Bella Ciao 

(For Peace And Freedom)



'Violin Lessons', Arnold Zable [The Text Publishing Company – 2011]:


So it continued, day after day, dawn to dusk, week after week. Autumn was giving way to winter. The first snows were falling, the picking season was coming to an end, and Thomas was away on an errand. We lit a fire, passed round the grappa, and stamped our feet to keep warm while the fire was building. And, as if responding to an innate signal, the voices of the women began rising – a makeshift choir finding its way to the melody and, finally, the lyrics:

One morning when I awakened

O bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

One morning when I awakened

I found invaders all around

Oh partisan, come take me with you

O bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

Oh partisan, come take me with you

Because I feel ready to die

If I die fighting as a partisan

O bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

If I die fighting as a partisan

You must come and bury me

To this day I remember the expressions on the women's faces: the knowing eye, the acute sharpness, tempered by a glint of mischief, a touch of radiance. The women had been steeled during the war in mountain hideouts, and on clandestine missions as partisans in the anti-fascist resistance. They were at ease with the physical world, their feet firmly planted on the earth, an anchor to their yearning. The moved through their days step by step like slow whirling dervishes, biding their time, conserving energy, and by nightfall they were on the truck fr the journey back to the workers' quarters.

A blessed weariness descended. The women huddled together, murmuring in conversation. Gil and Idir were dozing. Miro and Issen lying back in silence, cigarette butts glowing, and Paolo was seated between them, holding his knees to his chest, staring blankly. The moon had broken clear, and seemed to close we were tempted to reach up and touch it. We lay back on the tray, our eyes diverted by a flock of birds in V-formation embarking on their annual migrations.



… If Australia, as an advanced and democratic country, fails in its international obligation towards refugees, this opens the floodgates for other countries to do the same. Abdul Karim Hekmat [The Age - 14/12/14]





THE HAGUE: Vigil in Remembrance of Reza Berati and in Solidarity With Asylum Seekers Detained on Manus Island:

As part of a wave of international protest, we are holding this candle light vigil outside the Australian Embassy in the Hague, in solidarity with asylum seekers illegally detained by the Australian Government in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and in remembrance of Reza Berati killed during riots one year ago.

Earlier in 2015, asylum seekers in the Australian Government-managed detention center held a large scale hunger strike in protest against Australian plans to permanently settle refugees in PNG - one of the least resourced nations in the Asia Pacific. Up to 700 detainees are reported to have participated in the protest, which was violently shut down by security guards.

We stand in solidarity with this protest against the ongoing, illegal, and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian Government, and with all those seeking asylum in Australia.

We stand on the 17th of February along with numerous actions and protests held simultaneously throughout Australia on the one-year anniversary of the death of Reza Berati when a PNG mobile squad, detention staff and locals launched an attack on the refugees held in the Manus Island detention centre

This vigil aims to let people inhumanely detained in Australia, Nauru, and PNG know that Australians overseas and international communities stand in solidarity with them and call for them to be settled in Australia.

We call for Manus Island detention centre to be closed down and for an end to immigration detention.

Bring candles & signs.

Please share this invitation.

5.30-6.30pm, Tuesday 17 February

Carnegielaan 4, 2517 KH Den Haag






Tuesday 17 February, Melbourne


One year ago, PNG mobile squad, detention staff and locals launched an attack on the refugees held in the Manus Island detention centre, and killed Reza Barati. The attack left others with slit throats, lost eyes, and countless injuries and trauma. To date, no one has yet been convicted for his murder. Reza Barati was the first victim of Australia's offshore detention hell.

Speakers: Reza Yarahmadi (Iranian refugee); Arnold Zable (writer and human rights activist). 5:30pm. State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City. Organised by Refugee Action Collective.





... The moral integrity of our country is at stake ...


Not In Our Name Double page ad in today's Age

Image: @marghutton [1/3/14]



We, the undersigned, publicly declare:

To the Australian people,

To the Federal Coalition Government,

To the Federal Opposition,

To all refugees currently held in offshore detention centres:


1. The ongoing incarceration of refugees in offshore detention centres, with consequent distress and physical injury, and the recent death of Reza Berati, one of the refugees in our care.

2. The continual demonising of refugees, and the framing of the refugee issue as primarily relating to Australian sovereignty, rather than as worldwide tragedy demanding a compassionate and global response.

We state that these actions should not have taken place in our nation - or indeed any civilized society - and though they have been enacted by a democratically elected government, we reject them, and declare that they were done not in our name.

