US backed Saudi airstrikes in Yemen kill 597
Yemen’s Health Ministry has said 597 people have been killed and 1,493 wounded during three weeks of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the country, TASS reported.
The ministry said hospitals may have to stop helping people soon because of electricity shortages and lack of medicines, citing the air and sea blockade.
The country urgently needs medical and food assistance, the ministry said in its appeal to UN agencies and humanitarian organizations.
Italy calls for help rescuing refugees as 40 more reportedly drown in Mediterranean [Guardian – 17/4/15]
Journalist Oles Buzina Killed in Ukraine [Sputnik – 16/4/15]
When black-clad Khmer Rouge soldiers first charged into Phnom Penh, they were welcomed with cheers, remembers Chhung Kong, a teacher in the Cambodian capital during the seventies.
Few foresaw the horrors that lay ahead as Pol Pot’s victorious communist army seized control early on April 17, 1975, signalling the end of a bloody civil war, and ordered the city’s two million people to evacuate.
Four years later, Chhung had lost 16 of his relatives to the regime, Phnom Penh was deserted and his school transformed into the Tuol Sleng, or S21, torture chamber – one of the most grotesque emblems of a paranoid rule that wiped out a quarter of Cambodia’s population.
Tomorrow, the capital will mark the 40th anniversary of the day Pol Pot defeated US-backed republican Lon Nol and began a tyrannical rule that saw the Khmer Rouge reset the kingdom to “Year Zero”. ... [The Star - 16/4/15]
Genocide studies needed 40 years after Khmer Rouge took power [UCA News - 14/4/15]
From Pol Pot to ISIS: “Anything that flies on everything that moves”, John Pilger [8/10/14]:
In transmitting President Richard Nixon's orders for a "massive" bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, "Anything that flies on everything that moves". As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger's murderous honesty. ...
Cambodia Daily [16/4/15]:
At least $3 million worth of Cambodian artifacts are part of a massive cache of smuggled antiquities that have been seized by New York authorities after being smuggled into the U.S. by an art dealer, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. ...
... “Our first day began with a visit to the Angkor Wat Complex, including Phnom Bakheng, which has received a significant amount of U.S. government funding through the Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation.” ... [Pelosi Statement on Congressional Delegation Visit to Cambodia - 30/3/15]
French court to hear Agent Orange victim's lawsuit
A local court in Evry, France will hear a lawsuit from an Agent Orange victim on April 16, according to the Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA).
The victim, Tran To Nga, sued US chemical manufacturers on June 11, 2014, said Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Van Rinh, VAVA president.
In her complaint, Nga, 73, sued 26 companies for providing toxic chemical weapons used by US forces in Viet Nam during the American War.
"At present, 12 US chemical companies have hired lawyers to defend themselves in court," Rinh said at a press conference yesterday in Ha Noi.
"If the court requires victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin to testify, we will be there to act as witnesses."
"If the court returns a verdict, the companies will have to bear legal responsibility. I'm convinced that justice shall prevail. Whether the victory is won inside the court or through an agreement outside court, it will provide a basis for future lawsuits."
Nga was a correspondent for Viet Nam News Agency during the war. She reported in areas densely sprayed with Agent Orange, including Cu Chi (HCM City), Binh Long District, Binh Phuoc Province and the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Nga had three children. Her eldest child died of congenital heart defects when she was 17 months old, and her second daughter inherited the blood disorder (alpha thalassemia) from her.
The youngest daughter contracted a skin disease. According to VAVA, Nga pursued the suits to seek justice for her family and other victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.
Previously, she provided witness testimony at an International People's Tribunal of Conscience.
Nga also testified at a public trial in Paris in 2009 against the US chemical companies.
In 2014, she and Paris-based law firm William Bourdon&Forestier acted as a joint plaintiff and filed her suit. The petition and related files were forwarded to the court in Evry and the companies.
Also on this occasion, VAVA asked the Evry court to complete related documents and procedures quickly for the sake of the plaintiff, Nga.
The organization also asked lawyers to speak from the bottom of their hearts for justice for Agent Orange victims.
"They are the most miserable among the miserable people and the poorest among the poor people," Rinh said.
