Bombs continue raining down upon Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [14/4/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, two strikes produced inconclusive results.
-- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL oil pump jack.
-- Near Mara, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Hit, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL machine gun positions, an ISIL boat, an ISIL boat dock, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL command and control node and denying ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL bunker.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, and an ISIL storage facility.
-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL financial headquarters and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.
Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed seven ISIL boats and an ISIL mortar position and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
@MSF_Sea [14/4/16]: Remember Khadija & her kids? They're still locked up.100s of kids are rapidly losing their childhoods across Greece.
@ItalianNavy [14/4/16]: #SAR nave Cigala Fulgosi #MarinaMilitare ha terminato lo sbarco di 558 #migranti nel porto di Reggio Calabria
Two Iranian men have been rescued after spending eight hours in the English Channel in an inflatable dinghy.
The suspected migrants were picked up about a mile and a half off the Kent coast in the early hours by a lifeboat crew concerned for their safety.
They were located after staff on a passing ferry spotted the light from their mobile phone.
Both men had not eaten for two days and were said to be cold and in a state of shock.
They were taken into Dover Harbour and treated by paramedics before being handed to the authorities.
Andy Roberts from Dover RNLI said: "The Pride of Canterbury P&O ferry, leaving Dover harbour, spotted a very weak light that flashed occasionally and they slowed down and diverted towards this light. ... [BBC - 14/4/16]
... Aussies, our future is in your hands, we have done nothing wrong.
We are people just like you, we want a home and a future too, and peace and safety too. ...
Insurrection News [14/4/16]:
It is day 26 of the ongoing daily peaceful protest by refugee families in the RPC 3 family compound at the Australian government’s offshore refugee detention camp on Nauru.
The refugees are all seeking asylum in Australia and many of them have been waiting for more than two and a half years in hellish conditions for answers from Australian immigration authorities regarding their asylum claims.
The protest began on March 20 to coincide with the Palm Sunday “Welcome Refugees” rallies in Australia calling for the closure of the Australian government’s Nauru and Manus Island offshore refugee detention facilities.
Today the protesting refugees on Nauru have written an open letter to the people of Australia calling on them to join their protests.
Below is an unedited transcript of that letter. ...
Rohingyas escaped Myanmar for a better life in India, but this is their life now [Youth Ki Awaaz - 14/4/16]:
... I meet Imam Hussain, a 75-year old man who arrived in India with his wife in the year 2000.
Imam recounts how the military set his house on fire two years before escaping Myanmar.
Now a father of three, the 200 to 300 rupees he earns per day as a vendour must be stretched to the limit in order to feed his family. Yet for all the hardships, he still manages a smile.
Noor Fatima, 30, is another resident of the camp. She came four years ago along with her husband Mohammed Haroon, 44. Like Imam Hussain, her three children were born here, yet the Indian government does not recognise them as nationals.
They have the so-called ‘blue cards’, just like everyone else; permits issued by the UNHCR which must be renewed every number of years.
Mohammed’s cousin was raped by a group of soldiers. She went to the police station with her father to file a case, but instead of getting the justice she was hoping for, both of them were brutally murdered.
Stories like these are not mere extravaganzas. They are every bit as real as their daily plight in this city to survive.
I interview almost 10 people, and all of them have had to endure brutal episodes of terror. ...
MOAS mission to rescue refugees in South East Asia disrupted.
Will anyone join the dots?
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a supposedly a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, but hasn't accepted refugees since July 2014?
The empire's war on refugees in South East Asia gets nastier [Guardian - 14/4/16]:
A privately funded ship that had travelled to south-east Asia to save drowning migrants at sea has abandoned its mission after Thailand prevented the transfer of key equipment from reaching the ship, the charity’s founder has told the Guardian.
The Migrant Offshore Aid Station, run by American entrepreneur Christopher Catrambone and his wife, Regina, has rescued almost 13,000 people in the Mediterranean Sea and moved one ship, the MY Phoenix, to the Andaman Sea.
The Phoenix had been due to launch two unmanned helicopters to search large areas of the ocean to assess trafficking and prevent loss of life. The 40-metre ship would then rescue any migrants in distress and bring them to land.
“We cleared it with the ministry of defence, the Royal Thai Navy, the transportation ministry and the prime minister’s office,” Catrambone told the Guardian, speaking from the telecommunications room on board the Phoenix.
But when the two drones were due to transfer through Thailand to the ship, anchored on the Thai coast, they were blocked by customs for weeks despite guarantees, he said.
