How could you possibly embellish this candidate's corflute?

Congratulations @PalmerUtdParty Queensland election candidate for Hinchinbrook, Martin Brewster. Vote 1 Palmer United

Image: @PalmerUtdParty [13/1/15]

 

Palmer United Party Media Release [12/1/15]:

The Palmer United Party has announced that Martin Brewster has been endorsed as the Palmer United Party candidate for the North Queensland seat of Hinchinbrook.

Martin, who has lived in the region for 20 years and has a wealth of experience working in the mining and resources sectors, said he is particularly concerned about the Newman Government’s plan to sell and lease the state’s assets.

“The privatisation of Queensland’s assets, including schools and other education facilities, will deny Queenslanders access to quality education and training facilities,” Mr Brewster said.

“This is a very important issue facing many Queenslanders including those living in the electorate of Hinchinbrook.

“The Palmer United Party is the only party standing at the Queensland election who is dedicated to stopping the sale of assets.

“We consider this election to be a referendum on asset sales, Labor was voted out in 2012 because Anna Bligh tried to sell off our assets and now Campbell Newman is doing the same thing.”

Mr Brewster said the only solution to save Queensland and its assets is to elect the Palmer United Party at the January 31 polls.

The LNP's Strong Choices plan will have an "adverse impact" on the state's fiscal position and cost Queensland $9 billion by 2020, gifting only a temporary sugar hit, economist John Quiggin said, labelling it "misleading".

A professor of economics at the University of Queensland and ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Quiggin reviewed the government's "final plan" regarding Strong Choices and said it did nothing to convince him that privatisation of the state's assets would be good for Queensland. ... [Brisbane Times - 12/1/15]

Bikie arrested for engaging in participatory democracy

Guardian [13/1/15]:

A bikie has been arrested for allegedly vandalising and stealing election signs bearing the face of Queensland’s attorney general Jarrod Bleijie, the face of the state’s crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Rebels bikie Bill Irvine was charged with stealing and wilful damage of the signs – which were on display in Bleijie’s electorate of Kawana – after a visit by officers from the Sunshine Coast gang squad on Tuesday.

A police spokesman said it would be alleged that a 47-year-old Currimundi man stole one of Bleijie’s signs from Kawana Way, Meridan Plains on Sunday.

He allegedly spraypainted and put stickers on two more Bleijie campaign signs on Albatross Street, Aroona just before 6pm on Monday afternoon.

Solicitor John Cook said his client, who had no criminal history and was “a hard-working man”, would contest the charges.

Irvine is due to front the Maroochydore magistrates court on 3 February.

Queensland election: UQ experts available for media [UQ News – 8/1/15]:

.. Professor Andreas Schloenhardt, from the School of Law, is an expert in criminal law, organised crime, terrorism, criminology, immigration law, criminal law, international criminal law, detention of refugees, refugee law, human rights law and drug trafficking. He is an expert in Queensland’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (the “VLAD law”). ...

Queensland police officer charged with drink driving

Yahoo [13/1/15]:

A Queensland policeman has been stood down from official duty after being charged with drink driving.

The 49-year-old constable from the south-east region is being investigated over the drink-driving incident while off-duty on January 13 as well as other work-related matters.

He was charged with driving under the influence of liquor and is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on the Gold Coast on February 2.

"In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have an undertaking to inform the public when an officer faces disciplinary processes involving stand down or suspension," a Queensland police statement said.

Car gets airborne in horror Warrego Highway crash

Chronicle [13/1/15]

Altus Traffic controller Mark Butler was resealing parts of the Warrego Hwy about 5km west of Dalby when he witnessed a car veer off the road and become airborne.

"I heard a gravelly (sic) noise and turned around to see the car exit the road… and the car went down on an angle into the drain itself and hit the flat part of the drain," he said.

"It became airborne, came down again and landed on the passenger nose of vehicle and rolled three times."

Mr Butler worked with a driver who had pulled over to free the 25-year-old female driver on Monday just before 11am.

"She was trying to get out from under the steering wheel and was trying to stand up," he said.

"I worked with a guy who pulled up in a truck.

"We used a star picket to pry the windscreen off the vehicle and then proceeded to get her out of the vehicle and laid her down in the grass."

Dalby Police Sergeant David Tierney said the woman remained conscious and was taken to Dalby Hospital in a stable condition.

"She's very lucky. She has lower back pain," he said.

Mr Butler said Monday's crash was the fourth he had witnessed over the past 12 months.

"At least this one wasn't a fatal," he said.

Sgt Tierney said the woman had been travelling from Roma to Toowoomba.

"At this stage, whether the crash was caused by inattention or speed, we don't know."

The Warrego Hwy remained open to traffic on Monday.

Tributes flow for toddler hit and killed by car in driveway at Ipswich [ABC – 13/1/15]

Fuel spills on major Sydney road after truck ruptures tank in median strip crash

Nine MSN [13/1/15]:

Traffic was backed up two kilometres on a major Sydney road after a truck ruptured its fuel tank when it slammed into a median strip this afternoon.

All city-bound lanes have reopened on Parramatta Road in Leichhardt after fire crews cleaned up the spilled fuel and the truck was towed away.

The accident occurred just after 2pm with the truck hitting the median strip, blocking traffic in both directions.

No other vehicle was involved and nobody was hurt.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area if possible, but traffic and bus services are not returning to normal.

 Liz Rice still 'seriously ill' as second female rider falls at Caulfield

Sydney Morning Herald [13/1/15]:

A day after the fall that left English rider Liz Rice in a coma in hospital, another female rider has been injured after a tumble during trackwork at Caulfield.

Experienced jockey Talia Rodder was taken to the Epworth Hospital, and subsequently transferred to Royal Melbourne, to treat facial lacerations she sustained in a fall. Rodder, 31, has been cleared of head and neck injuries.

General manager of the Australian Jockeys' Association Des O'Keeffe said Rodder was conscious and expected to make a full recovery but "would undergo some fairly complicated facial surgery". He believed that the young horse either kicked or stood on Rodder's face after she fell.

The news came after Rice was involved in a heavy fall on Monday that was not seen by anyone.

Rice, aged in her 20s, remains in an induced coma at the Alfred hospital as her mother and sister make their way from the UK to Australia. Rice's family members are being flown to Melbourne by her employer, the Aquanita stable.

Aquanita chief executive Peter Oliver outlined the gravity of the situation.

"She's stable but that doesn't necessarily mean good. But the longer she's stable the more encouraging the outcome can be," Oliver said on Tuesday afternoon.

"At this stage the outcomes are full recovery, partial recovery or no recovery, and the doctors aren't saying where the pendulum's going to fall on any of them at the moment. She's still seriously ill."

Despite the obvious concern of everyone at the stable, it was business as usual, with trackwork going ahead at Caulfield.

"Unfortunately the horses don't know any better."

Oliver said staff were ploughing on in difficult circumstances.

"They're going OK but we'll probably get some counselling arranged for those who are putting on a brave facade but maybe underneath they want to talk to someone."

Rice has been working at Aquanita for four months, joining the stable after time in New South Wales and Queensland.

