Singapore, New Zealand hold inaugural Defence Ministers' meeting [Channel News Asia - 16/1/17]
The Philippines launched its one-year chairmanship of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Sunday, as the bloc nears the 50th anniversary of its formation.
A ceremony led by President Rodrigo Duterte was held at a convention centre in his hometown of Davao City in the south of the country, with around 1,000 people, including government officials and diplomats from other countries, attending. ... [Bangkok Post - 16/1/17]
Oil and gas giant Shell Malaysia confirmed today it is experiencing technical glitches with its site system, which has in turn affected operations at its stations.
The company apologised for inconveniencing motorists who were unable to fill up their tanks as a result of the disruption. ... [Malay Mail Online - 16/1/17]
Cambodia has informed the United States that it is canceling an annual joint military exercise this year, even though planning for the event had already begun, officials from both countries said Monday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Chhum Socheath said the Angkor Sentinel exercise had to be postponed because Cambodian forces would be unable to fully participate as a result of two important events: local elections in June and a six-month campaign to eradicate drug-related crime.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Jay Raman confirmed in an e-mail that the exercises for 2017 and 2018 have been canceled.
He said military exchanges and training programs are not affected. [Yahoo - 16/1/17]
Melbourne University research to explore legacy of Khmer Rouge reparations [Phnom Penh Post - 16/1/17]:
A researcher with Melbourne University has launched a new study that will seek to gauge recognised Khmer Rouge victims’ satisfaction with reparations projects ordered by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as well as the projects’ lasting effect on the national consciousness.
Dr Rachel Hughes explained her research in a public lecture on Thursday, saying it would seek to analyse the claim that a trial for perpetrators of crimes against humanity can strengthen rule of law and human rights, while also looking into the way reparations projects affect national reconciliation. ...
A deminer working for the NGO Halo Trust was killed and another was injured in Pailin province on Friday after they detonated a mine while attempting to clear an area in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold, the NGO said.
Staff from the NGO and the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Authority visited the area on Sunday as part of a joint investigation into the death of Loeung Reaksmey, 55, who was killed almost instantly at about 7:30 a.m. in Bar Yakha commune on the Thai border, said Halo Trust country director Matthew Hovell. ... [Cambodia Daily - 16/1/17]
Abe pledges fresh security-related aid to Vietnam [Japan Times - 16/1/17]
In a bid to reduce crimes committed by U.S. military base workers, Tokyo and Washington on Monday signed a supplementary agreement to limit and clarify the definition of the civilian component protected under the Status of Forces Agreement.
The agreement came almost nine months after a woman was allegedly raped and killed by a contract worker at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.
“The agreement will help prevent the recurrences of incidents and accidents involving the U.S. civilian component,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at the signing ceremony, thanking U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who is scheduled to leave Japan on Wednesday, for her efforts to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. ... [Japan Times - 16/1/17]
Japan's Defence Minister to inspect US missile battery on Guam [RNZI - 11/1/17]
South Korea says securing THAAD location could be delayed [Reuters - 15/1/17]:
The signing of a contract which would secure the location of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea could be delayed, Seoul's defense ministry said on Monday.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is due to be deployed on land which is now part of a golf course owned by the Lotte Group conglomerate in the Seongju region, southeast of South Korea's capital Seoul.
"The plan to go ahead with the exchange will be signed by mid-January, but there is a possibility it will be slightly delayed," South Korean defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a regular news briefing.
"Lotte needs to hold a meeting of the board of directors to approve the final assessment fee," Moon said.
"We understand that the meeting has not happened yet, but will be held soon".
South Korea and the U.S. say the deployment of THAAD is designed to protect against North Korea's growing nuclear and ballistic capabilities.
But Beijing objects strongly to its use in South Korea, where it says THAAD's powerful radar could penetrate Chinese territory, leading to calls from some South Korea opposition leaders to delay or cancel its deployment.
Moon Jae-in, a former opposition leader who currently leads polls of presidential hopefuls, has said its deployment should wait until the next South Korean administration is in place.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is expected to run for president of South Korea and is currently polling second behind Moon in surveys of potential candidates, said on Sunday it is appropriate for THAAD to be deployed in the country, however.
South Korea has been gripped by a political crisis since lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in December to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal.
The motion is now with the Constitutional Court and will trigger an early presidential election if upheld.
The deployment of THAAD in rural Seongju has been met with protests from farmers concerned that the sophisticated missile defense system's advanced radar will damage local melon crops and make the small town a target of a North Korean attack.
