Why is Alexander Downer - and not Marise Payne or Christopher Pyne - chumming up with the neocons? [see photo] ---> US Defense Secretary meets with Turkey’s Defense Minister in London [US Department of Defense - 15/12/16]
United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 16/12/16]
French police on Friday were investigating a fire that broke out overnight in a centre for migrant workers outside Paris, leaving one dead and 13 injured.
The Nanterre prosecutors' office said the fire started at around 3:30am in the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, west of Paris.
Investigators said they suspected the fire may be of criminal origin, adding that they had found traces of combustible material and a fire accelerant at the building's entrance. ... [France 24 - 16/12/16]
LÉ Samuel Beckett back in Ireland after migrant rescue mission [The Nationalist - 16/12/16]:
... The LE Samuel Beckett has a crew of 44, including six officers, and they returned to a rousing welcome from their friends and family at Haulbowline, Co. Cork
The brave crew rescued more than 3,000 people from the Mediterranean since they were deployed from Cork on September 23. ...
Your words are meaningless Prince Zeid. ---> Region continues pushing back Rohingya refugees to Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide [Prothom Alo - 16/12/16]
The Last Days of #rohingya Cartoon By Qutub Shah
Image: @RohingyaVision [16/12/16]
@nslwin [16/12/16]: At 6:50pm 4 #Rohingya houses in Middle H of #KyeeKanPyin were burnt down by #Myanmar's BGP. Villagers were forced to leave homes on Oct 23rd
Village leaders from western Kachin State tortured by Burmese army troops [Kachinland News - 16/12/16]
A group of Sri Lankan police officers have been held on remand over the murder of two Tamil students earlier this year.
The five policemen have been remanded until the 30th of December following a court order by the Jaffna additional magistrate. ... [Tamil Guardian - 16/12/16]
Only 5.2% of Sri Lankan military occupied land has been released to Tamils - Chief Minister, Northern Province [Tamil Guardian - 15/12/16]
Sri Lankan President faces protests in Malaysia [Tamil Guardian - 15/12/16]
China's military has carried out its first ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier and fighters in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to Korea, state media said. ... [Reuters - 16/12/16]
Philippines Foreign Minister says won't protest China actions in Spratly Islands [Channel News Asia - 16/12/16]:
... Speaking to reporters in Singapore during an official visit by President Rodrigo Duterte, Yasay said the government will not issue any diplomatic protest to China via a "note verbale". ...
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up two days of talks on Thursday, with numerous economic deals but no big breakthrough on a territorial row that has over-shadowed ties since World War Two. ... [Japan Today - 16/12/16]
Thailand shuts down Australian-controlled Chatree gold mine in Phichit province [Bangkok Post - 15/12/16]:
... The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday exercised his power under Section 44 of the interim charter to issue an order to suspend gold mine operations from Jan 1.
The order also stops authorities from issuing and renewing gold mine exploration or concession licences.
According to the order, the move aimed to tackle conflicts between residents and gold mine operators, and the environmental and health problems linked to gold mine operations in various areas.
The order also requires the ministry responsible to examine the problems and propose measures to tackle them as well as a coming up with a plan for managing gold resources.
It also assigns the Labour Ministry to help workers affected by the order.
The cabinet previously suspended moves to renew the company's metallurgical processing licence citing conflicts with the locals living near the mining site who said its activities have damaged their health and the environment.
However, to limit its impact, the cabinet allowed production to carry on until the end of this year. ...
Warning of weapons build-up in PNG's Hela province [RNZI – 16/12/16]
The tropical depression several hundred kilometres northwest of Nadi, Fiji has caused major flooding in parts of the country.
The system is now expected to possibly intensify into a category one cyclone later today. ... [RNZI - 16/12/16]
... What do you get?
When you open the door?
Of every day? ...
'Newspaper Mama', Peter Combe 
Why are the media taking the CIA’s hacking claims at face value? [The Nation - 15/12/16]:
... The high-profile anchors and analysts on CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC who have cited the work of The Washington Post and The New York Times seem to have come down with a bad case of historical amnesia.
The CIA, in their telling, is a bulwark of American democracy, not a largely unaccountable, out-of-control behemoth that has often sought to subvert press freedom at home and undermine democratic norms abroad.