We call on all thinking an concerned citizens of the nation to raise their voices in protest against the shameful actions of this government and its agencies, and to make peaceful but urgent representation to their local members on this vital issue; the moral integrity of our country is at stake and our role in the concert of civilized nations.


William and Margaret Henderson


Brisbane literary identities Bronwyn Levy, Nick Earls and Krissy Kneen signed this petition.


700 British Artists Vow to Boycott Israel [Al Akhbar - 15/2/15]


Dresden marks 70 years since massive Allied bombing

Deutsche Welle [13/2/15]:


"War, hatred and violence begin in people's minds," Orosz [Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz] said. "We must resist any attempt at once again categorizing people based on their origin and skin color," she added, referring to what has often been described as a right-wing catchall movement called PEGIDA, generally translated as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, which has taken to the streets in Dresden since October.

Later, on a platform overlooking thousands of people, many of them wearing white roses as a sign of peace while bracing the icy cold outside the church, Orosz called on Dresden to remember every victim of the Nazi terror - a plea that was reiterated by German President Joachim Gauck when he took to the microphone: “We don't want the pain that people suffered here to be misused by others.” Behind him, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who, back in the Frauenkirche, had talked of the “miracle that peace in Europe represents,” leaned in closer to his interpreter.

Then, as evening fell over Dresden and church bells tolled, thousands - possibly as many as 10,000, according to the city's press office - lined up along Dresden's riverfront, holding hands to commemorate the dead and call for peace as police men dressed in black riot gear looked on.





At least 14 casualties in mortar attack in Baghdad [15/2/15]:

On Saturday, a source within the police force stated, that 3 people have been killed and at least 11 others were injured in a mortar shell attack in the areas of al-Shu’la and al-Ghazaliya in Baghdad.

The source told IraqiNews, “Six mortar shells have fallen on the areas of al-Shu’la and al-Ghazaliya,” noting that, “The attack resulted in killing 3 people and wounding at least 11 others, in addition to damage in a number of buildings.”

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, added, “Ambulances ran into the area and transferred the injured people to a near hospital for medical treatment, while sent the dead bodies to the Forensic Medicine Authority.”



'100 Killed' in Week of Clashes in South Syria

Naharnet [14/2/15]:

Nearly 100 fighters on both sides have been killed in a week of fighting in southern Syria between regime forces and rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday.

The army, backed by fighters from Lebanon's Hizbullah, began an offensive at the beginning of the week in Daraa, the province bordering Israel that was the cradle of the revolt against President Bashar Assad.

Regime forces had indicated that the operation was aimed at "breaking the band of territory (the rebels) are trying to create" along the border.

At least 50 rebels were killed and 43 soldiers, members of Hizbullah, Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Syrian pro-regime militia, according to the Britain-based monitor, which has a network of civilian, medical and military sources across Syria.

The Observatory also said 10 soldiers had been executed after being accused of collaborating with rebels in Daraa by giving them information about military movements.

"Hizbullah doesn't have a lot of confidence in the Syrian army because there have been several cases of soldiers giving the rebels information," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse.

His group said Hizbullah, which is reported to have some 5,000 fighters in Syria, is leading the regime offensive in the south.

The rebels and their al-Nusra Front jihadist allies have been making advances in southern provinces that are strategic because of their proximity to Damascus, Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Since the start of October 2013, rebel forces have controlled a band of territory in the sector along the border with Jordan.


Japan will offer an extra $15M in aid to fight armed groups in the Middle East and Africa.  ... [Al Jazeera - 15/2/15]


Danish police say kill suspect in Copenhagen attacks

Reuters [15/2/15]:

Danish police shot and killed a man in Copenhagen on Sunday they believe was responsible for two deadly attacks at an event promoting freedom of speech and on a synagogue.

The prime minister described the first shooting, which bore similarities to an assault in Paris in January on the office of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, as a terrorist attack.

Two civilians died in Saturday's attacks and five police were wounded.

One man died in the first shooting, in a cafe hosting Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been threatened with death for depicting the Prophet Mohammad in cartoons. Another died in an attack on a synagogue close by.

Islamist gunmen attacked a Jewish supermarket in Paris two days after the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Danish police had launched a massive manhunt with helicopters roaring overhead and an array of armored vehicles on the usually peaceful streets of Copenhagen.

By 0500 GMT, police said they had fired shots and later confirmed they killed a man in Norrebro, an area in Copenhagen not far from the sites of the two attacks.

"We assume that it's the same culprit behind both incidents that was shot by the police," Chief police inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen told reporters.

French ambassador Francois Zimeray attended the cafe event and praised Denmark's support for freedom of speech following the January attacks in Paris.