Beijing will 'take off the gloves', if Trump continues on Taiwan: China Daily [Reuters - 16/1/17]
.@FoxNews "Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand." Oh really, couldn't do...
much worse - just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?
Donald Trump called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would follow the U.K. in leaving the bloc, and threatened BMW with import duties over a planned plant in Mexico, according to two European newspapers which conducted a joint interview with the President-elect.
Trump, in an hourlong discussion with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London published on Sunday, signaled a major shift in trans-Atlantic relations, including an interest in lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear weapons reduction deal. ... [Bloomberg - 15/1/17]
@wikileaks [15/1/17]: Trump quoted today proposing big Russian, US nuclear weapons cuts vs sanctions. See also WikiLeaks nuclear 10 ten ...
Trump versus the deep state [The UNZ Review - 13/1/17]
Erik Prince’s mercenaries are bombing Libya [War Is Boring - 14/1/17]
The Russian and Syrian air forces launched a large number of airstrikes over the eastern countryside of Aleppo in the past 24 hours, hitting Islamic State (ISIS) targets between the Maskanah and Deir Hafer plains. ... [AMN - 16/1/17]
Syrian Army cuts strategic supply road for rebel forces in East Ghouta [AMN - 16/1/17]
Three more settlements in the Syrian provinces of Latakia and Damascus have joined the ceasefire regime in the past 24 hours, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said in its regular daily bulletin posted on the Russian defense ministry’s official website on Sunday. ... [TASS - 15/1/17]
Turkish military says 19 Daesh terrorists killed in airstrikes, shelling in northern Syria [Daily Sabah - 15/1/17]:
... Meanwhile, Special Task Forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) continue their operation to seize the districts of Suflaniyah and Kabr al-Mukri in northern Syria with airstrikes and shelling.
The Turkish army is supporting FSA fighters in liberating al-Bab, a strategic city for Daesh, from the terrorist group.
Monday marks the 146th day since the city was surrounded in order to liberate it. ...
Syrian opposition says shelling of displaced shelter kills 12 [Yahoo - 15/1/17]
United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 15/1/17]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [15/1/17]:
Nineveh: Press sources: "100" civilians were either killed or wounded as an aerial and artillery shelling targeted the neighborhoods east and northeast of Mosul.
Nineveh: More than "4000" civilians have been displaced during the last "24" hours from Mosul due to the shelling of US-led coalition aircraft and artillery of the government forces which have targeted the neighborhoods in the city.
A person was killed and 5 were wounded as an IED exploded in Tarmiya district north of Baghdad.
A person was wounded as an IED exploded in Doura south of Baghdad.
No'maniya district people in wasit province have demonstrated to protest against the lack of basic services and the government negligence to the district.
The horror of the Iraq war, one hundred years from now [The Intercept - 15/1/17]
... Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream ...
'As', Stevie Wonder 
Martin Luther King "Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam" April 30, 1967 [Antiwar.com - 15/1/17]:
... And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only fifty-three dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that fifty-three dollars goes for salaries to people that are not poor.
So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such. ...
Archaeologists unearth link to Anne Frank at camp Sobibor [NY Daily News - 15/1/17]:
Recent excavations at camp Sobibor in Poland, a former Nazi extermination site, have uncovered a pendant similar to one belonging to Anne Frank, according to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. ...
... Cuba issued Otto Frank a visa on December 1, 1941, according to the documents, but it was canceled 10 days later when Germany declared war on the United States.
The following summer, as Jews were being sent from Amsterdam to Nazi camps, the Frank family went into hiding for two years before being discovered and sent to concentration camps.
Otto Frank survived the camp but died in 1980. ... Anne Frank's family sought US visa, letters show [Reuters - 14/2/2007]
A migrant ship carrying 110 people has sunk off the Libyan coast and there are said to have only four survivors.
Pope Francis demanded Sunday that 'every possible measure' be taken to protect young refugees, as search and rescue efforts continued following the latest deadly Mediterranean migrant shipwreck.
Italy's coast guard said only four people survived the sinking of the migrant ship that went down 30 miles off the Libyan coast on Saturday.
Only eight bodies have been recovered. ... [Daily Mail - 16/1/17]
Bodies of five migrants found off Spain's southern coast [Reuters – 15/1/17]
In a bid to stem an increase in violence against migrants in Germany, the state of Brandenburg has announced that failed asylum-seekers will not be deported if they have been subjected to physical violence at the hands of extremists.
