Graziers struggling with debt in drought-declared North Queensland have lashed out and broken down in front of visiting politicians and economists.
The Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce met about 40 farmers in Ayr on Thursday to discuss what some called "criminal" and "disgraceful" behaviour by banks.
"You will starve — the whole country will starve" if governments do not "pull their heads in" and bail out the industry, one man warned.
Another said he was forced to eat sandwiches every day because he could not afford anything else and was offended by the catered spread at the meeting.
The gathering heard some lenders were devaluing properties across the region by up to 30 per cent, forcing graziers to pay higher interest rates because the loans were now considered higher risk.
Taskforce chairman and Mount Isa MP Rob Katter again argued the Queensland Government should set up its own bank to takeover loans from private lenders. ... [ABC - 14/1/16]
Underground coalminers feel let down by the system amid fears more workers could be diagnosed with the potentially deadly black lung disease in Queensland, a mining union says.
Five cases have been confirmed in the state, indicating pneumoconiosis had re-emerged for the first time at Australian coalmines in three decades.
The irreversible condition, caused by long term exposure to coal dust, has been found in nine people and more cases are expected to be diagnosed.
Jason Hill, from the mining division of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), is worried that cases may have gone unnoticed when medical checks were carried out and that workers feel let down by the system. ... [Guardian - 14/1/16]
Double fatal traffic crash, Chinchilla [QPS Media - 14/1/16]
Nelani Koefer's mother suing for almost $1.5m over Bedford Weir death in central Queensland [ABC - 14/1/16]
A NSW man has been extradited to Queensland to face charges related to a brutal home invasion on the Gold Coast.
It's alleged the 32-year-old man seriously assaulted and robbed a Helensvale resident on September 1 last year, taking a quantity of jewellery and cash.
He's expected to face Southport Magistrates Court on Friday on charges including burglary, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty. [Yahoo - 14/1/16]
Accused killer Gable Tostee has been convicted but not further punished over a drink-driving charge in a Queensland court. ... [Yahoo - 14/1/16]
Queensland police are searching for a man they say held a teenager in a headlock and punched him repeatedly in Brisbane's inner city.
One person is already in custody charged with assaulting a 19-year-old man who was knocked unconscious after trying to break up a fight at a taxi rank in Fortitude Valley about 2am on Thursday. ... [Yahoo - 14/1/16]
15-year-old thought crime suspect granted bail after Supreme Court appeal [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/1/16]:
A 15-year-old terrorism suspect has been granted bail by a Supreme Court judge because of the boy's deteriorating mental health in prison.
The boy, who appeared before court via video link on Thursday, was the the youngest of five Sydney males arrested on December 10 after police counter-terrorism raids.
One of those arrested as part of Operation Appleby last December. The five were charged with conspiracy to prepare a terrorist act and each faces life in prison if convicted.
The boy, from Georges Hall in Sydney's west, was refused bail in December, a decision that was affirmed in a Children's Court review that month.
The police prosecutor at the first bail hearing said the boy's phone was found to contain images of Islamic State propaganda after it was seized in raids the December before. The boy had also allegedly used code words in discussing firearms in text messages.
"I'm going to get to paradise through banana," the boy allegedly said to a man now in prison facing the same terrorism conspiracy charge.
His fingerprints were allegedly found on plans seized in the December 2014 raids.
Justice Michael Adams on Thursday found the boy posed a "slight" risk to the community.
"The problem is posed by the extremist ideology which underlies these charges, the disregard of that ideology for the rights of ordinary people to go about their lives without fear," he said.
But he noted the boy's youth at the time of the alleged conspiracy and his lack of contact with his co-accused.
"It's a significant feature of his case that he was involved with and I suspect inveigled by much older persons with whom he has not had contact for a year and it is possible to ensure he does not have contact with again," he said.
Justice Adams found there was a risk the boy's mental health would continue to decline in jail because of the detention itself, rather than a lack of care.
He granted bail on the condition the boy wear an electronic tracking bracelet and only leave home accompanied by his mother or father.
