Bunbury hostage situation: Man with explosives near CBD
Bunbury Mail [16/7/15]:
Dozens of police have assembled on the banks of the Leschenault Inlet near the Bunbury CBD as a siege situation develops.
A sniper is locked on to a middle-aged man believed to have explosives strapped to his body, sitting cross-legged next to a younger hostage who is laying on the ground.
The man looks to be talking on a mobile phone to police.
The pair are next to a car and a large sign which displays the man's demands.
Reporters on the scene say the sign reads "Police release Batty Archibald CCC report."
The vacant land at the corner of Koombana Drive and Blair Street, across from the Bunbury Grand Cinemas, has been blocked off to the public.
A section of Koombana Drive is closed to traffic as police work to control the situation.
Water police, the dog squad, ambulance and firefighters are also on the scene.
It has been reported the metropolitan Tactical Response Group is on the way to the city.
Police wearing bulletproof vests are laying on the ground about 30 metres from the hostage situation.
Drivers and pedestrians have been urged to avoid the area.
Margaret Stone to replace Vivienne Thom as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security [Canberra Times – 16/7/15]
Group gets six years jail over sadistic eight-hour torture
The four men behind a horrific eight-hour torture at a Southport home have been sentenced to sixyears behind bars.
Christopher Goulding, 20, and teenagers Dean Knox, Zane Potts, Jayden Peters and all pleaded guilty to one count of torture in relation to the incident on February 7 last year.
Jay Marsters, who was 18 at the time, was filmed being burnt with cigarettes, hit repeatedly with a hammer, having a tooth ripped out and forced to drink urine.
In Southport District Court on Thursday, Judge Clive Wall said the incident was sadistic, cruel and callous and said there had been a significant impact on the victim.
“The terrifying attack lasted from about 11.00am until early evening,” he said.
Mr Masters says he can still feel pain from some of the injuries he sustained.
Mr Wall sentenced each offender to six years imprisonment.
Knox will be eligible for parole in February next year, Potts and Goulding one month later and Peters in January 2017.
Fears for woman missing from houseboat, Hinchinbrook Island
Grave fears are held for a woman who went missing from a houseboat in crocodile and shark-infested waters off the north Queensland coast five days ago.
Extensive sea, air and land searches have failed to uncover any sign of the 52-year-old from Melbourne, who was reported missing by her husband on Sunday morning.
The pair had been holidaying on the houseboat, which was moored at Hinchinbrook Island, off Cardwell.
Hopes of finding the woman alive are fading, police say.
"That area of wilderness we are dealing with is infested with crocodiles, sharks and other marine life," Detective Sergeant Michelle Clark told AAP.
The search has been focused around Hinchinbrook Island, with authorities scouring bushland, mangroves and surrounding waters, Det Sgt Clark said.
Specialist police divers and wildlife officers have also been involved in the search.
Efforts are expected to be reviewed on Friday.
A former Bandidos bikie who was allegedly part of an extortion ring has become the seventh ex-gang member committed to trial in Brisbane.
Emmanuel Janouris has been ordered to front the District Court over allegations he punched a man in the face and demanded $5000. ... [Yahoo - 16/7/15]
Worker taken to hospital after Midland electric shock
WA Today [16/7/15]:
An electrician was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital after receiving a suspected shock in the roof of a building in John Street in Midland, on Thursday.
Emergency services were called to the address, believed to be a nursing home, just before 9am, where the man had to be pulled from the roof space.
Paramedics treated him at the scene.
He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital by St John Ambulance and his condition is critical but stable.
Two WorkSafe and two Energy Safety investigators are now on the scene and expect to be there for several hours.
State secretary of the Electrical Trades Union WA, Les McLaughlan, said that roof spaces were one of the most dangerous places in any building.
"You often don't know what's up there, what kind of condition the wiring is in; it's unknown territory," he said.
Mr Laughlan said that sometimes tradesmen were pressured into not turning off the power because of business or other considerations.
"We continuously tell our members to always isolate the power. Our rule is: don't work 'live'," he said.
CFMEU organiser who allegedly extorted bribes was Labor sub-branch president [Brisbane Times – 16/7/15]
Man killed in South West driveway
West Australian [16/7/15]:
A man has been killed after allegedly being run over in the driveway of a house he shared in the State's south-west.
The incident, which is believed to have been an accident, happened about 9.30pm yesterday at a property on Somme Street in Bridgetown.
Local police attended the scene after being notified of a car driving over a man.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, may have been lying in the steep driveway when he was allegedly hit by a male friend as he drove in to the property they shared, according to reports.
St Johns Ambulance officers transported the injured man to Bridgetown Hospital.
"Unfortunately, he could not be revived and was declared deceased shortly after arrival," a police spokesman said.
The driver of the vehicle was taken to Bridgetown Police Station where he underwent a breath-analysis test.
A 33-year-old Bridgetown man will be summonsed to the Bridgetown Magistrate's Court on charges of excess 0.08 and possessing cannabis with intent to sell or supply.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner.
Fatal crash on Monaro Highway
Canberra Times [16/7/15]:
One man has been killed after a crash on the Monaro Highway on Thursday morning.
The 29-year-old driver from Calwell died after his car crashed into a stationary truck, police said.
