More attacks on refugees Australia forcibly relocated to the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru

Refugee Rights Action Network WA [16/11/14]:

Locals, some intoxicated, descended on one of the accommodation compounds and began throwing rocks.

Police were called and encouraged the violent thugs to move off.

It is increasingly clear that refugees are not safe on Nauru and these attacks occur with disturbing regularity.

Although it is a small number of Nauruans taking part in these vicious assaults, it is the case that there is little effort being made by authorities to either arrest the perpetrators, or encourage or develop any projects to assist acceptance and integration.

These refugees need to be brought back to Australia.

They remain our responsibility.

United States bomb Kobane

Naharnet [16/11/14]:

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group carried out a series of air strikes overnight in the embattled Syrian town of Kobane, a monitor and activists said Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported intensifying clashes between Kurdish fighters defending Kobane and IS jihadists in the south of the town, which lies on the Turkish border.

Kurdish activist and Kobane resident Mustefa Ebdi reported at least seven international air strikes overnight.

He said the explosions could be heard 20 kilometres from Kobane, and shook the cars of people with him on the border between Turkey and Syria.

In southern Kobane, meanwhile, the Britain-based Observatory said fierce clashes underway for the past three days were continuing with reports of injuries on both sides.

The group said Kurdish YPG forces and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were also shelling IS positions during the clashes.

Ebdi also reported the clashes, saying the situation in Kobane "has progressed from defence to attack because of the air raids and the support the peshmerga and the (Arab rebel) Free Syrian Army are giving the YPG fighters."

"The Kurdish fighters are advancing slowly because of the mines laid by IS. They are trying to retake territory," he said.

The Islamic State began advancing on Kobane two months ago, hoping to seize the small Kurdish town and cement their grip over a large stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

But US-led air strikes, along with fierce fighting by YPG troops backed by around 150 Iraqi peshmerga, have so far prevented IS from overrunning the town completely.

The Observatory said Sunday that the toll since fighting began had risen to 1,153, including 27 civilians, 398 Kurdish YPG fighters, 16 non-Kurdish rebels backing the YPG and 712 Islamic State fighters.

@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center - 15/11/14]:

Anbar: An elementary school in Dolab area in Heet has been shelled ..... .... http://fb.me/3RXrL2TEP

Anbar: The intended and random explosive barrels bombing continued last night targeting civilian homes in Fallujah.....

Baghdad: Agencies:A car has exploded near Abbas Ibn Firnas yard-west of Baghdad- resulted in killing and wounding of persons

Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded near fish market in Jame'a hay losses resulted unknown...................

US Air Strikes Fail to Slow ISIS Killing Spree [NBC - 14/11/14]

Afghanistan: 3 killed as female MP survives car bombing

Pajhwok [16/11/14]:

A female lawmaker was wounded in a car suicide bomb attack that killed three bystanders and injured another more than 20 in the heavily-fortified central capital Kabul on Sunday.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said the dead included a minor girl, adding initial investigation showed it was a suicide attack involving an explosives-laden car.

Interior Ministry spokesman Siddique Siddiqui said three civilians had been killed and 22 others, including Wolesi Jirga member Shukria Barakzai, injured in the bombing.

He said Interior Minister Omar Daudzai visited Barakzai in hospital and that her condition was stable and she had sustained slight injuries.

But eyewitnesses said the number of those killed were more than three, including a student of the Alberoni University.

Hadi, an eyewitness, told Pajhwok Afghan News three private vehicles were destroyed in the blast. A taxi was destroyed and its driver seriously injured, he said.

Stanikzai said the vehicle of Barakzai had also damaged in the attack that took place on the Darul Aman Road at around 10:15am.

Eyewitnesses earlier said the dead included two young women, including a university student.

An eyewitness Mohammad Aarif, a teacher at the Alberoni University, said that a lecturer and four students of their university and three others people were wounded in the incident.

Barakzai, 42, was heading to parliament. Her driver was also injured and taken to hospital, officials said.

Pakistan says 1,200 militants killed over 5-month offensive

Daily Star [14/11/14]:

The Pakistani army has killed 1,200 suspected militants in an anti-Taliban offensive during the past five months, seriously reducing the group's ability to carry out attacks, senior officers said on Sunday during a rare trip to the conflict zone.

