@dancohen3000 [16/10/15]:  


At the demo east of Bureij refugee camp. Protestors cut the barbed wire fence open. Soldiers are firing randomly.



Still almost no foreign journos in Gaza despite Israeli snipers executing protestors. Palestinian lives don't matter to mainstream media.


If Israel continues escalation, it's almost inevitable that rockets will be launched from Gaza. Only then will the media circus begin.




‏@AlaTurk48 [16/10/15]:   #IOF is shooting live ammo at protestors and raining down teargas. #BetEil #Ramallah




2 Palestinians shot, killed by Israeli forces during Gaza demos [Maan - 16/10/15]




Protests have given way to clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in areas across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as one Palestinian was killed and dozen others injured while marking a "Day of Rage", which was called for by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel unveils new security measures as violence continues In Gaza, Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed two Palestinians during Friday's clashes.

Dozens others were injured as Israeli forces opened fire on the demonstrators.  The clashes came as hundreds of residents marched in Gaza City in solidarity with their compatriots in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 

Near Kiryat Arba, a Jewish-only settlement in the Hebron area of the West Bank, an Israeli soldier was injured by an alleged Palestinian attacker "disguised as [a] news photographer", an army spokesperson said on Twitter on Friday afternoon. 

The suspect was shot dead on the scene.  ... [Al Jazeera - 16/10/15]




Israel refutes Abbas's claim that Palestinian child was 'executed in cold blood' [Middle East Eye - 15/10/15]



US tank enters ruined Afghan hospital putting 'war crime' evidence at risk [Guardian – 16/10/15]






Security officials and Taliban claimed inflicting casualties on each other during a clash in the central province of Maidan Wardakon Friday.

The fighters blocked the Kabul-Ghazni highway in Shahtaro and Sara Kala areas of Syedabad district on Friday noon but the security personnel reopened the road within 30 minutes, the gubernatorial spokesman said.

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier and two Taliban fighters were killed and five other militants wounded in the gunbattle, the spokesman said, adding the rebels had left behind the bodies of their associates.

The insurgents also opened fire on public transport vehicles, killing two civilians and injuring nine others, he said. ... [Pajhwok - 16/10/15]





Saudi warplanes bomb Yemeni parliament speaker’s residence [Press TV - 16/10/15]





... She called on Obama to exert his influence on the Saudi authorities.

"He is the head of this world and he can interfere and rescue my son," she said.

"If he carried out this act, I feel it would raise his esteem in the eyes of the world. He would be rescuing us from a great tragedy." ...  Mother of Saudi youth facing beheading urges Obama to intervene [Yahoo - 15/10/15]






On 25th September 2015, the US told the UK that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be released and returned to his family in the UK after being held for nearly 14 years without charge or trial.

By US law, 30 days’ notice must be given to Congress before any prisoner can be freed from Guantánamo, and in the meantime Shaker has embarked on a hunger strike protesting constant and ongoing abuse and his fears that, in his weakened state, he won’t live to see his family again.

To show solidarity with Shaker, his lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, celebrities, MPs, Shaker’s family, campaigners and supportive members of the public are pledging to undertake a hunger strike of their own, starting on 15th October, for a minimum of 24 hours. ... [Fast For Shaker]




Lockheed, US Air Force reach agreement on C-130 multiyear deal [Yahoo - 16/10/15]




United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria



US Department of Defense [16/10/15]:



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.

Coalition aircraft struck elements of the Qayyarah Oil Refinery in Iraq just after midnight Oct. 16, local time, as part of the coalition’s effort to disrupt ISIL’s financing from illegally-gained oil revenue. This strike was conducted in coordination with and in support of the Iraq’s government.

The Qayyarah Oil Refinery was used by ISIL to produce oil for the black market to fund their terrorist activities. This site was also used to store weapons and as a base of operations to facilitate attacks in the area.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Aleppo, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Washiyah, one strike struck an ISIL improvised explosive device cluster.

-- Near Mar’a, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL motorcycle.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:

-- Near Baghdadi, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Huwayjah, one strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and damaged an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL tunnel.

-- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL fighting positions, and suppressed an ISIL rocket position.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes destroyed two separate ISIL vehicle bomb facilities.

-- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar position, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL improvised explosive device cluster, four ISIL vehicles, two ISIL tactical vehicles, an ISIL supply pile, two ISIL boats, and breached two ISIL obstacles and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, one strike destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Tal Afar, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, 49 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL cache, and wounded an ISIL fighter.






Russian aircraft have made over 600 sorties and delivered airstrikes on 380 facilities of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria since the beginning of the operation, Russian army’s Deputy General Staff Chief Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov said on Friday. ... [TASS - 16/10/15]





BBC [16/10/15]:



EU states have backed an action plan with Turkey, which it is hoped will ease the flow of migrants to Europe.

Nearly 600,000 migrants have reached the EU by sea so far this year, many of them travelling from Turkey.

The leaders agreed to speed up visa liberalisation talks for Turks if Turkey stems the influx and to "re-energise" talks on it joining the EU.

However, the Turkish foreign minister said the deal was still a draft and had not been agreed upon.

Feridun Sinirlioglu called the financial measures proposed by the EU "unacceptable", according to AFP news agency.

Meanwhile a migrant thought to be Afghan was shot dead by a Bulgarian border guard after entering the country from Turkey late on Thursday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov left the Brussels talks on hearing the news.

Also on Friday, Hungary announced it was going to seal its border with Croatia at midnight (22:00 GMT) following a similar move last month to close its border with Serbia.









A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coastguard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said.

The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-metre (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.

The first bodies to be retrieved were those of a woman, two young girls and a baby, the coastguard said.

Three other victims, "a woman, a man and a minor", were found later, the coastguard said as Greek rescuers backed by a Portuguese ship and an EU border agency Frontex helicopter combed the waters for the missing.

The 31 survivors who were brought to safety had reported a total of eight people missing. ... [Yahoo -16/10/15]






"I am Madeleine Habib from Australia and I am the captain of Dignity I, the MSF Mediterranean rescue vessel." ... [VIDEO - MSF - 14/10/15]




Mediterranean crisis: 5,000 people, 5,000 stories [MSF - 14/10/15]:


... “Through the people we talk to we rescue the stories of their friends and family members who often don’t make it, for they die in the desert, or at sea, or in one of Libya’s prisons," said Laura Pasquero, MSF humanitarian officer.

“When we talk to people about the boat trip on the sea to Europe, two things come out constantly from all the stories: that the boat trip was their only option to save their life, and that on the boat they were almost sure they were going to die. "It looks like a contradiction. But it’s their reality.” ...




Aung San Suu Kyi takes election bid to Myanmar's strife-torn Rakhine [The Straits Times - 16/10/15]




 The CEO of Australian company Woodside, Mr Peter Coleman, and Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, HE Nicholas Coppel, met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss Woodside's investment in Myanmar on 12 May 2015.  Australian Embassy in Myanmar




Woodside ASX Announcement [15/10/15]:


Exploration and appraisal


Myanmar Planning continues for the drilling of the Shwe Yee Htun-1 (formerly Saung-1) well in Block A-6 in late 2015 and the Tha Lim-1 well in Block AD-7 in Q1 2016.

Planning continues for acquiring extensive 2D and 3D seismic surveys over Blocks A-4, A-7, AD-2 and AD-5 in late 2015 and early 2016.

On 3 July Woodside executed an unsecured US$1.0 billion syndicated loan facility with 27 domestic and international banks.




Rights groups on Friday condemned this week's arrests of two activists in Myanmar who had mocked the army, warning that an escalating crackdown against free speech ahead of elections could derail hopes for the country's democratic transition.

The elections on Nov. 8 are seen as a test of the country's transition from military rule. After ruling for 49 years, the military in 2011 established a semi-civilian government, freed hundreds of political prisoners and opened up the economy.

Peace activist Patrick Kum Jaa Lee was arrested on Wednesday in Yangon for a Facebook post showing someone stepping on a photo of Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, UK-based rights group Amnesty International said.