The columnists, anchors, and commentators who rushed to condemn Trump for not showing due deference to the CIA seem to be unaware that, throughout its history, the agency has been the target of far more astute and credible critics than the president-elect. ...
Police to pay investigative journalist Nicky Hager's daughter damages over 10-hour raid on home [TVNZ – 14/12/16]
@Suzi3D [14/12/16]: My latest: @KimDotcom says 2TB of NZ govt emails will leak in 2017 & make #Podesta emails look like cotton candy ...
Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox has struck a $14.6 billion deal to buy European pay-TV firm Sky that unites a media empire across two continents and helps it take on rivals like Netflix in the battle for viewers. ... [Reuters - 15/12/16]
Pirate Bay among five websites to be blocked in Australia [SBS - 15/12/16]:
Internet providers have been ordered by the Federal Court to block access to several sites offering illegal movie streaming and file sharing.
Justice John Nicholas has ordered providers including Telstra, TPG, Optus and iiNet to take reasonable steps to disable access to the likes of The Pirate Bay, while Foxtel and film distributor Village Roadshow will have to pay the cost of blocking the sites.
The internet providers have 15 days to act on the judgement.
Village Roadshow and Foxtel launched the legal action in February in an attempt to make use of new piracy laws. ...
Federal Education Department data shows that some private schools are receiving taxpayer funding almost three times greater than their entitlements. ... [Educator Online - 26/9/16]
... So enraged was I by the announcement that I did something I’ve never done before: I defaced a union campaign t-shirt. I changed “I give a gonski” to read “I don’t give a gonski, we need to fight for public education.” ... I gave a Gonski and it got me nowhere [En Passant – 16/4/13]
Privatising public education: The neoliberal model [Reimagine - 2012]
Neoliberal education restructuring: Dangers and opportunities of the present crisis [Monthly Review – July 2011]:
... In the United States, charter schools are a vehicle to commodify and marketize education. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated.
They eliminate democratic governance, and, although they may be run by nonprofit community organizations or groups of teachers or parents, the market favors scaling up franchises of charter school management organizations or contracting out to for-profit education management organizations that get management fees to run schools and education programs.
For example, EdisonLearning, a transnational for-profit management organization, claims it serves nearly one-half million students in twenty-five states in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Dubai.
The market mechanisms and business management discourses and practices that are saturating public education in the United States are all too familiar to teachers and students worldwide. Globally, nations are restructuring their education systems for “human capital” development to prepare students for new types of work and labor relations.
This policy agenda has been aggressively pushed by transnational organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Objectives and performance targets are the order of the day, and testing is a prominent mechanism to steer curriculum and instruction to meet these goals efficiently and effectively.
Neoliberalization of public education is also an ideological project, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, to “change the soul,” redefining the purpose of education and what it means to teach, learn, and participate in schooling.
Tensions between democratic purposes of education and education to serve the needs of the workforce are longstanding. But in the neoliberal framework, teaching is driven by standardized tests and performance outcomes; principals are managers, and school superintendents are CEOs; and learning equals performance on the tests with teachers, students, and parents held responsible for “failure.”
Education, which is properly seen as a public good, is being converted into a private good, an investment one makes in one’s child or oneself to “add value” in order better to compete in the labor market.
It is no longer seen as part of the larger end of promoting individual and social development, but is merely the means to rise above others.
Democratic participation in local schools is rearticulated to individual “empowerment” of education consumers—as parents compete for slots in an array of charter and specialty schools. In Chicago, twelve thousand parents and students attended the 2010 “High School Fair” sponsored by Chicago Public Schools, and six thousand attended the “New Schools Expo” of charter and school choice options.
The political significance of this neoliberal shift stretches beyond schools to legitimize marketing the public sector, particularly in cities, and to infuse market ideologies into everyday life. ...
Up to 10,000 Australians with intellectual disabilities, who worked for as little as just 99¢ an hour, will share in a massive $100 million federal government payout after a landmark discrimination lawsuit. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 16/12/16]
Headspace only provides 'small' benefit for youth mental health, report shows [ABC - 16/12/16]
ACT disability advocates back investigations of NDIS, services after parliamentary inquiries launched [Canberra Times - 8/12/16]
... "We were told no one would be worse off under the NDIS but, in actual fact, we are worse off because respite is not automatically provided for carers," she said. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/12/16]
Newcastle doctor accused of assaulting patients wants trial moved to Sydney [ABC – 16/12/16]
A former nurse who murdered two elderly patients by injecting them with insulin has been sentenced to at least 27 years in jail. ... [ABC - 16/12/16]
Ultrasound technician guilty of groping female patients [ABC – 15/12/16]
Both were young, with their whole lives ahead of them.