This was after submissions by police in an affidavit that they lacked the resources to properly monitor such a bracelet.
The boy was also required to report daily to a police station, obey a curfew and have no access to the internet.
His family will forfeit a $750,000 surety plus $100,000 in cash if he breaks any bail conditions.
On hearing the decision, members of the family cried and clasped hands.
The boy's father pointed his finger in the air as he smiled at his son on the video screen.
The boy will next appear before court in February.
Three men facing charges over the murder of police employee Curtis Cheng at Parramatta have also been charged with being members of a terrorist organisation.
Mr Cheng was shot dead by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar outside NSW police headquarters in October.
Jabar was killed when police officers returned fire.
It was later revealed the teenager had been radicalised and his attack has been linked to terrorism.
Today, the NSW Joint Counter-Terrorism Team charged Talal Alameddine, 23, Mustafa Dirani, 22, and Raban Alou, 18, with being members of a terrorist organisation.
The Australian Federal Police and NSW Police have declined to name the organisation.
The men are currently in custody at a Goulburn jail having been previously charged with offences relating to Mr Cheng's murder.
Dirani is also charged with knowingly participate in the supply of a pistol and knowingly participate in a criminal group.
He is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court tomorrow.
Alameddine is also charged with knowingly participate in a criminal group, supply pistol to an unauthorised person, acquire pistol contrary to a Firearm Prohibition Order and hinder discovery of evidence.
Police said Alou had previously been charged with aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of a terrorist act.
Alou and Alameddine are due to appear in court next month.
All three have had bail refused. [ABC - 13/1/16]
Logan bookseller set to face court [Yahoo - 14/1/16]:
A southeast Queensland man charged with terror-related offences is set to face a Brisbane court.
Agim Kruezi, 23, is facing seven charges over allegations he stockpiled weapons in preparation for a terrorist act in Australia, was preparing for incursions into war-torn Syria, and recruited people to join that fight.
His case is due to be mentioned in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday morning. Kruezi was arrested along with 32-year-old Omar Succarieh during counter-terrorism raids in Brisbane and Logan in September 2014.
Succarieh, a former Islamic Centre bookstore owner, is also on remand after he was last month committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court.
He is facing three charges over allegations he helped arrange for Kruezi to join the fight in Syria and sent money to aid the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group.
A date has not yet been set for his trial.
Brisbane Times [23/1/15]:
Court documents have revealed how an undercover police officer infiltrated a Logan Islamic bookstore community, gaining the trust of three members who were later charged with terrorism offences.
The Australian Federal Police agent known as UCO317656 met Omar Succarieh, Agim Kruezi and Robert Louis Maestracci in June 2014 at the iQraa Islamic Centre, according to material filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week.
iQraa, which was run by Mr Succarieh, was raided on September 10 last year by AFP anti-terrorism police. [Following a Murdoch beatup.]
FBI informant exposes sting operation targeting innocent Americans in new
"(T)ERROR" documentary [Democracy Now – 20/4/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: They were apartment neighbors.
LYRIC R. CABRAL [Directors of (T)ERROR]: They weren’t neighbors. Tarik actually didn’t live in the brownstone, but he frequently played music gigs in Harlem, and so he would stop by a lot, just because it was a—you know, the FBI had engineered this environment so that it was comfortable for him, so that he would have a place that was available late at night after he would get off of a gig. And so, ultimately, Saeed used this child support need that Tarik had—he owed about $70,000—and said, "Well, you know, if you use your martial arts service in service of 'al-Qaeda,'" quote-unquote, "we can get you $70,000. I can get your passport back."
AMY GOODMAN: So, Stephen Downs, explain ultimately what happened to Tarik, what he was charged with.
STEPHEN DOWNS [Attorney]: Well, he was charged with material support for terrorism, for essentially, I suppose, nothing more than, in a kind of a scripted plot—or not a scripted plot, but a scripted play by the FBI, he took some sort of an oath to al-Qaeda that he would treat al-Qaeda soldiers if they were injured somehow, or would train them in martial arts. And I think the request was: Would you train al-Qaeda soldiers? And he said, "I’ll train anybody. I’m a martial arts instructor." And that was essentially the—for what he was convicted of. ...