Rodder is one of a handful of jockeys to return to the industry after giving birth. She came back to the sport in May 2013 after taking time away for the birth of son Matan.

Asylum seekers at Australia's death camp on Manus hunger strike

“They killed our friend Reza. And they will kill us.”

Guardian [13/1/15]

More than 100 asylum seekers on Manus Island have gone on hunger strike, protesting at their treatment in detention and the threat of being sent to live in the local community.

They say they fear being attacked if they are forced from detention into the Papua New Guinea community.

At least one detainee has been told he will be moved into the community-based refugee transit centre in nearby Lorengau before the end of this month.

Detainees and staff have told Guardian Australia at least 50 men in Mike compound are refusing food.

It is believed men in other compounds are also striking and that across the Manus Island detention centre more 100 have vowed not to eat.

“All of the nationalities [are involved], we will only stop when we have freedom,” one detainee told Guardian Australia.

He said the asylum seekers were protesting at being held on Manus, in squalid conditions, for more than 15 months.

But he said, more, they feared being forcibly pushed outside the wired compound. Detainees are regularly threatened by guards that they will be attacked once they leave the compound.

...

Afghanistan: 1 dead, 4 injured in Kabul bomb attack

Pajhwok [13/1/15]:

One person was killed and four others were wounded in an explosion in the Chehelsatoon area of Kabul on Tuesday morning, security officials said.

Interior Ministry official Humayun Ghani told Pajhwok Afghan News, the explosion occurred at 7:30am in Agha Ali Shams locality. A Corolla car was targeted, he added.

Abdul Baseer, giving an eyewitness account, said when the explosion happened, a car driver lost control and collided with another vehicle. The driver was killed and another person injured.

The car was turned into pieces. A security official said the targeted individuals were National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives.

As usual, the Taliban claimed responsibility, with their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying heavy casualties has been inflicted on security personnel.

The Afghanistan National Football head coach Mohammad Yousuf Kargar was flown to India for further treatment after he was critically injured following a machete attack. ... [Khaama - 13/1/15]

Egypt court orders retrial in Mubarak embezzlement case

Reuters [13/1/15]:

Egypt's high court overturned on Tuesday the only remaining conviction against Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial in his embezzlement case, opening the way for a possible release from jail for the ousted former president.

Mubarak, 86, was sentenced to three years in prison in May for diverting public funds earmarked to renovate presidential palaces and using the money to upgrade family properties. His two sons were given four-year jail terms in the same case.

The man who ruled Egypt for 30 years has been serving his sentence in a military hospital in Cairo.

Now that a retrial has been ordered, judicial sources say Mubarak could walk free as no convictions remain against him.

...

US, Pakistan to intensify “fight against terror” [Daily Star – 13/1/15]

Senior Conservative MP David Davis has issued a stark warning about Britain’s possible role in the US’s secret drone war against militants in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. ... [TBIJ - 12/1/15]

19-year-old West Papuan shot by Indonesian police, Timika

Free West Papua Campaign [13/1/15]:

19 year old West Papuan youth, Meki Nawipa was shot by the Indonesian police 2 days ago in Timika.

Meki's father told local media how his son wanted to buy meatballs and noodles from a local stall but only had enough money for half the price.

Though he told the seller he would pay later, the seller told the nearby police who immediately opened fire on Meki, shooting him in the torso as he was trying to escape.

He is now being treated in the Mimika hospital.

These shootings and killings of Papuans by the Indonesian police have become widespread and are now reality of daily life in West Papua.

As long as West Papua is not free, this genocide of the Papuan people will only get worse under Indonesian rule until there are no West Papuans left.

Please help. Support the Free West Papua Campaign.

www.freewestpapua.org

 

A suspected terrorist linked to the Santoso gang was killed on Saturday morning by officers of the National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism unit in Tanalili district in North Luwu, South Sulawesi.

South Sulawesi Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Setiadji said the suspect, identified as Ilham Syafii, resisted arrest, leading to a shoot-out with officers from Densus 88 and the provincial police.

Ilham died at the scene and his body was taken to Andi Mappaoddang Police Hospital in Makassar. ... [Jakarta Post - 11/1/15]

 

Tunisia reporters rally for abducted journalists in Libya

World Bulletin [12/1/15]:

Dozens of Tunisian journalists staged a Monday protest at the Ras Ajdir border point to urge the Libyan and Tunisian authorities to determine the fate of two Tunisian journalists kidnapped in Libya last September.

"This protest is meant to show solidarity with the two journalists and protest the threats facing the freedom of media and movement in Libya," Farah Shandoul, who works for a state-run radio station in the city of Tataouine, told The Anadolu Agency.

"We staged this protest here to show the symbolic nature of the place, as the kidnapped Tunisian journalists entered Libya through Ras Ajdir," he said.

"And we hope they will return home safely through it as well," he added.

Sefian Shawarbi and Nazir al-Qatari were both abducted in Libya last September while working for Tunisia's privately-owned "First" TV channel.

Last Thursday, ISIL group in Libya's eastern town of Barca announced it had executed the two journalists, according to a statement disseminated by Jihadist websites that included photos of the two men.

The purported ISIL statement, however, has not been independently verified, while the Tunisian government has yet to produce any clear information regarding the two men's fate.

Around 30 journalists gathered at the border terminal on Monday to demand to know the two men's fate.

"This protest is being staged by reporters from Tunisia's southeast to show support for the two journalists," Abdel-Salam Amin, secretary-general of the independent Journalists Syndicate in the southeast, told AA.

"We chose the terminal to host the protest in order to get our message across," he added.

Libya has largely remained in a state of lawlessness since the 2011 ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Journalists should tell Information Ministry when coming to Libya [Libya Herald – 12/1/15]

 

Indonesian President condemns Paris attacks, calls for respectful creative expression [Jakarta Globe – 13/1/15]

Charlie Hebdo: Blessed Are The Tolerant, Michael Brull [New Matilda - 12/1/15]:

... There was a time when even Charlie Hebdo wasn’t Charlie Hebdo: when it offended Jews. Maurice Sinet was fired from Charlie Hebdo, and charged with inciting racial hatred, when he commented that a man who married a rich Jew and was rumoured to be converting to Judaism would “go a long way in life”.

Clearly some offences are more offensive than others – even for a magazine that so many liberals are claiming targeted everyone equally.

My view is that the most offensive thing Charlie Hebdo ever published was a response to the slaughter in Egypt by the Sisi government against unarmed protesters. Finding this mass murder or Muslim Brotherhood supporters amusing, they created a cartoon declaring (roughly) “The Qur’an is shit, it doesn’t stop bullets”. That is, they laughed at people who were murdered fighting for freedom and democracy.

One can speculate what the reaction would be if a media outlet made a cartoon ridiculing the victims at Charlie Hebdo and their naïve belief in liberty and laïcité.  ...

BBC reporter apologises for saying 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'

Independent [12/1/15]

BBC reporter Tim Willcox has apologised after he told the daughter of a Holocaust survivor during a broadcast from the Paris rally yesterday: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'.