“Every single aspect of the process was disrupted,” said Catrambone.
The mission was due to start operations on 3 March to help save Bangladeshi migrants and Burmese Rohingya refugees during the dry season when human traffickers and smugglers take advantage of the calm conditions to make the route to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
With the rainy season and rough seas starting in May, the delay forced the crew to abandon the mission as the yearly migration ends, Catrambone said.
“We couldn’t wait any more for the drones. Its a matter of the monsoon season starting. We would be wasting our time.
“We did not expect the Thais to have any authority to restrict [the drones],” he said, adding that the equipment would only transit Thailand to a Belize-registered ship.
Countries in the region have tried for years to ignore the yearly migrant crisis that has become a humanitarian catastrophe. ...
@cpcatrambone [28/3/16]: David & Goliath ~@moas_eu #SAR ship #Phoenix currently anchored next to @USSNOLA #Phuket @moas_asia #humanity #peace
... After five days at sea, their boat reached Australian waters, but the engine failed as they struggled to make their way closer to Christmas Island.
The Rohingya desperately waved to the crew of a passing Australian Navy vessel, which Mr Abdul said did not respond. ... Trapped in Indonesia refugee camp for years after failing to reach Australia [The Straits Times - 1/2/16]
Moment Of Truth: The dangers of exposing the truth about Rohingya refugees and people smuggling in Thailand. [VIDEO - Journeyman - September 2015]
Last month's Bali Process meeting condemned 1,000s of refugees in South East Asia to indefinite detention, refoulement and genocide ---> UNHCR leadership pins hopes on democracy in Myanmar and "repatriation" - calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to sign refugee convention, while turning a blind eye to Australia's human rights atrocities [23/3/16]
... A/S RICHARD: Well thank you for your question. I did meet with Australian colleagues at the May 29th meeting in Bangkok including the Ambassador for People Smuggling -- or Against People Smuggling, I guess. The United States takes a different approach off our shores to people coming toward us in boats.
You know our Coast Guard intercepts the boats and then conducts interviews on its decks to find out if the people, if the boat people in the Caribbean have a credible fear of persecution or not.
And if it is judged that they are economic migrants they’re returned to places from which they’ve come.
But if it’s judged that they may have a case for asylum then they are not returned and that they get follow-on interviews and they may end up being moved as refugees to a new country. So the numbers we’re talking about in the Caribbean are quite small, but this, with this approach of ensuring that people get a chance to express their case is a part of what the US is doing that I think is needed throughout the region. I think that’s mostly on that issue. ...
... Anne Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for population, migration and refugees, said resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States would entice others to leave their homeland.
"The answer to the issue is peace and stability and citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine state, and that is the solution," she said at the end of a three-day visit to Malaysia. ...
BALI PROCESS REINVIGORATED, SEEKS ANSWERS TO ROHINGYA CRISIS [17/4/09]:
... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.
Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis. This can be discussed without Burma.
Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."
Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...
Obama deports 85 Muslim asylum seekers to Bangladesh [Democracy Now - 8/4/16]:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked backlash and controversy with his proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States—including refugees and asylum seekers. But deporting Muslim asylum seekers is nothing new.
This week, the Obama administration deported 85 Muslim asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal who were seeking asylum after fleeing repression and violence in their home countries.
Some of the men deported from Corrections Corporations of America’s Florence Correctional Center in Arizona on Sunday night had participated in a series of hunger strikes last year to protest their ongoing detention by ICE, the Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency, and demand their release from for-profit detention centers. Some of the men have been detained for years.
Following the deportation, an ICE official told Democracy Now!: "All of those on last weekend’s flight had been provided the opportunity to present their cases in immigration court, were issued final orders of removal, and had no outstanding stays that would prohibit their removal."
We are joined by Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up & Moving, or DRUM, a New York-based organization of South Asian immigrant workers and youth.
After the deportation, Ahmed said, "The Obama administration just deported nearly 100 South Asian detainees who crossed three continents seeking safety in the U.S. What happens to them next is blood on his hands." ...
Fatal domestic violence cases across Queensland spark calls for more community action [ABC - 14/4/16]:
A campaigner for the prevention of domestic violence whose sister-in-law was killed by her partner wants more community action to help combat the growing problem.
Tim Class-Auliff's call was made to a rally of 60 people gathered outside Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning.
It comes amid a spate of deaths in the past month — seven Queensland women have been killed in alleged domestic violence incidents since the beginning of March.