The ongoing operation has targeted the militant stronghold in North Waziristan, a mountainous region that borders Afghanistan and has acted as a staging post for deadly attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The offensive was launched as Western forces began withdrawing from Afghanistan.

In the centre of Mir Ali, the second largest town in the region, there was hardly a building untouched by the fighting.

Major General Zafarullah Khan, the officer in charge of North Waziristan, said that a widely-predicted wave of violence in response to the operation had failed to materialise.

"The action which was expected has not come," he said on Saturday, picking his way through shattered buildings as he pointed out places he said were used for torturing prisoners or producing propaganda videos.

...

Obama didn't "tweet" anything about Brisbane while he was in town.

He used the G20 and UQ forum to beat the drums of war and lie about Putin.

Russian An-124 Aircraft With Mobile Clinic Aboard Arrive in Guinea [Sputnik News [16/11/14]:

Russian An-124 Ruslan aircraft with a field hospital and a stock of medicines on board have landed in the Conakry airport, Republic of Guinea, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said Sunday.

“The An-124 military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force with the field hospital and medicine aboard for the Republic of Guinea have landed in the Conakry airport (Republic of Guinea).

The crew of the military transport aviation aircraft carried out a 10-hour-long flight from Sochi [Russia] to Conakry, covering the distance of about 6,500 kilometers (more than 4,000 miles),” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov added that at the moment the planes are being unloaded at the Conakry airport, and more than 150 tons of medical equipment for the establishment of a field hospital will be given away to Guinea.

Special vehicles designed for the safe transportation of those infected with the deadly virus from the Ebola-stricken regions are also being donated.

On Saturday, Dmitry Peskov, the Russian President's spokesman, announced that Russia has decided to donate a mobile clinic to Guinea to help fight the spread of Ebola in the West African country. According to Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin had instructed Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu to arrange the prompt transport of the equipment.

According to the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO) published on November 14, a total of 14,413 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported so far in six Ebola-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Spain and the United States of America – and two previously affected countries – Nigeria and Spain. The disease has already claimed 5,177 lives.

Although there is no officially approved medication for Ebola, several countries, including Russia, are currently working on trial vaccines.

Ukraine’s decision to sever economic ties with rebel-held areas and stop funding local public services is a big mistake which does not help the locals gain trust in Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists at the G20 summit. ... [RT - 16/11/14]

4 DuPont Workers Die In Texas Chemical Leak

NPR [16/11/14]:

Four workers were killed and one was injured Saturday during a hazardous chemical leak at a suburban Houston industrial plant, DuPont officials said.

The chemical, methyl mercaptan, began leaking around 4 a.m. in a unit at the DuPont plant in La Porte, about 20 miles east of Houston. Plant officials said the release was contained by 6 a.m.

Methyl mercaptan was used at the plant to create crop-protection products such as insecticides and fungicides, according to DuPont. The cause of the leak was not immediately known.

Five employees were in the unit at the time of the incident and were exposed to the chemical, the company said. Four died at the plant, and one was hospitalized.

"There are no words to fully express the loss we feel or the concern and sympathy we extend to the families of the employees and their co-workers," plant manager Randall Clements said in a statement. "We are in close touch with them and providing them every measure of support and assistance at this time."

The company said the fifth worker who was hospitalized was being held for observation but didn't provide further details. DuPont would only say "the employee is currently receiving treatment."

None of the victims was immediately identified.

Clements said that the employees had responded to the leak in a valve when they were exposed and that the company would be cooperating with local, state and federal officials investigating the leak.

"As part of that investigation, we are conducting our own top-to-bottom review of this incident and we will share what we learn with the relevant authorities," he said.

Jeff Suggs, emergency management coordinator for La Porte, said the chemical release was not toxic for those living nearby, but that it caused a smell that's similar to rotten eggs.

"It's a nuisance smell in the area. It's a smell that's traveled quite far," Suggs said.

Methyl mercaptan is also commonly used to odorize natural gas - which has no odor - for safety purposes.

The La Porte plant has 320 DuPont employees. Four other companies are also tenants at the complex.

Where is peace activist Ciaron O'Reilly?

Free Queensland's prisoners of empire!