He was the sole occupant of the car.
The fatal crash happened on a northbound section of the highway near Gilmore about 5.45am.
ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Fire and Rescue also attended the scene.
Traffic diversions are in place in both directions and the Highway is closed between Johnson Drive and Isabella Drive.
Police recommend avoiding the Monaro Highway, as motorists will experience long delays.
Man hurt after car crashes into house, Bowen
West Australian [16/7/15]:
A car has crashed through a house in north Queensland, leaving a man seriously hurt.
Paramedics were conducting CPR on the man following the incident on Golf Links Road at Bowen just after 8am Thursday, a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said.
Fire crews are also on scene.
Serious traffic crash, Reedy Creek
QPS Media [16/7/15]:
Police are investigating a serious single vehicle traffic crash on Old Coach Road in Reedy Creek today.
Initial investigations suggest just before 4pm a motorcycle was travelling along Old Coach Road when the male rider lost control of the motorbike and crashed into a concrete drain.
The man, believed to be in his forties, was taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital with serious chest injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Man injured after motorbike and bus collide, Nerang [MYGC – 16/7/15]
Dangerous drug charges, Stanthorpe [QPS Media – 16/7/15]
A man has been charged after police discovered a hydroponics drug set up in a house at Oxenford last night. ... [QPS Media - 16/7/15]
Steroid Seizure, Broadbeach [QPS Media - 16/7/15]
A woman has been charged after police discovered drugs and a large sum of cash in a hotel room at Broadbeach overnight.
Around 6pm officers attended a Surf Parade hotel where they allegedly uncovered a quantity of crystal methamphetamines and cocaine along with more than $19,000 in cash. ... [QPS Media -16/7/15]
Investors cheer Greek bailout approval [Reuters – 16/7/15]
UK: MPs 10% pay rise approved - a week after George Osborne imposed a 1% pay freeze on all other public sector workers [Independent – 16/7/15]
Bank of America quarterly profits more than doubled [BBC – 15/7/15]
Australian government's war on the rule of law (and refugees) continues
Experts are being edged out of the refugee review system. Why? Dr Claire Higgins [Guardian – 16/7/15]
67 allegations of abuse up until May 2015: Transfield's responses to questions taken on notice at Nauru Senate Inquiry [ABC - 16/7/15]:
The company responsible for running the Nauru detention centre has revealed it has received dozens of allegations of sexual and other abuse at the facility.
Transfield Services told a Senate inquiry it received 67 allegations of child abuse up until May this year and 30 of them were against detention centre staff.
Thirty-three asylum seekers allege they have been raped or sexually assaulted at the centre and another five claim they have been asked for sexual favours in exchange for contraband.
Transfield said all allegations had been referred to the Immigration Department.
The answers were provided "on notice" to the Senate Select Committee on the Recent Allegations relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru which held its hearing in Canberra in May.
The inquiry's first witnesses were from Transfield, but many questions from senators failed to elicit direct responses, with Transfield managers taking them "on notice" to be answered later.
The company won a 20-month $1.2 billion tender from the Australian Government to manage the facility in February 2014.
Torture, impunity and the American Psychological Association [Truthdig - 15/7/15]
In the summer of 2013, a team of forensic anthropologists from Baylor University and the University of Indianapolis descended upon Sacred Heart Cemetery, a small, county-run graveyard in rural Brooks County. Small metal markers with the words “Unknown” or “Skeletal Remains” were scattered through the dusty grass and along the cemetery access roads.
More than 300 migrants had died in the county during the past five years, and unidentified human remains ended up here.
For Dr. Lori Baker, a forensic anthropologist at Baylor University, identifying migrant remains and returning them to grieving families had become a mission. “Nobody cares about dead immigrants,” she said recently.
“They’re invisible when they’re alive, and they’re even more invisible when they’re dead.” For years, she and her students had been conducting exhumations and gathering DNA samples across the border regions of South Texas. ... [Texas Observer - 6/7/15]
The Real Death Valley: Full Length Weather Channel Documentary [October 2014]
Israeli air strike hits Gaza Strip
Israeli aircraft struck militant targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip early on Thursday after a rocket from the coastal territory landed in southern Israel, the Israeli military said.
A passerby was lightly hurt in the Gaza Strip, according to residents.
No damage or injuries were reported in Israel after warning sirens sounded and the rocket struck open ground near the city of Ashkelon before dawn, the army said.
Rocket launchings have become an almost weekly occurrence from the coastal strip recently but no militant group took immediate responsibility for the attack.
"The repeated rocket fire at Israel ... is a deliberate decision to target civilians. No person should live under the threat of terrorism," Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement.
A group that sympathises with al Qaeda, who have defied Hamas, has been blamed for other recent strikes, none of which caused injuries or damage.
The Israel-Gaza border area had largely been quiet since last year's July-August war, when Palestinian militants launched thousands of rockets and mortar bombs into Israel and Israeli shelling and air strikes battered the enclave.
More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, while 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.