There are more than 3 million victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, according to the Government.
Greek Solidarity Committee [15/4/15]:
Message delivered to Mario Draghi (along with glitter bomb) by 21-year-old Josephine Witt: "We own our own lives and they're not chips in the ECB's gambling game, not to be played with, not to be sold, not to be devastated."
DRAGHI COPERTO DI CORIANDOLI DA CONTESTATRICE DURANTE CONF STAMPA BCE [VIDEO - 15/4/15]
Sheryl Crow 
They said about 70 asylum seekers had chanted "release us" while blockading the entrance of the centre.
Five pregnant asylum seekers briefly took to the roof at Darwin's Wickham Point detention centre and made threats to burn down the facility amid anger over plans to deport a woman with a young child to Nauru, an advocate for the detainees says.
In claims denied by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Ben Pynt from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support Advocacy Network (DASSAN) said a second day of unrest at the Wickham Point Detention Centre was sparked by immigration authority plans to deport a woman with a small child to Nauru.
"At about 4:30pm (ACST) two men went up on the roof and were taken down by guards," Mr Pynt said.
He said that about half an hour later five pregnant women then went up onto the detention centre roof, and were also taken down.
Mr Pynt said the women continued their protest though, and threatened to burn down Wickham Point if the woman and child were deported.
He said the Department agreed not to immediately deport the woman, and so the protest ended peacefully.
On Wednesday asylum seeker advocates claimed there were 25 self-harm attempts inside the centre.
Police and paramedics were called to the centre during those events, following reports of a major disturbance.
The ABC obtained footage from inside the detention centre showing some of Wednesday's events, including what appears to be a group of asylum seekers gathered on a stairwell while a woman lies on the ground screaming.
Two detainees at the centre said that unrest was sparked by two families with small children who had been due to be sent to Nauru on Thursday night.
They said one family, from Iran, has a three-month-old baby that was born in detention earlier this year.
"One of the families just got pregnant," one detainee said.
"The other has a three-month-old baby ... what they face is inhuman," the detainee said.
They said about 70 asylum seekers had chanted "release us" while blockading the entrance of the centre.
Another detainee at Wickham Point described events on Thursday as worse than the previous day, when police were called.
"Just now it is chaos. Two of the Iranian guys are on top of the roof," she said.
"Serco staff are trying to fight the detainees."
The detainee said there had been injuries and she saw five or six guards grab a woman and hold her down as she tried to jump onto the roof of the detention centre.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has said she had heard of detainees going to horrific lengths to avoid being transferred to Nauru.
"A pregnant woman, five-months pregnant, has attempted to take her own life in the last 24 hours," she said.
"Another woman, who has recently had a baby, was very, very fearful for what life will be like inside the detention centre."
... Darwin company Trepang Services donated $50,000 to Territory Labor in June last year.
Businessman John Robinson and Paspaley Pearls executive chairman Nicholas Paspaley are listed as the only shareholders of the company.
Both men were involved in the development of the Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre on the outskirts of Darwin.
In 2011, the Federal Government announced it would lease the detention centre for $74 million dollars over three years. ... [ABC - 1/2/13]
Members of Australia's wealthy Paspaley pearling family have been revealed as key figures behind a new immigration detention centre in Darwin.
The centre, to be built at Wickham Point, 35 kilometres south of the city centre, will be the largest detention facility on Australia's mainland, with up to 1,500 detainees. ... [ABC - 11/3/11]
The Last Trial, Elizabeth Kolbert [The New Yorker - 16/2/15]:
… Even as the Reich was preparing to murder her, its functionaries were giving my great-grandmother forms to fill out. One was a long, detailed questionnaire about her assets, which she completed just a few days before her deportation. She didn’t, at that point, have any assets, so she left most of the questionnaire blank. On page 16, she signed a statement swearing that she had not kept any funds secret. She acknowledged by signing the questionnaire that she was “aware that any false or incomplete disclosures will be punished.” (The document is preserved in the Brandenburg state archive, in Potsdam.)