Al Jazeera Investigates - Informants [VIDEO – 20/7/14]:
Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit takes you inside the shadowy world of FBI informants and counterterrorism sting operations. Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI set about to recruit a network of more than 15,000 informants.
Al Jazeera's investigative film tells the stories of three paid FBI informants who posed as Muslims as they searched for people interested in joining violent plots concocted by the FBI.
Freeport Indonesia offers stake to government at $1.7 billion - energy ministry
official [Reuters - 14/1/16]
Jakarta Globe [14/1/16]:
Police say they have arrested four people and killed three others believed to have been responsible for a series of explosions and gunfire in the downtown Sarinah area of Central Jakarta on Thursday, but confusion abounds about the true number of perpetrators and victims.
In a Facebook post, the National Police said there were a total of seven perpetrators, three of whom had been shot dead and four “incapacitated and arrested.”
They also said that reports that the assailants were heavily armed and riding motorcycles were not true.
The statement, however, contradicts an earlier claim by the police that the series of explosions in the area included blasts triggered by four suicide bombers.
In a separate statement, National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan said there were five attackers, two of whom were killed in suicide bombings.
Police have also been less than clear about the explosions, at one point calling them grenade blasts, before saying they were suicide bombings.
Budi, in his statement, said they were grenades.
There is still a lot of confusion about the number of perpetrators and the death toll in the aftermath of the explosions, which started at 10:50 a.m. in the parking lot outside the Starbucks coffee shop at the Skyline building (referred to variously in the local media as the Cakrawala building and the Djakarta Theater building), on the intersection of Jalan M.H. Thamrin and Jalan K.H. Wahid Hasyim.
The area is more popularly known as the Sarinah area, for the department store next to the Skyline building and right in front of the police post.
A series of six more explosions followed, including at the police post at the intersection.
Police arriving at the scene then exchanged gunfire with the perpetrators, at least two of whom hid out in the Cakrawala building, according to police.
Budi claimed they were killed in a shootout with police, although reports suggest they were among those said to have been incapacitated and arrested.
Meanwhile, the number of victims is also in dispute. In the immediate aftermath of the blasts, witnesses said they saw at least six bodies in the area, although it is now known which of them may have been the suicide bombers. Initial reports said three police officers, from the police post, were killed.
At least nine people were injured, including a Dutch national, according to a list published by officials at Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Central Jakarta. The eight other people on the list are Indonesians, two of them police officers.
Details about the attack remain scant and conflicting, but the Jakarta Globe will continue to update the story as more information comes in.
Sarinah bombings and shootings [Jakarta Globe - 14/1/16]
Iran, Indonesia foreign ministers consult on regional issues [IRNA - 13/1/16]
Ciara Meyer stood directly behind her father as he raised a .223-caliber rifle and pointed it at the chest of a constable who'd come to serve an eviction notice at their apartment.
The constable responded with a single shot. That bullet went through the arm of 57-year-old Donald Meyer and into his 12-year-old daughter, Ciara, killing her.
Meyer now faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person, according to a Pennsylvania State Police report.
He was flown to Hershey Medical Center for treatment after Monday's shooting in Perry County. ... [CNN - 13/1/16]
Terror attacks continue across Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [13/1/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, 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, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL building.
-- Near Ayn Isa, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed an ISIL excavator and an ISIL oil booster pump generator.
-- Near Manbij, one strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Tal Abayad, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Kisik, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL bunkers, an ISIL-used tunnel, eight ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL supply cache and six ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL headquarters building, an ISIL weapons storage facility, an ISIL security headquarters building, and an ISIL-used bridge, and destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node and nine ISIL fighting positions and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker, an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL vehicle and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
Special US targeting force 'now in place' in Iraq: US Defense Secretary [Reuters - 13/1/16]
Syrian army makes new gains in key provinces [FARS News Agency 13/1/16]
@MSF_Sea [14/1/16]: It's 8 am and 13 boats have already arrived to #Lesvos. The @Greenpeace @MSF team is in for a busy day...