Witnesses said the envoy had barely finished an introduction to the meeting when up to 40 shots rang out, outside the venue, as an attacker tried to shoot inside.

Police said they considered Vilks, the main speaker, to have been the target. A 55-year-old man died as a result of that shooting, police said early on Sunday.

"We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack," Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told journalists, speaking on Saturday close to the site of the cafe.

Hours later, during the night, shots were fired at a synagogue in another part of the city, about a half hour's walk away from the cafe. A man was shot in the head, and was later confirmed to have died. Two police officers were wounded.




Port Moresby General Hospital doctor killed in early morning attack

PNG Loop [15/2/15]:

A doctor attached at the Port Moresby General Hospital was brutally attacked and killed at Ensisi valley in the capital city during the early hours of yesterday morning.

Identified as 36 year old Joe Kumbu of mixed Sepik and Chimbu parentage, the victim was reportedly out partying and returned with a friend and were attacked by unknown assailants who ran away after the attack.

He is reported to be also studying at the James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland.

NCD Metropolitan police commander Andy Bawa says that the victim sustained head injuries and died due to a loss of blood.

Police who arrived on the scene pinpointed the attack at about 3am after the two returned from a club.

The motive behind the attack has yet to be established.

Commander Bawa says that a vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident is at the Boroko police cells, impounded while investigators go over the case.

Meanwhile, Bawa is appealing to residents of Ensisi to come forward and help with any additional information.



Gunmen seize government buildings in Libya city of Sirte [Daily Star – 14/2/15]


Bahrain police fire tear gas as protests mark uprising [Daily Star – 14/2/15]

Clashes between Shi'ite Houthi militiamen and Sunni tribesmen fighting alongside Al Qaeda militants killed 26 people in Yemen, local officials said, as the United Arab Emirates joined Saudi Arabia and Western countries in closing its embassy in the country. ... [Reuters - 14/2/15]


Afghanistan: Military operations to begin in Helmand [Khaama – 14/2/15]



US judge dismisses lawsuit over US base in Okinawa

Japan Today [14/2/15]:

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop construction of a U.S. military base in Japan that it said would harm the Okinawa dugong, an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen said he didn’t have the authority to stop construction of the base off Okinawa.

“Put simply, this court lacks the power or necessary competence to enjoin or otherwise interfere with the construction of a U.S. military facility overseas that is being built consistent with American treaty obligations and in cooperation with the Japanese gaovernment,” he said in his decision.

The suit was brought by Japanese residents and environmental groups and named former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as a defendant.

The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs, plans to appeal the decision, said Peter Galvin, director of programs for the center.

“We believe it’s an erroneous decision that will be overturned by a higher court,” he said.

The fight, which has been going on for years, is over a decision to relocate the Futenma Air Station — part of a broader arrangement between the U.S. and Japan that would lead to a reduced military presence on Okinawa.

Environmentalists say the construction of two aircraft runways on landfill in a bay as part of the construction plan will destroy critical feeding grounds and habitat for the Okinawa dugong.

The animal is associated with traditional creation myths in Japan and listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, with its numbers estimated to be below 50 about a decade ago.

The plaintiffs originally filed the lawsuit in 2003, claiming the defense department failed to consider the base construction’s potential harm to the dugong.

A federal judge agreed, and in 2008 ordered defense officials to conduct a review, which was completed in 2014, according to Chen’s ruling.

The review found that the base would have no adverse effect on the Okinawa dugong. The plaintiffs said the finding was “arbitrary and capricious” and asked Chen to set it aside.

In his ruling on Friday, the judge said ordering that the finding be set aside would have no practical effect since “the American and Japanese governments have made a final and (apparently) irreversible decision to construct the challenged military base.”


Argentina: Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Buenos Aires Herald [13/2/15]:

Federal Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita has requested to investigate President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman in the case that looks into the alleged cover-up of Iran's role in the 1994 AMIA bombing.

Pollicita presented a 61-page report before Judge Daniel Rafefas, giving green light to the complaint first filed by now late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Ruling Victory Front (FpV) lawmaker Andrés Larroque, social leader Luis D’Elía, head of the political group Quebracho Fernando Esteche, ex judge Héctor Yrimia and Allan Bogado have been also charged.

Pollicita’s presentation does not involve an inquiry of the defendants. More details of the presentation were not revealed, as the prosecutor imposed secrecy on the report.

Judge Rafecas, who was on leave till February 20, has decided to resume duties on Wednesday 18, returning to court to address Pollicita's request. He is to confirm whether the suspects must be formally investigated or not.