They include incidents in Cairns, Brisbane, Redcliffe, Ipswich, Winton and Cape York. ...
An Ipswich man is facing torture and assault charges after an alleged domestic violence incident.
It's alleged the 20-year-old tried multiple times to choke and strangle a 19-year-old woman and threatened her with a knife at a home in the Ipswich suburb of Churchill on Wednesday.
He'll appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Thursday, charged with assault and torture charges, and contravening a domestic violence order. ... [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
Police have upgraded a man’s charge following investigations into the suspicious death of a 38-year-old woman at a campground near Winton on April 9.
A 39-year-old man, known to the woman, has been charged with one count of acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm.
He is due to reappear in the Longreach Magistrates Court today, April 14. [QPS Media - 14/4/16]
Task Force Maxima, charges following location of loaded firearm and drugs, Bray Park [QPS Media - 14/4/16]
A 23-year-old Lawnton man and Bandidos associate has been charged with 38 charges following the seizure of dangerous drugs, ammunition, false identification, steroids and two pill press machines. ... [QPS Media - 12/4/16]
A Queensland police officer has been suspended after being charged with assault over an off-duty incident.
The 42-year-old constable from the Moreton Bay area, north of Brisbane, has been charged with two counts of assault and one of wilful damage.
He has been issued with a notice to appear in Caboolture Magistrates Court on May 9. [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
A man brandishing two knives has threatened police officers outside a Townsville service station.
Police say the agitated man was spotted at 8.30pm on Wednesday standing in the middle of busy Nathan Street with the knives.
When he refused to co-operate, officers coaxed the 28-year-old into the carpark of a nearby service station and used an electro-shock weapon against him twice.
He is facing four charges, including being armed with intent to cause fear and seriously assaulting police. [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
Task force finds Chicago Police Department plagued by racism [USA Today - 13/4/16]
A soldier has been jailed and will be booted from the army over a one-punch attack that left his victim with a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain.
South Australian District Court Judge Paul Cuthbertson handed down the five-month sentence on Mark Pawa Dransfield on Thursday.
Dransfield, 23, had previously pleaded guilty to recklessly causing serious harm in relation to the attack on Liam Sutcliffe in January 2015.
Mr Sutcliffe spent four days in intensive care and five days in a hospital neurological ward after the attack, which also sparked a seizure and left him nervous about going to public places such as hotels and clubs.
Judge Cuthbertson said it was not difficult to see that such a hard blow to the face of an unsuspecting victim would be likely to cause serious harm.
The judge accepted Dransfield did not intend to cause Mr Sutcliffe's injuries but said the victim was hit when he was not expecting it.
"It is not unknown for such a blow to cause a person to fall and hit his head and die," he said.
Judge Cuthbertson said Dransfield's 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment spoke highly of him as a soldier.
But he said the 23-year-old's conduct was not what was expected from a private in the Australian armed forces and he would lose his job as a result.
The defence force did not respond immediately to a request for comment. [Nine MSN - 14/4/16]
Former Townsville soldier awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to drug, fraud charges [ABC - 14/4/16]
A man has been charged following an escape incident at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this afternoon.
It will be alleged just after 4pm a man who was present in the court dock jumped from the dock and fled on foot from the court precinct. ... [QPS Media - 14/4/16]
A Queensland police officer has been stood down over allegations he accessed and released confidential information.
The 31-year-old constable, from the northern region, is the subject of an investigation concerning the alleged misconduct, the Queensland Police Service confirmed on Wednesday. [Brisbane Times - 13/4/16]
Two teenagers accused of running over a possum until its entrails were hanging out and sharing the grisly footage on Snapchat have appeared in a Queensland court.
Callum Gibson Mckenzie and Hunter Lawrence Jonasen, both 17, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday each charged with one count of serious animal cruelty. ... [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
A woman has been charged after she allegedly drove her car into a garage door at Coomera on Tuesday afternoon.
It is alleged around 4.30pm the woman drove to the Pearl Street address and confronted a 52-year-old man who she knows.
He asked her to leave, so she got into her vehicle and allegedly drove into the garage door and his ute, damaging both.
The woman also allegedly bit the man on his arm. Police arrived and arrested a 51-year-old Southport woman.
She has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, two counts of wilful damage, assault and drink driving.
She is due to face Southport Magistrates Court on April 24. [MYGC - 13/4/16]
Sanaya Sahib murder: mother charged with killing toddler in Melbourne [Guardian - 12/4/16]
Condell Park shooting: Debt dispute investigated as possible motive while family mourns [Sydney Morning Herald – 12/4/16]
A Brisbane couple have been committed to stand trial over allegations they sent their daughters to Africa for genital mutilation.