Seven refugees have been found dead in the western Turkish province of Izmir late on Wednesday.
Local people found six bodies in the Seferihisar district before calling the Turkish gendarmerie; local security forces at the scene confirmed that the six people had drowned.
Meanwhile, another person was found dead in Izmir's Menderes district.
Gendarmes have launched an investigation. It is believed that the refugees were trying to reach nearby Greek islands but drowned in the attempt. ... [Anadolu Agency - 13/1/16]
France: Calais refugees vow to peacefully defy eviction of "Jungle" camp [Democracy Now - 13/1/16]
The Danish government has officially extended its temporary border controls on the German-Danish border until February 3. The integration minister, Inger Støjberg, confirmed the news at a noon press conference. ... [Copenhagen Post - 13/1/16]
... At 1400GMT, parliament started to debate a raft of proposals on changing immigration laws, including a measure that would allow the authorities to confiscate all valuables belonging to refugees worth over 10,000 Danish crowns ($1,450), and then use them to pay for the refugee's stay.
The proposal has been condemned by international media as well as the United Nations refugee agency.
"It is very odiously reminiscent of the German past -- leave the valuables and go to the showers," Derek Beach, an associate professor in political science at Aarhus university. ... [Reuters - 13/1/16]
Australia pushes refugees back to sea because there is no opposition, and the media are failing us. @ItMissionUNNY [12/1/16]: 2015 saw a dramatic migratory emergency. Italy answered with solidarity, rescuing over 50% of central #Med crossings
Australia pushes refugees back to sea because the human rights establishment, aid agencies and professional associations are spineless sellouts.
@ItalianNavy [13/1/16]: #SAR Nave Aliseo #MarinaMilitare: tre soccorsi per un totale di 337 migranti recuperati, di cui 8 donne e 2 minori
@ItalianNavy [13/1/16]: #UltimOra #SAR Nave Aliseo #MarinaMilitare è intervenuta in soccorso di un terzo gommone recuperando 124 migranti.
@ItalianNavy [13/1/16]: #UltimOra #SAR Nave Aliseo #MarinaMilitare è intervenuta su due gommoni recuperando oltre 200 migranti
@ItalianNavy [13/1/16]: #UltimOra #SAR Nave Spica #MarinaMilitare soccorre gommone in difficoltà con 116 migranti a bordo, di cui 42 minori
... After the central Mediterranean ‘sailing season’ for migrants ended in the autumn of 2015, MOAS repositioned the MY Phoenix to the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
From January to May 2016 the vessel will monitor and assist with rescues along this south-east Asian sea route. ... [MOAS]
Stay where you are and accept your fate: Obama visits Malaysian refugee centre to handpick a miniscule number of refugees and check on how US subversion of UN Refugee Convention is progressing in South East Asia [LA Times - 21/11/15]
... 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. ...
... Goledzinowski [Australia’s ambassador for people smuggling issues, Andrew Goledzinowski] said resettlement was raised during the Bangkok meeting on 29 May.
“All who spoke on resettlement said that this was not a durable solution for the Rohingya problem and that it would constitute a pull factor,” he told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday.
“The UNHCR was the most articulate on this point.”
He engaged in bilateral meetings with representatives from some of the other 16 countries in attendance, and is adamant that at least one will seek further briefings on adopting Australia’s key asylum seeker measures.
“We also were able to talk a little bit about our own experiences during operation sovereign borders where we’ve been very successful in disrupting people trafficking and smuggling networks,” Goledzinowski said.
... 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. ...
... But it should not wait until bodies are washed up on foreign beaches before it is spurred to action.
And nor should Australia reserve its help for those fleeing conflict in distant wars. Its first duty should be to those who face death and persecution in its own region.
There are both practical and moral reasons for this. Practically, it is faster and more effective to provide sanctuary to those closer to home and to repatriate those who wish to return when it is safe to do so.
