Palestinian, 14, shot dead after alleged attack at Damascus Gate [Maan - 14/10/15]
Palestinian detainee dies in Israeli jail after suffering stroke [Maan - 14/10/15]
Israeli forces detained 21 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, local sources and the Israeli army said.
Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that Israeli troops detained nine Palestinians in the Hebron area after ransacking several homes. ... [Maan - 14/10/15]
US appeal court to hear Rasmea Odeh was denied fair trial [Electronic Intifada - 13/10/15]
At 11.29am on Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee crossed the Betunia checkpoint to enter Palestine from Israel to create history. He is the first Indian head of the state to reach to this conflict zone, which also has deep relations with India spanning over several decades.
Pranab’s visit to Palestine also assumes significance as it comes ahead of his two day visit to Israel, with whom India is trying to deepen its ties. India has a long history of relationship with Palestine, currently witnessing fresh violence with Israel, and President Mukherjee used the occasion to reiterate India’s commitment to an independent and viable Palestine. ... [Hindustan Times - 13/10/15]
Saudi airstrikes kill five more people in Yemen [Press TV- 14/10/15]
Prime Minister David Cameron will write to the Saudi Arabian government about a UK pensioner imprisoned for possessing alcohol, Downing Street has said.
It follows concern from the children of Karl Andree that the 74-year-old will receive 360 lashes for the crime. ... [BBC - 13/10/15]
UNHCR condemns attack on displaced in western Chad, pledges more help [Media Release - 13/10/15]
At least seven people were killed and an unspecified number injured on Wednesday in a blast in Pakistan's Punjab province, the police said.
The blast took place outside the election office of Sardar Amjad Farooq Khosa, an assembly member belonging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Party, in Punjab's Dera Ghazi Khan district, district police officer Khan Ghulam Mubashir Maiken said. ... [Khaleej Times - 14/10/15]
Afghanistan: Dozens of policemen under siege of Taliban in Farah’s Bala Buluk District [Khaama - 14/10/15]
The security personnel have recaptured Chardara and Qala-i-Zal districts of northern Kunduz province, inflicting heavy casualties on rebels, officials claimed on Wednesday.
The Chardara district was retaken on Tuesday night as a result of a joint military operation by Afghan and NATO forces, the provincial police chief said. ... [Pajhwok - 14/10/15]
Inside the MSF Hospital in Kunduz: An exclusive first look at the horrific aftermath of the US attack in northern Afghanistan [Foreign Policy - 13/10/15]:
… Walking through the roughly 40 rooms, bodies and remains lay scattered and, in most cases, alone. All but one of these bodies — or what was left of them — still in the facility were on the ground. Beneath one victim’s remains — otherwise indistinguishable but for a severed foot — were the white and pale blue squares of a hospital gown, almost completely intact. …
Combat report: Russian jets make 41 sorties against ISIS in Syria, cut off its arms supplies [RT - 14/10/15]
Washington has refused to receive a Russian military delegation, headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss coordinated action on the fight against terrorism in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. ... [RT - 14/10/15]
US, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [13/10/15]:
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.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber aircraft conducted three strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and two ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed an ISIL crude oil collection point.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed an ISIL crude oil collection point.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck two separate tactical units and destroyed six ISIL bunkers and two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Mosul, a strike suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL buildings, an ISIL sniper position, two separate ISIL command and control nodes, and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tactical vehicle, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
Carter: US, Australia are 'cornerstone' of peace, prosperity [US Department of Defense - 13/10/15]
@MSF_Sea [14/10/15]: “It is miserable there, there isn’t any safety, we had to go. I needed to bring them from hell.” - Riad, 63, #Syria
@MSF_Sea [14/10/15]: Adam, who @EduPonces nicknamed "Le Petit Prince", arrived in #Lesvos yesterday. His family flee violence in #Iraq
@MSF_Sea [13/10/15]: Being a young man does not protect you from bullets or bombs. Being a young man does not stop you becoming a #refugee
Some tips for the long-distance traveller, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad [London Review of Books - 8/10/15]:
... The blonde Greek belonged to a small gang of people working to subvert EU bureaucracy. They met in a room on the ground floor of a building still under construction in a village on the outskirts of Mytilene. The gang included a florist who spent her hard-earned cash on fuel so she could ferry women and children across the hills and into the town, two doctors who had volunteered to treat the new arrivals in the morning on the beaches and smuggle them into Mytilene at night under the cover of darkness, a coastguard official who worked in the main reception centre during the day and who in the evenings when he wasn’t playing volleyball would go out to help the migrants. The leader of the gang was an imposing priest with a chest-length white beard: Father Papastratis, who walked around dragging an oxygen bottle and tubes strapped to his nostrils. He was 58 but looked 70; he had hardly any use of his lungs and had had two strokes. He smoked an occasional cigarette when his son wasn’t looking. ...