On February 2, 1943, the value of all my great-grandmother’s possessions— two single beds, two night tables, a chaise, a rug, an old quilt, some assorted linens—was assessed at four hundred and ninety Reichsmarks, or, according to the official exchange rate of the day, about two hundred dollars. By the time the assessment was made, she was almost certainly dead.
The Demjanjuk verdict upended five decades of legal thinking. Simply by virtue of having been a guard at Sobibór, the court said, Demjanjuk had been part of the “extermination machinery.” It didn’t matter that no specific deaths could be attributed to him; he was still guilty. The response to the verdict, both in Germany and abroad, was, generally, to applaud it. Der Spiegel described the ruling as a “turning point.”
“The unspeakable required untold numbers of helpers,” the magazine said. “It was easier to forget these hundreds of thousands than to put them behind bars. Just as so much was forgotten. That has now come to an end.” Writing in the Times a few days after the verdict, Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar at Emory University, called it “proof that the rule of law works, however slowly.” Somewhat more diffidently, Douglas observes that the verdict “demonstrated the power of legal systems to modestly self-correct.”
In response to the verdict, Germany’s central office for investigating Nazi crimes announced that it was looking to build cases against fifty former Auschwitz guards. “In view of the monstrosity of these crimes, one owes it to the survivors and the victims not to simply say ‘a certain time has passed,’ ” the head of the office, Kurt Schrimm, said.
People who like the idea of torture and sexual abuse to punish and keep people in line rule Australia right now.
They did it before - and because there is no opposition or holding to account in this country - they're doing it again.
Child sex abuse inquiry: Former Neerkol resident 'received a bullet in the mail' after reporting child abuse at orphanage [ABC - 16/4/15]
... He recalled a nun taking him to see Father Anderson and claimed the nun knew he would be sexually abused.
Mr Owen told the hearing if he refused to see Father Anderson, the nun would beat him.
He said he reported the abuse but was bashed by the nuns, who yelled: "You filthy animal, how dare you speak about a priest like that".
Mr Owen said the nuns forced boxing matches between boys and girls at Neerkol.
In the 1990s, Mr Owen said he reported the abuse to the police and received death threats by an anonymous caller shortly afterwards.
"I also received a bullet in my mailbox," he said.
"It may have been the same day as I received the call."
... Ms Carpenter said she believed all five of her siblings were sexually abused at the orphanage, where children from the same family were kept apart.
Ms Carpenter told the inquiry the Sisters of Mercy nuns who ran the orphanage regularly kicked the children as they slept.
"Beatings were by punishing, shaking or being belted with a stick, or a leather strap. And it was on the bare bottom.
"On one occasion I was locked in an extremely hot room and was forced to drink my own urine to stay hydrated." ... [ABC - 15/4/15]
Michael Franti joins call to stop exile of refugees to Nauru [Guardian - 16/4/15]:
... “I’ve been to a lot of places in the world where there is intense conflict taking place, everywhere from Iraq 11 months after the war started there, to Israel, Palestine, Gaza, and I’ve played in prisons many many times in America, in some of the roughest prisons like Folsom, and San Quentin prisons. But I’ve never been anywhere where people were detained indefinitely without a crime,” Franti said.
“[In] this situation, especially with families, it’s hard for me to understand it, to get my head around it, also to understand why anyone would be considering sending families back to a detention centre where there had been many reports of alleged sexual abuse and sexual abuse of children.”
Franti also said he had met some asylum seekers in Brisbane who had family on Nauru.
“Just hearing from them, they told me it wasn’t so much the conditions in which they were held – they learned to live within that system – but the fear of not knowing when or if they would ever be released and where they would end up.”
Following Franti’s unsuccessful attempt to perform for the Wickham Point detainees, they joined a small vigil outside in view of the recently closed Blaydin point facility nearby.
“I was sitting there looking at it and thinking that someday all of these facilities will be closed down and will be historical relics of a dark time in history, like the detention centres I visited in California that were there for interning Japanese Americans in world war two,” he said.
“Hopefully at some point in our near future these places will be closed down and we’ll have a plaque on them that this is the place that we remember a bad mark on our history.”