Parents of @PeterGreste plead: “ #FreePeterGreste, in prison and guilty of nothing but good honest and balanced reporting” #G20 #G20Summit

"tweeted" by @PeterGreste [16/11/14]

Kayvan Novak is to star in BBC4 comedy Asylum [Yahoo - 15/11/14]:

Fonejacker star Kayvan Novak is starring in a new comedy inspired by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's stay in the Ecuadorian embassy.

The BBC4 show, called Asylum, is described as "a satirical comedy about a government whistle-blower and a millionaire internet entrepreneur trapped together in a London embassy".

It was dreamt up by Novak and his Fonejacker producer Tom Thostrup and is written by newcomers Peter Bowden and Thom Phipps.

Assange has been in the South American country's central London embassy for more than two years after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces sex-related allegations.

He has said he believes he will be extradited to the United States if he travels to Sweden.

The comedy is one of a string of shows created to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta which was one of the first attempts to limit the powers of the monarchy and develop a functioning legal system and parliamentary democracy.

The Taking Liberties season includes a day of debate on the 750th anniversary of England's first parliament, a fly-on-the-wall documentary by Michael Cockerell filmed inside the House of Commons, and a series on the struggle to win votes for women, presented by Amanda Vickery.

David Starkey and Melvyn Bragg will present documentaries tracing the document's history and Ben Miller stars as King John in a Horrible Histories special.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: "I am delighted to announce this new season marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The BBC should be the place where the great events in our nation's history are commemorated.

"Michael Cockerell, David Starkey, Melvyn Bragg, Amanda Vickery, Nick Robinson and Helena Kennedy QC amongst others will be presenting a season of programmes examining what Magna Carta's key themes of freedom, power and justice mean to Britain and the world today."

Deadly floods sweep southeastern France

France 24 [15/11/14]:

Four people died in two separate accidents after their cars were swept away by floodwaters on Friday night in the southern French region of Le Gard, according to local authorities.

A family lost control of their car on a flooded bridge just after midnight on Friday. The bodies of the mother and two young children—aged one and four years—were found early Saturday. The father of the family was rescued and is now in hospital, officials in the town near the French city of Nîmes said in a statement.

The tragic scenario was repeated on another bridge nearby and the 50-year-old driver lost his life when his car was swept away by rising waters.

Local authorities maintained that the circumstances that caused the accidents were “extremely localised”, adding that the situation in Le Gard remained safer than in neighbouring regions, which have been battered by days of heavy rainfall.

Four neighbouring departments were under serious “orange” flood alerts until late Saturday afternoon. An orange alert is the second-highest flood warning level. Le Gard, however, was only ever under a less-severe “yellow” warning, where residents are advised to stay alert and monitor the situation, especially if undertaking “activities sensitive to the weather risk or close to a river or waterway.”

Heavy rain in the region was expected to continue through mid-Saturday, according to Météo France, which has predicted between 40 to 80mm of rainfall for the Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhône regions.

Météo France has also predicted up to 140mm of rainfall for the Var and Alpes-Maritimes regions, which are already waterlogged after days of bad weather.

Moreover, the two seaside regions were placed under a yellow alert for large waves, which are expected to reach up to two metres on Saturday morning.

PNG PM ‘welcomes’ tribunal, warns on leakage

PNG Loop [16/11/14]:

[The] Prime Minister has welcomed notification from the Public Prosecutor that a Leadership Tribunal has been requested to hear matters relating to the Government’s decision to purchase shares in Oil Search Ltd through a UBS loan facility.

He said sources behind the allegations were ‘’somewhat dubious and driven by people with political motivation’’ but he would use the opportunity to provide clarity on this investment by the State into the national resources sector.

“The Public Prosecutor’s referral is noted, and we welcome this decision,” the Prime Minister said.

“It gives us an opportunity to go before the independent tribunal and the courts to determine the outcomes of these decisions based on real evidence that will be presented to the tribunal and can be cross-examined.

“Our actions have been to ensure that the State continues to have some ownership of Oil Search which it has been doing since its inception.

“We have acted in the best interests of our country, in the best interest of our people, and it is important that we continue to be participants in resource development in our country.

“The only way to effectively participate in these resource developments is by making sure that we have ownership of some of the shares in those companies.

“Otherwise we will continue to be bystanders while other people come and continue to develop our resources.