Slovakia sends police to guard Hungary's border against migrants [Reuters - 14/10/15]
More Frontex is not the answer to the refugee crisis [Open Democracy - 2/10/15]
... In an interview, the high commissioner said the language surrounding the issue reminded him of the 1938 Evian conference, when countries including the US, the UK and Australia refused to take in substantial numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s annexation of Austria on the grounds that they would destabilise their societies and strain their economies.
Their reluctance, Zeid added, helped Hitler to conclude that extermination could be an alternative to deportation. ... Refugee rhetoric echoes 1938 summit before Holocaust, UN official warns [Guardian - 14/10/15]
Refugee rescue ship enters rough waters in Southeast Asia
After spending the summer rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean, a ship owned by an American millionaire will attempt to do the same in Southeast Asia.
But the Migrant Offshore Aid Station could find itself sailing into a sea of trouble in a region where rules governing the rights of migrants and refugees are harsher and less clear-cut than in Europe.
First of all, the MOAS crew face a conundrum they did not have to deal with in Europe: where to take the people they find adrift on rickety boats? Unlike European countries, most Southeast Asian nations have not signed the United Nations Convention on Refugees, which grants people the right to claim asylum.
The reticence of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to allow refugees and migrants to land became obvious earlier this year when thousands of people were left stranded at sea. They were Bangladeshis escaping poverty and ethnic Rohingya, a Muslim minority that lives under virtual apartheid in western Myanmar.
Thai and Malaysian authorities were investigating human smuggling and trafficking rings in early 2015 when they found jungle prisons along their shared border, and nearby graves containing the bodies of victims of traffickers. Hoping to avoid arrest in the subsequent crackdown, people smugglers and traffickers abandoned their boats, leaving at least 5,000 people adrift, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
In May, after initially pushing boats away from their territorial waters, Malaysia and Indonesia finally caved in to international pressure and agreed to accept some of the stranded refugees and migrants, but only provided they be resettled in another country within a year.
Contrast that situation with Europe. Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean are brought immediately to centres where they can receive medical attention and register their asylum claims.
It is unclear where MOAS plans to disembark any people it rescues in the Bay of Bengal or the Andaman Sea. Spokesman Chris Peregin declined to answer the question and did not respond to a second email.
“We are currently reaching out to all stakeholders in the region to discuss a way forward,” Peregin said, adding that “no other details can be made public at this stage”.
About 11,500 people have been rescued by MOAS in the Mediterranean, according to the organisation. The Malta-based initiative is the brainchild of Christopher Catrambone, an American entrepreneur who runs Tangiers Group, which does a booming business providing insurance to people working in conflict zones.
“You can’t just replicate the intervention in the Mediterranean here,” warned Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, which advocates for the rights of the Rohingya. “No country allows disembarkation.”
If MOAS does attempt to disembark people, the crew could find themselves facing legal consequences, according to Lewa.
“No vessel carrying migrants and refugees can just enter territorial waters without permission because they could be arrested for trafficking people,” she said.
Representatives from MOAS are scheduled to meet with humanitarian agencies tomorrow in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to discuss their plans.
Will MOAS find people to rescue? Again, the situation in Southeast Asia makes the mission more complicated.
“Once the monsoon rains subside, tens of thousands of Rohingya and others are expected to resume their dangerous sea crossings,” Catrambone said in a 23 September statement announcing his intention to expand the MOAS mission.
The monsoon season is now in its final throes. In past years sunny skies have heralded a mass migration by sea from the coasts of Myanmar’s Rakhine State and southern Bangladesh. According to UNHCR, more than 94,000 people have departed these areas by sea since January 2014.
There is no evidence yet of the start of a mass migration, which was already apparent by this time last year, said Jeff Labovitz, chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration in Thailand.
"I do think people will try to go on boats again at some time,” he said. “I don't think it's stopped, but it's not likely to be the big explosion of people we've seen for the past two years in particular."
This year the situation has changed as a crackdown has – at least for now – driven people smugglers and traffickers underground. In addition to that, and the fact that the nations in question are not signatories to the Refugee Convention, there are further differences to migration patterns in the Mediterranean.
The distances people must travel by sea are much further in Southeast Asia. There is no “staging ground” like Libya, where people can go to make money to pay for the voyage, and the migration is not growing as it did in Europe with huge numbers of people escaping civil war in Syria.
Another major factor that could cut down on migration from Bangladesh is a labour agreement currently being negotiated with Malaysia, which is expected to accept half a million migrants from that country each year for three years.
"That would make redundant the need for people to go on the boats,” said Labovitz of IOM. "I think it's a very positive thing."