Officials hope the move, which Berlin regional authorities are also mulling, will send a powerful signal to the anti-immigration extremists that have targeted migrants in recent months.
But it is likely to trigger a clash with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government, which has moved to speed up deportations in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack on a Christmas market last month. ... [France 24 - 14/1/17]
@BehrouzBoochani [16/1/17]: The court for two refugees beaten by immigration and police was canceled again today. This is fourth time.
If this is true, where is the EVIDENCE that US officials are currently interrogating Australia's political prisoners on Manus Island and Nauru ? ---> US officials have been in Nauru and on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to begin interviews with some refugees who have expressed interest in being resettled in the United States. ... [RNZI - 16/1/17]
It is US policy, and it is Australian policy. ---> US detention centers hold thousands of legal immigrants [The Seattle Globalist - 9/1/17]
Where is the Australian politician, human rights organisation, "advocate", NGO, church, or professional association who will demand AN END to the LNP and ALP's US-backed anti-refugee policy? Guatemalan refugee who died in Arizona detention died from blood clot [Fronteras - 20/12/16]:
... She is the third person in ICE custody to die since Oct. 1, when the fiscal year started.
Last fiscal year, 10 people died in custody.
There is no "US deal" and there is no "resettlement". There is only indefinite detention. THAT is the policy. ---> I was told to lie: Manus Island staffer [SBS - 25/2/14]
When the only shred of honesty is coming from the advertising industry, you know there's a problem ---> Meat and Livestock Australia's 2017 advertisement responds to "non issues" of invasion day and our war on refugees [Ad News - 12/1/17]
@nslwin [16/1/17]: #UN SP @YangheeLeeSKKU wasn't allowed to visit #KoeTanKauk village where this video showing police torturing #Rohingya was filmed. #Myanmar
UN denied tour of Aung San Suu Kyi's western backed genocide in Rakhine as China joins regional push back of Myanmar refugees [Sputnik News - 15/1/17]:
UN special rapporteur on human rights Yanghee Lee has been denied access to some parts of the country's northern Rakhine State, where widespread abuse of Myanmar's Rohingya minority is suspected.
In the Muslim Rohingya villages she was able to access, Lee was only allowed to speak to individuals the government had pre-approved.
The UN special rapporteur arrived in the country January 9 and will stay through January 20.
She spent three days in Rakhine state, where more than 1 million Rohingya live without citizenship.
"We really hope that her visit brings a positive change for Rohingya and we hope to gain our human rights," a displaced Rohingya man living temporarily in Kyee Kan Pyin village told AP, speaking anonymously out of fear.
A resident of the village, Mohammad Hussein, said, "We have received hundreds of villagers whose houses were burned and they are living in our village and they have nowhere to go."
Late last week, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar U Kyaw Tin held talks with Bangladesh's prime minister, foreign minister and foreign affairs secretary as a special envoy of Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the country's civilian government. Indian and Bangladeshi media report that the countries signed two agreements on security, cooperation and border control issues, and that Bangladesh asked Myanmar to take the Rohingya back.
Bangladesh's prime minister notified the officials that his country's coast guard and border patrols had been told to turn refugees away.
"The special envoy has been informed that the recent arrival of a huge number of Myanmar nationals and the long and illegal stay of approximately 300,000 unregistered Myanmar nationals have disrupted stability and economic development in the very important region of Chittagong," Bangladeshi foreign minister A. H. Mahmood Ali told AFP.
A separate wave of internally displaced people tried this week to cross the border into China, but were turned away.
Myanmar's The Irawaddy reports that more than 4,000 Kachin internally displaced persons, including 800 children, were returned to border camps after China denied them entry.
They had spent days trekking to the border after shells fell on two camps for the internally displaced within Kachin state.
Kachin aid workers said China may be feeling pressure from the Myanmar government not to accept its refugees, and may not accept them without an agreement with the Myanmar government.
They also say that Myanmar's army has blocked humanitarian aid transfers for Kachin internally displaced people since last year.
The China Post took a harsh tone with Myanmar in a January 16 editorial, saying China and Bangladesh should not pay for Myanmar's problems.
"Myanmar's policy towards the Rohingyas is inhumane and unacceptable. Its government should look at history and take note that highhandedness as a state policy is unviable in the long run. Hate, prejudice and racism are evils that always find new victims. Today it is the Rohingyas. Who will be next? It is the Myanmar government which created the Rohingya problem and it is solely its responsibility to find a lasting solution to it."