“This in no way implicates personal gain on these matters. We have followed every process that is necessary to get the approvals to borrow this money. It was not a one-man decision, it was made by cabinet, NEC has made that decision and endorsed that decision, so I am very surprised that I am targeted to be referred.”

The Prime Minister said there were still outstanding issues that needed to be resolved in what appeared to be related matters.

“We have a Supreme Court reference that is currently before the courts seeking reference to the decision on the judicial review on some of the questions raised about this particular transaction.

“We will ask the courts for determination on these issues.”

PM O’Neill also highlighted a matter of “significant transparency and accountability’’ concern relating to the handling of official documents that he said would be investigated.

“The only concern I have is the individuals that have political interests seem to have access to decisions and processes before this information is officially released.

“That is a serious concern and we will be asking the appropriate authorities to carry out independent investigations.

“These people have inappropriate access to information even before the persons affected.”

The Prime Minister said the referral will not impact upon his schedule or ongoing management of public policy and government. PM O’Neill said his focus will remain firmly on delivering the core policy objectives of healthcare, education, infrastructure and law and order for the nation.

“I will continue to run the affairs of the country. For me personally I have been fighting many challenges since I was born and this is another of these challenges.”

“Our country is going through an unprecedented level of economic growth so we continue despite these challenges and distractions.”

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has filed a summons against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the State seeking damages over his removal as Prime Minister in August 2, 2011. ... [PNG Loop - 14/11/14]

Imágenes de la protesta en Australia, durante las reunión del G20, en la que estuvo presente Enrique Peña Nieto.

Image: @Desinformemonos [16/11/14]

Mexico’s president faces wave of fury across country over fate of missing student teachers [Guardian - 16/11/14]

Jakarta Post [15/11/14]:

... Tax avoidance by big, multinational companies was expected to be high on the agenda, particularly in light of the recent leak of documents suggesting that hundreds of big companies such as Pepsi and IKEA had organized tax-lowering deals with Luxembourg.

The tiny European nation's neighbors reacted angrily to the news, noting that they have had to impose harsh austerity measures on their own citizens to keep government budgets afloat following the global recession.

On Saturday, Jean-Claude Juncker, two weeks into his new job as European Commission president, faced tough questioning about his tax record as prime minister of Luxembourg for 18 years.

During a news conference on the sidelines of the G-20, he was grilled about whether Luxembourg was guilty of "picking people's pockets" while he was the nation's leader, and asked whether he could be considered a credible representative of the European Union on the issue of tax avoidance, given his ties to Luxembourg.

Juncker largely deflected the questions.

Press conference opening remarks by Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the EC [VIDEO - 15/11/14]

via @aosny2011 [16/11/14]:

Both President Putin & Chancellor Merkell call for the reform of the IMF @syurkani @satryob @tsetiady @ChatibBasri

[Indonesian] President @jokowi_do2 just delivered G20 intervention on eradicating Tax Evasion, & promoting mobile banking for poor

Jokowi on #taxevasion: These practices are very unjust for small income communities who've faithfully paid their dues

Indian PM to unveil Gandhi statue in Brisbane

The Hindu [16/11/14]:

After going through a series of closed door meetings and summit sessions on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a busy schedule on the concluding day of the G20 Summit in Brisbane.

Mr. Modi's Sunday schedule would include meeting world dignitaries, attending the G20 Summit session and various public events.

As a part of the schedule, Mr. Modi has already met German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to G20 session in the afternoon Brisbane time.

Later in the day, Mr. Modi would unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Brisbane’s inner street Roma Street Parkland.

Before that, the Indian PM is expected to meet the premier of the hosting State Queensland. This meeting is being considered as very important from Queensland’s perspective.

Even though Premier Campbell Newman has not revealed the agenda for his meeting with the visiting dignitary from India, it is likely that he would seek Indian investment for the big ticket infrastructure projects such as the rail or ports.

The Queensland government is desperately seeking funds for development of the Galilee Basin to ensure the massive Indian coal mines get developed.

The meeting assumes significance as an Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, who has been putting together the $16 billion Carmichael project, is also in Brisbane these days. It is expected that an announcement would be made after Mr. Modi meets Campbell Newman.

Mr. Adani is considered close to Mr. Modi. The self-made Gujarati tycoon is not the only Indian business person engaged in mega coal mining projects in Queensland. Another Indian conglomerate, GVK, is also hoping to mine vast amounts of coal in the Galilee Basin.