Morally, it is Australia’s neighbours to whom it owes its first duty of assistance. ... Catherine Renshaw [The Conversation – 9/9/15]
Imagine if Peter Greste expressed solidarity with journalists incarcerated in Australian refugee concentration camps ...
Consider what we are doing to these people, who are innocent of any offence, and ask yourself whether this can be justified ... [Solitary confinement in Manus detention - Julian Burnside - 12/12/15]
Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist and an honorary member of PEN International, writes from Manus Island, where he has been interned for 29 months [AIM - 10/12/15]:
... During the big non-violent hunger strike in January 2015, ERT guards rushed and attacked the camps without reason taking dozens of hungry refugees to the island’s CIS prison. They forced refugees onto the ground, turning hands and manacles tightly. Many of us carry the physical pain and effects of those hand cuffs. Many of us still speak of the violence enacted upon us en route from the camp to prison.
Many still talk about an Iranian man who was slapped in the face by ERT guards in the bus.
We could see no reason as to why he should be hit, especially as his hands were fastened by handcuffs. We could see, however, that he was hit in an attempt to humiliate him in front of others as the ERT believed that he had directed the hunger strike.
After 10 days of being held in the small CIS prison we were transferred to the bigger Charlie prison, part of Australia’s Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island.
It was with exultation and pride that these guards punished us there.
One of the duties of the ERT is to enter the camps all of a sudden with cameras attached to their bellies and push their way into our rooms to search our belongings. They search everywhere, inspect everything closely. If someone objects he is cruelly carried to Chauka. Sometimes they search our bodies in addition to our baggage.
One day they tried to strip one of the Iranian refugees of his clothes but when facing the other refugee’s objections they turned back.
Once they forced ‘A’, an Iranian man, onto the ground in front of our eyes and then took him behind a wall to hit him. The ERT despised ‘A’. Although he complained to company managers about this violence he received no response or reply. When our human rights are broken by this force on this island where there is no legal counsel, attorney or lawyer, the only option is to complain to the company managers. We know there will be no reply, investigation or resolution.
Between Foxtrot and Mike compounds in Manus Camp there is a place called the Green zone. It is a remote place familiar to the ERT.
Green Zone has two rooms surrounded by fences. It is a place where refugees who have objected to their bad situations are forcibly imprisoned by ERT. Prior to the Green Zone there was Chauka. Chauka was 300 metres outside of the original camp in a ruined place. Chauka was as terrible as the Green Zone now is. Many men have been humiliated and beaten there far from the world’s eyes.
Chauka was closed as a result of pressure by human rights’ organisations but Green zone is still active.
When I was in the Foxtrot camp, groans and cries of miserable, homeless human beings broke the dark silence of the island.
Once I climbed up a big tree to attempt to see why the people were crying. Looking down I saw a very distressing scene. A thin boy who suffers from psychological problems had fallen into the ooze and slime near the fence. I could not tell if he was conscious. His beaten face was clear under the weak lamp light. He lay like a foetus in the uterus. His clothes were ragged and scruffy.
Four ERT guards were sitting on chairs just beyond where he lay watching his bloody body. One of them caressed the prisoner’s body with a thin piece of wood in his hands.
Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea, Fariba Sahraei [VIDEO – BBC – 18/2/15]:
... "Imagine a large and real cage in the most isolated island, surrounded by ocean and jungle and tall coconut trees," says Omid, a 25-year-old Iranian.
"No doubt our prison is the most beautiful prison in the world."
Omid is not exaggerating. Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is small and rugged, covered in thick jungle, and the coastline is stunning.
It's home to around 50,000 islanders - but also to about 1,000 detained asylum seekers who never wanted to be here and are mostly desperate to get out and go anywhere except back where they came from.
Until mid-2013, Omid was a journalist in Iran. He fled the country under the threat of arrest, paying traffickers a small fortune to take him to Australia.
Like many asylum seekers setting off from Indonesia, Omid headed for Christmas Island, a tiny Australian territory much closer than the mainland.
Despite reaching Australian borders, he was relocated to an overcrowded detention centre on Manus Island, where he has been stuck for the last 18 months.