Myanmar, however, remains a wildcard. The results of an election scheduled for next month could create a push factor for Rohingya. While Rohingya were allowed to vote in previous elections, they have been disenfranchised this year.
Nationalist ethnic Rakhine parties will almost definitely sweep the elections in Rakhine State. That could be bad news for Rohingya, almost 140,000 of whom remain in displacement camps after being forced from their homes by mobs of Buddhists during two bouts of sectarian violence in 2012.
“The election is a significant event that could trigger a mass movement of Rohingya,” said Lewa.
Interior Ministry: Rohingya refugee exiled from Nauru to Cambodia by Australia and the IOM "probably" returned to Myanmar by now [Cambodia Daily - 14/10/15]
Two Muslim Rohingya refugees have volunteered to resettle in Cambodia as part of a controversial deal in which Australia has promised to pay more than U.S. $40 million in costs and aid to the Southeast Asian country for taking refugees off its hands, a Cambodian government official said Tuesday. ... [RFA - 13/10/15]
US engineering firm returns to Myanmar [The Nation - 14/10/15]
Bumrungrad Hospital Pcl, Thailand's second largest healthcare provider by market value, said on Wednesday it received a business permit from the Myanmar Investment Commission to operate a private clinic and diagnostic services in Myanmar. ... [Reuters - 14/10/15]
The planned upcoming deportation of Montagnard asylum seekers back to Vietnam will include 13 already recognised as refugees in March unless the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) can find a third country to resettle them, the UNHCR and a refugee advocate said yesterday.
Sopheak [Interior Ministry spokesman] said he was hopeful the UNHCR would find them somewhere to live. He cited the UNHCR’s efforts to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis as evidence more could be done.
“There is no way that the UNHCR cannot find a third country for them if they have the will,” he said.
“How can they discriminate between the Montagnard and refugees from the Middle East? They are the same. They are human beings.”
“How can they receive 10,000 refugees from the Middle East but refuse 13 Montagnards from Vietnam?” he added, refusing to explain why Cambodia could not take the group themselves. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 10/10/15]
Tamil refugee in India goes on hunger strike calling for release of his wife [Tamil Guardian - 14/10/15]
Voyage of the St. Louis [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]
Turner Classic Movies:
Based on a chilling real-life incident from the early days of World War II, Voyage of the Damned (1976) told the dramatic story of a shipload of European Jews expelled from Hitler's Germany who sailed across the Atlantic in 1939 in a quest to gain asylum in Havana, Cuba, and eventually the United States.
What they found when they arrived was a shocking and ultimately deadly slap-in-the-face that still reverberates today, nearly seventy years later.
The ship was the SS St. Louis, out of Hamburg, and the voyage was actually a Nazi-crafted ruse straight from the warped mind of propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
The Nazis knew that the U.S. would be reluctant to offer sanctuary to the passengers, therefore the Nazi policy of persecution would be validated and the world would accept their heinous treatment of Germany's Jewish citizens. ...
When your integrity is questioned by the PR Institute of Australia you know you've gone pretty low
... Another working day has ended
only the rush hour hell to face
packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
contestants in a suicidal race ...
'Synchronicity II', Police 
PRIA statement on information released about alleged Nauru victim
The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has received enquiries regarding the release of personal details by a PR consultancy of an alleged victim of abuse in Nauru.
While this is an international matter and currently under investigation by authorities, the ethical implications deserve a direct response.
PRIA strongly condemns the distribution and publication of any material that involves an invasion of privacy for any individual. The release of personal information that causes harm or distress to any person is strictly in breach of our Code of Ethics which binds our members to adherence of agreed standards of behaviour. Members are required to provide a written commitment to the Code upon joining and again annually, when memberships are renewed.
There are prescribed procedures for receiving and investigating claims of Member breaches of the code by the Ethics Committee and sanctions. Any member of the community who feels that a breach of the PRIA Code of Ethics has occurred should lodge a formal complaint to the PRIA Ethics Committee by emailing the Honorary Secretary, Arthur E Delbridge AM LFPRIA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this case however, the individuals and consultancy are not PRIA members and are therefore not bound by our Code of Ethics. This incident reinforces the requirement for the highest standards in communication to be applied and PRIA encourages qualified practitioners to consider the benefits of Membership and join us in upholding these standards.
We are concerned at all times that the Australian law and codes of conduct in relation to privacy, judicial and health matters are clearly understood and respected. PRIA accredited university courses and professional development programs constantly reinforce best practice and work with all types of organisations including media, health and legal institutions.
... Al Jazeera says it will continue to try and contact the Nauru government for clarification so it can visit the island. [RNZI - 14/10/15]
Nauru government bans all media visits from country [Al Jazeera - 14/10/15]
Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru [14/10/15]:
Wendy's first step has to been to apply for a visa to travel to Nauru.