U.S. President Barack Obama has offered Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu immediate talks to upgrade the
Defense Forces’ offensive and defensive
capabilities in the wake of the deal on Iran’s nuclear program, a senior U.S.
official told Haaretz. ... [Haaretz
Israel wants a permanent stand-off with Iran, says British Foreign Secretary [Independent - 16/7/15]
Police charge man with murder, sexual assault of Sydney teenager Mahmoud Hrouk [ABC - 16/7/15]
These fascists shouldn't be allowed anywhere near hospitals, schools or retirement homes
An American warship carrying about a thousand military personnel has docked in Brisbane.
The USS Blue Ridge, usually based in Japan, arrived in the river city just before 11am as part of the Talisman Sabre joint training exercises between the Australian Defence Force and US military.
Hundreds of defence force personnel from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are on board and will visit hospitals, schools and retirement homes during their Brisbane stay.
Townsville soldier guilty of ex-partner's murder
A returned soldier who stabbed his former partner and burnt her body has been found guilty of murder.
It took a Supreme Court jury just over two hours on Thursday to find Kynan Watego Devenna guilty of murdering 26-year-old Sarahjane Dower in September 2012, two days before her body was found in a burnt-out ute near Townsville, north Queensland.
The 32-year-old Afghanistan-war soldier tried to plead guilty to manslaughter on Monday but the crown rejected the plea.
Tough titties: Fuck off back to where you came from with your degenerate US cultural imperialism masquerading as a restaurant. ----> ... On Tuesday the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) published notices that five Hooters restaurants in NSW and Queensland had entered voluntary administration. ... [Brisbane Times - 16/7/15]
More Peace Pilgrims face trespass charges
Peace Convergence [16/7/15]:
The group is part of the biennial Peace Convergence which challenges the Talisman Sabre war exercises to highlight the cost of war and the Australian-US military alliance to Australians, in particular the U.S. / Australian / Japanese joint exercises ‘waving swords’ at China amidst rising tensions.
“I am a concerned Australian citizen who doesn’t want my taxes to fund war in which so many innocent people are killed with so little accountability,” says Sam Quinlan, one of the pilgrims who trespassed in the Shoalwater Bay training area.
The three were found and arrested yesterday after a couple of days walking through the area.
In Shoalwater Bay the three men found piles of rubbish, which gives evidence that the military presence in the traditional Darumbal land is not as conservationist and respectful as the ADF profess.
@peaceconvergenc [16/7/15]: Sam, Teigan, AJ fined $500 each for trespass. "A fine is a small thing to risk in comparison to the violence our country inflicts."-Sam
VLAD-like freedom of association restrictions now being extended to
peace activists [Peace Convergence - 15/7/15]:
Faith-based peace activists being arrested for trespass onto Talisman Sabre military training area are receiving harsh bail conditions that prevent them from associating with people from their community, with whom they share accommodation and transport.
Jim Dowling declined to enter a plea before a magistrate and remains in Rockhampton Police cells because bail conditions for his release are unreasonable and punitive in intent.
Jim is one of a number ‘peace pilgrims’ protesting the Australian-US military alliance due to the number of destructive and drawn out wars into which it has pulled Australians into.
Magistrate Michael O’Driscoll ruled the forfeiture of Mr. Dowlings’ camping equipment, including his sleeping bag, which Dowling was counting on using for the remainder of his time in Rockhampton.
The bail conditions were such that Mr. Dowling would not be allowed to associate with a number of people with whom he has long-standing personal relationships including friends and people he was staying with in Rockhampton.
This, along with the forfeiture of his sleeping gear would leave Dowling with nowhere to sleep for the night.
Dowling intends to remain in lock-up until more reasonable bail conditions can be negotiated.
Andy Paine, who was arrested along with Jim after their pilgrimage, adjourned his case in the Magistrate’s Court, accepting the bail conditions by default.
As a result, he is no longer free to associate with some of his friends or return to the place he was staying.
Peace Convergence consider the harsh bail conditions to be an overreach of the court’s powers.
“Bail conditions are supposed to limit harms, not political and civil liberties,” says Margaret Pestorius, one of the Convergence organisers.
“Queenslanders should be concerned at this challenging of the ‘freedom of political association’ principles. Many of us have been warned by civil libertarian lawyers, that VLAD-like concepts, designed to contain criminal violence, would transfer over to political activity and this looks like that.”
“Freedom of political association along with freedom of communication are basic concepts enshrined in common law. They are the basis for democracy,” Ms Pestorius said.
As Jim said about the matter himself, “this is punishment, not bail conditions”.
A major Japanese corporation will offer a landmark apology this weekend for using U.S. prisoners of war for forced labor during World War II, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that is hosting the event.
A senior executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corp will apologize to 94-year-old James Murphy, of Santa Maria, California, and relatives of other former POWs who toiled at plants its predecessor company operated in Japan during the conflict. ... [Japan Today - 16/7/15]
Japan lower house passes security bill, despite protests [Channel News Asia - 16/7/15]
And the US? After nuclear deal, Iran must now focus on human rights – UN expert [Media Release - 15/7/15]
"We are 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us" #Manus via @shanebazzi
Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea, Fariba Sahraei [VIDEO – BBC – 18/2/15]:
... "Imagine a large and real cage in the most isolated island, surrounded by ocean and jungle and tall coconut trees," says Omid, a 25-year-old Iranian.
"No doubt our prison is the most beautiful prison in the world."