While the Adanis are trying to start construction early next year, it is becoming increasingly hard to attract investments as coal prices are not showing any signs of improving.

The Queensland government is ready to commit funds for the mega Indian coal projects which would translate into thousands of construction and mining jobs for the State.

“We are prepared to invest in core, common-user infrastructure,” the Queensland premier told media on Sunday morning.

“The role of government is to make targeted investments to get something going and exit in a few year’s time,” Mr. Newman added.

It would be interesting to note if any announcement of Indian investment is made after the meeting of Mr. Modi and the Queensland premier.

The reluctance of the financial institution and strong opposition by the environmental lobby may influence Mr. Modi making any commitment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

During the delegation level talks held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, the Saudi Crown Prince congratulated the Prime Minister and said his country was “ready to cooperate in all sectors”.

...

Debunking the Gandhi Myth: Arundhati Roy [VIDEO - 21/10/14]:

On The Laura Flanders Show: Author/activist Arundhati Roy on the Annihilation of Caste, B.R. Ambedkar and the Western myth of Mahatma Gandhi. And Glenn Greenwald addresses diversity concerns about his new media venture TheIntercept.com.

At the bbq lunch hosted by @TonyAbbottMHR, Putin ate at table for six with Brazilian President Dilma Roussef.

"tweeted" by @TondaMacC - Tonda MacCharles - Journalist, Toronto Star [15/11/14]

Image: @LanaLukash - Svetlana Lukash, Russian G20 Sherpa [15/11/14]

G20 Leaders’ Brisbane Statement on Ebola

Kremlin [15/11/14]:

We are deeply concerned about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and saddened by the suffering and loss of life it is inflicting. We are mindful of the serious humanitarian, social and economic impacts on those countries, and of the potential for these impacts to spread.

The governments and people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are making tremendous efforts to fight the outbreak, with the support of the African Union and other African countries. We commend the brave service of health care and relief workers.

We also applaud the contributions of countries worldwide, the United Nations (UN) and its bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), international and regional organisations and financial institutions, non-governmental and religious organisations, and the private sector.

We fully support the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response’s ongoing work to harness capacity to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent further outbreaks and urge that it act swiftly to achieve these objectives.

G20 members are committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs. We will work through bilateral, regional and multilateral channels, and in partnership with non-governmental stakeholders.

We will share our experiences of successfully fighting Ebola with our partners, including to promote safe conditions and training for health care and relief workers. We will work to expedite the effective and targeted disbursement of funds and other assistance, balancing between emergency and longer-term needs.

We invite those governments that have yet to do so to join in providing financial contributions, appropriately qualified and trained medical teams and personnel, medical and protective equipment, and medicines and treatments.

While commending ongoing work, we urge greater efforts by researchers, regulators and pharmaceutical companies to develop safe, effective and affordable diagnostic tools, vaccines and treatments. We call upon international and regional institutions, civil society and the private sector to work with governments to mitigate the impacts of the crisis and ensure the longer-term economic recovery.

In this regard, we urge the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue their strong support for the affected countries and welcome the IMF’s initiative to make available a further $300 million to stem the Ebola outbreak and ease pressures on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, through a combination of concessional loans, debt relief, and grants.

We ask the IMF and WBG to explore new, flexible mechanisms to address the economic effects of future comparable crises. This outbreak illustrates the urgency of addressing longer-term systemic issues and gaps in capability, preparedness and response capacity that expose the global economy to the impacts of infectious disease.

G20 members recommit to full implementation of the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR). To this end, and in the context of our broader efforts to strengthen health systems globally, we commit to support others to implement the IHR and to build capacity to prevent, detect, report early and rapidly respond to infectious diseases like Ebola. We also commit to fight anti-microbial resistance.

Interested G20 members are supporting this goal through initiatives to accelerate action across the Economic Community of West African States and other vulnerable regions and will report progress and announce a time frame by May 2015 at the World Health Assembly.

We invite all countries to join us in mobilising resources to strengthen national, regional and global preparedness against the threat posed by infectious diseases to global health and strong, sustainable and balanced growth for all. We will remain vigilant and responsive.

Kicillof says debt restructuring is a G20 issue, 'all countries' agree

Buenos Aires Herald [15/11/14]:

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman have praised the G20 stance over the sovereign debt restructuring debate as both officials attend the bloc’s summit in Brisbane, Australia.