A long-shot bill to give Puerto Rico's ailing public agencies a chance to restructure their massive debts under the section of U.S. bankruptcy law used by cities such as Detroit and Stockton, California, will get a hearing before a key congressional committee, according to two sources familiar with the matter.  ... [Reuters - 14/2/15]




UK armoured cars delivered to Ukraine

BBC [13/2/15]:

Former British military Saxon armoured vehicles has been delivered to Ukraine by a private firm.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed these were out-of-service unarmed vehicles and not lethal equipment.

The vehicles were transferred under a 2013 deal that pre-dated the current conflict.

A Ukrainian news agency has reported that 20 British Saxon armoured cars have been delivered to Ukraine, with another 55 expected to arrive soon.

The MoD could not confirm these figures.

Thousands of people have died in almost a year of fighting in the region.

A MoD spokeswoman said the sale had been organised for some time through the Disposal Services authority, which deals with obsolete military equipment.

She said the delivery did not represent an escalation of British involvement in Ukraine.



Over 10 civilians killed in E. Ukraine shelling after Minsk agreement [RT - 13/2/15]

Are French jet sales to Egypt ignoring rights abuses? [France 24 – 13/2/15]




Canada: Via Rail plot: FBI agent arranged 'chance' meeting with Esseghaier

CBC [13/2/15]:

A seemingly chance meeting between a man accused of plotting to attack a passenger train and an undercover FBI agent who helped unravel the alleged plot in fact came about as part of an ongoing investigation, his terror trial heard Friday.

Testifying under cross-examination, the agent initially refused to confirm the meeting with Chiheb Esseghaier was no coincidence.

"I don't know if I can answer that. I don't think I can," the agent told defence lawyer John Norris.

However, he later conceded the meeting was a setup as part of an existing probe.

"You were tasked to form a relationship with him?" Norris asked.

"That's correct."

Court heard Esseghaier was involved in an altercation over seating at the Houston airport before a flight to California in June 2012 when the agent befriended him.

They ended up as seat mates for the almost four-hour flight and quickly hit it off, the agent .

In September 2012, the agent visited Esseghaier, a doctoral student in Montreal, and told him how their meeting had given his life a purpose, court heard.

"You had been inspired to more than just send money overseas: You wanted to be involved in some action," Norris summed up what the agent told his new friend.

"Sounds about right," the agent agreed.

"It had awakened in you the will to fight," Norris said.

Esseghaier began opening up about having visited Iran, court heard, where he had met "The Responsible One," a man with money and apparently close connections to terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

He confided they wanted him to prepare a terror attack, court heard.

Esseghaier, who was "laser focused," the agent said, talked about having received training, including how to recruit people to carry out terror plots such as attacking the train, poisoning soldiers on a military base, or attacking non-religious Muslims.

It wasn't exactly good training if he ended up recruiting an undercover FBI agent, Norris said.

"I guess that would be viewed as a snafu," the agent responded.

Norris represents Esseghaier's co-accused, Raed Jaser, a dispatcher from Markham, Ont.

Esseghaier, who does not have a lawyer, earlier waived his right to cross-examine the agent, sitting motionless when the judge asked him if he had any questions of the witness.

During the undercover agent's two weeks on the stand, court has heard extensive evidence about the alleged plot to attack the passenger train between New York and Toronto, much of it in hours of secret audio recordings.

"I am going to lose my mind in happiness," Esseghaier says of the developing relationship in one intercepted conversation with the agent.

Esseghaier also sought romance advice from the agent related to possibly marrying a young woman at work.

At another point, he said he wanted to see Islamic Sharia law imposed everywhere.

"I am making my obligation of jihad," he tells the agent. "I believe in it, but not just by words, but also by action."

The agent said he only spent about a total of about two weeks with Jaser, who withdrew from the alleged train plot, but spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with Esseghaier.

Esseghaier and Jaser were arrested in April 2013.

Mad cow case in Alberta won’t harm exports, officials say

CBC [13/2/15]:

The discovery of a case of mad cow disease in northern Alberta is unlikely to harm Canada's beef export industry, officials say.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed on Friday that a beef cow in the province tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

A statement from the CFIA said no part of the cow had reached the human food or animal feed systems.

Dennis Laycraft, the executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said such an isolated case should have little impact on the export of Alberta beef.

The new case is the first in Canada since 2011.




Nanna's frozen berries recalled over Hepatitis A link [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/2/15]


HRT 'increases ovarian cancer risk'

BBC [13/2/15]:

Hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of ovarian cancer, analysis of 52 separate studies has found.

The University of Oxford research, in the Lancet, found an extra case for every 1,000 women taking the drugs for five years from the age of 50.