Omid is not exaggerating. Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is small and rugged, covered in thick jungle, and the coastline is stunning.
It's home to around 50,000 islanders - but also to about 1,000 detained asylum seekers who never wanted to be here and are mostly desperate to get out and go anywhere except back where they came from.
Until mid-2013, Omid was a journalist in Iran. He fled the country under the threat of arrest, paying traffickers a small fortune to take him to Australia.
Like many asylum seekers setting off from Indonesia, Omid headed for Christmas Island, a tiny Australian territory much closer than the mainland.
Despite reaching Australian borders, he was relocated to an overcrowded detention centre on Manus Island, where he has been stuck for the last 18 months.
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [15/7/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
“In the past 48 hours, coalition airstrikes hit five vehicle-borne [improvised explosive devices] and a factory producing these weapons in Ramadi,” said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Gilleran, task force spokesman.
“Removing these weapons from the battlefield is a high priority for the coalition.”
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, six airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and five ISIL tactical units destroying two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL tunnel entrance, an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon, an ISIL artillery piece and two ISIL checkpoints.
-- Near Aleppo, six airstrikes struck 27 ISIL staging areas.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kobani, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Tal Abyad, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon and an ISIL mortar.
-- Near Kirkuk, four airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, an ISIL tactical unit and seven ISIL staging areas and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and suppressed ISIL mortar fire, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun, two ISIL buildings and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, four ISIL vehicles and five ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL heavy machine gun and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
Obama on Bill Cosby: No way to revoke Medal of Freedom [NBC - 15/7/15]:
... Angela Rose, executive director of the victims group PAVE that spearheaded a petition drive to revoke Cosby's Medal of Freedom, repeated her call Wednesday for the award to be taken away.
"The Medal of Freedom embodies our nation's values. Allowing Cosby to maintain this coveted symbol suggests that we as a society support coercive sexual behavior," Rose said. ...
... On July 4, the 23-year-old accepted firearms that he had ordered from a person who was cooperating with members of the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, prosecutor Carmen M. Ortiz said.
The men had been talking in recorded conversations about Ciccolo’s plans to commit an act of terrorism, Ortiz’s office said in a statement. Ciccolo allegedly said he was inspired by ISIS and wanted to set off homemade bombs such as pressure cookers filled with black powder, ball bearings and glass in places where a large number of people gather, including a college cafeteria. ... Boston police captain alerts FBI to son’s alleged ISIS-inspired Plot [KTLA5 - 13/7/15]
US and Saudi-backed forces take Aden port from Yemenis [Daily Star - 16/7/15]
At least 20 Yemeni civilians have been killed and dozens of others injured in new airstrikes carried out by Saudi Arabia on different areas across Yemen. ... [Press TV - 15/7/15]
Millions need relief from terrifying violence in Yemen – top UN humanitarian official [Media Release - 15/7/15]
Israeli special forces assassinated Syrian general [The Intercept – 15/7/15]:
... The internal National Security Agency document, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, is the first official confirmation that the assassination of Suleiman was an Israeli military operation, and ends speculation that an internal dispute within the Syrian government led to his death. ...
Afghanistan: Suicide attack injures four police during Ramadan Iftar in Helmand [Khaama - 15/7/15]
Five civilians have been killed by unknown gunmen in southern Zabul province, the second such incident in one day.
Officials say the deceased were setting in a shop in Babu area of Nawbahar District when they came under indiscriminate fire by unidentified gunmen yesterday. ... [Khaama - 15/7/15]
At least 24 people were wounded on Wednesday when a powerful bomb went off in front of a Kabul Bank branch in the capital of northern Faryab province, witnesses said. ... [Pajhwok - 15/7/15]
Pakistan says it has shot down an Indian spy drone over its side of the restive Himalayan region of Kashmir. ... [Press TV - 16/7/15]
Hundreds of Sikhs protested outside the British parliament on Wednesday, calling for the release of what they said were Sikh political prisoners in India.
Demonstrators also raised the case of octogenarian Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, who is on hunger strike in India to press the same cause. ... [Naharnet - 15/7/15]
Egypt's acting Prosecutor General Ali Omran referred on Wednesday 198 alleged members of Muslim Brotherhood to military court for planning to target police officers and army officers in militant operations. ... [Ahram - 15/7/15]
Amnesty International describes Egypt’s draft terrorism law as "latest tool to muzzle peaceful activists" [Ahram - 15/7/15]
1 dead in Bahrain village bomb blast [Ahram - 15/7/15]
At least 30 people were killed in three attacks by Islamists in northeastern Nigeria, local officials and inhabitants said Wednesday, days ahead of a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Barack Obama.
The three assaults were carried out simultaneously Tuesday in Borno state, the epicentre of Boko Haram's insurgency, and are part of a surge in Islamist violence since Buhari came to power on May 29.
Boko Haram has killed more than 660 people in a month and a half. ... [Yahoo - 15/7/15]
UNESCO chief denounces murder of Honduran journalists [UN Media Release - 15/7/15]
The Hillary Clinton emails released last week include some telling exchanges about the June 2009 military coup that toppled democratically elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, a leftist who was seen as a threat by the Honduran establishment and U.S. business interests. ... [The Intercept - 7/7/15]
Goosed into action by an angry federal judge, federal immigration authorities will go door-to-door demanding "illegal" immigrants return the three-year amnesty approvals the Obama administration issued to them in defiance of a court order.