Sorry. pure evil. ---> OBAMA SONG OFFICIAL VIDEO - Michael Franti and Spearhead
... In 2001 Franti was awarded the Domestic Human Rights Award by Global Exchange, an international NGO based in San Francisco, for his work to end war. In 2006, he was invited by Australian Labour MP
Jenny Macklin to show the film at Australia's Parliament House, Canberra. ... [Wikipedia]
Texas: Immigrant mothers in detention launch second hunger strike despite retaliation [Democracy Now - 14/4/15]:
... On May 2 a nationwide protest is planned outside the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, the other facility where hundreds of women and children have been detained since seeking asylum from violence in Central America.
The event will kick-off a week of actions that end on Mother’s Day.
An organizer with the We Belong Together campaign frames family detention as an issue central to women’s struggle for equality.
“These women are blocked from achieving their full potential because of deeply flawed immigration policy,” said Andrea Cristina Mercado.
Click here to see Democracy Now!’s report on the South Texas Family Residential Center that includes an interview with a mother and her son who were held in isolation for a week. You can also watch the report in Spanish.
Our report noted nearby Crystal City, Texas, was home to a federal internment camp for Japanese and German men, as well as their wives and children, and a local newspaper has referred to the South Texas Family Residential Center as an internment camp despite objections by Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that operates it.
Advocates say the comparison of that facility to present day family detention centers in Texas could haunt President Obama.
"He could go down in history not just as the deporter in chief," said Cristina Parker, with the group Grassroots Leadership, "but as the president who presided over the return of modern day internment camps on U.S. soil."
If politicians like Senator Ian MacDonald - who claimed during today's hearing that the government isn't deliberately setting out to harm refugees in detention centres - remain in parliament, soon Australia will not be safe for anyone
Macdonald is free to keep repeating the "stop the boats/deterrence" lie because he is protected and unaccountable.
Inside Story [14/4/15]:
... At the end of 2014, 4270 refugees and 6916 asylum seekers were registered with the Jakarta office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, an organisation whose resources have been stretched, worldwide, by the largest number of people in refugee-like situations since relevant data started being collected. UNHCR’s Jakarta office is chronically underfunded and Australia’s policy changes have added to the pressure by reducing the exit options for refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia either by boat or via resettlement. ...
The committee heard that a former soldier (now guard on Nauru) asked a refugee where she was from. When she replied "Iraq", he said he'd been deployed there.
"They killed my friends, so I killed 30 of them," he told her.
New immigration powers would let guards 'beat asylum seekers to death' [Guardian – 16/4/15]:
A former Victorian supreme court judge says new powers proposed for guards in immigration detention centres would in effect authorise them “to beat asylum seekers to death”.
In extraordinary evidence to a Senate hearing on Thursday, Stephen Charles SC said the migration amendment (maintaining the good order of immigration detention facilities) bill 2015 would substantially expand the powers granted to guards in detention centres in a way that would “inevitably encourage violence by guards against asylum seekers”.
The new powers would allow immigration officers – which may include private contractors – to use “reasonable force against any person” if the officer believes it is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of people in detention or to maintain the good order, peace or security of a detention centre.
Such powers potentially give staff with a low level of training a greater level of immunity than that granted to state and federal police forces.
Charles, who sat on the Victorian court of appeal until 2006, said the standard proposed in the bill would introduce a similar test to those that have been considered in the US, and drew parallels with the recent shooting of Walter Scott by the police officer Michael Slager.
“Time and again police in the United States have been acquitted in circumstances such as these,” Charles said.
“These amendments to the Migration Act will in effect authorise guards to beat asylum seekers to death on the basis they reasonably believe it is necessary … to do so.”
He said the fact there would be “no effective way to take proceedings against the commonwealth” would further encourage guards to use excessive force in detention centres, and described the training requirements proposed in the explanatory memorandum of the bill as a “joke in extremely bad taste”.
The bill will give the commonwealth, private companies and guards immunity from civil and criminal liability unless it could be demonstrated that the use of force was not in good faith.
The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, said the bar on proceedings would make it “virtually impossible” to bring forward an action, because of the difficulty of demonstrating bad faith in legal proceedings.