Lead researcher Sir Richard Peto said claims there was no risk for short courses of HRT "simply isn't true".

A leading cancer charity said this was a "modest increase on a relatively uncommon cancer."

Medical charities said the findings were robust, but said the risk did fall after HRT stopped.

HRT drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms of the menopause, which can be so severe they interfere with day-to-day life.

In the UK, women take HRT mostly for between two and five years.

There is an increased risk of breast cancer, which has been well documented. However, the drugs have also been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bowel cancers.

But the impact on ovarian cancer has been debated, particularly for those taking the drug for less than five years.

Scientists behind the latest study, which looked at data from 52 separate studies including 21,500 women with ovarian cancer, say it proves there is a link.

Prof Sir Richard Peto told the BBC News website: "It's a risk, about a million women in this country have HRT and 1,000 will get ovarian cancer from it."

He specified there would be one extra death for every 1,700 people taking hormone replacement therapy.

He said the risks would be reduced for those taking it for a shorter period of time but were still there.

He added: "If it were me and I had really bad symptoms, I'd worry more about those than any possible risk."

Theresa Chaffey, from Bournemouth, told the BBC News website: "I wasn't actually given any information in regards to any breast cancer risk or ovarian cancer risk.

"Hearing the news today is very worrying because of actually being on HRT for so long and with GPs continually saying I need to stay on it for my bones as well as any symptoms."




HMRC failed to prosecute British property mogul who did not pay any tax for 20 years

Independent [14/2/15]:

HMRC failed to prosecute a British property mogul who did not submit returns or pay any tax for 20 years, it was claimed last night.

Paul Bloomfield, a property investor who was involved in the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium, was a UK resident. But he was not prosecuted for tax evasion despite HMRC concluding he was liable for 20 years’ tax.

Mr Bloomfield was on a list of HSBC clients with secret Swiss accounts. The BBC Panorama programme yesterday revealed the minutes of two meetings between Mr Bloomfield and HMRC investigators in 2011.

Mr Bloomfield told HMRC that, despite his lavish lifestyle, he did not own any property or have any income. The notes of the meeting say: “Bloomfield advised that he has never paid a bill and never received a bill and when he needed money it was sent to him.

“When pressed, Bloomfield confirmed that his living expenses are paid from wherever there is money. In his words there is a box somewhere which contains money and he arranges for the bills to be paid.”

Mr Bloomfield claimed an offshore company paid his rent and that another company paid for “the use of a Boeing 757, the use of a boat and a helicopter”.

Some of the cash came from a Gibraltarian law firm, Marrache and Co, which closed in 2010 after the three brothers who ran the firm were arrested and later jailed for fraud.

He claimed he had lived overseas, as well as in the UK, but the investigator concluded that Mr Bloomfield was resident in the UK and was liable for tax for the past 20 years.

Panorama attempted to contact Mr Bloomfield who is now thought to be living in Spain, but he failed to respond.




Manchester Central Library: Fears that tens of thousands of books may have been pulped during £170m restoration of building

Independent [13/2/15]:

Fears are growing that tens of thousands of books have been secretly destroyed by Manchester Central Library, despite a high-profile campaign by famous authors who were told a cull of 240,000 items had been halted following their intervention.

Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and Jeanette Winterson were among the writers who had called for an end to the pulping of non-fiction titles during the library’s £170m restoration in 2012. They described it as “cultural vandalism on an industrial scale”. Nothing more was heard until the Friends of Central Library group recently submitted a Freedom of Information request.

Neil MacInnes, Manchester’s head librarian, wrote in an email that about 240,000 items, representing more than 40 per cent of the reference stock, were “withdrawn and are no longer available”.

Two philatelic collections were sent to the British Library and other collections sent out on loan have subsequently been returned.

There were no losses to the special collections, rare books, local history collections or the City Archives, but most non-fiction books were sold to a local company, Revival Books, which disposed of them.

Councillor Rosa Battle, executive member for culture and leisure, said: “The only books which were withdrawn as part of this vital housekeeping exercise were those which were duplicated, outdated or otherwise obsolete. The team ensured that the depth and breadth of the general reference collection was good across all subject areas.”

The Friends of Central Library said in a statement: “For [library staff] to have quietly and systematically disposed of 240,000 publicly owned library books with no public notification... is, we think, morally reprehensible... what has been lost are the irreplaceable collections of reference and lending non-fiction books, covering every conceivable subject, giving that extraordinary breadth and depth of subject coverage that only long-established libraries can provide.”