The man, 53, and his 42-year-old wife will appear in the Beenleigh District Court at a date to be decided.
Lawyers for the African-born parents, who cannot be named, on Wednesday requested the matter be committed to the higher court in the registry rather than in open court.
The couple are charged with removing their two daughters - aged 12 and nine at the time - from the state for female genital mutilation in 2015. [Yahoo - 13/4/16]
A 49-year-old man has been remanded in custody following a stabbing at Byron Bay’s Butler Street reserve on Sunday.
Anthony John Norris faced Tweed Heads local court yesterday charged with wounding with intent to cause harm.
Police were called to the Butler Street area just before midday after a 48-year old man was found with multiple stab wounds in the popular Byron Bay park.
Mr Norris has been refused bail and will face court again on June 21. [Tweed Shire Echo - 12/4/16]
High-profile NSW prisoner Christopher Anderson, who was jailed last week for killing his pregnant girlfriend, has been bashed after arriving at Long Bay jail. [VIDEO – Nine MSN – 11/4/16]
A Tax Office public servant, taken to hospital by ambulance after an "informal" coaching session with his boss went wrong, has won his fight for workers' compensation. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/4/16]
Man in serious condition after falling from ladder, Labrador [MYGC - 14/4/16]
Witnesses say man was speeding before car crashed onto Milton bikeway [ABC - 14/4/16]
A jogger in her 50s has suffered minor injuries after being hit by a car in Brisbane's north on Thursday morning - the third pedestrian struck in Queensland's south-east in just more than 12 hours.
The woman was running across Gympie Road, near the intersection of Kuran Street, when she was hit just before 6.15am, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said. ... [Brisbane Times - 14/4/16]
Man hit by car, Southport [MYGC - 14/4/16]
A man has died following a single vehicle traffic crash in Raceview this afternoon.
Preliminary information suggests a car travelling west on Jarrah Street stuck a male pedestrian at around 5:15pm.
A 31-year-old Raceview man was attended to by paramedics but was not able to be revived and was declared deceased at the scene.
The driver of the car was not injured in crash.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating. Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. [QPS Media - 13/4/16]
Perth cyclist, 56, seriously injured in hit-and-run: Hyundai Getz sought [WA Today – 13/4/16]
Police are appealing for public assistance in relation to a traffic incident on the Ipswich Motorway yesterday afternoon.
Around 5.40pm, a blue Toyota Prius was travelling inbound in the left hand lane along the motorway between Wacol and Darra when it is believed a black Yamaha motorcycle has driven alongside it.
The motorcycle then moved towards the vehicle and the rider has struck out with his foot, kicking the car’s side mirror causing it to break.
The motorcycle has then accelerated away from the vehicle at high speed through traffic and exited off the motorway onto the Centenary Highway.
The motorcyclist is described as Caucasian in appearance, approximately 175cm tall, wearing a black motorcycle helmet and a black jacket with white stripes.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information that may assist police investigations are asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. ... [QPS Media - 14/4/16]
Serious traffic crash, Bells Creek [QPS Media - 13/4/16]
An elderly man is believed to have died after crashing into a wall on Acanthus Avenue and the Lower Gold Coast Highway at Burleigh Heads. ... [Brisbane Times - 12/4/16]
Serious traffic crash, Dunmora [QPS Media - 12/4/16]
Police have charged a man this afternoon in relation to a fatal traffic crash at Koumala yesterday. ... [QPS Media - 11/4/16]
An investigation is underway after a motorcyclist died in a single-vehicle crash near Lismore on the weekend. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 11/4/16]
A 37-year-old-man was airlifted from McKinlay's Colwell Station to Mount Isa after severely injuring himself in a quad bike accident on April 9.
The man was mustering cattle without a helmet when he fell off and injured himself.
He sustained an injury to his right shoulder, suffered suspected neck and spinal injuries, as well as suspected abdominal injuries. ... [North West Star - 11/4/16]
Imagine driving at 135km/h past Parliament House at 2am on a Tuesday, leading police on a pursuit, failing to provide a valid licence, blaming your behaviour on a lack of antibiotics and getting away with it.