...

Speaking to one woman in the crowd who said she believed the issue of Jewish persecution dated “back to the days of the 1930s in Europe”, he replied:

“Many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

“We can't do an amalgym,” she responded, shaking her head.

To which Willcox said: “You understand everything is seen from different perspectives.”

The woman, who has since been named online as Chava, was reported by the MailOnline to be an Israeli national who is the daughter of Polish Holocaust survivors.

Willcox has since expressed his regret over the remarks, tweeting:

@BBCTimWillcox Really sorry for any offence caused by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday - it was entirely unintentional

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “Tim Willcox has apologised for what he accepts was a poorly phrased question during an in-depth live interview with two friends, one Jewish and of Israeli birth, the other of Algerian Muslim heritage, where they discussed a wide range of issues affecting both the Muslim and Jewish communities in France.

“He had no intention of causing offence.”

...

Jewish settlers attack Palestinians in the West Bank [Guardian - 2/5/13]

Jewish settlers kill girl, 14, in funeral rampage [Telegraph - 29/7/02]

 

 New York Times [13/1/15]:

First, the owner of the Fox News Channel incited an outpouring of ridicule for suggesting that all followers of Islam must take responsibility for the Paris attacks. Then the Fox pundit who is a self-described terrorism expert caused a second wave of stunned disbelief, asserting that some parts of Europe — including Britain’s city of Birmingham — have become so Islamic they are off limits to non-Muslims.

By the time the weekend was over, Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, the owner of Fox News, and the channel’s pundit, Steven Emerson, had retreated. Mr. Emerson went further, issuing an apology to the people of Birmingham, where residents had posted hundreds of jokes via Twitter about his false claims.

Using the hashtag #foxnewsfacts, Twitter users poked fun at the network by suggesting other things it might also have said: that the name of the city had been shortened to Birming because Muslims do not eat ham; that the nearby town of Alcester “used to be known simply as Cester until all the Muslims conquered Birmingham”; that photos of Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher in scarves meant they were observing Muslim law; that the checkered cloth coverings of jam jars showed that even homemade preserves “have to wear hijab.”

A user named Rabeb Othmani wrote, “If you are a non-Muslim and would like to visit Birmingham #illridewithyou.”

In the interview with Jeanine Pirro of Fox News, broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Emerson said that in Britain, “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

Mr. Emerson also said, “In parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound, seriously, anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.” In his mea culpa, Mr. Emerson promised to make a donation to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“There was no excuse for making this mistake, and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham,” he said. “I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error. And I am obligated to openly acknowledge that mistake. I wish to apologize for all residents of that great city of Birmingham.”

...

Fox News host calls for mass murder of Islamists in unhinged rant [Vox - 12/1/15]

 

Hayat Boumeddiene arriving in Turkey [Al Arabiya – 12/1/15]

 

 

New Zealand shows up Australian government inaction on Southern Ocean poachers

Greens Media Release [13/1/15]:

The Australian Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, says that New Zealand’s efforts in recent days to use its Navy to round up illegal toothfish poachers in the Southern Ocean shows how pitiful the Australian government’s efforts have been.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “We have had the Sea Shepherd pursuing the illegal vessel MV Thunder from Australia’s area of interest in the Southern Ocean and pulling out their deadly nets.

“And the New Zealand government has deployed its Navy deep into the Southern Ocean to pursue two pirate vessels.

“Yet the Australian government is frozen with inaction as these illegal activities are carried out under their nose.

“The Liberals had promised to send the ACV Ocean Protector, our $150 million dollar, purpose built, Southern Ocean patrol boat, to protect our fisheries. It was part of the Coalition’s fisheries election policy document.

“Instead they sent it to work off Christmas Island to be the world’s most expensive tropical water taxi. Now it is being decommissioned and ADV Ocean Shield has replaced it.

“Then under pressure from the Senate Southern Ocean Inquiry, Customs promised again that they will conduct two 40-day patrols of the Southern Ocean this summer but there is no vessel on the horizon.

“Two summers and two broken promises.

“Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean is a major issue. Not only does it impact on fisheries, but it finances organised crime gangs.

“We used to be serious about patrolling the Southern Ocean. In 2003, an Australian patrol vessel, the Southern Patrol pursued Patagonian toothfish raiders for 7,500 kilometres almost all the way to South Africa. We used to send our Navy to conduct patrols to scare away the pirates.

“The Government must meet its election commitment and act by sending the Ocean Shield south. Otherwise it is allowing organised crime gangs to operate with impunity,” he concluded.

 

 

... As the resources of the world diminish, especially with the onslaught of climate change, the message we send to the unfortunate of the earth is stark and unequivocal: We have everything and if you try to take anything away from us we will kill you. The message the dispossessed send back is also stark and unequivocal. It was delivered in Paris.

Chris Hedges, A message from the dispossessed [ICH/Truthdig - 12/1/15]

 

Faithless feat. Harry Collier - Bombs

 

We is a fast-paced 64 minute documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation. It visualizes the words of Arundhati Roy, specifically her famous Come September speech, where she spoke on such things as the war on terror, corporate globalization, justice and the growing civil unrest. ...

 

 

IOM an "observer" in Australia - Cambodia - Nauru refugee exile talks.

Australian media won't highlight the UNHCR's condemnation.

Fascists.

Phnom Penh Post [13/1/15]:

After months of delay, Cambodian government officials will finally arrive this week at the South Pacific island country of Nauru, home to Australian-run detention centres that hold close to 1,000 asylum seekers.

Many of those people, once they are processed as refugees, could be eligible for “resettlement” in the Kingdom under a controversial scheme inked by Australian and Cambodian officials in September.

An initial “trial” group of refugees was meant to be sent here by the end of 2014, but not a single person has made the journey.

While progress has been slower than expected, the visit of officials from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Nauru raises the prospect that transfers under the “voluntary” scheme could soon begin.

Before choosing to be resettled, refugees are meant to be briefed on Cambodian culture and living conditions by government officials, who are being flown to Nauru on Canberra’s bill.

Suong Sok, a senior official at the Interior Ministry’s refugee office, yesterday confirmed that the Cambodian delegation had left last week. He could not provide further details but said it was a high-level visit.

Immigration Department chief Sok Phal declined to comment, directing questions to the Foreign Ministry, which in turn told a reporter to speak to the Interior Ministry, whose spokesman could not be reached.

Joe Lowry, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, yesterday confirmed that the IOM’s chief of mission in Cambodia was also on the way to Nauru.

“IOM will be an observer during discussions there but not involved in direct talks” between Australian, Cambodian and Nauruan government officials, he said.

In October, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the government would present “the reality of Cambodia, not the advertising” to refugees when officials visited Nauru.

“This is not a trip to advertise [and] to attract tourists to Cambodia; this trip is to tell them about Cambodia,” he said at the time.

Under a memorandum of understanding that formalised the deal, Cambodia will only accept processed refugees that voluntarily agree to relocate.

All “resettlement” costs will be met by Australia, with an extra $35 million in aid also given to Cambodia as a sweetener.