“Remember that this crisis starts with a debt problem, continues with a debt problem and goes on with a debt problem and it is countries that have difficulties the most to exit a recessive process, those who bear the weight of the debt on their GDP the most,” the Argentine minister said in statements to media.

Kicillof indeed highlighted “a real international instrument that allows countries with debt problems to have a judicial framework to settle these matters” must be implemented. If not, the minister warned, these nations will end up “at the mercy of speculative funds, of vulture funds.”

Brazil and France backed Argentina’s position at the G20 with the debt restructuring debate being included in one of the annexes of the declaration of the ministerial meeting of the bloc that took place in Cairns last September.

For Kircillof, it was a “progress” the “issue of the debt having endorsement and becoming a concern.”

“All countries acknowledge that there is a problem of sovereign debt restructuring. There will be diverse visions on how to deal with it, but there is no country saying this is no issue of the G20,” the economy minister insisted as Timerman hoped to “find an answer for a problem that concerns to Argentina now but that has been suffered by many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

If it's in the Murdoch Press it probably isn't true.

The Big Exclusive About Obama’s G20 Decoy Is Total Rubbish [Buzzfeed - 15/1114]

How about exposing all the other Murdoch lies Buzzfeed? Like the fact that their readership figures are dodgy.

Another Sunday, another trolley full of unsold Murdoch hate, Gold Coast supermarket [17/11/13]

It Was Staged! Video of Syrian Boy Saving Girl Under Fire Was Shot in Malta [Anti War - 14/11/14]

Hong Kong pro-democracy protest leaders stopped from going to Beijing

Channel News Asia [15/11/14]:

Three students who have led pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong were on Saturday stopped from travelling to Beijing, where they had hoped to seek talks with Chinese authorities on greater democracy for the city.

Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Eason Chung of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), spearheading mass rallies that have paralysed parts of Hong Kong for six weeks, said they were informed by airline officials that their permits used for travel to the mainland had been cancelled by Chinese authorities.

"Today they can say they take away the students' Home Return Permits but it symbolises that they will take away a generation of Hong Kong people's right to decide their own fate in the future," Chow told a press conference late Saturday. "This whole situation defies logic."

HKFS also said in a Facebook post that four members' permits were cancelled by Chinese authorities as they did not have valid travel documents, citing sources from Cathay Pacific. The group did not name the four members.

"We have received information from relevant departments on the mainland that the Home Return Permits of the passengers in question have been cancelled," a Cathay Pacific staff member told the trio, footage from Cable Television News showed.

The permit, issued by mainland authorities, allows Hong Kong residents free travel within mainland China, but some of the city's pro-democracy figures have been denied access to the country in the past.

"Residents holding valid travel documents shall be free to leave the region without special authorisation," a spokeswoman for the city's immigration department told AFP on Friday.

Fruitless talks with the Hong Kong government almost a month ago have led to an impasse and protest leaders had planned to travel to Beijing to bypass the unpopular local administration altogether.

Before they were turned back, the three leaders were mobbed by supporters who unfurled yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the city's democracy movement. They also carried banners with pro-democracy messages including "We want universal suffrage".

"People say China is now a grand country, so why would they fear three students entering the border to seek an audience with Chinese officials?" Chow said. "Dialogue is important for resolving the current (situation) but it depends on whether Beijing has the initiative to open talks with students."

The former British colony was handed back to China in 1997 under the "one country, two systems" principle which promises to maintain the city's social and economic systems until 2047. But democracy activists say Hong Kong's freedoms have been steadily eroded under Chinese rule.

The protesters are demanding civil nominations in leadership elections for the semi-autonomous city in 2017.

China has refused to back down on its insistence that candidates must be vetted by a loyalist committee.

Japan: Train fans experience super-fast maglev speed

BBC [15/11/14]:

Train fans have experienced the speed of super-fast maglev trains, during test runs for members of the public in central Japan.

One hundred passengers whizzed along a 42.8km (27 mile) route between the cities of Uenohara and Fuefuki, reaching speeds of up to 500km/h (311mph), The Asahi Shimbun website reports.

The Central Japan Railway Company is running eight days of testing for the experimental maglev Shinkansen train on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. In total, 2,400 people will take part in the tests after winning tickets in a raffle. They represent a lucky minority - there had been more than 100 times that number of applications, the report says.