As the purpose is journalism, she has been upfront about that.
We hope they agree!
We'll keep you up to date with what comes next.
Another Senate Inquiry into Australia's refugee concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru [RNZI - 9/10/15]:
The Australian Senate is to conduct another inquiry into the offshore detention of asylum seekers, which is designed to protect whistleblowers.
Workers in camps such as those on Nauru and Manus Island could face up to two years in jail under the Border Force Act if they disclose information about the centres.
The Greens' immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young says the inquiry will use the powers of the Parliament to give protection to concerned detention centre workers who feel they need to speak out.
Earlier inquiries and reports have found evidence of violence and abuse against asylum seekers as well as inadequate medical care and high levels of trauma.
Ms Hanson-Young says the veil of secrecy that hangs over the detention camps has to be lifted in order to make them safe.
The ALP is beyond reform, but Melissa Parkes and Anna Burke shamelessly continue to use the misery of refugees for their own PR [Yahoo - 13/10/15]:
Two Labor MPs will make another attempt to change the opposition's asylum-seeker policy, calling for an end to indefinite detention.
West Australian MP Melissa Parke and former Speaker Anna Burke have put a motion on the notice paper to be debated at next Tuesday's gathering of caucus.
A similar motion the pair proposed last year was rejected by their colleagues.
… Meanwhile I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that Labor for Refugees is balking at putting the motion on turnbacks this afternoon.
Labor for Refugees actually set this whole torturous debate in motion by making it known some time back that this issue would be pursued at the national conference.
Given the factional balance at this conference, it was entirely possible that a motion prohibiting turnbacks could succeed. There was support on the left, and from elements of the right.
Bizarre, this semi retreat at the eleventh hour.
No sooner had the Giles/Watt motion been agreed to then Labor for Refugees (brackets, question mark) has raised objections to the motion being put at all – according to party sources.
As they say in the classics, go figure.
New Matilda lays bare Labor for Refugees' shallow cynicism [New Matilda - 24/7/15]:
... Speaking to New Matilda today, Co-Convenor of Labor for Refugees Shane Prince, refused to confirm whether the group would even move a motion calling on the party to take an anti-turn back stand.
Instead, Prince argued that as turn backs were a breach of international law the party platform was in fact already opposed to them. The draft platform prepared for the conference says Labor will treat asylum seekers in accordance with Australia’s international obligations.
“Something we have to weigh up is whether we have to move such a motion to make something abundantly clear which we say is already abundantly clear,” Prince said.
“We’re not in the business of moving motions just for the sake of doing it. What we do not want to do, for obvious reasons, is to move a motion that then fails.
“Because that will confuse the party, it will lead to internal divisions on an ongoing basis, and it will be used as an argument to say that the platform allows turn backs and we say it doesn’t. We don’t want division within the party.” ...
Christians occupy Prime Minister's electoral office, call for asylum seekers to be released into the community and offshore detention centres to be shut down
Love Makes A Way [14/10/15]:
UPDATE: The Police directed the group to leave at 1:30pm.
We had earlier agreed to leave voluntarily at this point as a sign that we want to give Mr Turnbull a chance to seize this opportunity to put an end to the national shame of offshore detention.
We also made it clear that Mr Turnbull needs to move quickly from words to actions.
The protesters were thanked by police and the building manager for the calm and peaceful manner in which they conducted the occupation.
A group of 25 Christians are currently engaged in a peaceful occupation of the Edgecliff electoral office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The group is part of the ‘Love Makes a Way’ movement calling for all asylum seekers to be released into the Australian community, and for the toxic detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island to be shut down.
The group is appealing to the PM to make good on recent comments he has made in which he expressed concern about asylum seekers “languishing” in offshore detention centres.
Mr Turnbull has previously acknowledged that the government’s asylum seeker policy is “cruel” and “harsh”, and has stated that no one wants children in detention.
“We are here to welcome Mr Turnbull as our new Prime Minister, and to call on him to finally do something about the inhumane practice of mandatory detention, especially of children,” said Justin Whelan, speaking for the group.
Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister continues his quest to narrow the definition of "refugee"
Asylum seekers wanting protection could soon face bigger obstacles as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton moves to tighten requirements for complementary protection.
Mr Dutton has tabled a bill to strengthen rules for people who are not refugees as described in the Migration Act but cannot be returned to their home country due to "real risk" of certain types of harm.
The Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2015 seeks to rule out protection for people who face a "generalised" risk, can change their behaviour and can relocate to a safer part of their home country.
Tabling the bill this morning, Mr Dutton described it as the final instalment of a series of legislation designed to meet election promises on immigration.
He said the claimed threats must relate to the entire country, meaning people would not be granted protection if they could relocate to a safer part of their home country, and that any threat must be personally targeted.