While Australia-based refugee advocates continue to insist that it is unlikely anyone on Nauru will decide to take the Cambodia option, the Refugee Action Coalition said yesterday that some interest had been shown.

“I did hear that late last year, two single men asked about going to Cambodia but [they] were told then that it was not possible” as Cambodia was not yet ready to receive refugees, said Ian Rintoul, the RAC’s spokesman.

As of December 31, there were 895 people in Nauru’s detention centres. According to Rintoul, some 140 processed refugees are living in Nauruan communities.

The bilateral Australia-Cambodia scheme has been condemned by the UN refugee agency and human rights groups in both countries.

Guardian [4/11/14]:

Tensions continue to escalate on Australia’s offshore island detention centres, with a further series of assaults on refugees on Nauru and rising disquiet on Manus Island reported by sources.

On the Pacific island of Nauru, an Iranian refugee was stoned and then beaten by a group of local men riding motorcycles on Saturday. They threw rocks and swore at him before beating him and kicking him in the head.

Guardian Australia has seen photos of the man in hospital with one eye swollen shut by bruising and swelling on his head.

On Monday, a resettled [an exiled] refugee who had a job as carpenter on Nauru, was threatened by three local men who told him refugees were not allowed to work. He was told to quit his job or he would be killed next time he went to work. He has quit his job.

Other men have reported having cars swerve at them and being spat on in the street.

These attacks follow an assault last week on four teenage refugees, who are without parents on the island.

One of the child refugees was taken to hospital. The four boys have not left their home unaccompanied since the attack.

“ ‘Fuck you, refugee’ is very common slogan these days in Nauru,” one refugee told Guardian Australia.

“The locals spit on refugees in public. They believe that there is not enough space in Nauru for the refugees and locals to live together. They think the refugees are taking the job opportunities and consuming all the resources in Nauru and they want to protect their country.”

Reports that an interpreter from Myanmar had been stabbed on Manus Island on Friday are “completely false”, according to the office of the immigration minister, Scott Morrison.

But Guardian Australia understands from sources on Manus that there have been several confrontations with guards and local contractors over the past month, increased cases of self-harm attempts by detainees, and more assaults by detainees on other detainees.

Each month, several men are choosing to be returned home rather than stay on the island. Several of those choosing to go home have been found by Australia to be refugees and face a “well-founded fear of persecution” if they go home.

One Manus worker told Guardian Australia: “The men say, ‘I am dying here on this island, I might as well go home and die in my own country. I will take the risk.’ And sometimes it is an extreme risk that they will be killed at home.”

“These men have been in detention for 15 months, many of them, they live behind huge fences and they are no closer to a resolution. They are constantly told, ‘Stay here forever, or go home.’

“It’s advertised on signs all over the camps: ‘Missing your family? Talk to IOM (International Organisation for Migration).’ These men despair, they are desperate and, eventually, they just give up and go home, even if they know it’s not safe.”

Refugee activists appeal to minister: don’t let Iranian hunger striker die

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [13/1/15]:

It is feared that a 33 year old Iranian asylum seeker on hunger strike may have only days to live.

Refugee activists have launched an appeal to Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister, Michaelia Cash, to urgently act to prevent his death.

The hunger striker, known as “Martin” was on hunger strike for 53 days until 21 December last year. He resumed the hunger strike on 27 December, and has entered a critical stage of the hunger strike. He may have already suffered permanent organ damage.

He is presently in hospital suffering from cellulitis, ironically the infection that ultimately took the life of another Iranian asylum seeker on Manus Island, Hamid Khazaie in September last year.

Martin is one of around 35 Iranian asylum seekers in Wickham Point detention centre who have been re-detained since August with a view to removing them to Iran. Martin had been living in the community with a bridging visa for two years prior to being re-detained in August.

However, the government knows that the Iranian government will not accept the forced removal of asylum seekers.

Faced with indefinite detention, Martin began his hunger strike in November to draw attention to the plight of Iranian and other asylum seekers in this situation.

There are around 1400 asylum seekers presently in the community who are at risk of being re-detained although the government cannot remove them.

“Martin and the other asylum seekers are victims of a cruel, domestic political agenda. The re-detention of asylum seekers who cannot be removed is a completely pointless policy,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Martin’s fate is literally in the hands of the Minister. We are appealing for the Minister to urgently act to release Martin and save his life.

“An act of compassion to release Martin would cost the government nothing. We wait in hope, but Martin may have only days to live.”

Malware alert: Fake news.com.au emails

ACMA Media Release [13/1/15]:

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has received numerous reports since Sunday about fake emails from news.com.au with the subject line ‘ISIS attacks in Sydney?’

These emails encourage people to open a ‘Word’ or ’.rar’ file attachment by claiming the document includes details of Sydney locations that ISIS plans to attack.

These emails are FAKE and contain a malicious attachment that if opened, or clicked on, may download and install malware onto your computer.

If you receive an email from news.com.au with the same or similar title, it should be DELETED IMMEDIATELY.

Do not click on any attachment in the email.

Bernard Tomic defeats Igor Sijsling in straight sets

Sydney Morning Herald [13/1/15]:

… The 22-year-old Australian has now won 10 of his last 11 matches at the Sydney International, and will be hoping to continue that impressive record when he lines up against No.3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round on Wednesday.

The world No.71, who bowed out of the Brisbane International in straight sets to Kei Nishikori last week, dropped just three games to claim a straight sets 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Tomic's only loss in Sydney was in last year's final against then world No.5 Juan Martin Del Potro, who toppled the Australian in straight sets to cruel his hopes of defending his 2013 title.

Man reportedly stabbed in road rage incident, Gold Coast

Nine MSN [13/1/15]:

A man has reportedly been stabbed after an apparent road rage incident on the northern Gold Coast.

Police have confirmed they are on the scene of a two vehicle accident on the intersection of Days and Old Coach Roads in Upper Coomera.

A police spokeswoman told AAP one person had been injured but couldn't confirm reports of a stabbing.

A Queensland Ambulance spokesman told AAP they had been called to the scene at approximately 2.40pm.

He said one man was in custody while the injured man has gone to a GP for treatment.

Disgraced former Queensland Labor leader dies in Vietnam

ABC [13/1/15]:

Convicted paedophile and former Queensland Labor leader Keith Wright has died in Vietnam.

In 1983, he came close to toppling Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and becoming premier.

A decade later, Wright was jailed for eight years for indecent dealing and child rape.

In 2009, after his release from jail, he broke a 16-year silence to publicly apologise for his actions.

"Yes, I really blew it, man. I was so stupid. And I profoundly regret it all. I am so sorry," the Courier-Mail reported.

Wright ran a language academy in Vietnam and died overnight.

The 72-year-old former teacher and Baptist preacher was the state member for Rockhampton before moving to the federal seat of Capricornia.

...

Westminster paedophile ring: Top Tory MP 'murdered girl at vile orgy' claims new witness [Mirror - 10/1/15]

Man accused of murdering Sydney woman to apply for bail

Canberra Times [13/1/15]:

A man accused of the New Year's Day murder of a Sydney woman whose body was found in an Adelaide hotel room will apply for bail next week.

