer to board a U.S. helicopter that day.

“It was one of the great mistakes the Cambodian bourgeoisie made: That everything could be forgotten and forgiven. We knew what to expect from the Khmer Rouge and we tried to tell our contacts,” he said.

Prime Minister Long Boret believed he could count on his acquaintances among the Khmer Rouge, with whom he had gone to high school in Hanoi. As it turned out, he was among the first to be executed after Pol Pot’s forces took control of Phnom Penh.

Prince Sirik Matak simply refused to leave, as he explained in a letter to Mr. Dean.

“I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom,” he wrote. “I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion…. [I]f I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad, because we all are born and must die [one day]. I have only committed this mistake of believing in you the Americans.”

The prince would also be among the first officials executed by the Khmer Rouge.

By April 12, 1975, many foreigners and Cambodians had already left Phnom Penh of their own volition or through U.S. transport. For nearly two months, the U.S. Embassy had been flying in daily shipments of food and offering seats on their airplanes’ return voyages for those wishing to leave, Mr. Dean said.

“We had responsibility for some 12-15 nationalities and certain Cambodians closely linked to the U.S.,” he said.

Among those offered seats on these early flights were International Red Cross staff as well as several dozen Cambodian Catholic monks and nuns evacuated at Mr. Dean’s insistence. However, Joseph Chhmar Salas, the country’s first Cambodian bishop, refused to leave. He would not survive the regime.

So when the U.S. helicopters of “Operation Eagle Pull” finally left once the embassy was shut down on April 12, they carried only 84 Americans and 205 Cambodians and foreigners, including several journalists.

“We took gardeners, houseboys, Koreans working for our mission, Cambodian generals or ministers, or educated Cambodians,” Mr. Dean said. “In short, we took people whose lives would be endangered when the Khmer Rouge came to power.”

One of them was Long Botta, a nuclear physicist who had studied in France in the 1960s. He was then serving as minister of culture while teaching physics and chemistry at Phnom Penh University—today’s Royal University of Phnom Penh. He is now a CNRP parliamentarian.

Having personally seen the Khmer Rouge’s cruelty toward anyone suspected—even vaguely—of not being on their side, Mr. Botta knew what would happen to him and his family when Pol Pot seized power.

Mr. Botta lived with his wife and two young children in teachers’ apartments behind the university. He had been warned by the U.S. Embassy to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. So when a note arrived in the early hours of April 12, he said: “I had 45 minutes to gather my family and reach the embassy” at the corner of today’s Norodom and Mao Tse Toung boulevards. “I left with $50 in my pocket.”

Mr. Botta believed that he would be taken to the border, where Cambodian officials would regroup and set up a government in exile. But instead, the helicopters landed on the USS Okinawa in the Gulf of Siam and, from there, evacuees were taken to Bangkok.

Mr. Botta followed events in Phnom Penh through the military hotline of the Cambodian Embassy until April 17. “The last sentence I heard was, ‘They’ve arrived. Fare­well,’” he said. After that final message, the line went dead.


Russian planes evacuate over 300 people from war-torn Yemen [RT - 12/4/15]







13 April 2015