"Complementary protection is only available where the real risk of significant harm is faced by a person personally, rather than being an indiscriminate risk of harm faced by the population in the receiving country generally," he said.
Mr Dutton said the existence of a consistent pattern of mass violation of human rights would not meet the threshold, though some exceptions may be possible if such circumstances "crystallise" into a personal risk.
People will also be denied protection if they can "take reasonable steps" to modify their behaviour, unless that behaviour is "fundamental" to their identity.
Mr Dutton said a number of people had previously met the requirement for complementary protection on grounds such as "selling adult movies and drinking or supplying alcohol in countries that punish those activities".
"The Government did not intend for such cases to be covered by legislation," he said.
"In tightening the various tests that determine whether there is a real risk, this bill will diminish the likelihood of such persons being granted Australia's protection."
Comment has been sought from Labor's immigration
spokesman Richard Marles and Greens spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young.
Australian media keeps playing along with bogus "handpicked non-Muslim Syrian refugees who don't come by boat" charade ---> ... Downstairs, one family with a file is sitting in a small interview room surrounded by posters warning in Arabic not to trust people smugglers. ... [West Australian - 14/10/15]
Abused women struggling to find shelter
West Australian [14/10/15]:
Corporations and property developers must chip in to help get women out of abusive relationships and into safe accommodation, the head of a Brisbane-based charity says.
Karen Lyon Reid is the chief executive of The Lady Musgrave Trust, which provides shelter to young women and children on the cusp of homelessness.
With the organisation's 130th anniversary approaching, she says it's shameful there's still not enough accommodation to safely house all the women in need, and corporations should consider sponsoring property loans and developers donating units to help resolve a backlog.
Gable Tostee to stand trial for murder of New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright [Brisbane Times - 14/10/15]
Murdered Brisbane chef Peter Milos had a cocktail of drugs in his system when he was found bludgeoned to death, a court has heard.
James Thomas Howell, an associate of Mr Milos, was on Wednesday committed to stand trial in the Queensland Supreme Court over the 2014 murder. ... [Yahoo - 14/10/15]
Cannabis crop located, Lowmead [QPS Media - 14/10/15]
Steroid seizure, Sherwood [QPS Media - 13/10/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Camira [QPS Media - 14/10/15]
Armed robbery, Northgate [QPS Media - 13/10/15]
Public warning regarding fake ATO scam
QPS Media - 13/10/15]:
Police are warning members of the public to be vigilant following reports of a phone scam operating in parts of the Gold Coast.
In one of the scams a man has been calling people stating that they owe the Australian Taxation Office money and if they do not pay immediately their house will be seized.
It is timely to remind members of the public that the Australian Taxation Office does not solicit any payments over the phone and this is a scam.
To ensure you do not become a victim of fraud, it is essential you remain alert and be aware that government businesses like the ATO do not operate in this manner.
For further information on how to stay safe, visit the Queensland Police Service website or www.scamwatch.gov.au for updated scam information.
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.
Two Victorians have been charged over the alleged production of counterfeit $50 notes in north Queensland, police say. ... [ABC - 14/10/15]
According to Gold Coast District Intelligence, there has been a recent rise and trend emerging on the Gold Coast District, in relation to the theft of unsecured motorcycles and mopeds. ... [QPS Media - 14/10/15]
Update: serious traffic incident, Townsville
QPS Media [13/10/15]:
A 53-year-old man has died following being struck by a vehicle in Townsville in July 2015.
The man was running across Flinders Street around 10.30pm on July 18 at the intersection of Fletcher Street when he was hit by a car.
He was transported to the Townsville Hospital in a critical condition but has died as a result of his injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit continue to investigate.
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.
Fatal traffic crash, Marlborough [QPS Media - 13/10/15]:
Police are investigating a double fatal traffic that occurred south of Marlborough this afternoon.
Around 1.45pm, a car and a truck collided on the Bruce Highway around 2kms out of Marlborough.
A man in his teens and a man in his 40s have both died as a result of the crash.
The highway was closed for a number of hours, but has since re-opened.
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.
Perth garbage truck death was accidental [West Australian - 14/10/15]
A Melbourne man suffered fatal stab wounds before being found in his crashed car in the city's north this afternoon.
Homicide detectives are now investigating the death, but said emergency services were initially called to the intersection of Daley and Widford Streets, Glenroy, just before 12.30pm after reports of a car crash.
The sole occupant of the car died a short time later from suspected stab wounds. ... [Nine MSN - 14/10/15]
Man chased with hand saw during alleged road rage attack on M1 [MYGC - 13/10/15]
Gold Coast police officer faces court on assault charges
A member of the Gold Coast’s senior police task force has faced court over allegations he used excessive force during arrests.
Senior Constable Aaron Minns, 29, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with four counts of common assault.