"Are we humans?" [The Stateless - 13/1/17]
A former LTTE cadre was arrested on Saturday evening by the Terrorism Investigation Department.
Murugaiyah Thavendran from Thiruvaiyaaru, Kilinochchi, a former cadre that had been through Sri Lanka's 'rehabilitation' process, was arrested by persons identifying as TID police.
Mr Thavendran's whereabouts are currently unknown to his family, who have filed reports with Kilinochchi police and the Kilinochchi citizen's committee. [Tamil Guardian - 15/1/17]
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday marked the Tamil harvest festival of Thai Pongal, with a special video message of celebration. ... [Tamil Guardian - 15/1/17]
Defence lawyers made their final pitch to the jury at a human-smuggling trial Thursday, arguing their clients provided humanitarian assistance to Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing persecution in a country ravaged by civil war, challenging the Crown’s view that the accused illegally organized the MV Sun Sea’s arrival in Canada.
Kunarobinson Christhurajah, Lesly Emmanuel, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam have each been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with organizing the cargo ship’s voyage across the Pacific.
The MV Sun Sea docked in B.C. in August, 2010, carrying 492 people – 380 men, 63 women and 49 children.
The ship was the second Tamil migrant vessel to arrive in the province in less than a year and drew considerable attention.
The trial for the four men began in B.C. Supreme Court in October and closing arguments started Thursday. ... [The Globe and Mail - 13/1/17]
... A hero denied by his homeland ... New Assange street art in Melbourne by @lushsux @WLTaskForce [15/1/17]
@couragefound [12/1/17]: From 2013: A Tribute to Chelsea Manning from Tunisia ... #FreeChelseaNOW
Belgian sues Belgium for suffering in Guantanamo Bay [Asharq Al-Awsat – 15/1/17]:
Brussels- Belgian-Moroccan imprisoned for three years in Guantanamo Moussa Zemmouri, 38, has issued proceedings against the Belgian State with the U.N. Committee against Torture.
“Belgium is complicit in his unlawful detention,” his lawyer, Walter Van Steenbrugge, asserted in De Standaard on Friday.
“Belgium exchanged information about my client with the United States. This is entirely unacceptable,” the lawyer went on.
He considered that the Belgian state has done too little to allow Zemmouri to leave Cuba, all the while knowing that he was being tortured there.
The U.N. Committee against Torture has no power to impose any penalties upon Belgium but its judgement has a significant symbolic impact.
The lawyer indicated, “We are taking civil proceedings against Belgium and requesting compensation of up to 50,000 euros for the country’s passive attitude.”
Zemmouri, who is supported by the European Center for Human Rights, was arrested in 2001 in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region on suspicion of terrorism and extradited to the United States.
He was imprisoned for three years on the controversial U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
In April 2005 he was sent back to Belgium without conviction.
At the white man’s school, what are the children taught?
Are they told of the battles our people fought,
Are they told of how our people died?
Are they told why our people cried?
Australia’s true history is never read,
But the blackman keeps it in his head.
An anonymous Aboriginal poet wrote these lines in 1971 [John Pilger's Utopia - Museum of Contemporary Art - 10/1/14]
The Last Day Of Freedom – Australia:
This is an idea my late father Tiga Bayles shared with people across the country.
Mob around Australia have marked the last day of balance and harmony on the 25th January, with events in their local communities. ...
@Clintonswalk [15/1/17]: This was sent to me ...
Call for investigation after two disabled Indigenous women die at Campbelltown hospital [NITV - 13/1/17]
Northern Territory police are investigating alleged death threats against a former Don Dale youth detainee, who is due to give evidence at the Royal Commission when it resumes in March. ... [NITV - 13/1/17]
Australians for a Free West Papua - Darwin [15/1/17]:
On this day we honour Australian award winning journalist and film maker MARK WORTH who died in West Papua on January 15, 2004 - suspiciously just two days after the ABC announced his documentary, 'LAND OF THE MORNING STAR' would be screened across Australia.
Many of Mark's friends and colleagues deemed his sudden death as suspicious and many called on the Australian Government for a thorough investigation.
Yet our Government predictably left any investigation up to the Indonesian Government, who buried his body so quickly that no one was able to properly establish his cause of death, which was officially left as mere pneumonia.
His death remains an unresolved issue with many.
Mr. Worth's sudden death shocked Papuans and all involved in Free West Papua campaigns in West Papua, PNG, Australia and the world.