Those who don’t return their three-year permits will have them terminated at the end of this month, the National Immigrant Justice Center, one of the advocacy groups briefed on authorities’ plan, said in a statement preparing immigrants for what could be a traumatic encounter. ... [Washington Times - 15/7/15]
US: 1,800 immigrants re-arrested after release from jail, report says [US News - 13/7/15]
Refugee families forcibly removed (then disappeared) from Wickham Point detention centre in the dead of night [ABC - 16/7/15]
Still no explanation from the protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister, or any response from the UNHCR, human rights establishment or prominent refugee groups ----> Australia has not resettled UNHCR approved refugees since October 2014 [SBS - 10/7/15]:
The federal government has been blocking United Nations-approved refugees from its resettlement waiting list for the past nine months, according to a high level source.
The government instigated a pause on accepting new referrals from the UN's refugee agency from October last year, and which was due to be lifted on January 31, according to documents obtained by AAP under freedom of information laws.
But now a high level source familiar with the matter has told AAP the suspension actually remained in place until June 30 and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is still awaiting official confirmation that the decision's been reversed.
Former immigration minister Scott Morrison initiated the referral ban, which wasn't publicly revealed.
"While the decision has been communicated to UNHCR headquarters, the minister has asked expressly that it not be made public and as a result should be treated with appropriate sensitivity," an immigration department official wrote in an email when the pause was put in place.
Mr Morrison announced last November Australia would not take any more asylum seekers who had applied for resettlement through the UNHCR office in Indonesia after July 1, 2014.
At the time he said the processing ban didn't extend to UNHCR applicants in other countries.
According to a department talking points document, a pause on adding to the offshore humanitarian program waiting list was necessary because it was already under significant pressure with 75,000 unfinalised applications - including from 50,000 people with relatives in Australia seeking family reunions.
Recent violence in Iraq and Syria had led to high demand and there had also been an increase from Burmese and African applicants, the department said. Australia resettled a total of 13,750 refugees in 2014.
Comment is being sought from now Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the UNHCR.
2 years ago Rudd and O'Neill said refugees exiled from Australia would be "resettled" in PNG.
[Held in July 2013]
In the absence of any immediate resettlement policy, the Australian government should find alternative resettlement arrangements for refugees in other countries, including, principally, Australia.
Human Rights Law Centre Media Release [16/7/15]:
More than 850 asylum seekers and 87 refugees are detained indefinitely in poor conditions on Manus Island two years after Australia announced it would process and resettle “boat people” in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre said today.
Since January 2015, PNG and Australian authorities have transferred 40 men found to be refugees to a transit center, but they are still prevented from leaving Manus Island and are denied opportunities to work and study.
“After two years, Australia’s experiment in offshore detention has been a disaster,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director. “Even the few people provided refugee status have been denied freedom of movement and the right to work. All should be allowed to move on with their lives in dignity and security.”
Australia should stop sending asylum seekers to PNG, and both governments should treat asylum seekers in accordance with international standards and implement a refugee resettlement policy, the two organizations said.
The PNG and Australian governments detain the asylum seekers – all adult men – in overcrowded conditions at a facility on Manus Island’s Lombrum naval base. Human rights organizations and media have no regular access to the facilities.
Two asylum seekers sent to Manus have died – one after allegedly being beaten to death by contract staff at the detention center and another from septicemia after cutting his foot.
“Two years after the Regional Resettlement Arrangement was announced, the tragic reality is that more asylum seekers sent to Manus have died than have been resettled,” said Daniel Webb, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre. “People found to be refugees deserve a real solution – not a transfer to a facility down the road where they remain in limbo.”
In June and July 2015, PNG immigration allowed Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Law Centre to visit the transit center at Lorengau on Manus Island, but not the Lombrum detention facility.
On July 19, 2013, Australia and PNG signed a Regional Resettlement Arrangement which provides that asylum seekers arriving in Australia irregularly by boat will be sent to Manus Island for processing and resettlement in other parts of PNG. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries states that those transferred will be treated “with dignity and respect and in accordance with relevant human rights standards.” The Australian government has been spending approximately A$600 million (US$450 million) per year in connection with the agreement.
Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre uncovered serious human rights concerns including:
•Pressure to return to home countries and lengthy delays in refugee processing;
•Mental health problems linked to prolonged and indefinite detention;
•Arbitrary detention of asylum seekers and refugees in the police lock-up and prison;
•Restrictions on refugees’ freedom of movement and work rights;
•Assault of a refugee by alleged authorities in Lorengau town; and
•Mistreatment of gay asylum seekers by other
“Some rooms [at Lombrum] were filled up from top to bottom,” said a refugee detained there for 20 months. “People were going crazy. I was put in a separate compound from my community. No one in my compound even spoke my language. I was so lonely and spent a lot of time crying.”
Abuses of asylum seekers, especially members of vulnerable groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) men, have caused some to return home where they risk persecution rather than face insecurity and uncertainty in PNG.