This is our dream and dreams about my friends
Image: @nagaveeran1 [12/1/16]
Jamal is free after two years on Nauru and one year on Christmas Island!
Jay Williams [14/1/16]:
Thanks everyone for the well wishes - but I was an insignificant member of a very talented team including Julian Burnside QC, George Newhouse and Emma Stephens and the brave and courageous whistleblowers - who worked tirelessly on this matter and others.
Of course, the true hero and champion is Jamal - his humility and resolve is inspirational and the true villain is the Australian government who should have process his claim within 6 months according to law instead of forcibly deporting Jamal to a third world country and detaining him arbitrarily and indefinitely in in torturous, inhuman and degrading conditions without access to the courts or his legal representatives - taking three precious years from his life for no good reason.
Ultimately the law failed Jamal - I failed Jamal - we failed Jamal - make no mistake this is one of the darkest episodes in Australian history!
As Australia continues pushing refugees away, imprisoning and torturing them, Canada welcomes 10,000th Syrian refugee [Middle East Eye - 13/1/16]:
Canada has welcomed its 10,000th Syrian refugee, the government announced on Wednesday, although almost two weeks behind schedule and far fewer than it had originally planned to resettle by now.
A plane carrying asylum seekers landed in Toronto late on Tuesday, putting the number of arrivals at 10,121 since November, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals took office.
In a statement, Immigration Minister John McCallum called it a "significant milestone" on the way to meeting the Liberal's overall pledge to take in 25,000 Syrians. ...
A federal court in Tucson, Arizona held that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must answer allegations of horrific conditions experienced by individuals in Tucson Sector detention facilities (a.k.a. “hieleras”) along the southern border.
In decisions handed down on January 11, the court decided that the case, Doe V. Johnson, may proceed as a class action (i.e., the court “certified” the class) and rejected the government’s motion to dismiss.
CBP had strenuously urged the court to dismiss the case even before plaintiffs had the chance to prove their claims.
In the decision certifying the class, the court held that the three plaintiffs who filed the suit represent thousands of immigrants who have been and will continue to be denied basic necessities in CBP detention. ... [American Immigration Council - 13/1/16]
Guantanamo is run by psychologists with the sole purpose of destroying the human beings it holds, Shaker Aamer told RT in an exclusive interview.
The US prison camp, from which he was released in October, is starting its 15th year of work.
“Guantanamo is being run by one concept: how to destroy a human being,” Aamer, who regained his freedom on October 30 of last year after being held at Gitmo without charge since 2002, said. ... [VIDEO - RT - 11/1/16]
Police have arrested an Australian, identified as Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis, 70, for the alleged sexual abuse of children in Bali.
Ellis is believed to be part of an international pedophile ring.
Bali Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Heri Wiyanto said Ellis, who has been living in Indonesia for more than 10 years, was arrested on Monday evening at his rented house in Selemadeg Timur subdistrict, Tabanan Regency. ... [Jakarta Post - 13/1/16]
New Zealand government confirms plans to sign TPP in Auckland next month [RNZI - 13/1/16]
In the latest salvo over Panama Canal construction payments, the contractor consortium for the project faces criminal charges in a complaint filed by the vice president of Panama's National Bar Association.
Association VP Juan Carlos Arauz told media service EFE that “we're asking for an investigation into the possible defrauding of the nation's resources” in consortium GUPC's claims of $3.5 billion in cost overruns. ... [The Maritime Executive - 12/1/16]
Hundreds of workers from the Agile Sweater factory in Kampong Speu province gathered in front of the provincial court yesterday, praying for authorities to release five unionists arrested at the factory on Tuesday. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 14/1/16]
Police have been deployed to guard a beleaguered Muslim school for young women in a predominantly Cham community in Tbong Khmum province, amid ongoing attacks against the facility by unknown assailants, and death threats against educators, officials said on Wednesday.