Mr. Worth had worked tirelessly exposing the truth about the cruel occupation of West Papua from inside West Papua, which ultimately, many assume was the real cause of his sudden death. ...
Abbas on having opened Palestine embassy in Vatican [PNN - 15/1/17]:
The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday in a statement expressed gratefulness towards the role that the Holy See has played for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, and for having opened an embassy of Palestine in the Vatican for first time.
“We are proud to be the birthplace of Christianity and about having one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. We discussed the importance of the implementation of our comprehensive bilateral agreement.” Abbas said.
“We met at a moment of great expectation. [On Sunday], over 70 countries will meet in Paris in order to discuss how to bring peace to our region, the holy land. We praise the role of President Hollande and the French government in organizing this international conference, and we call upon the participants to take concrete measures in order to implement international law and UN resolutions. It is long overdue for the Palestinian people to exercise their basic right to live in freedom and dignity.”
In this moment, we extend our hand to President elect Trump for his cooperation to make peace based on international law, Abbas concluded.
Israeli military bulldozers on Sunday morning carried out a limited incursion into an eastern border area in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.
Local sources reported that armored bulldozers came from Sofa military base and infiltrated about 50 meters into the east of Rafah, where they embarked on digging and leveling mounds of dirt. ... [PNN - 15/1/17]
Israeli army tank fires at "Hamas post" in Gaza [Maan - 15/1/17]
Israeli settlers living above a Palestinian family in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem assailed the family’s courtyard and attempted to break into their home Saturday evening. ... [Maan - 15/1/17]
Israeli forces open fire on fishermen off the coast of Gaza [Maan - 14/1/17]:
... Earlier this month, a Palestinian fisherman went missing after an encounter with Israeli forces off the coast of Gaza, with his family announcing his death days later despite his body having yet to be recovered.
Israeli forces injure 3 Palestinian youths during clashes in al-Jalazun refugee camp [Maan - 13/1/17]
Three activists executed in Bahrain – Reprieve comment [15/1/17]
Obama accused of 'making a deal with the devil' as he eases sanctions on Sudan [Telegraph - 13/1/17]
Burundi: Mass grave dating from 1972 discovered in Mwaro province [IWACU- 12/1/17]
Explosion kills 7 civilians in East of Afghanistan [Khaama - 15/1/17]
A senior commander of the Taliban group was killed along with at least 20 other militants during the counter-terrorism operations in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Sunday. ... [Khaama - 15/1/17]
Lawmakers on Saturday said the guesthouse bomb attack in southern Kandahar province was ‘questionable’ and that the attackers had insider’s support.
Eleven people, including five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were killed and 18 others wounded in the powerful blast in a guesthouse in the governor’s house in Kandahar City, the provincial capital, last Tuesday.
The UAE ambassador and the Kandahar governor were among those wounded in the blast and the deputy governor and other senior officials were among the dead.
Arif Rahmani, a lower house or Wolesi Jirga member from southern Ghazni province, told today’s session: “This attack was accurately engineered and was far from the ability of Taliban, the cause of the crime should be unveiled.” ... [Pajhwok - 14/1/17]
Two explosions rocked Kabul at about 4pm on Tuesday afternoon in the PD6 area in Darulaman Road, killing 21 people and wounding 45 others.
Officials said the bombers targeted parliament staff leaving for the day. ... [TOLO News - 10/1/17]
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.
Princess Diana walking through a minefield in her campaign against landmines. Photograph: Tim Graham/The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
20 years after Diana campaign, new landmine crisis plagues Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen [Reuters - 14/1/17]:
... Images of Princess Diana walking through a minefield in Angola 20 years ago this weekend helped raise global awareness of landmines and the plight of their victims.
About seven months later Princess Diana, who had divorced heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles in 1996, died from injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris.
More than 160 countries have signed the Mine Ban Treaty and 27 countries and one territory have declared themselves free of landmines, including Mozambique after a 20-year mine-clearing program, and Rwanda and Nicaragua.
The number of people reported killed or injured by landmines has risen sharply though, with 75 percent more casualties in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the Landmine Monitor.
Many of them were civilians.
This was largely due to more victims in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, but also due to improved availability in casualty data, the Monitor said in its most recent report in November 2016. ...