Although refugees living in the transit center can move around the island, they cannot leave Manus. Since 2013, PNG immigration officials have only issued eight proper PNG identity documents to refugees in the transit center. The PNG certificate of identity states they are permitted to work in PNG, but PNG immigration has prevented one refugee from leaving Manus Island to pursue employment opportunities in Port Moresby, the capital. Several refugees have sought paid or volunteer opportunities on Manus Island, but PNG immigration denied their requests.
PNG immigration officials allegedly beat one refugee when he was outside the transit center after dark. Those charged with the assault, including the camp manager, continue to work at the center.
For many of the refugees on Manus Island who have experienced considerable trauma at home and over the course of their detention, PNG will not offer a viable long-term option for settlement and integration. While ensuring freedom of movement and work rights in PNG will improve their immediate circumstances, realistic settlement options other than PNG should be identified to allow these men to finally move on with their lives.
Australia should cease all further transfers to Manus Island. It should press PNG authorities to immediately adopt and implement a comprehensive local integration policy for refugees and to provide all recognized refugees in PNG with ordinary residency, employment authorization, and other common identity documents; freedom of movement; and work rights. In the absence of any immediate resettlement policy, the Australian government should find alternative resettlement arrangements for refugees in other countries, including, principally, Australia.
Australia should also allow access for visitors and independent human rights monitors to the Australia-funded detention center at Lombrum naval base and work with the PNG government to ensure that media and human rights organizations are allowed access to its facilities. The PNG government should immediately amend its laws to decriminalize homosexual relations.
For more detailed research findings and information on Manus Island asylum seekers and refugees, please see below.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young [15/7/15]: After days at sea and often years searching for safe place to call home 413 people rescued by #Phoenix finally reach Europe. Thank you to MOAS and Médecins Sans Frontières for having me on-board to see firsthand the amazing humanitarian work you do.
Curbing ‘globalisation of indifference’: MOAS rescues 414 migrants [EURO News - 15/7/15]
@MSF_Sea [15/7/15]: UPDATE: After a huge day in the Mediterranean, the #Argos has 586 people on board. They were rescued from FIVE separate boats. ...
2,700 refugees rescued at sea near Libya on Wednesday - Italy coast guard [Reuters – 15/7/15]
A formation of six Turkish fighter jets violated Greek national air space in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean on Wednesday, defense officials said.
The Turkish jets, which were flanked on one side by another aircraft that was not a part of the formation, carried out a total of 20 transgressions, the defense officials said, adding that two of the aircraft were armed and that one dogfight occurred.
In all cases, the Turkish jets were chased off by Greek aircraft. [Ekathimerini - 15/7/15]
Missiles fall off British warplane in Cyprus [Ekathimerini – 15/7/15]
Turkey detains 150 refugees trying to escape to Greece [Al Arabiya - 13/7/15]
Looking for an opportunity to plunder a country whose dictatorship is committing genocide unchallenged by its regional neighbours?
Australian Embassy in Myanmar [15/7/15]: Australian Embassy Second Secretary Mr Craig Gilbert and Mr Steve Dowell from the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust (LIFT) Fund talk with HE U Ohn Myint, Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, at the Presidential opening of the Hmawwun Bridge in Kyauktan Township.
Rohingya kids in the rain during the rainy season in Sittwe's Muslim Quarter, now effectively a sealed ghetto.
Image: @andreapitzer [16/7/15]
... The Chairman of Ansar Burney Trust International and United Nations former Expert Adviser on human rights, Ansar Burney after visiting and meeting with Rohingya migrants in different camps in Malaysia and Thailand while talking with Rohingya's delegation at Bangkok said, “Myanmar's (Burma) government should treat minority Rohingya Muslims as citizens of Myanmar to solve the root cause of the worst crisis in Southeast Asia,”
He also requested all Myanmar's NGO's and Political leaders to speak up on human and civil rights issues.
"The United Nation is also requested to intervene as Myanmar (Burma) Rohingya people needs immediate restoration of their Nationality with full rights as Myanmar Nationals have, without any discrimination on Religion". Ansar Burney added.
... [The Nation - 15/7/15]
Governor Punjab meets Rohingya delegation in Mecca [Saach.tv - 14/7/15]
Can you see Pakistan on this map of South East Asia ?
The one per cent’s sigh of relief has been heard around the world.
Greece: Sound and fury signifying much, Paul Craig Roberts [ICH – 15/7/15]:
... But when the One Percent is looting, facts are of no interest. The austerity, that is the looting, has gone forward despite the fact that the IMF’s economists cannot justify it.
Greek democracy has proven itself to be impotent. The looting is going forward despite the vote one week ago by the Greek people rejecting it. So what we observe in Alexis Tsipras is an elected prime minister representing not the Greek people but the One Percent.
The One Percent’s sigh of relief has been heard around the world. The last European leftist party, or what passes as leftist, has been brought to heel, just like Britain’s Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, and all the rest.
Without an ideology to sustain it, the European left is dead, just as is the Democratic Party in the US. With the death of these political parties, the people no longer have any voice. A government in which the people have no voice is not a democracy. We can see this clearly in Greece. One week after the Greek people express themselves decisively in a referendum, their government ignores them and accommodates the One Percent. ...