Chungaung Piao, 27, has been charged with murdering Sydney sex worker Ting Fang, 25, whose body was found in a room at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in the city centre on January 1.

The married father, of Allenby Gardens in Adelaide's west, was arrested on Saturday night and charged with Ms Fang's murder.

He appeared in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday, where police revealed further details about Ms Fang's death.

Police told the court that Ms Fang's throat had been slashed in her room on the 12th floor of the Hindley Street hotel.

Hotel staff became aware something was wrong when they investigated water running from her room into the hallway and the room below.

Police at the time said Ms Fang had been in Adelaide for three or four days.

Both Mr Piao and Ms Fang are Chinese nationals living in Australia, and Mr Piao is a married father with an eight-month-old son, the court heard.

Mr Piao's lawyer, Julian Kelly, said his client denied any involvement in the murder.

Police would allege that a fingerprint of the accused was found at the scene, the court was told.

Mr Piao was remanded in custody until January 19 when he will apply for bail.

Patient attacks Baillie workers

Chronicle [13/1/15]

Staff members at a Toowoomba mental health facility have been hospitalised after a patient attack in a medium security unit.

The incident in the Ridley Unit of Baillie Henderson Hospital occurred nearly two years to the day after a violent attack by seven male patients on three nurses in the same section of the hospital.

Police said two 61-year-old men and a 52-year-old man all received injuries to the head after allegedly being attacked by a 27-year-old man about 9.40am Sunday.

"It seems they were all punched in the head," police said.

Police said they were taken to Toowoomba Hospital for treatment of minor cuts and bruising.

A Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service spokesman yesterday said police were called in line with Queensland Health's zero tolerance approach to violence.

However, the spokesman would not say why nearly three hours passed after the incident before police were notified.

He said the patient had been detained at the hospital under the forensic provisions of the Mental Health Act.

"Fellow staff rapidly provided assistance," the spokesman said.

"The situation was immediately brought under control."

He said the men were assessed at Toowoomba Hospital and after a short period of observation were discharged on Sunday.

"Senior members of the mental health service attended the unit to support staff."

The attack on January 19, 2013, left one nurse with a fractured eye socket.

It sparked an independent review of the circumstances which led to the incident.

Recommendations from that review included the continuation of 24-hour security at Ridley Unit.

The action plan also suggested an audit of the factors contributing to the length of patients' stay within the unit.

Police yesterday said no charges had been laid in relation to Sunday's attack.

Baillie Henderson Hospital:

There has been a successful bid for 13 housing and support packages to support consumers to transition from the Baillie Henderson Hospital. This bid was in partnership with the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, the Department of Housing and Public Works, and the non-government sector.

The Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre (previously known as the Living Skills Centre) has taken on a whole-of-service approach using a comprehensive community based service model.

As part of the Community care unit capital works program, the Australian Government provided $11.6 million in funding to construct 24 single accommodation units for consumers transitioning from the hospital into the community.

In 2014, $4.3 million will be spent to refurbish the hospital, this will include painting of external buildings, replacement of some air conditioners, as well as repairing and resurfacing the roads through the grounds to allow for heavy vehicle access.

The hospital's pools have undergone extensive work, including the replacement of the roof over the main pool, hydrotherapy pool and the amenities building. The pools will re-open in mid-2014.

Police charge man over boy death threats

Yahoo [13/1/15]:

A 44-year-old man has been charged with the attempted murder and torture of a young boy following a disturbance at a Brisbane home.

Police were called to the home in Brisbane's south on Monday morning following reports of a disturbance involving a man and a pre-teen boy.

While the boy was not seriously injured, the man, reportedly his father, was arrested and charged.

The man is due to face Brisbane's Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Prison for 22-year-old who raped sister, 8 [Sunshine Coast Daily – 13/1/15]

A Newcastle woman learned her son was a victim of paedophile priest Vince Ryan when police spoke to her in 1996 only days after her son’s suicide. … [Herald – 12/1/15]

Does bad behaviour run in the family?

UQ News [5/1/15]:

University of Queensland research aims to answer the age-old question of whether anti-social behaviour is passed down through families.

Professor Jake Najman, from UQ’s School of Public Health and School of Social Science, said the project was Australia’s first to examine anti-social behaviour across three generations to determine whether and to what extent poor behaviour of grandparents could be transmitted to grandchildren.

“While there’s a belief in society that criminal behaviour is transmitted across generations, in reality we have very little evidence to back up this stereotype and even less information about why this may occur,” Professor Najman said.

“Anti-social behaviour includes a range of activities such as smoking, alcohol misuse and violence, all of which are damaging to health and well-being.”

Professor Najman said he and his research colleagues would try to pinpoint whether exposure to certain factors might predict this.

“The long-term negative consequences of antisocial behaviour also include poor learning, unemployment, poor health and higher rates of imprisonment,” he said.

“Antisocial behaviour is a major social problem and our efforts to understand and address this problem have been of limited effectiveness.

“In particular, marriage instability, poverty and poor parenting have been linked to the development of anti-social behaviour and, by looking at three generations, this study allows us to better examine the impact of these and other critical factors.”

He said the research would also explore how patterns of anti-social behaviour had changed over time.

Professor Najman said the high economic and social cost of anti-social behaviour highlighted the need to know more about how and why it developed.

“The findings of this study may see anti-social families, rather than individuals, targeted for early intervention programs that may help reduce the incidence and impact of this behaviour,” he said.

The project will draw on data from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), an ongoing study of women and their children founded by Professor Najman in 1981.

Professor Najman will lead the study with UQ SPH colleagues Professor Gail Williams, Associate Professor Abdullah Al Mamun, Associate Professor Rosa Alati, UQ School of Medicine Associate Professor James Scott and UQ School of Pharmacy Associate Professor Zandy Clavarino.

The research is being funded through the Australian Research Council.

Men's violent reactions to women's rejection [UQ News – 4/12/14]:

University of Queensland researchers have found evidence to suggest that men who react adversely to romantic rejection and act violently towards women are more likely to be socially dominant.

In two online surveys of more than 550 men, researchers from UQ ’s School of Psychology found that socially dominant men tended to express hostile attitudes towards women, even wanting to ‘discipline’ them.

Research co-author social psychologist Dr Fiona Barlow said socially dominant men were those who supported inequality, and were usually less supportive of women’s rights and tended to prefer more traditional gender roles for both sexes.

...

Man wedged under fork lift at Bli Bli

Sunshine Coast Daily [12/1/15]:

A man in his 50s was rescued at Bli Bli today after he was trapped between heavy machinery.

It's believed the man was trapped between a truck and a forklift from about 12.45pm today.

Emergency crews were called to assist the man at a property on Cutters Way, Bli Bli.

While the man was not entrapped, he still needed the assistance of the Queensland Fire and Rescue service to be freed.

A Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said the man was transported to Nambour Hospital with a non-life threatening hand injury.

But can he remedy the Gold Coast Light Rail screeching noise pollution?