Syrian Army strikes back in Deir Ezzor, tens of ISIS terrorists killed [AMN - 15/1/17]
Russia questions UN lack of humanitarian assistance in Aleppo [AMN - 14/1/17]
Terrorists assassinated Ahmad al-Ghadban, one of the coordinators of the reconciliation in Wadi Barada area in Damascus Countryside. ... [SANA - 14/1/17]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [14/1/17]:
Anbar: News agencies: 4000 US soldiers have arrived at Aien Al-Asad Base west of Anbar during the last few weeks,...
Anbar: News agencies: US armored fighting forces have moved from Baghdadi Nahiya to Jazeera area in Tharthar Basin to conduct a reconnaissance mission according to the source.
Nineveh: News agencies: A cameraman working for Itijah Channel has been wounded in Mosul .
News agencies: Deaths and injuries were resulted as a car bomb exploded in Karada area in the middle of Baghdad.
4 persons were wounded as an IED exploded in Diyala Bridge area southeast of Baghdad.
Two persons were wounded as an IED exploded near shops in Ghazaliya area west of Baghdad today evening.
A person was killed and 6 wounded as an IED exploded near A traditional market in Nasir Wal Salam Nahiya in Abi Ghreib district west of Baghdad.
US backed Iraq special forces "sweep Mosul University for remaining militants" [Reuters - 15/1/17]
A Marine colonel facing charges of child sexual assault and abuse has been sent to the brig after new allegations of wrongdoing. ... [Military.com - 14/1/17]
United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Syria and Iraq [US Department of Defense - 14/1/17]
When will the United States stop bombing Syria and Iraq (and other countries)? [US Department of Defense - 13/1/17]
@Refugees_Gr [14/1/17]: #Lesvos #refugeesgr #MohamedA Egyptian who's live in danger back home, 33 days on hunger strike, claiming asylum, rejected, to be deported.
@Refugees_Gr [14/1/17]: A year ago,lifeguards of @Proemaid & Team Humanity arrested at #Lesvos after being prevented by police&Frontex 2 rescue 51 #refugeesgr @ sea
No journalism. No opposition. Torture (expecially the deliberate denial of medical care), murder, exile and turnbacks continue unchallenged as the Australian media, ALP and Greens reinforce their beloved anti-refugee policy [Sydney Morning Herald - 15/1/17]
ALP Leader Bill Shorten: "It is OUR policy"
Pseudo-leftists promote Greens’ posturing on refugees [WSWS - 3/5/17]:
... For decades, the Greens have acted as accomplices of both the major parties.
The Labor Party first introduced the mandatory detention of asylum seekers in Australia in 1992, under the Keating government. Between 2010 and 2013, the Greens became the parliamentary partner of the Labor minority government of Julia Gillard, providing the support it needed to stay in power.
During this period, Gillard drafted legislation that went beyond the draconian anti-refugee measures introduced by the Liberal-National Coalition under John Howard.
The Greens-backed Gillard Labor government revived and extended Howard’s so-called “Pacific Solution,” adding a mandatory period of several years’ offshore imprisonment, even for officially recognised refugees, as a means of “deterring” other asylum seekers from entering the country.
When Kevin Rudd briefly returned as Labor prime minister in 2013, he went even further in repudiating international refugee law, legislating that refugees arriving in Australia by boat would be deported and never permitted to return.
The Abbott-Turnbull Coalition governments have retained these measures over the past three years, with the Labor and Liberal parties now inseparable on refugee policy.
In this context, the Greens function as a political safety valve for the ruling elite, promoting the myth that the parliamentary set-up—and specifically, Labor, can be pressured to provide a more “humane” system for refugees.
At the same time, the Greens determinedly maintain the basic political premise behind the brutal “fortress Australia” policy: that the state should forcibly block or regulate the movement of refugees and undocumented immigrants into Australia, denying what should be the basic right of every person to live and work, with full citizenship rights, wherever they wish. ...
What part of: THESE MEN ARE UNCONSTITUTIONALLY BEING HELD FOR DARING TO SEEK ASYLUM, AND ONE OF THE PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DEMENTED IDEOLOGY INCLUDES MEDICAL TORTURE, does the Australian political, media and rights establishment not understand?
Australia's political prisoners protest on Manus Island, May 2016
The refugees who were beaten by immigration and police on New Years Eve are in a critical situation ... @BehrouzBoochani [14/1/17]
PNG authorities continue repression of stateless men illegally and unconstitutionally being held by the Australian government [PNG Loop - 13/1/17]:
A 31-year-old Iranian refugee living in Port Moresby has been arrested by police for having in his possession two-pack rolls of marijuana without any doctor’s prescription.