Both leave grieving families and friends behind. ...
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [4/12/15]:
What did 22 year old Yamatji woman, Ms Dhu, and 24 year old Iranian man Hamid Kehazaei have in common?
Both should never have been detained in the first place; Ms Dhu was taken to the lock-up for unpaid fines, a trivial offence that attests more to socio-economic disadvantage and systemic racism than to any criminality on her part.
Hamid came to Australia in search of safety, he committed no crime, yet he was interned on a remote island for a year in unsanitary, inhumane and degrading conditions.
Both died from septicaemia, an infection which if diagnosed and treated quickly can be remedied with antibiotics. Staff waited until they were critically ill, slumped on the ground and unable to move, before they acted with any sense of urgency.
Both experienced delays to their treatment and were subject to fatal errors of judgement on the part of both custodial and medical staff.
Both were perceived as no more than racialised bodies in systems that are structured to fail them; both were 'othered' by mainstream Australian society. ...
... Speaking in Farsi from the family home in Tehran, Goldone Kehazaei told Guardian Australia she had not heard her son’s voice since his diagnosis.
“Not even before he boarded the plane,” she said, “They didn’t allow anyone to go with him on the plane, they said he had to give written permission, but he was too ill and unaware of his surroundings at that point. I was very upset because if I was there I would have held his hand and given him some comfort.
“On the plane his heart stopped and by the time he got to hospital the infection had spread and blood wasn’t getting to his brain. Only his heart and lungs were functioning. His brain and kidneys had failed.”
“No one called us [from the hospital] because it was the weekend, so we called ourselves and they said: ‘We don’t know who you’re talking about’. ...
Coroner: Ms Dhu's death preventable, police unprofessional and inhumane [SBS – 16/12/16]:
Coroner Ros Fogliani delivered her findings to a packed court room today in Perth and said Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if she had been given antibiotics, and found police acted unprofessionally and inhumanely.
During the inquest, some police testified they thought Ms Dhu was faking illness and was coming down from drugs, while some medical staff also thought she was exaggerating.
Coroner Fogliani said on Friday that Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if her illness had been diagnosed days earlier.
She said Ms Dhu's treatment was unprofessional and inhumane.
Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died two days after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station in August 2014 for unpaid fines totalling $3622.
Ms Fogliani made several recommendations in her findings and also agreed to release footage showing Ms Dhu's final hours, except for vision of her moments before death.
Yesterday her grandmother Carol Roe urged the coroner to make the footage publicly available.
"I hope the Coroner hands down the truth. Then we will feel like there has been some justice. Then we can put my girl to rest," said Ms Roe.
"People need to see with their own eyes how my girl was treated. All Australians need to see this footage - we all need to stand together and say enough is enough, no more Aboriginal deaths in custody."
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Western Australia continues to have the highest Aboriginal imprisonment rates in Australia. ...
Harrowing footage of the final moments of Ms Dhu's life has been released after the 22-year-old's family won their fight to "show the world the truth" about how she was treated before her death in custody. ... [The Age - 16/12/16]
Children detained in Victorian prison warned dogs, firearms could be used against them, court told [ABC - 13/12/16]:
... The acting manager of Parkville's Youth Justice Precinct, Matthew Belleville, helped decide which teenagers would be transferred to the centre at Barwon Prison.
He told the court that despite recommending who would be suitable for relocation, he had never visited the facility and assumed conditions would be similar to those at the Malmsbury and Parkville youth justice centres.
"The three [teenagers] that you transferred, did you know that they'd be sent to 23-hour lockdown?" Mr Morrissey asked.
"No," Mr Belleville replied. ...
Inmate suicides leading cause of death in US jails since 2000 [Corrections One -13/12/16]
Yesterday, CoreCivic, the new name for the Corrections Corporation of America, announced a new contract with ICE to imprison thousands of migrants in Ohio.
CoreCivic/CCA will operate 2,016 beds for ICE at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center.