Tsipras gauges ministers before talks resume [13/2/15]:

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired a meeting of his cabinet on Friday night to brief ministers on the state of talks with the eurozone but also to assess his own room for maneuver ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup.

With the possibility of the government having to make a compromise with the eurozone over the way forward in the next few days, Tsipras was eager to assess the mood of his cabinet.

Some members, such as Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis have been adamant that the government should stick to its pre-election pledges.

Overall, the government is not holding out much hope for a solution in Brussels on Monday. “There have been some positive steps but there is a lot of ground that has to be covered,” said a government source.

Sources also insisted that the Greek government would not be willing to back down from its position on certain issues such as labor regulations, privatizations and the lowering of the primary surplus target.

Athens believes that the two sides can find common ground on issues like public administration reform, improving tax collection and tackling corruption.

“Greeks should understand that this is a critical and difficult negotiation, the pressure is enormous,” said government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis. “

We will do whatever we can so that a deal is found on Monday,” he told Skai TV.

“If we don’t have an agreement on Monday, we believe that there is always time so that there won’t be a problem.”




Greece intends to review a 1.2 billion euro ($1.36 billion) deal with Germany's Fraport to run 14 Greek airports, with a government minister saying Saturday the contract would be put on ice. ... [Naharnet - 14/2/15]



Antarctic Chieftain being towed

RNZI [14/2/15]:

After being trapped in ice since Wednesday, a damaged fishing vessel is now being towed to open water by the US Coast Guard icebreaker, Polar Star.

The 207-foot Antarctic Chieftain called for help on Wednesday after becoming trapped and damaging three of the four blades on its propellor when trying to break through ice floes up to three metres thick in the Amundsen Sea.

On board are 26 crew, half of whom are New Zealanders.

This morning, the Polar Star arrived at the scene where it deployed a remotely operated vehicle to better inspect the damage to the fishing vessel's propellor.

The crew of the icebreaker said they encountered snowy conditions as well as large icebergs along the 690 kilometre voyage to reach the stranded vessel.

"The ice conditions were found to be much more formidable than expected. We are on scene and progressing well with the rescue," said Captain Matthew Walker, the commanding officer of the Polar Star.

Previously, the US Coast Guard said the vessel would only be towed if its propulsion was "inoperable".

Another fishing boat, Janas, which is operated by Talley's, is expected to reach the area on Monday night.

The general manager of Talley's fishing division, Tony Hazlett, said they were heading to the area to see if they could be of assistance.

"It's the law of the sea," Mr Hazlett said. "You get a call and you go and help."

Janas was around 1000 km away around midday.

He said if they did need to tow the damaged vessel, the pair would probably travel around 4 - 5 knots (7 - 9 km/h) in good conditions.

And if the two boats were able to maintain that speed for the 3,900 km voyage back to Dunedin, it would take about 550 hours, or nearly 23 days non-stop.

The Antarctic Chieftain is licensed to harvest Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean.

A spokesperson for Australian Longline Limited, Malcolm McNeil, said the vessel had a moderate haul of toothfish on board and was crewed by New Zealanders because of their expertise.

Mr McNeil said the boat would offload its catch in Nelson.

The vessel sails under an Australian flag and is owned and operated by Australian Longline, which is half owned by Sealord.


Sixty beached whales refloated [RNZI – 14/2/15]




Disturbance and shot fired, Kingston

QPS Media [15/2/15]:

 Police are investigating an incident where a firearm was discharged at Kingston overnight.

Police were called to a residence in Mawarra Street just before 1.00 this morning following reports of an altercation between four men and a woman who are known to each other.

During the incident a baseball bat was used and a firearm was discharged however no one was injured as a result of the gun being fired.

A 34-year-old Beenleigh man received lacerations to his head and was transported to the Logan Hospital and later released.

A 24-year-old Eagleby man received an abdomen injury and was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital and later released.

A 23-year-old Kingston man sustained a serious head injury and was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

A 23-year-old man from Waterford has been charged with offences unrelated to the altercation including one count each of supply dangerous drug, possess property used in connection with offence, possess restricted weapon, possess drug paraphernalia and two counts of possess dangerous drug.

He is due to appear Beenleigh Magistrates Court tomorrow.

A 21-year-old Kingston woman is assisting police with their inquiries. Investigations into the matter are ongoing.

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




Stalking, firearm and drug charges, Atherton

QPS Media [15/2/15]:

A Tolga man is due to appear in the Mareeba Magistrates Court on Monday where he faces charges including stalking and weapons offences, following investigations into an alleged threat made against a Queensland police officer.

Police will allege that a threat was posted on a social media site around 6pm yesterday afternoon.