That's exactly what happened to one diplomat at the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia who used his immunity to escape a $1811 fine and six demerit points. ... [Brisbane Times - 10/4/16]
Queensland motorists are about to take another financial hit, with at least $60 to be added annually to the cost of compulsory third party insurance, as the government works to bring the state in line with a national scheme in place in every other state. ... [Brisbane Times - 13/4/16]
Man mauled by dog at Logan [MYGC - 12/4/16]
Nine primary school children have been taken to hospital after suffering a reaction to a chemical imbalance in a Gold Coast swimming pool.
The students, all aged around eight years, complained of itchy eyes and respiratory problems as a result of too much chlorine in the Southport pool.
The Queensland Ambulance Service says the chemical imbalance wasn't at a dangerous level and the children were transported to Gold Coast University Hospital as a precaution. [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
A 59-year-old female bushwalker who was reported missing in the Lamington National Park yesterday evening has been located safe and well.
The woman was reported missing around 11am after she went for a walk and failed to return to her accommodation.
She made her way out on foot around 6am this morning after spending the night on a walking track approximately half an hour’s walk from the guesthouse.
The woman was not injured as a result of the incident. ... [QPS Media - 13/4/16]
One of Queensland's wealthiest families has been hindered in its efforts to sue Channel Nine over a story it claims implied it was responsible for the flood deaths of 12 people.
Supreme Court Justice David Boddice on Thursday struck out key parts of a statement of claim relied upon by prominent businessman Denis Wagner and three of his brothers in a $15 million defamation case against Channel Nine, associated broadcasters and freelance journalist Nick Cater. ... [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
Plant-derived drug may stop multiple sclerosis in its tracks [UQ News – 11/4/16]
Medical establishment - and media - actively discourage Queenslanders from using their health system [Yahoo - 14/4/16]
Hundreds of patients on dialysis for serious kidney problems face significant charges if they travel to Australia on holiday or business.
A reciprocal health agreement between the countries specifies that New Zealanders are entitled to free acute care in emergencies, but not booked 'holiday dialysis', or 'away from home dialysis'.
Until recently the charges have largely not been imposed and Kiwis on dialysis in Australia for work or a holiday had received life-saving haemodialysis for free, and it is not clear why charges are being levied now. ... [RNZI - 14/4/16]
Privatise the profits, socialise the losses --> South Burnett council finds new operator to run Kingaroy private hospital [ABC - 12/4/16]
High Court case involving use of abortion as "deterrence" weapon against refugees continues - ongoing political and medical establishment silence = tacit approval of Australian violence against women [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/4/16]:
... The woman's lawyers filed an emergency injunction in the High Court last week preventing Australia from taking any action to have the woman's pregnancy terminated in PNG, or transferring her back to Nauru.
On Thursday, that case moved to the Federal Court.
Stephen Donaghue, QC, representing the Department of Immigration and Border Control and the Commonwealth of Australia, told the Federal Court that Australia could not be considered responsible for the woman's care.
"This plaintiff was found to be a refugee in Nauru about 18 months ago; she hasn't been detained ever since then, she's been living in the Nauruan community [and] she's been getting some level of services by way of medical services," Mr Donaghue said.
"She's not in any way, in our submission, under the control of the Commonwealth in the way that an immigration detainee traditionally should be.
"Having gone to PNG, she's not detained by the Commonwealth."
Mr Donaghue said the woman had signed a form agreeing to go to PNG for a termination, although this is disputed by her lawyers.
Barrister Ron Merkel, QC, told the court the woman had always made it clear she wanted to have her termination in Australia, as she would need specialist care and feared she might be prosecuted if she underwent an abortion in Port Moresby.
He said, Australia had assumed responsibility for S99's care when it transferred her to PNG.
Last year, the case of Abyan - a Somali woman also allegedly raped on Nauru - caused national outrage after she begged Australia for an abortion and was flown here after weeks of prevaricating, before being deported without having undergone the procedure after she asked for more time.
The High Court issued an emergency order last week that Australia not move S99 anywhere but to Australia, and not do anything that would cause her pregnancy to be terminated in PNG.
Justice Mordecai Bromberg extended that order, and set a trial date of April 28.