Palmer United Party announces Stephen Gardner as candidate for Surfers Paradise [Media Release - 13/1/15]:

The Palmer United Party has endorsed Stephen Gardner as the party’s candidate for the Gold Coast seat of Surfers Paradise ahead of the January 31 Queensland state election.

Stephen has a wealth of business management experience and is currently the Managing Director of an Automotive Import business.

He said he was looking forward to representing the people of Surfers Paradise and working hard to achieve a brighter future for the Gold Coast and Queensland.

“The Gold Coast has suffered immensely since the LNP stepped into government in 2007 due to the inefficient allocation of resources in the region,” Mr Gardner said.

“Queensland is suffering from extreme economic hardship and is in dire need of new jobs and economic confidence.

“As a representative of my electorate and the Palmer United Party, I am determined to see that all possible measures are taken to ensure positive outcomes for the community at large.”

Mr Gardner holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Griffith University.

Imaginary Queensland journalist to John Bjelke-Petersen: Are you proud of your parents' political achievements?  Do you differ from them politically?

One of CQ's top cattleman saved life of John Bjelke-Petersen [Morning Bulletin – 13/1/15]:

... Bjelke-Petersen has little recollection of the event, but appreciates that Sir Graham was his saviour that day.

"Thanks to Sir Graham, I am still here," he said. "The doctors said if it had been another hour I would have choked on the fluid in my lungs.

"I can remember riding up that bank and I can vaguely remember hitting the brakes and that was the end of it. That's all I can remember until the next morning when the chopper came in," he said.

The chopper was piloted by Sir Graham. He was living at Tartrus, his family property 50km west of Marlborough, when he received an SOS from police about 9pm on September 4. (The two families were well known to each other through Sir Graham's regular dealings with Sir Joh.)

...

Why Did The Bligh Government Demolish A Perfectly Acceptable Educational Institution?

Fairfax reports [24/1/10]:

Almost everyone except perhaps developers and real estate agents were excited when the State Government announced last year it would transform the unsightly Southbank Institute of TAFE site at inner city Kangaroo Point into a park. ...

Ms Bligh said last year the government could have sold the almost one hectare of land for about $40 million but to the public it was "priceless". ...

This block of land on River Terrace (across the road from the new park) also became priceless!

Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Anna Bligh Media Release [24/1/10]:

Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh today officially opened a new public park at the top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs.

With fantastic views of the Brisbane River and CBD, Ms Bligh said Kangaroo Point Park was destined to become an iconic addition to the Brisbane landscape for locals and tourists alike.

“This is a park that people from all over Brisbane, Queensland and the world can come and enjoy,” she said.

“It will be the ideal destination for many of the city’s signature events like Riverfire and the Australia Day fireworks.

...

Gold Coast City Council mowing 33 million square metres of grass - still haven't fixed Light Rail noise pollution

GCCC Media Release [12/1/15]:

City of Gold Coast contractors are on a non-stop mowing program, as they work to cut 33 million square metres of grass after the heavy rain over the holidays.

Mayor Tom Tate says there’s a lot of work to be done but a continuous cycle of two-weekly mowing rotations will continue until the prolific growing conditions ease.

“Then we’ll have to start mowing all over again, it’s a bit like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge” he laughed.

“The storms we had not only saturated the soil, they also provided a growth spurt caused by the lightning, which triggered something called atmospheric nitrogen fixation, which produces a form of natural fertiliser”.

Because the grass is so thick at the moment many people have noticed more than the usual bulk of clippings, but Parks Maintenance boss Peter Thomson says they aren’t gathered up and taken away.

“That’s something we’ve never done, simply because of the massive extra cost it would involve,” he said.

“The clippings are blown back onto the mown areas from roads and footpaths and break down quickly, recycling nutrients and removing the need for artificial fertilisers.”

The mayor said it costs a lot of money to stop the Gold Coast looking shabby.

“We spend around $10 million a year on mowing to keep our city looking beautiful, but we have to remember we live in a sub-tropical climate.

“Occasional super growth of grass is just part of life in this neck of the woods”.

Feel free to breastfeed here, pope tells mothers in Sistine Chapel

Reuters [11/1/15]

Pope Francis baptized 33 infants in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday and told the mothers to feel free to breastfeed them if they cried or were hungry.

"You mothers give your children milk and even now, if they cry because they are hungry, breastfeed them, don't worry," he said, departing from his prepared text.

The written text of his homily had the phrase "give them milk," but he changed it to use the Italian term "allattateli", which means "breastfeed them," and added that they should not hesitate.

As the 20 girls and 13 boys in the room famous for Michelangelo's frescoes cried, Francis asked his listeners to remember poor mothers around the world, "too many, unfortunately, who cant give food to their children".

Even before he read the homily, at least one mother was seen breastfeeding, perhaps recalling that the pope had used similar words to make mothers feel at ease before.

Baptism is the sacrament at which infants or converts are initiated into the Christian faith. Francis poured water on the foreheads of the infants as part of the ritual.

The Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo painted in the 16th century, is the room where cardinals elect popes in secret conclaves. Francis was elected the first non-European pope in 1,300 there on March 13, 2013.

Thor Commander secured after being adrift near Great Barrier Reef

Daily Mercury [13/1/15]:

The 132 metre long Thor Commander was secured by tow rope to another ship after having been adrift and headed towards the Great Barrier Reef due east of Mackay since Sunday.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has warned that the risk of cargo shipping in the Great Barrier Reef were narrowly avoided.

AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart, said it was an enormous relief to know that the ship had been prevented from running into the reef.

"We are very glad that the crew are safe and that we have narrowly avoided a disaster in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

"But we are also deeply concerned that the state government wants to increase the number of cargo ships travelling through the Reef every year, increasing the risk of a disaster.

"There are already 4,000 ships crossing the Reef every year, and we're expecting it will rise to around 7,000 if all the proposed port expansions proceed.

"It only takes one ship to have an accident to cause irreparable damage to the Reef and the $6 billion tourism industry that relies on it.

"No one who saw the dramatic media images of the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 can forget what's at stake when shipping goes wrong on the Reef, damaging coral and marine life in its wake.

"The 3km scar left along the Reef off the coast of Rockhampton has yet to fully recover in some places, four years later.

"Thankfully we have narrowly avoided a similar disaster in the outer Reef due east of Mackay," Ms Wishart said.

Abandoned traps at Maroon Dam kill and injure wildlife

Fisheries Queensland [12/1/15]:

On a recent sweep of Maroon Dam, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) officers took possession of 26 traps prompting calls for fishers to be more responsible with their gear.

QBFP district officer Coby Walker said abandoned traps were a growing environmental issue, with numbers being recovered on the rise.

“Some of the traps found had been reported stolen and were returned to their rightful owners,” Mr Walker said.

“Most of the equipment, however, was quite obviously abandoned or lost but was still catching fish, shrimp and redclaw.

“Ghost fishing is the term used for lost or abandoned fishing gear that continues to catch fish and other wildlife and it’s a major environmental problem.

“Fishers need to make sure they remove their gear from the water when they’ve finished fishing so it doesn’t unnecessarily entrap, kill or injure wildlife.”