“Senior courts have ... explained the very high threshold that you must prove to demonstrate bad faith. It’s very hard to show a subjective intent of bad faith of a serving officer acting in the course of their employment,” Triggs said.
She said the language in the bill surrounding the scope of the powers “need to be significantly tightened up.”
Triggs added that if the powers were to be included into the Migration Act then the limits to the exercise of the power should also be clearly spelt out.
Gabrielle Appleby, associate professor at UNSW, said “the individuals authorised under this bill are not department officers, they are contractors”.
Appleby raised concerns about the training requirements for guards, which are not expressly set out in the bill and will instead be left up to the minister. The explanatory memorandum suggests the standards will be a certificate II in security operations, which are a base level training requirement for security operations.
“The determination by the minister is not a disallowable instrument. This means it’s not subject to parliamentary scrutiny,” she said.
The Senate inquiry follows reports of unrest at the Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin on Wednesday.
World must do more to help support Syrian refugees in Lebanon, says UN refugee chief [Media Release – 15/4/15]
UN Media Release [15/4/15]:
... 2015, in fact, has already seen some 31,500 people make crossings to Italy and Greece – the first and second largest countries of arrival respectively. UNHCR has reported that numbers have also been recently picking up as weather conditions in the Mediterranean improve.
“For all those in need of protection it is very important to increase the number of resettlement opportunities, humanitarian admission opportunities, to have a more flexible visa policy, to have enhanced family reunification programmes, and to have an effective mechanism to rescue people at sea in the central Mediterranean,” the UNHCR chief added.
The UN refugee agency has been advocating for a comprehensive and urgent response from the European Union and shared specific proposals including the establishment of a possible scheme to compensate shipping companies involved in rescuing people at sea, increasing credible legal alternatives to dangerous voyages and a pilot relocation programme for Syrians refugees arriving in Italy and Greece. ...
Hughes, 61, of Ruskin, Florida, piloted his small open-cockpit gyro-copter from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., through restricted airspace and then a no-fly zone, over the National Mall and past the statue memorializing President Ulysses S. Grant before landing with a thud and a bounce on Congress' West Lawn. He's expected to appear in court Thursday.
"Anybody in politics or the news media who want to spend inordinate amounts of time talking about me is avoiding the real discussion — which is about Congress," Hughes wrote on The Democracy Club website, which chronicles his plans to jolt the government into doing something to clean up big money in politics. "Let's keep the discussion focused on reform — not me." ... [NBC - 15/4/15]
The United Nations' special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar has resigned, diplomatic sources have told Al Jazeera.
James Bays, Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor, said the Moroccan diplomat told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it was time for him to end his role. ... [Al Jazeera - 16/4/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., April 14, and 8 a.m., April 15, local time.
In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted six airstrikes, using attack and fighter aircraft. Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted 17 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
"After detailed analysis, planning and coordination, a deliberate coalition airstrike was conducted in Mosul,” said, CJTF-OIR Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley. “These deliberate airstrikes demonstrate the ability of the coalition to pursue a deliberate campaign plan while also providing dynamic air support to ongoing ISF ground operations.”
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
Near Al Hasakah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL VBIED, an ISIL tunnel and an ISIL bunker.
Near Kobani, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.
Near Bayji, nine airstrikes struck two large and six smaller tactical units, destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL staging area.
Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL armored personnel carrier.
Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL fighting position.
Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
Xanana Gusmão: 2015 S T Lee Lecture [VIDEO - ANUchannel]:
His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is the Minister of Planning and Strategic Investment for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. He has served as President of his country for five years, Prime Minister for seven and a half years and was a central figure in his country’s 24-year struggle for the restoration of independence.
In this video Political Transition and National Unity: The Timor-Leste Story, exploring the lessons of nation building and transition in Australia’s ‘near neighbour to the north’. He reflects on the ways Timor-Leste’s experience relates to international experience and present his views on how emerging global trends are impacting developing nations and fragile States.
His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is the Minister of Planning and Strategic Investment of the Government of Timor-Leste. Until stepping aside in February 2015 to facilitate a generational leadership transition, he was the Prime Minister of his country for seven and a half years. Prior to this role as Prime Minister he served as the first elected President of the Republic after being sworn in on the 20th of May 2002, the day marking Timor-Leste’s official restoration of independence.