Mohammad Rezza Najafi Movafagh was arrested on Jan 10, 2017 and charged under section 3(1)(d) of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
He is expected to appear in court next week.
The rolls of marijuana were allegedly found in his room on Jan 4 (last Wednesday) by housekeeping staff at the motel he has been residing in.
When questioned by police CID Drug Squad on Jan 5, he revealed that he brought the drugs from a boy in Boroko and consumes it to relieve himself from stress due to his current condition.
He also failed to produce a doctor’s prescription when asked for one by police.
He was flown down from Manus to undergo medical treatment and has been living in a motel in Port Moresby where the drugs were found in his room.
Cuban refugees stranded en route to US following Obama edict [Havana Times - 14/1/17]:
... “I don’t see any relief [for Cuban migrants} in the short term, especially from this administration,” says Ediberto Roman, a law professor and Cuba expert at Florida International University.
“But the new administration may address it.” ...
Before daughter's death, woman's case wasn't a priority, ICE officials say [Cleveland 19 - 14/1/17]:
... In 2009, Chen applied for asylum based on her religion, political opinion and membership in a social group that she suffered persecution by the Chinese government.
She testified her brother was arrested after she fled China but her asylum application didn't indicate the arrest of any family member.
Chen also testified she was held in an education camp for a month but there were discrepancies if she was actually detained.
Finally, Chen testified she owed money to somebody who smuggled her into the country.
She didn't say if she was smuggled by her own free will or if she was forced into a smuggling ring.
Her request to seek asylum in the United States was denied and Chen faced deportation in 2012.
Federal court records suggest she was living in the United States illegally.
ICE officials released the following statement Friday in regards to why Ming Ming Chen was not in their custody earlier:
With no criminal history, Ms. Chen’s case would not have been enforcement priority.
ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis with a priority for detention of serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety. ...
Here's the biggest immigration issue that Trump isn't talking about: Thousands of women and kids came to America seeking asylum. Will we keep locking them in detention? [Mother Jones - 12/1/17]
@wikileaks [13/1/17]: Ron Paul: Will the war between @realDonaldTrump & @CIA reform the @CIA or end @realDonaldTrump?
@wikileaks [13/1/17]: Anglo-American human rights groups @Amnesty, @HRW & @ACLU join call for Obama to free Manning & Snowden
Art collective recreates space in Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained [Sputnik News - 14/1/17]
One child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen as Saudi-led, US-backed war continues [Mint Press News - 30/12/16]
[Scribbly gum] Noosa North Shore, January 2017: ... Previously known as Eucalyptus signata. Larvae of wood-boring moth, Endoxylon cinerea, cause scribbly lines. Much natural habitat lost to development. ... [Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum - 2003]
Teewah Beach, Australia: Where families holiday in the dunes and the Saudi military train to kill Yemenis [Daily Mail - 7/3/16]
... The resident said one helicopter trainer's website stated it could train pilots "free from bureaucratic restraints and in the ideal training areas that are uncongested and untainted by urban demand".
"So, they're sort of saying it's open slather," he said.
The resident said he was worried the Sunshine Coast draft planning scheme included Teewah Airstrip as "accommodating general aviation". ... [Noosa News - 7/1/13]
High hopes for Saudi trainee pilot program [Becker Helicopters Pilot Academy Media Release - 5/11/08]
Fraser Island Defenders Organisation:
... Massacres of Aborigines were occurring quite openly and regularly in and around Fraser Island and Maryborough.
In most cases “white volunteers” were assisted or led by the murderous Maryborough based Native Police in these sorties.
Many massacres of Aborigines which resulted from a number of confrontations have been documented in a paper by Raymond Evans and Jan Walker (Occasional Papers in Anthropology No 8 University of Queensland, 1977).
They noted: “Following these engagements, the Aborigines withdrew to Fraser Island which, according to the whites, they seemed to be using as a convenient natural fortress, for the avoidance of European reprisal raids.”
This led to considerable planning by white settlers to invade Fraser Island and remove “35 named Aborigines accused by European settlers of ‘murder and felony’ ”.
On Christmas Eve 1851 Commandant Walker, his officers and 24 of his infamous Native Police, supported by some local mounted squatters and sailors sworn in as “special constables”, set out to arrest some Aborigines for which there were warrants.
They spent eight days on Fraser Island carrying out what was euphemistically described as “examinations” of Aborigines.