Mr Walker said it was also important fishers correctly mark their traps so that lost gear can be returned if found.

“Many of the traps collected were unmarked so can’t be returned to their owners,” he said.

“Anyone who uses a trap for freshwater fishing must have a tag on the trap showing the owner’s surname and address.

“From 1 February, all freshwater traps will also be required to be marked with a solid light-coloured float that is at least 15 cm in any dimension.

“Previously this rule only applied to traps that weren’t fixed to something stationary.

“The new rules will also come into effect relating to funnel traps and round traps, the use of set lines and marine baits, and size and possession limits for a number of fish species.”

For more information on fishing gear requirements and upcoming changes to Queensland’s freshwater fishing rules, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free ‘Qld Fishing’ app from Apple and Google app stores.

Decommissioning of Fullerton Cove CSG site to be completed this week

Herald [12/1/15]:

The final chapter in one of the state’s most controversial coal seam gas projects at Fullerton Cove is being written this week.

Crews recently returned to decommission the site almost two years after Dart Energy announced it would not proceed with the pilot project following a mass community protest.

The decommissioning process involves plugging and abandoning the pilot wells and undertaking rehabilitation works on the site.

The work is expected to be completed this week.

 Fullerton Cove was regarded as a test case for several other coal seam gas projects in the state at the time of a nine-day community blockade in August 2012.

Australian patients face new $20 fee for seeing their GP

Canberra Times [13/1/15]:

Australian patients will be hit by a new $20 fee for seeing their GP when changes to Medicare, introduced by the Abbott government to save billions of dollars, begin to take effect from next week.

Under a little-known "10 minute" rule predicted to blow out GP waiting times from January 19, Medicare will pay $20.10 less for consultations lasting six to 10 minutes.

For years, Medicare has paid $37.05 towards these "Level B" visits made by millions of patients each year requiring a new prescription or blood pressure check, for example. It will now pay $16.95, a move doctors warn will "destroy" free universal healthcare.

The Australian Medical Association says the change, estimated to cut $500 million from Medicare in 2015, will prompt many doctors to stop bulk-billing shorter consultations because the payment does not meet their costs.

...

Cuts to Medicare funding of short visits to GPs, which are being fought by the powerful doctors' lobby, might  cost corporate medical giant Primary Health Care millions in revenue and significantly hit profit, a healthcare analyst has found.  ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 9/1/15]

Abbott government spends $8 million on higher education media blitz Abbott government spends $8 million on higher education media blitz [Canberra Times - 11/1/15]

Don't believe the hype: Angelina Jolie is a Hollywood actress and the ABC is obsessed with eugenics

Around 3% of ovarian cancer cases occur in women with a family history of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer risk factors [Cancer Research UK]:

Risk factors for ovarian cancer are discussed here. Find out more about the definitions and evidence for this data. ...

Angelina Jolie’s faulty gene: newspaper coverage of a celebrity’s preventive bilateral mastectomy in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom - Kalina Kamenova, PhD, Amir Reshef, MBA and Timothy Caulfield, LLM, FRSC [Academia – July 2014]:

Purpose:

This study investigates the portrayal of Angelina Jolie’s preventive bilateral mastectomy in the news media. Content analysis of print news was conducted to identify major frames used in press coverage, the overall tone of discussions, how journalists report broader questions about testing and hereditary breast/ovarian cancer, and whether they raise concerns about the impact of celebrities on patients’ choices and public opinion.

Methods:

The Factiva database was used to collect publications on Jolie’s preventive mastectomy in elite newspapers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The data set consisted of 103 newspaper articles published in the first month of media coverage.

Results:

The results show that although the press discussed key issues surrounding predictive genetic testing and preventive options for women at high risk of hereditary breast/ovarian cancer, important medical information about the rarity of Jolie’s condition was not communicated to the public.

Conclusion:

The results highlight the media’s overwhelmingly positive slant toward Jolie’s mastectomy, while overlooking the relative rarity of her situation, the challenges of “celebrity medicine,” and how celebrities influence people’s medical decisions. Future research is required to investigate whether the media hype has influenced demand and use of testing and preventive mastectomies.

The Biological State: Nazi Racial Hygiene, 1933–1939 [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]:

Nazism was “applied biology,” stated Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess. During the Third Reich, a politically extreme, antisemitic variation of eugenics determined the course of state policy.

Hitler’s regime touted the “Nordic race” as its eugenic ideal and attempted to mold Germany into a cohesive national community that excluded anyone deemed hereditarily “less valuable” or “racially foreign.”

Public health measures to control reproduction and marriage aimed at strengthening the “national body” by eliminating biologically threatening genes from the population.

Many German physicians and scientists who had supported racial hygiene ideas before 1933 embraced the new regime’s emphasis on biology and heredity, the new career opportunities, and the additional funding for research.

Hitler’s dictatorship, backed by sweeping police powers, silenced critics of Nazi eugenics and supporters of individual rights. After all educational and cultural institutions and the media came under Nazi control, racial eugenics permeated German society and institutions. Jews, considered “alien,” were purged from universities, scientific research institutes, hospitals, and public health care. Persons in high positions who were viewed as politically “unreliable” met a similar fate.

 Standoff happening between protesters and police in #GrandCentral now. #BlackLivesMatter #PeoplesMonday

Image: @KeeganNYC [12/1/15]

 

Record numbers of anti fascists protest in Germany

Deutsche Welle [13/1/15]:

Germany has seen another Monday evening of protest marches. While Dresden drew more anti-Islamization protesters to the streets than ever before, elsewhere, counter-demonstrators had the upper hand.

Police in the eastern German city of Dresden said on Monday evening that a total of 25,000 had turned out to the latest demonstration organized by PEGIDA, or "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West." That's significantly up from last Monday's demonstration, which drew around 18,000 people.

PEGIDA's opponents, who accuse its supporters of right-wing extremism, brought tens of thousands of people out onto the streets on Monday evening.

PEGIDA still had the far bigger demonstration in Dresden, with around 7,000 taking part in a counter demonstration, but in another major eastern German city, Leipzig, the tables were turned.

Leipzig municipal officials estimated that 30,000 people had turned out to a demonstration to counter what would be the first PEGIDA protest, dubbed LEGIDA, in Leipzig, which drew less than 5,000.

In the capital, Berlin, around 4,000 people are reported to have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the local chapter of Pegida, which only managed to mobilize around 400.

In the southern city of Munich, meanwhile, a broad alliance of political parties and trade unions mobilized around 20,000 people for a demonstration in favor of racial and religious tolerance.

"We are against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and right-wing violence," Munich's mayor, Dieter Reiter told the demonstrators.

Thousands of anti-PEGIDA demonstrators also took to the streets of a number of other German cities on Monday evening, including Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, and Saarbrücken, while only a few hundred turned out in support of PEGIDA. Nationwide, the DPA news agency put the total number of anti-PEGIDA demonstrators at close to 100,000.

Some of the PEGIDA supporters wore black armbands in honor of the 17 victims of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 17 people at the offices of a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

This was also criticized by its opponents, with both Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Justice Minister Heiko Maas accusing PEGIDA of exploiting the attacks for their own ends.