Xanana Gusmão was a central figure in the quest for independence and after the Indonesian occupation began in 1975 he became deeply engaged in the resistance struggle. In 1981 he was elected leader of the Resistance and Commander-in-Chief of the National Liberation Armed Forces of Timor-Leste. He went on to conceive and implement the Policy of National Unity bringing together all to work cooperatively to achieve the goal of national sovereignty.
In November of 1992, after 17 years of active resistance, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão was captured in the capital Díli and even though imprisoned in Indonesia until September 1999, he continued to lead the struggle to achieve freedom for his people.
On release he returned to see his dream of an independent Timor-Leste realised and turned his efforts to the task of national reconstruction, continuing his life-long work of service to uphold the independence and dignity of the people of Timor-Leste.
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão has received recognition around the world for his humanitarian work and his role as a champion of peace and reconciliation.
The ST Lee Lecture on Asia and the Pacific was established in 2007 thanks to the generous support of Singaporean businessman and philanthropist Dr ST Lee.
The lecture provides an opportunity for a distinguished figure from the Asia Pacific to speak on developments or trends in the region.
Reflections on Timor-Leste [Woroni – 26/3/15]
ALP says: Yeah whatever. Anyway, thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!
Lock The Gate [16/4/15]:
The Lock the Gate Alliance says it has obtained legal advice confirming the Palaszczuk government can reject the expansion of the New Acland coal mine and rectify tarnished decision-making and murky approvals for donations scandal that plagued saw the controversial approved by the Newman Government. ...
Cinema Ventures and Lock The Gate Alliance presents: Frackman 20 Apr 2015 | Monday 7:00pm to 8:30pm [BEMAC, Kangaroo Point]:
Dayne Pratzky loved the quiet life on his rural block in central Queensland. Then the coal seam gas company arrived, and that changed everything. Legally he couldn’t stop them mining his land, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t fight. And so began a David and Goliath battle against a $200 Billion industry. Along the way he found love, tragedy and triumph. ...
Around the nation, communities are protesting against unconventional gas and coal mining, especially in northern NSW, Queensland and South Australia.
In Queensland, much of the evidence to the recent Senate inquiry into the former Newman government (Select committee on certain aspects of Queensland government administration related to Commonwealth government affairs chaired by Senator Glenn Lazarus) expressed concerns about Queensland government maladministration with coal seam gas (CSG) and coal mining.
While the inquiry might have a local focus, the issues raised are of national importance. Even though all states differ in their regulation and safety of unconventional gas, the basic science of health and environmental risks of the industry are the same in all.
How could it be that a chemical used for fracking is harmful in one state while drilling into the same aquifer over the border might be permitted? ... [WA Today - 14/4/15]
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says there are no secret deals between the government and Rio Tinto over the shares of Bouganville Cooper Limited (BCL).
He was responding to calls by Bouganville President John Momis to reveal any hidden deals between the government and Rio Tinto. ... [PNG Loop - 15/4/15]
Wow! A Bible! Wonder what the yanks give Australian politicians for their obsequiousness and bipartisan stitchups on war, refugees, spying, draconian laws, austerity and resource extraction?
At least PNG media tells the citizens what their politicians get up to on the Easter holidays.
As Papua New Guinea is gearing up for the big 40th Independence Celebration, it will receive a gift from the State of Indiana, United States of America.
The priceless gift is a 400 years old King James Version Bible, first printed in English in year 1611 in England.
The trip to USA is in connection with the National Identity and Unity Project which the Parliament Committee has undertaken under the vision to Restore, Reform, and Modernize the National Parliament.
The Speaker will be leading a delegation of six parliamentarians including more than 30 Pastors from a group called Body of Christ. A group made up of Pastors from different denominations around PNG.
The MP’s include:
•Assistant Speaker, Anton Yangama,
•Mendi-Munhiu MP, De Kewanu,
•Kundiawa MP, Tobias Kulang,
•Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza, and
•Southern Highlands Province Governor, William Powi.