It will be alleged officers attended a Luxton Close, Tolga address where a search of the property located a rifle, ammunition, cannabis and drug utensils.

A 35-year-old man was taken into custody without incident and will remain at the Mareeba Watchhouse until his court appearance tomorrow morning on one count each of unlawful stalking, using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of ammunition without authority, possession of dangerous drugs and two counts of possession of a utensil or thing.

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



Serious assault police charges, Trinity Park  [QPS Media - 15/2/15]




Yet when sociopaths shine lasers into other people's apartments, police say there's nothing they can do?

Laser pointed at police helicopter, Inala [QPS Media -15/2/15]:

Police have charged a 25-year-old man after allegedly targeting a police helicopter with a laser light at Inala last night.

It will be alleged around 11pm police were conducting airborne patrols in the area when the light was shone directly at cabin crew of PolAir 2.

Police attended a Crocus Street address a short time later and seized a laser pointer from the residence.

A 25-year-old Inala man was charged with one count of threatening the safety of an aircraft and is due to appear in the Richlands Magistrates Court tomorrow.  

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




Drowning, Rossville

QPS Media [14/2/15]:

Police are investigating the death of a 9-year-old girl at a creek-crossing in Rossville, south of Cooktown this afternoon.

Initial investigations suggest the girl was swimming when she was swept away by flood waters and later found deceased, approximately 400 metres downstream.

 Investigations are continuing.

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



Pedestrian sustains life threatening injuries, Bundaberg

QPS Media [14/2/15]:

Bundaberg police investigating a traffic incident at Bundaberg North this evening in which a man sustained life threatening injuries are appealing for witnesses.

Preliminary information suggests the 28-year-old man was lying on Fairymead Road, between Whittingtons and McKenzies roads around 9.15pm, when he was run over by a passing vehicle.

The driver of the car, a 74-year-old local man stopped and called emergency services.

The pedestrian has been transported to Bundaberg Base Hospital for treatment to serious head injuries.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or have any information which can assist police with their investigations is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Bundaberg Police on 4153 9111.



Serious traffic crash, Mornington Island

QPS Media [15/2/15]:

Police are investigating a serious traffic crash that occurred on Mornington Island at about 11:50pm on Saturday, February 14.

Initial inquiries reveal the vehicle was being driven by a 14-year-old boy when he lost control of the vehicle turning left from Lardil Street into Djinkiya Street.

It is believed four females who were travelling in the rear tray of the utility were thrown from the vehicle.

A 18-year-old woman from Mornington Island has been airlifted to Mt Isa Hospital in a serious condition.

The other passengers received minor injuries.

A 14-year-old Mornington Island boy is currently assisting police with their inquiries.

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



Men with "bikie ties" released on bail

Yahoo [14/2/15]:

Three men with alleged links to the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle club have been granted bail after being charged with drug offences.

The men, all aged in their 30s, were this week charged with trafficking MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine and cannabis, police said in a statement on Saturday.

The oldest of the men, a 39-year-old, is alleged to have "facilitated the trafficking of large quantities of cannabis between Melbourne and Brisbane".

The alleged offences took place in 2009 and 2013.

The men were released on bail after facing Brisbane Magistrates Court, police said.

Police said the joint operation between the state's police service and the Crime and Corruption Commission seized 1354 MDMA pills, 56 grams of cocaine and 4.5 kg of cannabis.

CCC executive director crime Kathleen Florian said the arrests were part of an "ongoing commitment of the CCC and the QPS to reduce the impact of organised crime in Queensland".


Man injured in quad bike crash

West Australian [14/2/15]:

A man has been airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital following a quad bike crash in Lancelin.

The man crashed his quad bike in Nilgen Nature Reserve late this morning.

The emergency rescue helicopter landed at the hospital at about 12.45pm.


Drink driving charge, Southport

QPS Media [13/2/15]:

An alleged drink driver, who allegedly returned a breath alcohol concentration four times over the legal limit, was arrested by police after the vehicle he was driving became struck on tram tracks at Southport this afternoon.

Police were called to the Sundale Bridge at Southport following reports of a sedan stuck on the light rail lines at about 1.50pm.

A 38-year-old Southport man has been charged with driving under the influence of liquor (.224 per cent) and is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on February 26.

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

Stealing and stock kill offences, Normanton [QPS Media - 13/2/15]


The Hi-Fi Bar Venues Enter Administration

The Music [13/2/15]:

All three east coast The Hi-Fi venues have entered administration this week, with the future of the venue chain placed into doubt as a result.

Corporate registry documents obtained from ASIC by show that the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne arms of the Melbourne-based company were placed into external administration yesterday.