It’s alleged he used excessive force during the arrests of four people between September 2014 and January this year while he was a member of the Rapid Action Policing squad, the same group filmed in the TV show Gold Coast Cops.
He was stood down from frontline duty in March and suspended from the police service last month.
Minns sat quietly in the courtroom where he did not enter a plea.
His case was adjourned to November 18.
The charges follow a spate of excessive force allegations against Gold Coast police, which has lead to an investigation into police culture across the region.
Last month the state government announced a new review into claims of police brutality and sent a senior ethical standards investigator to oversee operations in the region.
A Gold Coast police officer who allegedly bashed four civilians will remain on bail after a court hearing in Brisbane. ... [ABC - 14/10/15]
Man charged following dangerous, resource wasting, class and race based police pursuit, Hemmant
QPS Media [13/10/15]:
Detectives have charged a man following an incident on Geranium Street in Hemmant at about 1.50am this morning.
It will be alleged when police attempted to intercept a vehicle travelling along Geranium Street that the driver of the other vehicle accelerated at the police vehicle, colliding with it and causing damage to both vehicles.
Police will further allege the vehicle continued to accelerate in an attempt to push the police vehicle out of the way.
A man was subsequently taken into custody.
No one was injured during the incident.
A 21-year-old man from Yamanto has been charged with one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, stealing, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving an uninsured vehicle, driving whilst disqualified and driving a vehicle with incorrect number plates.
He is due to appear in Wynnum Magistrates Court today.
Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle charge, Springwood [QPS Media - 13/10/15]:
Detectives have charged a man following an incident on Magellan Drive in Springwood overnight.
At around 8.15pm police attended a complex in relation to another matter.
Police will allege when they entered the complex a man attempted to accelerate out of the driveway, colliding with and damaging two police vehicles.
A man was subsequently taken into custody.
Police will further allege a search of the vehicle located a set of knuckledusters.
No one was injured during the incident.
A 23-year-old Logan Central man has been charged with one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, driving a motor vehicle without a licence, failing to stop, possessing utensils or pipes, possessing anything for use in the commission of a crime, receiving tainted property, unlawful possession of a weapon category M and two counts each of wilful damage of police property and possession of dangerous drugs.
He is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court today.
Queensland auditor slams accuracy of automated speed cameras
IT News [13/10/15]:
The Queensland Audit Office has criticised the accuracy of the automatic number plate recognition cameras used by the state's police force, finding they only correctly clocked offences in 19 percent of cases.
ANPR technology is used to identify vehicles that aren’t registered, owners of registered vehicles who don’t have a valid Queensland drivers license, stolen vehicles, and those suspected of being involved in an offence.
In its report, [pdf] the QAO found that, on average, cameras issued as part of the so-called ENACT project were accurate in only 19.1 percent of cases.
The high failure rate was attributed to problems in the character recognition software, which struggles to identify the differences between similar-looking letters, such as O and Q.
The report also warned that the number of false positive reads, where a number plate on an unregistered vehicle is mistaken for a registered vehicle, was unknown.
An additional problem, the auditor said, is that the Department of Transport and Main Roads is behind schedule on the integration of key back-end systems.
It cited the lack of interoperability between TMR's transport registration and integrated licensing system (TRAILS) database and the ANPR system.
This means issuing tickets for offences caught using one of the 12 ANPR cameras requires the manual intervention of an officer.
The report noted while this integration was specified in an implementation plan from October 2014, it has still not been rolled out.
Delays in the project has meant the rollout of the cameras by Queensland Police has been placed on ice, the auditor wrote.
"Until this integration occurs, the ability for police to intercept unregistered and uninsured vehicles is less than under the previous system, where a registration label was required to be displayed."
The ANPR issues have been compounded by poor quality film used in older analog cameras and difficulties reading some customised number plates, meaning many speeding motorists are never fined.
QAO also noted that while 14 mobile ANPR cameras were supposed to have been rolled out by October 2014, only one was in operation. The remainder went live six months later.
The hold-up was attributed to a number of issues, including difficulty installing cameras and a lack of wi-fi interoperability.
Queensland Police first announced plans to put at least one automatic number plate recognition box in the state's eight police regions by mid-2012 in 2011, purchasing its first units from vendor Aspect. Similar technology had previously been rolled out in Victoria.
With its original contract set to expire in April next year, Queensland Police issued a tender for the further rollout of ANPR systems earlier this year.
The tender documents specified standalone ANPR systems and accompanying back office software that can be used with any installed in-vehicle hardware.
Queensland Police also specified a minimum accuracy rate of 95 percent, and asked for the system to be able to support the interrogation of a database containing at least 6 million number plates.
A three-pronged approach of parole system review, tailored substance abuse rehabilitation and stable accommodation is needed to help break a vicious cycle for prisoners with mental illness.