"I applied for my nephew who is a big railway fan, but now I am more excited than he is," one passenger, who was travelling with his parents and two young nephews, tells the website.

The maglev trains are even faster than Japan's famous bullet trains, which currently travel at about 320km/h (200mph). They use magnetic levitation, hence the name, to "float" above the train tracks. This minimises the friction encountered by ordinary trains, and allows them to travel faster.

Maglev trains are due to be up and running by 2027. The ones being tested in Yamanashi will eventually run from Tokyo to Nagoya, carrying passengers between the two cities in about 40 minutes. Currently the journey takes an hour longer than that by bullet train.

Australia's pro-fossil fuel, anti-environment "opposition" leader shows appreciation to anti-Abbott theatre group

yes, @mackaysuzie - there ARE photos of @billshortenmp lending solidarity to the climate angels. #G20 ...

Image: @vanbadham [15/11/14]

Sydney Morning Herald [15/11/14]:

... The angelic Climate Guardians travelled from Melbourne to take part in the protest, their white clad members and expansive wings designed for maximum visual impact.

Spokeswoman Liz Conor said the groups formed a year ago to highlight the desperate need for climate change action.

"We formed the Climate Angels out of desperation because we felt the government was not taking sufficient action for the climate crisis and our children were being led into a volatile future," she said.

"My girls, who are teenagers, will be 40 when the shit hits the fan basically.

"It's urgent, we need action, and if they are not going to listen to science, maybe they will listen to the angels."

Those "angels" flanked Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters as she addressed the crowd.

"Across the river, we've got the leaders of the world's biggest nations and they're talking about business as usual, of course," she said.

"They're talking about a 2 per cent growth target, like that is the most important thing to be talking about.

"They're talking about growth on a finite planet, which, frankly, is the definition of madness.

"Out here, it's a really hot day, isn't it? Lucky climate change is crap or we'd all be in a spot of bother."

...

When Senator Waters was being interviewed by Channel 7 journalist Max Futcher, they were interrupted by a young, first nations protestor who made it clear Waters "doesn't speak for us".

Not only are the people tired of the political and media establishment - they are sick of their protests and activism being disciplined, monopolised and derailed by blowins whose only goal appears to be maintaining the status quo.

House of Representatives Hansard [13/11/14]:

Mr KELVIN THOMSON (Wills) (13:57): Congratulations, Mr Deputy Speaker, on your election to your important office. I want to acknowledge the climate angels who descended on Parliament House this morning, resplendent as they were in white flowing robes, wings and halos. They did have a few security issues, but nevertheless it was significant that women such as Liz Conor and Deborah Hart were prepared to come to Canberra to express their concern about the need for stewardship on the part of this nation in reducing our carbon emissions and handing on to the next generations a world that is fit for purpose, not one that is beset by extreme and severe weather events such as floods, cyclones, bushfires and droughts. They expressed concern about the actions of this government in abolishing the Climate Commission, in not even sending a minister to represent us in international climate change negotiations in Warsaw and in defunding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. I commend them on their efforts to draw the attention of the parliament and the country to the need for resolute action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to be responsible international citizens.

Clive Palmer: a spectacular creation of our fractured politics, Guy Rundle [Guardian - 14/11/14]:

... To ask what it is that a political figure believes him or herself to be is not to take that belief as true, or even seriously felt. But it is to presume that an idea about past formation will be a useful predictor of future action.

In the first half of the year we saw Tony Abbott treated with deference to his values and beliefs, as his chaotic and lying government slid from one side of the ring to the other, while Clive Palmer, ploughing a steady course on a range of key issues, was treated as the inconstant one. No wonder no one could tell what he was going to do next – they weren’t even bothering to look at where he had come from. As Abbott moved out of the centre-right ground he had claimed in the election campaign, and Labor – infested with free-marketeers who would love the Coalition to introduce co-payments, higher university fees and welfare tightening so that they can continue them in a “progressive” fashion – refused to move into it, Palmer claimed it by default.

...

Driven by US wars of imperial aggression, migrant surge across Mediterranean continues

France 24 [15/11/14]:

Italian authorities said Saturday that more than 900 people had been rescued at sea in 24 hours, in a blow to hopes that the approach of winter would stem the flow of migrants attempting perilous crossings of the Mediterranean.