The Melbourne Swanston St venue has been an institution of the scene for just under two decades and in 2009 the group built on the success of that room to launch a Brisbane venue. In 2012 they refurbished Sydney’s Forum Theatre to become the third room in the east-coast chain.

A source with knowledge of the matter told today, “The reason the company has been put into administration is due to a dispute between The Hi-Fi Group and the major creditor. As no resolution could be achieved between the two parties, the main creditor has placed the venues into external administration.

“As a result, the creditor has taken over the running of the venues and it will be business as usual for the foreseeable future.”

With the business being run by an administrator, understands that current head office staff will be relieved of immediate duties.

The administrator is Simon Patrick Nelson of the Romanis Cant firm.

All three venues have gigs booked up to as far as June. Seth Sentry, 65daysofstatic, A$AP Ferg, Sticky Fingers, Blackstreet, Architects, The Smith Street Band, New Found Glory, The Beards and Psycroptic are amongst the artists currently booked. has been informed that a respected, original member of The Hi-Fi team will be staying on to ensure that it's business as usual and all gigs run smoothly.




Six Darrell Lea staff denied redundancy payments as shell company DL Employment enters liquidation

ABC [13/2/15]:

Six Darrell Lea workers face losing $400,000 in redundancy entitlements after a shell company employing them was put into liquidation.

In July 2012, things looked dire for Darrell Lea and almost 700 people who worked for the confectionery maker. Most of the company's staff did lose their jobs as its unprofitable store network was shut.

However, more than 80 jobs were saved when the Quinn family, owners of VIP Petfoods, stepped in to buy the brand and its manufacturing operations.

Part of their restructure was to move the factory from Kogarah in Sydney's south to Ingleburn on the city's outer south-western fringes. That move has been the source of a fresh employment dispute.






"Do it Adolf, do it":  Nobody ever sees things from Hitler's point of view - except the Australian media !


... I was gettin' what I wanted
but it wasn't enough.
So I called the boys
I said: "boys get tough!"
Now I surrounded myself with some unusual cats.
There was skinny little Goebbels and Goering mister fats
And let's not forget ol' Himmler and Hess.
You'd better believe we made a hell of a mess
Say Heil - Heil - siegety Heil
we gonna whip it on the people teutonic style ...

'To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)' Mel Brooks [1983]





Why not mention last night's protest at the MCG Channel 9?

Nine MSN [15/2/15]:

An international group of refugee activists are planning worldwide protests over the treatment of asylum seekers in Manus Island, just days after Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended his government's record on mandatory detention.

The group, Australians and Allies Overseas Against Mandatory Detention, has already staged protests across the US, Europe and South America.

Further rallies, organised through social media under the hashtag #ShutDownManus, are planned for locations including The Hague, Hong Kong, Paris and Edinburgh.

The group's New York organiser, Alex Kelly, said Australia had an obligation to welcome asylum seekers.

"We are sending a message to the Abbott government that we are opposed to mandatory detention, and to let detainees know that there are many Australians and people around the world who support their struggle.”

Australia's treatment of refugees in recent years has come under worldwide scrutiny, and the Australian Human Rights Commission released a report blasting current and past governments for keeping children in detention.

The commission's report found that keeping children in mandatory detention for prolonged periods caused mental and physical illness.

Mr Abbott has blasted the report, dubbing it a "transparent stitch-up".





Scott Morrison - liar and enemy to journalism - rewarded with a puff piece by the Australian media establishment. --->  ... In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Morrison stepped back from the tough "lifters not leaners" rhetoric of the Coalition's 2014 budget, instead talking of the need to inspire young people and get them to "engage" with the workforce.  ... [Canberra Times - 15/2/15]


That's fascism folks.

The Australian political and media establishment will focus on anything but human rights atrocities against refugees on Manus Island as the first anniversary of Reza Barati's murder approaches.


Senator Glenn Lazarus [15/2/15]:

Do you think Parliament should be an alcohol free zone for Parliamentarians while they are sitting? I do.

Members of Parliament and Senators debate and create laws which govern our country. Parliamentarians should be required to have a zero equivalent blood alcohol/drug reading when sitting.

Further, not only should this be enforced with penalties, it should also be monitored and reported on so the people of Australia can track the behaviour of their elected representatives.

Representing the people of Australia is a privilege. We require zero alcohol limits for public servants and other professions, Parliamentarians must reflect the highest standards of behaviour while in office.




Nauru accommodation for pregnant women- toilets 100s metres away- no running water

Image: @ASRC1 via @apicot [18/10/13]





15 February 2015