CoreCivic/CCA already holds approximately 600 migrants at the same facility on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service. ... [CrImmigration - 15/12/16]
@PuenteAZ [15/12/16]: Outside of sheriff Arpaio's Jail with a new lawsuit #GonzalesvsArpaio to end the Arpaio's abusive practices ... #ICEoutofjail
@PuenteAZ [15/12/16]: Take ICE out of 4th Ave Jail and break Arpaio's terror for good. "My son was a victim of racial profiling in 4th Ave Jail" ...
Australia's political prisoners protest on Nauru: "HUMAN RIGHTS! HUMAN RIGHTS! WHERE ARE YOU?!" [March 2016]
"We got everything we asked for" Refugee Council wins its citizenship case. Australia's anti-refugee torture, exile and turnback policy continues - unopposed.
Australia continues torturing refugees ---> [PETITION] To: Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton. Oppositon Leader, Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann, Leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale and Greens Immigration Spokesperson, Nick McKim Don't force refugee families back into tents on Nauru ...
And where's the journalism 'The Age' promised last December? ---> Cartoon of the Day: Ron Tandberg with where are the wise men? @PoliticsFairfax [16/12/16]
Australia's human rights establishment seize on other countries replicating refugee concentration camps, but won't directly challenge the policy. ---> Austria's FM proposes Australian model re refugees. He should visit Nauru & Manus to see its devastating human cost @PearsonElaine [16/12/16]
"Australia has only resettled 250 Rohingya since 2008" The impact of Australia's fanatical, anti-refugee policies: What "stopping the boats" really means [Academy of Social Sciences in Australia - 2016]
No ASEAN member country can justify turning its back on the Rohingya [The China Post - 16/12/16]:
... ASEAN countries treat the ethnic group poorly despite realizing the refugee crisis is a major problem for the region.
Rather than tackle the root causes, countries have focused their efforts on tackling the symptom — "human trafficking."
The regional crackdown on human trafficking over the past few years is aimed at improving their ranking in the U.S. Trafficking in Persons report rather than solving the problem for the Rohingya. ...
@BurmaTaskForce [15/12/16]: Burma Task Force co-sponsored rally in New York #Rohingya End the #Genocide
@the_erc [15/12/16]: Discussion on #Rohingya in EU parliament: "...Myanmar government must protect Rohingya instead of persecuting them..."
Myanmar deploys more troops to Maungdaw South [Arakan News Agency - 16/12/16]
"Liberated" from ISIS in November, people of Nimrud have no clean water supply [RUDAW - 15/12/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [15/12/16]:
Nineveh: News agencies: Two displaced women in their 60s died due to the cold weather and flooding of camps with rainwater at the suburbs of Mosul.
Baghdad: News agenies: Deaths and injuries were resulted as 6 roadside bombs exploded in Sha'b area north of Baghdad.
Baghdad: News agencies: A policeman was killed and two were wounded as an IED hit their patrol in Abi Ghreib district west of Baghdad.
Anbar: News agencies: A policeman was killed and 4 were wounded as an attack targeted their headquarter in Kilo 140 area west of Ramadi.
US drone strike kills nine civilians in Mosul [Antiwar.com - 14/12/16]
Australian warplanes hitting "more IS targets" after changes to war crimes bill, Airforce officer tells Murdoch Press [Global Times - 15/12/16]
... The UK-based Airwars organisation says Australia remains one of the least transparent members of the international military coalition, consistently refusing to disclose almost any information about air strikes by RAAF aircraft or acknowledge any incidents that may have produced civilian casualties.
"Canberra has consistently refused to disclose almost any information relating to an estimated 405 air strikes to October 2016 - with one notable exception," Airwars said.
The exception was an airstrike in September that hit Syrian government forces, with the Australian Defence Force admitting two F/A-18 Hornets released weapons during the attack.
Airwars said Australia had also consistently refused to disclose how many alleged civilian casualty events its aircraft may have been involved in.
There was no detailed investigation of two incidents, one near Ramadi and one near Fallujah, in which civilians entered the target area after weapons were fired. ... [SBS - 15/12/16]
Syrian national arrested by Saudi police for Facebook post supporting Syrian Army [AMN - 16/12/16]
UK and US claim Russia preventing Aleppo aid as Red Cross and UN speak of close cooperation [RT - 16/12/16]
Syrian army thwarts Jaish al-Fateh terrorists’ attack in Aleppo, continues operations across country [SANA - 15/12/16]
16 December 2016