Most of the rescued were picked up from boats in the channel between Libya and Sicily, a narrow but treacherous strait in which thousands have drowned in recent years trying to reach Europe.

A total of 477 migrants were delivered to Porto Empedocle on Sicily's southern coast by Panamanian tanker the Gaz Concord. A further 354 were due to be brought ashore by an Italian navy patrol boat at nearby Pozzallo later in the day.

The coastguard also intercepted a yacht with 80 would-be migrants on board off the port of Crotone on the southeastern "heel" of the Italian mainland.

The overcrowded leisure vessel had spent six days sailing from Turkey, was travelling under a fake Italian ensign and had children on board, four of whom were hospitalised after disembarking.

...

Luhansk republic calls on UN, OSCE to stop Kiev’s army [TASS - 15/11/14]

DPR Expects Russian Humanitarian Convoy to Arrive Early Sunday [Sputnik News - 15/11/14]

Turkey, US agree plan to train 2,000 moderate Syrian rebels: report [Daily Star - 15/11/14]

At least 340 dead in month-old battle for Libya's Benghazi [Daily Star - 15/11/14]

UN hearing: US acknowledges it “crossed the line” on torture [WSWS - 15/11/14]

Ferguson protesters decry report officer Wilson may return to work [Reuters - 15/11/14]

Nauru - which hosts one of Australia's refugee concentration camps - reneges on secret lawsuit deal

Australian Financial Review [14/11/14]:

John Kerin

The tiny republic of Nauru, which claims it is near broke, has reneged on a deal the settle a long-running $30 million lawsuit involving global fund manager Firebird, following a secret meeting held in Washington.

The Australian Financial Review has learned the secret breakfast meeting was held at a Washington bistro, the Deluxe Cafe Restaurant, at the Hilton Garden Island Inn on October 9.

It was sought by Nauru's Finance Minister, David Adeang, to try and thrash out a settlement.

Mr Adeang argued in the NSW Supreme Court in September that the freezing of the country's Westpac Banking Corporation accounts by the court would virtually bankrupt the country, rendering it unable to provide basic services or provide electricity for an Australian-run detention centre.

A fund managed by Firebird is the owner of Nauruan bonds which were unconditionally secured by Nauru and issued on the Japanese Stock Exchange.

A default on the payment of the bonds resulted in the Tokyo District Court in October 2011 ordering Nauru to pay Firebird $16.2 million.

With interest, the debt now owed to Firebird is estimated to be $30 million.

Nauru is the world's third-smallest republic, an island of 21 square kilometres with a population of 9300.

The downtown Washington hotel bistro is popular with diplomats and staffers from the International Monetary Fund.

The venue was chosen because of its proximity to the IMF, which was convenient for the Nauru delegation.

The bistro serves hearty, American diner-style fare.

Mr Adeang and former Nauru prime minister, now Minister for Home Affairs, Ludwig Scotty, as well as representatives from Firebird attended the breakfast. It is understood that Mr Adeang took the floor and told Firebird representatives Nauru was ready to settle, proposing terms and suggesting his legal team would draft documentation.

It is believed the deal would have seen the Nauru government commit to paying Firebird $5 million upfront, secured by a trust derived from phosphate sales.

A further $5 million would be paid within 12 months and $5 million every year thereafter until the debt was paid in full.

Firebird agreed to the terms but the next day a member of the Nauruan travelling party called off the deal.

Firebird has previously offered to settle on several occasions but the Nauru government had refused to acknowledge the debt.

A source close to Firebird said on Thursday that the largesse of the Nauruan government "knew no bounds", given the plea that the country was almost broke and yet it was prepared to fly a large government delegation across the world.

"This seems an extraordinary insult to the people of Nauru and the Australian taxpayer [given Nauru soaks up $35 million in Australian aid a year]," the source said.

Nauru President Baron Waqa desribed a decision by the NSW Supreme Court to release the frozen Westpac funds on October 23 as a "win" for the tiny country as the court set the earlier debt default case decision aside.

However it is understood the funds have been refrozen after Firebird lodged an appeal to the High Court.

President Waqa warned that with the case still unresolved the government would do all it could to act in the "best interests" of the people of Nauru.

 

15 November 2014

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