An asylum seeker who became pregnant after being raped in Nauru has won the right to give birth. ... [VIDEO - Yahoo - 14/1/16]
DUTTON LIED. AND NOT ONE AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION OR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION SAID ANYTHING. ----> 1/2 I can confirm that the offices of T.Plibersek/P. Wong/R. Marles/S Hanson-Young & the PM have all been contacted abt the #Abyan FOI docs
2/2 I am also waiting on comments allegedly made by Minister Dutton's spokesperson in relation to #Abyan to be emailed to me. #auspol "tweeted" by @KellieTranter [5/1/16]
How we were misled about Abyan’s case [Kellie Tranter - 30/12/15]
Westpac bank to exit Nauru after Pacific state gains entry into IMF, World Bank [ABC - 14/4/16]
#RefugeeLivesMatter #auspol #CloseTheCamps 26 days of protest on #Nauru
Stop the punishment of men women & children
Image: @PplJustLikeUs [14/4/16]
@rac_sydney [14/4/16]: Support the protesters on #Nauru – from Railway Square Sydney #CloseTheCamps #BringThemHere #LetThemStay
@rac_sydney [14/4/16]: Support from Railway Square for the men on #Manus Island seeking asylum #CloseTheCamps #BringThemHere
Granny “Without Borders” opens her house to refugees
[Keep Talking Greece - 12/4/16]
... And when you turn on the evening news
Mass confusion is the only thing you see
Well there's no question that we need a new direction
'Cause we all could use some peace and harmony
What you need's a little change of heart
Forget this fear and frustration
Love will always play the greater part
When your battles wear you down ...
'Love Will Save the Day' was the fifth single by American singer-songwriter Whitney Houston from her second multi-platinum studio album Whitney (1987). The single was released in July 1988 by Arista Records. "Love Will Save the Day" is the fastest-tempoed song on the album Whitney. Written by Toni C, produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez and featuring Roy Ayers ... [Wikipedia]
Australia extends hand of welcome to some, while punching others in the face ---> ... "China is Australia's most valuable tourism market. More than a million Chinese visited Australia last year (and) contributed A$8.3 billion to our economy," Turnbull said in Shanghai at the start of a trip to China.
Australia will make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit, trialing visa applications in a language other than English, in Chinese, online visa applications from China for the first time and trialing 10-year validity visas, he added. Eight student visa categories will also be reduced to two, Turnbull said. ... [Channel News Asia - 14/4/16]
"They just want to be safe and live a happy life": Kilcoy locals say let refugees from Bangladesh stay [AUDIO - ABC - 14/4/16]
We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped.
We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people.
But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative.
Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]
New species of Manus Island rat named after imprisoned refugees in solidarity gesture [Guardian – 14/4/16]
A mentally ill Sudanese asylum seeker, Sabir, has been discovered living in a cavern in Israel’s Negev desert, two kilometres from Holot detention facility where he had been imprisoned for two years. ... [One Soul In Holot - 5/4/16]
UN Victory in Assange Case: Decision has big implications for refugees and whistleblowers [Center for Constitutional Rights - 5/2/16]:
... In our briefs to the WGAD, we argued that someone is effectively detained when they are forced to choose between confinement and running the risk of persecution. That is the precise dilemma faced by Mr. Assange, who would lose the protection of his asylum if he stepped out of the embassy. The risk of extradition is the 'fourth wall' for the now repudiated claim that he is free to leave the embassy. As a result, it has been years since Mr. Assange has had access to proper medical care, sunlight, or the ability to see his family.
The WGAD's decision in Mr. Assange's case sets an important precedent for refugees. In our submissions we analogized the situation faced by Mr. Assange to that of asylum-seekers in detention facilities. States may claim that asylum-seekers held in subhuman conditions are not 'detained' because they are technically free to leave for their home country, but this is a non-choice, since the home country would persecute the asylum seeker.
The WGAD decision could mean that so-called 'open' facilities like the Israeli Holot, deep in an Israeli desert, and the Australian-run center in Nauru are legally equivalent to closed prisons.
This concept of detention builds on arguments already adopted by many sources of international law, including the European Court of Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and WGAD case law.
We expect this decision to be cited in future refugee detention challenges.
The decision is also resounding victory for freedom of expression as it recognizes that whistleblowers and publishers need protection, and acknowledges the coercive effect of an extradition threat. The WGAD announced today that the “Republic of Ecuador granted asylum because of Mr. Assange’s fear that if he was extradited to Sweden, he would be further extradited to the United States where he would face serious criminal charges for the peaceful exercise of his freedoms.”
The decision is a major milestone in the growing international consensus about the need to protect those who promote the publication of truth about government. Last October, the European Parliament voted to protect whistleblower Edward Snowden from extradition to the United States. That same month, the UN envoy charged with safeguarding free speech around the globe issued a report calling on governments to protect whistleblowers and confidential sources rather than punishing them. ...