Subsequent reports indicate that this was a pretence for a series of massacres which occurred between Christmas Eve and 3 January.
Aboriginal oral history reports the biggest massacre was at Indian Head.
It may have been seen as a little “silly season” sport for the squatters or a little hunting expedition over the Christmas holiday season.
Evans and Walker note that the official sketchy report strains credulity because the commandant let the Native Police out alone “to pursue hostile blacks” simply because he was too footsore to accompany them.
The “Moreton Bay Courier” subsequently described this as a “jaunt” covered with “extraordinary secrecy” and that “rumours are afloat that natives were driven in to the sea, and there kept as long as daylight or life lasted…” ...
@7NewsSC [11/1/17]: The beautiful countryside of Maleny is headed for the big screen with a movie being shot in the region.
... A dedicated team of actors and crew made the trailer and now we would love to make the feature, a true Australian gritty action drama, we will be exploring how the press communicate false truths to the community and allow the people to judge books by their covers ... 'Patched' the movie
Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep are Hollywood actresses. Their crappy performances in tedious films have always pushed a reactionary agenda, and THEY ARE ON THE SAME SIDE. ---> ... What breathtaking hypocrisy and blind eyes and deaf ears for eight years during Obama’s drone campaign, his bombing seven countries, the dead, the wounded, a refugee crisis, a regime-change foreign policy as well as domestic disorder, the ever-widening gap between the uber-filthy wealthy and the poor, police militarization, that Black parents have to have “the talk” with their children about interactions with police.
No outrage about any of this, Streep? ... [Counterpunch - 13/1/17]
'Lion' actor Sunny Pawar finally gets US visa, shares red carpet with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel at Governors Awards [Times of India - 14/11/16]:
... 'Lion' stars Nicole Kidman and David Wenham as a Tasmanian couple, who adopt young street kid Saroo (Pawar) from an orphanage in Kolkata. ...
Murdoch and Kidman's Australia: The fun genocide - come visit! [I'll See Anything - 13/12/08]:
... And while we will no doubt continue stealing vast amounts of land in the name of, well, stealing vast amounts of land, could we at least have the good taste not to make films celebrating this fact?
Australia, heavily subsidized by the Australian government as a boost to the tourist industry, shows off all its natural wonders and the like.
But the story goes something like this: bad white people came and stole the land. Good white people followed.
They didn’t give the land back (that’s crazy talk), but they were slightly nicer to the brown people whose land got stolen.
Come visit! ...
@crimesofbrits [13/1/17]: Indigenous children in Australia and Canada were kidnapped from their parents and sent to 'schools' to kill the native in them.
As their censorship of atrocities in our region continues, the Australian media tell us all about the camerawoman who kicked refugees on the Hungaran border [Frontier Myanmar - 13/1/17]:
Members of the Arakan National Party said Friday they had refused to meet a UN envoy who is probing abuse allegations arising from the ongoing security crackdown in Maungdaw.
Bangladesh has urged Myanmar's government to end the violence and take back the thousands of refugees that have entered already overcrowded camps along the border.
"Bangladesh has demanded quick restoration of (a) normal situation in Rakhine State so that Myanmar nationals... can quickly go back home," foreign minister A.H. Mahmood Ali said after meeting Myanmar's special envoy in Dhaka this week.
Myanmar's foreign ministry said the two sides had "agreed to commence consultations for verification and repatriation" of those who had fled the lockdown.
"On December 10, soldiers came to my house and burned it down. I managed to escape with my two kids -- Mohammed Selim, 4, and 18-month-old Noor Kayes," Sufia told UNB [United News of Bangladesh].
She said four soldiers caught her and raped her before shooting the kids in their heads.
"My husband and two brothers were burned in the fire." ... [The Daily Star/Rohingya Blogger - 13/1/17]
Myanmar: Torture fears for detained Rohingya [Amnesty International - 12/1/17]
Australian media still won't ask how Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide is impacting on Woodside's exploration activities in Rakhine [ABC - 10/1/17]
Sri Lankan military professes to hand over Oorani Fishing Anchor Point but directs displaced fishermen to less suitable area [Tamil Guardian - 14/1/17]:
... During the ceremony, displaced Tamil families spotted Sinhala families of soldiers playing in the water beyond the barbed wire fence on lands that have yet to be returned.
"Imagine how we feel seeing soldier's children playing over there on our land, which we have not been allowed to step onto for 27 years," said one displaced Tamil woman attending the ceremony.
15 January 2017