22 Witness Against Torture members arrested at the Capitol #CloseGitmo

Image: @WitnessTorture [12/1/15]

Witness Against Torture Members Arrested at the Capitol [VIDEO - 12/1/15]

Anti-torture activists protest on Dick Cheney's front porch, 2 arrested [RT - 11/1/15]

About 20 protesters made their way onto the property of the former vice president’s Virginia home, where they protested the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Activists from the anti-war group CODEPINK and Witness Against Torture, many of them wearing military-issued orange jumpsuits, broke through an iron gate surrounding the former vice president’s sprawling property in McLean, Virginia, and demonstrated on his front porch.

Fairfax County Police soon arrived on the scene and escorted the protesters, some of them chanting “arrest Dick Cheney,” off the property.

Two protesters who refused to leave the premises were arrested on trespassing charges, police spokesman Roger Henriquez said, Reuters reported.

Police identified the pair as Tighe Barry, 57, and Eve Tetaz, 83, both from the Washington DC area. The two face misdemeanor charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct, police said.

The demonstrators carried signs that read: “Torturer lives here” and “Stop torture now” and “Close Guantanamo Bay”.

Earlier, the group staged a demonstration outside the home of CIA Director John Brennan, who also lives in McLean, Virginia. None of the activists were arrested in that protest.

...

 

The lawyer for former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks believes his client's conviction for supporting terrorism will be overturned.  ... [ABC - 13/1/15]

 

Obama signs terrorism risk insurance bill into law

Reuters [12/1/15]:

President Barack Obama signed into law on Monday a bill that renews for six years a terrorism risk insurance program created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the White House said.

The program provides a federal insurance backstop for owners of skyscrapers, sports stadiums, shopping malls and large projects that could face terrorism threats.

The law also includes measures that exempt ranchers, energy businesses and other "end users" of derivatives from certain capital requirements that are part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the administration was disappointed the bill included the unrelated measures, but he had acknowledged that Obama would sign the bill anyway.

Youtube and Twitter hack haven't stopped us from bombing Iraq and Syria: Centcom

Centcom [12/1/15]:

On Jan. 11, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack, fighter, and bomber aircraft to conduct 11 airstrikes.

Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists. All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Jan. 11, and 8 a.m., Jan. 12, local time.

The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:

Syria

•Near Kobani, nine airstrikes struck two large ISIL units and an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions, five ISIL buildings, and two ISIL staging positions.

•Near Abu Kamal, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.

•Near Dawr az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL oil refinery.

Iraq

•Near Bayji, four airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

•Near Taji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

•Near Al Qaim, two airstrikes destroyed two ISIL armored vehicles and 10 ISIL fighting positions.

•Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL vehicle.

•Near Tal Afar, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL artillery system and an ISIL checkpoint.

•Near Al Asad, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL rocket launcher and an ISIL vehicle.

•Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck a large ISIL unit and destroyed two ISIL buildings.

•Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and two large ISIL units, and destroyed four ISIL vehicles, an ISIL VBIED, two ISIL armored vehicles, an ISIL semi-truck, an ISIL mortar system, three ISIL buildings, three ISIL boats, and an ISIL tank.

Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.

Statement from US Central Command Regarding Twitter/YouTube Compromise [12/1/15]

@IraqiSMCEn – Iraqi Spring Media Center [12/1/15]:

This photo shows the displaced people as they leave their homes due to the random bombing of government's army...

Waiting for Glen Le Lievre's column about freedom of expression

Let's have a drink for old time's sake [Canberra Times – 28/12/14]:

Glen Le Lievre

Hi there. Remember me? C'mon … sure you do. Well maybe you just don't recognise me with my top on. You know, we had some great times together you and I. Back then you didn't need an app to get out there and enjoy yourself, all you needed was a friend, a roll of toilet paper and a stolen golf cart. No matter what happened we always had each other and that's why I wanted to talk to you. Call it what you want; a friendly chat, catch up, intervention … the point is, I hardly see you any more, especially since the whaddayacall, family came along. And let's face it; if it weren't for me you would never have gotten married in the first place.

I was always there for you. Whether it was making unwanted moves on a co-worker, or threatening to scratch the eyes out of anyone who dared suggest you had a drinking problem.

But what did I ever get in return? Zip. Nada. Bupkiss. We used to be so close and now it feels like you've dropped me like a warm beer after you've peeled the label off. And in all honesty, if you want to boil it right down, I really, really miss you. I miss your big goofy smile, I miss your long rambling monologues and I even miss holding your hair back while you talked to God on the big white phone. But I think it's this special time of the year that I miss you the most. Office parties, family barbecues and New Year's Eve! Oh my God, how about those New Year Eves! What about the time we … or even the time where … or how about the … hmm, that's odd, I seem to have drawn a blank.

Look, granted it wasn't all sunshine and waking up in other people's frontyards; take hangovers for example. Never had one myself, I could always hold my liquor, but you – one of my fondest and few remaining memories is lying on the living room floor watching you stumble around your flat bumping into things. Ah, good times.

Sigh.

Tell you what, how about a drink? I'm buying. I know this great little place just round the corner with a pool table and a jukebox that only plays hits from the '80s. Come on; don't make me twist your arm. One little drink and I'll tell you what, I'll even give you back all those brain cells you thought I'd killed. No need to thank me, after all, what are friends for?

Please have a drink with me. Don't make me beg. Go on, just for old time's sake. I really need this. Because since you left, I've never felt so empty.

Sydney paper cartoon ‘racially vilifies’ Jews, says community [Times of Israel – 29/7/14]:

... The cartoon, published alongside a virulently anti-Israel article by columnist Mike Carlton, showed a yarmulke-wearing, hooked nose Jew sitting in an armchair etched with a Star of David, using a remote control to detonate a collection of buildings, presumably in Gaza. ...

Israelis Gather, Watch, Cheer, Celebrate Over 1,200 Dead in Gaza [21st Century Wire - 30/7/14]

This song's about something we're fiercely concerned with – Our government's dehumanising stance on refugees and the empty promises of our current government in general. ...

The Smith Street Band [12/1/15]:

Surprise! We have a new 7" single coming out and it's called "WIPE THAT SHIT-EATING GRIN OFF YOUR PUNCHABLE FACE" Stream it here ...

This song's about something we're fiercely concerned with – Our government's dehumanising stance on refugees and the empty promises of our current government in general. ...

To further assist the already amazing efforts by those who put together the Australia Day shows in Melbourne, we'll be donating the majority of the proceeds from this record to assist various asylum seeker and refugee organisations throughout Australia.

You can either: a) Pre-order the record from poison city records RIGHT NOW and a chunk of the profits from every record will be donated – www.poisoncityestore.com b) Buy the digital tracks from bandcamp (from 9am tomorrow!) and 100% of the proceeds will be donated – www.thesmithstreetband.bandcamp.com c) Buy the record from us at the Corner Hotel on Australia Day and 100% of profits will be donated

Hope you're listening Tony Abbott.

See you on Australia Day x

 

 

13 January 2015

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