Religious prejudice, not racism, main driver of intolerance towards asylum seekers [University of Melbourne Media Release - 10/3/16]:
Negative attitudes among Australian voters towards asylum seekers are driven by religious bigotry more than by racism or economic anxieties, according to a new University of Melbourne report released today.
But this does not translate to strong support for current hardline policies.
Dr Muller said he found participants were largely ignorant of the treaties Australia has signed, pledging to welcome asylum seekers and not subject them to cruel or degrading treatment.
“Voters rely on politicians and the media for their information, but there is no narrative about our legal obligations as a nation.”
“The use of terms like ‘illegals’ and ‘queue jumpers’ are widely accepted because people lack the knowledge with which to challenge them,” Dr Muller added. ...
Indian authorities have imposed a curfew in parts of Kashmir to stop fresh demonstrations following the killings of four people by Indian troops.
The latest death occured on Wednesday when a man was hit on his head by a tear gas shell fired by security forces in the northern village of Drugmulla in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said.
He was part of hundreds of rock-throwing protesters who clashed with government forces for a second straight day as authorities enforced a curfew in Srinagar, Handwara and neighboring villages.
"We imposed restrictions in the old town of Srinagar and in Handwara to prevent violence," director general of police, K Rajendra, told the AFP news agency.
A resident from Handwara told Al Jazeera that clashes continued throughout the day even as shops and schools were closed and streets deserted due to a security lockdown. ... [Al Jazeera - 14/4/16]
A car bomb attack on a security post in the Libyan city of Misrata on Wednesday left one dead and four wounded, local government and medical sources said. ... [Naharnet - 13/4/16]
Red Sea islands deal with Saudis needs only review by parliament, not referendum: Egypt MPs [Ahram - 13/4/16]
The deportation of nearly four dozen Taiwanese from Kenya to China, where they are being investigated over wire fraud allegations, is focusing new attention on Beijing's willingness to assert its sovereignty claim over Taiwan, and the leverage it wields over smaller nations in backing that position.
A Chinese spokesman said on Wednesday that under Chinese law, Beijing has jurisdiction in the case of the 45 Taiwanese because the victims of the crimes they are suspected of committing were Chinese. ... [Al Jazeera - 13/4/16]
Somalia: Man executed for journalists' killings [US News - 11/4/16]:
A former journalist who joined the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab was executed Monday by firing squad in Somalia's capital for the killings of five Somali journalists.
Hassan Hanafi Haji, who was extradited from Kenya last year on the request of the Somali government, was executed at a police academy in Mogadishu.
Firing squad is the only execution method in Somalia.
He was led out of a police van in chains before a crowd of journalists, many of whom remembered Haji with a degree of fear when he was media liaison to al-Shabab and was known to threaten journalists.
Haji was bound to a pole and closed his eyes in apparent fear as the firing squad marched in. He was then blindfolded.
Once the order was given, shots rang out randomly and Haji's bloody body dropped to the ground.
"Justice served -- it was his turn to taste the pain of death," said a Somali journalist who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
Medical workers then checked the body and prepared it for burial.
Haji often urged journalists to report according to al-Shabab's media rules, which included avoiding stories related to the group's military setbacks, and under his pressure many media outlets practiced self-censorship for security reasons.
Haji later led al-Shabab's media unit, inviting journalists to press conferences and giving them tours of battlefields.
Haji was one of the few suspects prosecuted by the Somali government despite years of criticism by rights groups who urged authorities to do more to end the killings of journalists.
Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. At least 18 Somali journalists were killed last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
It's not entirely clear who has been killing journalists. Al-Shabab rebels, warlords, criminals, and even government agents all could have reasons.
Marking two years since Boko Haram abducted 276 girls in Nigeria, a United Nations child rights envoy reiterated a call to bring them back, stressing that the international community must “be their voice” and help give children of Nigeria and the region the peaceful, stable lives they deserve. ... [UN Media Release - 13/4/16]
Fresh fighting drives displacement in eastern DR Congo [UNHCR Media Release - 13/4/16]
Every drone flown by the U.S. military has inside a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo--a valuable mineral, of which the DRC has trillions of dollars worth buried underground.
For five centuries, the continent of Africa has been ravaged by the world's Empires for its vast untapped treasure.
Today, the U.S. Empire is increasing it's military role through their massive command network, AFRICOM, carrying out several missions a day.
With the Congo being arguably the biggest prize for imperialist powers, Abby Martin is joined by Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to look at Empire's role in their history and current catastrophe. [VIDEO - teleSUR - 11/4/16]
Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rossetti
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
US launches $1 trillion upgrade to nuclear arsenal [Democracy Now - 13/4/16]
... Well, today we look at what role the U.S. should be playing in resettling refugees from Afghanistan. We’re joined now by Stanford University historian Robert Crews.