Mr Zurenuoc says the Pastors will meet their own cost of travel to receive the Bible.
When the news of the National Unity Project reached the United States, it inspired the State of Indiana to present Papua New Guinea with the Bible.
In 1604, King James of England led a group of priests, professors and scholars of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities to translate it from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew translations into English.
The Bible is now 400 years old. It is one of the three first printed KJV Bible that are currently in existence.
The Bible became the foundation of the Modern English Language, and has influenced the world. It is also the foundation for the Modern Civilization of England, Europe and later America. It is known as the ‘Glory of England’ which spreads across the globe.
The Great Bible, once it is in Papua New Guinea, will be called ‘The National Treasure’. It will be laid with the National Identity Monument in the Grand Hall of the National Parliament.
The official opening of the Monument and the procession of the Bible to the Parliament House will be on 16 September, this year.
The delegation will be leaving for United States this Friday, and will be back on 27 April.
... The U.S. media loves to mock adversary nations, especially Muslim ones, for being driven by religious extremism, but that is undeniably a major factor, arguably the most significant one, in explaining fervent support for Israel among the American populace. ... [The Intercept - 15/4/15]
Secret documents reveal New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency shared intelligence with state security agents in Bangladesh, despite authorities in the South Asian nation being implicated in torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.
Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, has conducted spying operations in Bangladesh over the past decade, according to the documents. The surveillance has been carried out in support of the U.S. government’s global counterterrorism strategy, primarily from a spy post in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, and apparently facilitated by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. ... [The Intercept - 15/4/15]
Arkansas lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by police [arstechnica – 15/4/15]
News Corp confirms Rebekah Brooks is in talks on new digital business
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has confirmed that it is in talks with Rebekah Brooks, the former Sun and News of the World editor cleared of phone-hacking charges last year, about starting a new digital business.
However, that senior role is unlikely to involve running part of the Sun newspaper despite reports sparked by a recent visit to News Corp’s UK headquarters close to London Bridge.
In a statement, a spokesperson for News Corp said: “Discussions with Rebekah Brooks are ongoing, and focused on a potential new digital business for News Corp, but it’s premature to speculate about the details of a position that does not yet exist.”
Her new role, which she has been negotiating with the News Corp owner since being cleared, is also unlikely to involve running Storyful, the Dublin-based social media news agency, according to sources.
Brooks was reported by Exaro News as being “lined up to take charge of the Sun’s digital operation and video offering” on Wednesday.
But an executive at the paper said: “She will not be running part of the Sun, nor sitting on the Sun’s floor. That is utter bollocks. People are putting 2+2 together and making 763.”
However, her new role is expected to include responsibility for digital expansion with a focus on video and multimedia. Content provided by all the News Corp titles, including the Sun, could conceivably be part of that role.
Although Brooks is understood to be keen to move to New York with her young child, her husband Charlie Brooks is said to be less so. She is understood to have found a temporary berth in News Corp’s 17-floor headquarters at London Bridge.
Brooks stood down from her role as chief executive of News Corp’s UK division four years ago after a 20-year career at the group that included editing the Sun and the News of the World.
She left the group after the News of the World was closed down following revelations that included hacking into the phone of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Reports of Brooks return to the News Corp fold first emerged in the Guardian last October.
Last month, she was said to be “close” to finalising a role with unconfirmed reports that she would be heading Storyful, a Dublin-based social media news agency started by the former RTE current affairs present Mark Little. Brooks has been seen in News Corp offices on both sides of the Atlantic and in senior industry meetings held in Las Vegas among other places.
Reports of Brooks’s possible return to the Sun came after she met Victoria Newton, editor of the Sun on Sunday, earlier this month.
There has been speculation that the newspaper’s content including the mostly online-only Page 3 could be exploited more online.
Rupert Murdoch is understood to be concerned about falling circulation at the title – which is now well below 2m – as well as its continued support for the Conservative party. An announcement about the new role could be politically sensitive this close to an election.
Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was given a job by David Cameron, was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones.