Unless that occurs, University of Queensland School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work expert Dr Michelle Denton says the current system for transitioning back into society is set up for failure. ... [UQ News - 9/10/15]
Indictments filed against 15 Confederate Flag supporters, Waco bikers released [Democracy Now - 13/10/15]:
And in the Atlanta suburb of Douglasville, Georgia, the district attorney has won indictments against 15 Confederate flag supporters on charges of making terroristic threats and participating in "criminal gang activity."
The unusual move comes after a group of African-American partygoers said members of the white group, which calls itself Respect the Flag, threatened them with a crowbar and other weapons and yelled racial slurs.
Meanwhile, in Texas, all of the more than 170 bikers rounded up and detained following a mass gang shooting in May outside a Waco restaurant have been released.
Five months after nine people were killed in the shooting, none of the bikers has been charged with the murders, and only 22 remain on ankle monitoring.
Eyewitnesses say police randomly fired at Waco bikers [Motorcycle Profiling Project - 13/10/15]
Texas university students in dildo protest over gun law [BBC - 12/10/15]
New Zealand High
Court finds Trade Minister acted unlawfully in way he rejected requests for info
regarding TPP negotiations
The High Court in Wellington has found Trade Minister Tim Groser acted unlawfully in the way he rejected requests for information about Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.
Jane Kelsey, a long-time critic of the TPP, had requested documents related to the negotiations, but Mr Groser rejected her request.
Justice Collins found the minister did not properly follow the Official Information Act in reaching his decision to reject Prof Kelsey's request.
"When the minister refused Professor Kelsey's request neither he nor his officials assessed each piece of information requested against the criteria in the Act for withholding official information.
"Instead, the minister adopted a "blanket approach" to the request based upon his knowledge of the categories of documents requested by Professor Kelsey. I have concluded this approach did not comply with the Act."
Justice Collins quashed Mr Groser's decision in relation to six of the categories of documents requested, saying they would have to be reconsidered.
"When the minister reconsiders his decision he will be required to do so in a way that is consistent with his obligations under the Act."
Trade ministers from the 12 countries involved in the negotiations reached a deal on the TPP early last week and Prof Kelsey said it was cold comfort the minister would have to revisit the request.
"His unlawful approach in circumventing the Official Information Act appears to have achieved its goal.
"Nevertheless, the minister should now release at least some documents that can help inform the debate on the TPPA."
She said the court's judgement did have a longer term benefit.
"It sends a message to this minister and his colleagues in the executive that their legal obligations under the Act cannot be flouted just because they are politically inconvenient, and that people are prepared to challenge them if they do."
Prof Kelsey said the judgement also raised serious questions about the failure of the Chief Ombudsman to hold the minister to account.
Apple loses patent lawsuit to University of Wisconsin, faces hefty damages [Reuters - 13/10/15]
The Lismore City Council last night sent another strong message to mining company Metgasco …. ‘you’re not welcome’.
A majority of councillors backed a motion from deputy mayor Simon Clough to refuse the mining company access to council-owned roads. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 14/10/15]
A global coral bleaching event expected to heavily impact the Great Barrier Reef has been confirmed by scientists from The University of Queensland and the National Ocean Atmospheric Administration.
UQ Global Change Institute Director and Chief Scientist for the XL Catlin Seaview Survey, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said it was too soon to predict the full extent of damage on the Great Barrier Reef, as this was only the third recorded global coral bleaching event in history.
The bleaching event, expected to hit the GBR in early 2016, is being driven by the warming effects of El Niño on land and ocean temperatures, which combine with the impacts of climate change. ... [UQ News - 8/10/15]
Back in 1990, as the debate over climate change was heating up, a dissident shareholder petitioned the board of Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil companies, imploring it to develop a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its production plants and facilities.
The board’s response: Exxon had studied the science of global warming and concluded it was too murky to warrant action. The company’s “examination of the issue supports the conclusions that the facts today and the projection of future effects are very unclear.”
Yet in the far northern regions of Canada’s Arctic frontier, researchers and engineers at Exxon and Imperial Oil were quietly incorporating climate change projections into the company’s planning and closely studying how to adapt the company’s Arctic operations to a warming planet. ... [LA Times - 9/10/15[
‘Banned’ Australian lawyer arrives back in PNG
PNG Loop [13/10/15]:
Australian lawyer Gregory Egan returned into the
country just after 11 am today after the National Court lifted a travel ban on
himself and another lawyer, Terrence Lambert
Lambert is yet to return to the country.
Reporters flocked to the empty Jacksons International airport to get an interview with the lawyer who made headlines the past month.
“Papua New Guinea is a very blessed country and I am glad to be back,” was all he said on arrival outside the terminal.