His recent piece for Foreign Policy is headlined "America’s Afghan Refugee Crisis."
He wrote, quote, "Over the decades, the United States has not only lacked the capacity to fix Afghan society, but has played an essential role in breaking it," end-quote.
He goes on to suggest the U.S. should fulfill its "historic, moral, and political responsibility" and enable the, quote, "mass resettlement of Afghan migrants here."
Robert Crews is director of Islamic Studies at Stanford University, author of several books, most recently, Afghan Modern: The History of a Global Nation. ... [Democracy Now - 13/4/16]
Taliban militants suffer casualties after attacking Kunar security posts [Khaama - 13/4/16]
Bus bombings kill at least 14 in Afghanistan: officials [Reuters – 11/4/16]
The assault by Afghan lawmaker on the face of Minister of Rural Development has sparked furor among the lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga. ... [Khaama - 13/4/16]
The Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday asked the government to brief the lower house of parliament on the peace process and recent remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry about the unity government deal. ... [Pajhwok - 13/4/16]
I am on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by US drones [Independent - 12/4/16]:
... I have been warned that Americans and their allies had me and others from the Peace Committee on their Kill List. I cannot name my sources, as they would find themselves targeted for trying to save my life. But it leaves me in no doubt that I am one of the hunted.
I soon began to park any vehicle far from my destination, to avoid making it a target. My friends began to decline my invitations, afraid that dinner might be interrupted by a missile.
I took to the habit of sleeping under the trees, well above my home, to avoid acting as a magnet of death for my whole family. But one night my youngest son, Hilal (then aged six), followed me out to the mountainside. He said that he, too, feared the droning engines at night. I tried to comfort him. I said that drones wouldn’t target children, but Hilal refused to believe me. He said that missiles had often killed children. It was then that I knew that I could not let them go on living like this.
I know the Americans think me an opponent of their drone wars. They are right; I am. Singling out people to assassinate, and killing nine of our innocent children for each person they target, is a crime of unspeakable proportions. Their policy is as foolish as it is criminal, as it radicalises the very people we are trying to calm down.
I am aware that the Americans and their allies think the Peace Committee is a front, and that we are merely creating a safe space for the Pakistan Taliban.
To this I say: you are wrong. You have never been to Waziristan, so how would you know?
The mantra that the West should not negotiate with “terrorists” is naive.
There has hardly ever been a time when terrorists have been brought back into the fold of society without negotiation.
Remember the IRA; once they tried to blow up your prime minister, and now they are in parliament.
It is always better to talk than to kill. ...
Pakistan’s dirty war in Balochistan: Army killed 35 people in cold blood in last three days [Balochwarna News – 12/4/16]
Protesters throw flares, clash with police, storm presidential HQ in Macedonian capital [RT - 13/4/16]
@Jeff_Raines [13/4/16]: One man left to be arrested at the sit-in! #DemocracySpring #BLMDS
Another hundred protesters found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday as the U.S. Capitol saw its third consecutive day of rallies against political corruption. ... [Courthouse News Service - 13/4/16]
Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers go on strike along East Coast [Democracy Now - 13/4/16]
An independent committee has found that the small Texas jail where Sandra Bland died needs better screening for medical and mental health issues, among other major suggestions for improvement. ... [ABC News - 13/4/16]
One person died and at least 11 were injured in a release of poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas at an apartment building near the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday, fire officials said.
Austin firefighters responded to a hazardous materials call from an apartment at the complex and found a man believed to be in his 20s dead at the scene, said Austin Fire Department Lieutenant Kevin Haas.
Haas said the initial investigation determined that the release of the chemical was deemed "an intentional act," and was being investigated as a suicide. ... [Reuters - 13/4/16]
... Peabody Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US as it struggles to repay $US10.1 billion in debt because of the plunge in coal prices.
Peabody said its 10 Australian mines in Queensland and New South Wales are not affected by the move and the Federal Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg, told AM he is confident that local workers would not lose their jobs. ... [ABC - 13/4/16]
Peabody bankruptcy: Will the community pay when fallout hits Australia? [Lock The Gate - 14/4/16]
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has agreed to pay $5.06 billion to settle claims that it misled mortgage bond investors during the financial crisis, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Monday. ... [Reuters - 12/4/16]
14 April 2016