Serious questions about the fitness of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate far-reaching allegations of police corruption have been raised by a former member of the Macpherson Inquiry. The judge’s investigation is said to have been misled by Scotland Yard about the extent of corrupt police involvement in the 1993 investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. … [Independent – 12/4/15]
We remember the words, that someday a Prime Minister will apologise for our grievous mistreatment of asylum seekers. #WickhamPoint
"tweeted" by @DASSAN12 - Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network [15/4/15]
Michael Franti joins Wickham Point vigil after performance cancelled [ABC - 16/4/15]:
… Meanwhile, American musician Michael Franti took part in a vigil outside the Wickham Point centre after a performance inside the facility was called off because of the unrest.
Mr Franti, who said he had been following the plight of people seeking asylum in Australia for several years, had received Immigration Department approval to perform inside the centre.
"We were waiting to get into the detention centre yesterday when this disturbance took place and we weren't able to see any of it because we were still behind the fence," he said.
"We had to wait a couple of hours then we were told we weren't going to be able to get in.
"We understand that there were a number of people who did acts of self mutilation because they were protesting some women being sent back to Nauru who have small children, and one woman who was pregnant."
While waiting to play for detainees, Mr Franti said he and his band played some music for some of the detention centre staff.
Protestors outside Peter Dutton's office call for the closure of Australia's refugee concentration camps [ABC - 16/4/15]:
The Refugee Action Collective has led a rally outside Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's office in Brisbane's north, saying the Federal Government must close detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island to prevent more human suffering.
The group's spokesman Mark Gillespie led the protest of about 40 people outside Mr Dutton's electorate office at Strathpine.
Mr Gillespie said there had been a long history of sexual and physical abuse on Nauru that the Government had ignored.
"It has just come to light recently that the Government has known about these allegations for over 17 months and failed to act on them," he said.
"They're only pretending to act on them now."
Mr Gillespie said people had a legal right to cross borders and claim asylum, and the detention centres must be closed.
"That right was not recognised by the Australian Government and they've sent them off to these offshore detention centres," he said.
"They deliberately made life very difficult for those people and tried to convince them to return into the hands of their persecutors.
"They should be allowed to come to Australia and have their claims for asylum heard in Australia.
"If they're found to be refugees they should be allowed to live in Australia."
He said the Federal Government wanted the Australian public to forget about Nauru and Manus Island.
"They want to hide the human cost of their very tough deterrent policy and we want to highlight the human cost," Mr Gillespie said.
"There are people in Nauru and Manus Island and they are suffering enormously.
"We think the abuse begins at the top and the abuse began when they sent people off to those detention centres.
"Increasingly the public is starting to see there are problems with these detention centres and we think the public to the extent that they support the Government [is] because they're given misinformation or no information."
He said the Government had a deliberate policy of keeping journalists away from the detention centres.
"It costs $8,000 for a journalist to pay for a visa to go to Nauru," Mr Gillespie said.
"If the Australian people could see the human cost, I'm sure they would not support what is happening.
"When there are instances of abuse happening, it's our duty to highlight that."
Minister Dutton's office has been contacted for comment.
The migration legislation currently being proposed by Australia's politicians is unprecedented.
Even the witness from the Biometrics Institute warned against the arbitrary application of the technology at this morning's Senate hearing: "Over exuberance at the border can damage your own tourism industry."
Chortle chortle chortle went the bipartisan committee of senators.
Zero media coverage + no opposition = fascism.
Law Council of Australia submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015:
... The Law Council considers that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that this Bill is necessary. Even if it can be demonstrated that the Bill is necessary, it may be unjust and disproportionate in meeting its objective because it contains inadequate safeguards against the abuse of the use of reasonable force, and imposes a bar on proceedings except in limited circumstances. The Law Council suggests that there may be more appropriate alternatives to achieving good order in immigration detention than the proposed measures in the Bill. As a result, the Law Council opposes the passage of this Bill. ...
Public hearing into Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities Bill is on in Sydney today
A public hearing is on this morning into the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Biometrics Integrity) Bill 2015
Child sex abuse inquiry: Witness says she was forced to drink own urine when living at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage in Rockhampton [ABC - 15/4/15]
16 April 2015