Jailed Nauru opposition MP remains in hospital after medical episode
Relatives of the remanded Nauru opposition MP Sprent Dabwido say he is resting in hospital after suffering a heart attack.
The wife of a fellow remanded MP Squire Jeremiah says Mr Dabwido was taken to hospital on Wednesday morning after suffering breathing problems during the night.
The two MPs are among five suspended opposition MPs who are the focus of international attention amid concerns over alleged rights violations on the island.
Christine Jeremiah says she has been in contact with relatives who say Mr Dabwido is fine and is under the care of the hospital for 24 hours.
"He's got a heart condition but I don't know how serious. But he's got some other health issues as well. I believe this is not new. He's a bit sick so I believe they were expecting something like this."
Digicel Play and TVWAN win World T20 broadcasting rights (Facebook blackout continues on Nauru) [PNG Loop - 16/7/15]
Malaysian Government must recognise Anwar’s status as a prisoner of conscience and place him under House Arrest
Media Release [15/7/15]:
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has completed 155 days of imprisonment at the Sg Buloh prison.
His conviction and jailing has been criticised by governments, respected organisations and prominent individuals throughout the world.
Millions of ordinary Malaysians share the concerns of the international community on the jailing of Anwar.
The highly respected global organisation Amnesty International has officially declared Anwar a Prisoner of Conscience.
The government must now recognise Anwar’s status as a prisoner of conscience, and treat him as such.
Malaysia, as a member of the UN Security Council and a trading nation, cannot afford to ignore the opinion of the internationally community. Neither can it, as a democratic nation, ignore the concerns of ordinary Malaysians for Anwar.
In view of the preceding, we have on the instructions of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on 14th July 2015 formally written to the Home Minister and D-G of Prisons asking that Anwar be treated as a Prisoner of Conscience.
Accordingly, we have asked that Anwar be removed from Sg Buloh prison, and placed under house arrest as befitting a prisoner of conscience. His house arrest will be at his usual place of residence at Bukit Segambut, Kuala Lumpur.
We have made this request in accordance with legal requirements, pursuant to section 43 of the Prisons Act 1995.
Lawyers for Anwar Ibrahim
15 July 2015
What's fuelling the violence in PNG?
Eleven people have been killed and many others, including a teenage girl suffered serious injuries during a fight between tribes living on the border of Enga and Western Highlands.
Western Highlands provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari said police were unable to stop the fighting because high-powered guns were being used. ... [The National - 16/7/15]
Four killed in attack, Enga [The National - 16/6/15]:
A pastor, a police officer, a teacher and a six-year-old boy died in a “barbaric, evil” payback killing believed to involve their tribesmen, police say.
Acting Enga police commander Chief Inspector Epenes Nili said the incident on Saturday morning at Aipus village near Wabag town, was related to the death two years ago of a police officer from the same Sikir tribe.
Nili said the first to be killed was a police officer returning home after his night shift around 1am. He was attacked and killed in front of his home in the village.
The suspects then went to the home of the pastor, the police officer’s brother, and killed him with his six-year-old son.
The pastor’s wife, who was badly wounded, is admitted at the intensive care unit of Wabag General Hospital, with two other women.
Nili said the suspects then broke into the home of the teacher nearby and killed him.
Nili said the main suspects were a ward councillor, his son (a police officer), his brother (a public servant) and a younger brother (a police reserve unit officer).
“I condemn this barbaric killing in the strongest term possible. It’s evil,” he said.
He said in Enga tradition, people never killed those who were sleeping.
Nili said neighbouring tribesmen from Telyal assisted police on Saturday morning to look for the suspects but they had gone into hiding.
“I am now appealing to them to surrender to police,” he said.
The Enga police task force unit is assisting detectives look for the tribesmen.
A police team is camped at Aipus village to maintain peace and order as tension is high.
Territories and resources resources given as birthright to each by Hela are as follows ...
The designated land area of huli include Tari pori, margarima,benaria, hulia and Tani, pureni areas. Under this area is Mt Kare gold project, Moran and Moro Oilfields.
Opena land includes whole of current Enga Province. Opene was the first born son of Hela and under its boundary was given the largest gold mine in PNG, Porgera.
Duna Land includes the whole of strickland gorge and Koroba Kopiago electorates.
Tuguba lands start from Mt Bosavi and ends at Mt Gigira. traditionally tuguba lands was known as any areas opposite the Tagali river from Huli lands. Under its lands lies the Hides, Juha and Mananda petroleum projects.
Hewa lands are found in the Lake Kopiago Rural district. This includes the lands bordering both the Laigaip and Om Rivers as well as the headwaters of the Strickland River and the grasslands of the Strickland gorge north of the Duna lands around the Galaga settlement.
dead in clashes over stolen pig [PNG Loop – 22/4/15]
PNG: Hela Province needs magistrate, police say [The National - 31/3/15]
A teenage girl was chopped to death by a group of armed men numbering about 15 on Sunday night.
Police say the men attacked Piangoanda village in Komo-Magarima, Hela Province on suspicion over the theft of seven pigs earlier. ... [PNG Loop - 31/3/15]
Australian High Commission, Hela provincial government and ExxonMobil PNG announce a partnership to support and expand community safety [Australian High Commission PNG Media Release - 11/12/14]:
Hela Governor, Mr. Anderson Agiru, ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG) Managing Director Peter Graham and Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Deborah Stokes, signed a Statement of Principles committing support for community safety through the PNG-Australia Law and Justice - Transition Program.