Since late last month, the assailants have taken to throwing “rocks and bags of feces” over the wall surrounding the school compound in Kroch Chhmar district’s Trea commune, according to deputy district police chief Ouk Pov. ... [Cambodia Daily - 14/1/16]
Khmer Rouge tribunal: Survivor of Cham massacre testifies [Phnom Penh Post - 14/1/16]:
... According to So, about a dozen armed cadres were guarding the structure, and as her group approached, they were sharpening their knives and taunting the prisoners, saying, “Tonight we have a lot of big pigs so we need to sharpen our knives.”
Once detained inside, So continued, the women were tied up with pieces of cloth and interrogated about whether they were Khmer, Cham or mixed.
“I gave the answer that I was Khmer to save my life,” she said, adding that the women were sorted based on their responses.
The 20 who said they were Cham or mixed were taken outside, while So and about 10 others remained with her bound in darkness.
That night, So was able to see the killings through a 3-centimetre hole in one of the window boards.
“They ordered those people to stand close to the pits, and they were killed and fell down into the pits,” she said.
“It was a full-moon night, so I could see and there were no trees blocking my view.” ...
... Rohingya refugee children are in an uncertain future in Bangladesh.
In 1992 about 2,75,000 Rohingyas escaped persecution from Arakan state of Burma and sheltered in 18 camps in Bangladesh and they were registered as refugee by UNHCR.
Later, in 1994 repatriation of the refugees started to Burma where the situation was not conducive and the human rights violation was continued.
About 2,54,000 refugees were pushed back from 1994 to 2003.
After those refugees’ repatriation to Burma about 21, 000 refugees remained in two camps, Kutupalong and Nayapara under Cox’s Bazar district and rest of the 16 camps closed. ... [Burma Times - 11/1/16]
Rohingya escape Phang Nga "shelter" again [Phuket Gazette - 11/1/16]
Australian city unites to save Tamil family from deportation [Tamil Guardian - 13/1/16]:
The city of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia has banded together to help save a Tamil family from being deported to Sri Lanka, reports The Border Mail.
Hundreds of people attended a rally at Alfred Deakin Place to demand Neelavannan Paramanathan, his wife Suganthini and their three children are not deported back to Sri Lanka, where they face the risk of human rights abuses.
“There are children, families and people from all over Victoria at this gathering who just want assurances that this family will be safe,” said rally organiser and refugee advocate Kath Morton.
Alongside her was Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates who said the family was “involved in voluntary work and in their school communities” and “just really loved by the people who know them”.
"It's time the government showed humility," said Rural Australians for Refugees member Cathie Bond.
See more from The Border Mail here.
The rally comes a week after the International Truth and Justice Project: Sri Lanka (ITJP) documented the testimonies of twenty Tamil torture survivors who had escaped Sri Lanka to four different countries after seeking asylum.
See more in our earlier post: Systemic torture and rape oppressing Tamils under new Sri Lanka government (05 Jan 2016)
South Korea fired warning shots on Wednesday near an "unidentified flying object" over its border with North Korea, a military official told Reuters, while a news agency said it was a suspected North Korean drone.
The object returned to the northern side of the border following the warning shots, the official at South Korea's joint chiefs of staff told Reuters.
The South's Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korean forces fired about 20 machinegun rounds at the suspected North Korean drone.
The official declined to say how many shots were fired. [Reuters - 13/1/16]
Afghanistan: 10-year-old girl commits suicide in Ghor province [Khaama - 13/1/16]
Seven security officials and three attackers were killed and another 11 people were wounded on Wednesday morning following a suicide attack and a gun-battle that lasted four hours near the Pakistani consulate in eastern Nangarhar province.
Local officials said the injured included a Pakistani diplomat, three civilians and seven security personnel.
The health condition of all of the wounded was called stable.
The suicide attack took place at around 9am in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, the governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Earlier today, Khogyani said two civilians had also been killed and another two wounded in the attack. ... [Pajhwok - 13/1/16]
Helmand suicide car bomber killed before reaching target [TOLO News - 13/1/16]
A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people, most of them police, outside a polio eradication center in Pakistan's western city of Quetta on Wednesday, police said following the latest militant attack on the anti-polio campaign in the country.