His return to PNG was heralded this morning by a notice from Jema Lawyers to the PNG media informing that Mr Egan would be making a media statement on arrival.
His return comes after a travel ban notice was issued, dated September 8, by the Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura to direct both local and international aircraft not to fly the two lawyers into the country.
The National Court on October 8 ordered the lifting of the ban pending a judicial review
Turkey bans rally by activists mourning colleagues
Turkish authorities on Tuesday banned a protest rally and march by trade union and civic society activists who lost friends and colleagues in Turkey's bloodiest terror attack, but hundreds of people defiantly gathered for the protest.
The two suicide bombings on Saturday came amid political uncertainty in the country — just weeks before Turkey's Nov. 1 election which is in effect a re-run of an inconclusive June election. The bombings raised fears that the NATO country, a candidate for European Union membership, may be heading toward a period of instability.
The blasts have further polarized Turkey as it grapples with more than 2 million refugees and tries to avoid being drawn into the chaos in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
Dogan news agency video footage on Tuesday showed police pushing back a group of demonstrators trying to reach the rally to commemorate the 97 victims of the two blasts.
Plain-clothed police pushed at least two demonstrators to the ground and detained them.
"Our brothers were killed! What are you doing?" a woman demonstrator was heard shouting.
The Istanbul governor banned the protest citing "sensitivities at this time" and because the routes demonstrators planned to march along were heavily used by the public.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said the Islamic State group was the main focus of the investigation.
Authorities said Saturday's attacks bore similarities with a suicide bombing that killed 33 activists at a town near the border with Syria in July.
No one has claimed responsibility for Saturday's explosions that also wounded hundreds.
The bombers likely infiltrated Turkey from a neighboring country, according to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus. He said several arrests were made in connection to the attacks but did not elaborate.
As with previous terror probes, authorities imposed "partial secrecy" on the investigation which even restricts defense lawyers' access to information. The government has also banned the publication of images of the aftermath of the attack.
In Ankara, some 200 students held a brief sit-in at Ankara University's faculty of political science to commemorate the victims.
The youngest was 9-year-old Veysel Atilgan, who died in an explosion outside Ankara's main train station, along with his father. He was buried on Monday following an emotional ceremony at his school.
The city is on edge following the blasts and on Tuesday, police detonated a suspicious bag found near the station's VIP lounge, hours after Davutoglu visited the site to lay carnations in respect to the victims. The bag, however, contained food.
Okinawa's governor revokes approval for land-fill work needed for relocation of US base
Channel News Asia [13/10/15]:
There was a fresh setback Tuesday (Oct 13) to the Japanese government's plan to relocate the controversial US air base in Okinawa, with the prefecture's governor revoking an approval for land-fill work, needed for the relocation of the Futenma base.
Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga opposes the government's plan to move the air-base to the Henoko region of the island.
He voided approval after work in Henoko resumed last month following a month-long delay, saying that "defects" had been found in the approval given by his predecessor in 2013.
"We will do our best to fulfil my promise not to build a new base in Henoko," Onaga told a news conference in Okinawa.
Work in Henoko, a rural coastal district in central Okinawa chosen for the replacement facility, is only in the initial stages with crews setting up sea floats and a makeshift bridge necessary for landfill work.
The base is currently located in the more densely populated city of Ginowan, but that has raised opposition from the public, with many arguing it places a large burden on their prefecture.
The reasons for the opposition are also steeped in history, according to Dr William Choong from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (Asia).
"There's the politics of identity; Okinawans don't see themselves as 100 per cent Japanese. And we see the 1945 legacy, one quarter of the Okinawan population died during the American invasion," he said.
"Also currently we see Okinawa, which has less than one per cent of the Japanese land mass bearing the burden of 75 per cent of US forces in Japan. And for the people it's a major disruption."
Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 US service personnel stationed in Japan as part of the two countries' defence alliance, a proportion many islanders say is too high.
The relocation is part of a broader US-Japan military agreement but Governor Onaga, who won the election last year on his anti-base stand and has accused Prime Minister Abe of looking down on the island, wants the US airbase shifted out of Okinawa altogether.
"The Tokyo government will throw the book at Mr Onaga and will start a legal process to try and get the works restarted. In Japan, when you start the legal process it could take months or years before you get any form of resolution," Dr Choong said.
"We are in uncharted waters, we are going to see far more protests around US bases in Okinawa, and see the relationship between Tokyo and Okinawa go into a really irreparable status," he added.
The base issue has sparked widespread sympathy around Japan and could further weaken support for Mr Abe.
The government forced the bills through the lower house of parliament in July despite massive protests.
More than half of people polled on the issue oppose the bills, which would allow Japan's armed forces to defend an ally
Chelsea Manning sues FBI over access to records in WikiLeaks case [Chicago Tribune - 13/10/15]
14 October 2015