A Memorandum of Understanding was subsequently signed between the Australia High Commission and EMPNG enabling joint funding of a full-time Tari-based community safety adviser.
“This is an excellent example of how business and development partners can work together to improve the lives of Papua New Guineans. Our partnership affirms our joint commitment to supporting and expanding community safety, and to the economic development of Papua New Guinea,” Ms Stokes said.
The placement of a Community Safety Adviser in Tari will support the Hela government’s efforts to strengthen local justice delivery, improve collaboration with national agencies and assist in reporting justice outcomes. Of particular focus will be support for Village Courts and reducing and preventing family and sexual violence.
Governor Agiru extended his full support to the initiative.
“The placement of a full-time law and justice advisor in Hela is welcomed, as it builds upon the work already done by the PALJP team in the province. My administration fully supports this initiative, and we appreciate the willingness of the PNG national government, the Australian government and ExxonMobil to support Hela’s development priorities.”
ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director Peter Graham noted during the signing ceremony that development challenges require ongoing collaboration between the public sector, industry and civil society.
“ExxonMobil remains committed to helping develop human, social and economic capacity in PNG. We are pleased to support the Law and Justice Partnership and commend the PALJP -TP team and the Hela Provincial Government for moving this initiative forward.”
Torres Strait, Climate Change
Queensland Parliament Hansard [15/7/15]:
Mr GORDON (Cook—Ind) (11.11 pm): I note the budget papers provide $9.6 million for the construction of seawalls and other mitigation measures to protect six Torres Strait Islands from seawater intrusion. That is a most welcome announcement, but one that fills me with sadness. It fills me with sadness because the reason for the necessity to build seawalls is manmade. The climate change science is in and it is no longer rocket science. It is very simple: emissions of certain gases causes a greenhouse effect, which causes the atmosphere to warm. It is very well understood in the scientific community and it is well understood in the general community. The principal greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Where does it come from? Mainly it comes from burning fossil fuels. That is not rocket science.
I have not said anything in this chamber that is not very well understood. Yet at the highest political level in our country, there are still those who deny the science of climate change. There are still those who make their decisions as if there is not an overwhelming body of information supporting climate change science. It is quite reasonable that the ordinary punter might ask: are they really climate change deniers or are they the captive property of the fossil fuel industry, via political donations? It is a reasonable question to ask and more and more Australians are asking it.
Torres Strait Islanders are already witnessing sea intrusion onto their limited land, as are many other islanders in the Pacific region. As the sea intrudes onto the very land that feeds those people, the very land upon which they build their homes and villages, the very land in which they bury their loved ones, the very land upon which they raise their children and their families and the very land upon which they practise their custom, senior Australian conservative politicians wash their hands of it. So what if a few atolls and islands go under? They are still getting their political donations. How does that make vulnerable island people feel? It makes them feel betrayed.
To those senior conservative politicians I say that some of those people on small islands are Australian citizens. They are Queenslanders. They are my constituents in the seat of Cook. I welcome the mitigation measures contained in the budget, but they are a stopgap. The challenge is to address the real issue, which is climate change.
Queensland Parliament Hansard [15/7/15]:
Mr KATTER [KAP - Mt Isa]: My question without notice is to the Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines. Having regard to the imminent threat of rising gas prices in Queensland and the devastating effect this could have on large industry gas users, particularly in areas not connected to the national electricity grid, will a gas reserve policy or similar mechanism be used to avert this serious threat to hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties to the state budget?
Dr LYNHAM: [BLAH BLAH BLAH *** BLURT BLURT ****
Multinational fossil fuel companies behind Australia's biggest resources project are among a group of petrol and oil companies asked to explain tens of billions of dollars they hold in tax havens across the globe.
In letters received this week, eight companies have been asked by the Senate's corporate tax avoidance inquiry to detail their networks of international subsidiaries and reveal the value of funds moved between countries over the past five years. ... [Canberra Times - 15/7/15]
OXI - "We said NO" via @vicentmontagud [15/7/15]: Impotencia. Atenas, ahora. #Grecia
Greece's parliament early on Thursday approved a bill of tough reforms demanded by the country's creditors in return for a new bailout, an AFP count showed.
The ruling radical SYRIZA party passed the bill thanks to support from pro-European opposition parties as several government lawmakers, including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, voted against the measures. [Ekathimerini - 16/7/15]
Welcome to "democracy" Australian style ----> ... In the surreal world of Greece, those who were protesting outside the Parliament 2010-2014 (SYRIZA) are now sitting in the government chairs pushing for the strictest austerity bill of all times. Those who were voting in favor of austerity bills 2010-2014 (PASOK, New Democracy) are now supporting the former opposition to pass the Brussels Agreement bill, as the government faces opposition from its own party.
And to make the situation more weird, even the government lawmakers heavily criticize the bill they are going to vote in favor, in a couple of hours. [Keep Talking Greece - 15/7/15]
The Euro-Summit ‘Agreement’ on Greece – annotated by Yanis Varoufakis [15/7/15]
16 July 2015