The bomb ripped through a police van that had just arrived at the center to provide an escort for vaccination workers engaged in a drive to immunize all children under five years old in the underdeveloped western province of Balochistan. ... [Reuters - 13/1/16]
Strongly condemning the recent attacks against a major power plant in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country said today he is “deeply shocked by these actions that directly affect civilian life,” and warned that such “ignoble” attacks may amount to war crimes.
In a statement the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator of the UN in Libya, Ali Al-Za’tari, expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. ... [Media Release - 12/1/16]
British forces helping direct Saudi airstrikes in Yemen: UK minister [Middle East Eye - 12/1/16]
Iran has released a video showing the moment ten US sailors were arrested after drifting into the country's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
The video was released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on Wednesday, hours after the US sailors were released by Tehran.
The footage shows weapons seized by Iranian officers, including assault rifles and light machine guns, along with belts of ammunition. ... [Press TV - 13/1/16]
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Indonesia would maintain its neutrality as it strived to diffuse Iranian-Saudi Arabian tensions and bring a message of peace to the two rival countries.
Retno departed for the Middle East on Tuesday to personally convey President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s message to the respective leaders.
Without mentioning which country she would visit first, Retno said her priority was to coordinate with her counterparts as soon as she arrived at the respective capital.
She highlighted that Indonesia’s stance was neutral and said it was crystal clear that Indonesia had a good relationship with both countries. ... [Jakarta Post - 13/1/16]
President Barack Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah met for around five minutes at a military base near Washington on Wednesday, hoping to quash suggestions of a White House snub of the monarch.Before hitting the road to sell his State of the Union address in Nebraska, Obama met Abdullah in the VIP lounge of Joint Base Andrews. ... [Middle East Eye - 13/1/16]
An Israeli aircraft attacked a group of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday who the military said planned to detonate a bomb at the border with Israel, and a Palestinian militant faction said one of its men was killed. ... [Yahoo - 13/1/16]
Palestinian killed, 3 injured by Israeli artillery fire in Gaza Strip [Maan - 13/1/16]
Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon shot dead two Palestinians at the Beit Einun junction northeast of Hebron, alleging that one intended to carry out a stabbing attack while the other had driven him there.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian "armed with a knife" after he attempted to stab soldiers stationed at the junction.
Locals later identified the Palestinian as 23-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Khalil Kawazba from the nearby village of Sair.
They said that they tried to reach his body, but Israeli forces prevented anyone from reaching the scene.
A second Palestinian, identified as 17-year-old Adnan Hamid al-Mashni from the village of Shayoukh, was shot and fatally wounded at the same time while driving near the junction. ... [Maan - 12/1/16]
The pension board of the United Methodist Church — one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States, with more than seven million members — has placed five Israeli banks on a list of companies that it will not invest in for human rights reasons, the board said in a statement on Tuesday.
It appeared to be the first time that a pension fund of a large American church had taken such a step regarding the Israeli banks, which help finance settlement construction in what most of the world considers illegally occupied Palestinian territories. ... [New York Times - 12/1/16]
12 dead in Cameroon mosque suicide blast: security sources [Yahoo - 13/1/16]
Turkey said it had killed 12 PKK fighters in a raid Sunday in the Kurdish city of Van, but Kurdish groups insisted the Special Operations Forces had stormed a home and massacred civilians. ... [RUDAW - 10/1/16]
The Michigan county already reeling from lead-contaminated drinking water in the city of Flint has seen a spike of Legionnaires' disease resulting in 10 deaths that may or may not be related to the water crisis, officials said on Wednesday.
Genesee County, which includes Flint, had 87 cases of Legionnaires' from June 2014 to November 2015.
State officials told a news conference they could not conclude that the increase was due to a switch in the source of Flint's water. ... [Reuters - 13/1/16]
NYC: Protesters target Bill Clinton over conditions in Haiti 6 years after earthquake [Democracy Now - 13/1/16]
Stop forgetting ----> The Truth Game 
14 January 2016