Prominent activist Lahpai Seng Raw said Patrick's wife, May Sabe Phyu, had told her about the arrest by email, saying Patrick had been arrested because he had shared the photo on Facebook. May Sabe Phyu could not be reached by phone.

On Monday, Chaw Sandi Tun was arrested for a Facebook post pointing out that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was wearing clothes of a color similar to those of the army, and in particular General Min Aung Hlaing, according to Amnesty.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights advocacy group, said these were two of the first cases in Myanmar where people have been detained for social media posts. ... [Reuters - 16/10/15]





Pregnant woman dies as Pauktaw Muslims are denied medical care [Burma Times - 15/10/15]




China's defense minister said on Friday that he is willing to hold joint drills in the disputed South China Sea with Southeast Asian countries, covering accidental encounters and search and rescue, striking a conciliatory tone over an increasingly tense spat.

China's relations with several Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Vietnam, have been strained over Beijing's increasingly assertive tone in pushing territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.

China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told his counterparts from all 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the start of an informal summit in Beijing that all parties needed to push for the "correct" development of ties. Chang said the biggest common need was to maintain stability. ... [Reuters - 16/10/15]




... Bangkok-based Ms. Amy Smith, executive director of human rights organization Fortify Rights, said countries in the region were not preparing the way they should.

“The focus must be on protecting these people. What they need to do is step up search and rescue and provide shelter for those arriving. We don’t see any of that,” she told The Straits Times.

“There is a lot of uncertainty. But that the boats will be coming is beyond doubt.” ... [Inquirer - 15/10/15]





We are governed by psychopaths ---->  After seizing Abyan from Villawood this morning (Friday 16 October), the Immigration Department has flown her to Honiara, in an extraordinary and desperate effort to avoid court action that might have prevented her from being removed to Nauru.

A Federal Court hearing in Melbourne convened late this afternoon was told that Abyan was already out the country and that it was intended that she be flown from Honiara to Nauru later tonight. ... [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 16/10/15]




Asylum seeker prepares for death on Manus Island 



The Wire [AUDIO - 16/10/15]:



Asylum seeker advocate Jeanie Walker says Iraqi man Mohammad Albederee is preparing for death on Manus Island after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton refused to allow him to come to Australia for treatment.

It comes as medical professionals urge the government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to allow for independent monitoring of detention centres.

Featured in story

 Asylum seeker advocate Jeanie Walker

Co-Founder of Doctors for Refugees Dr Richard Kidd

Former Christmas Island worker Mark

Chair of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Yusuf Nagree




Speaking out for patients, against torture



 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Media Release [16/10/15]:



The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) joins over a dozen other peak healthcare bodies today in calling for the Australian Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

This international human rights treaty aims to minimise the risk of ill-treatment or abuse by opening up places of detention to independent oversight by international and domestic monitoring bodies.

“As emergency physicians we want to give our patients the best care we can, regardless of where they are located,” said Associate Professor Anthony Lawler, ACEM President-Elect, “This includes refugees in Australian detention centres, who have often been through some terrible things, and frequently have complex healthcare needs.”

Associate Professor Lawler noted that many refugees suffer the ‘double whammy’ of harm, fleeing persecution in their home country and then enduring appalling conditions in detention including disease, infection, the threat of violence and sexual abuse, and ongoing mental health problems.

“Over the last few years we have seen a climate of secrecy and intimidation built up around Australian detention centres that has harmed the healthcare outcomes of hundreds of refugees,” said Associate Professor Anthony Lawler, “This situation needs to be urgently addressed by bringing transparency and accountability into the process.”

“The ratification of OPCAT will aid greatly in achieving this.”






Asylum seekers and refugees are being abused on our watch. It's time to put detention under surveillance, John-Paul Sanggaran [Guardian – 12/9/15]:


... I have spent this year working to gather the concern that exists in the healthcare sector about the lack of transparency in detention. This has centred on the endorsement of a joint statement calling for the government to uphold a bipartisan commitment to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

The joint standing committee on treaties in 2009 signed Australia up to the OPCAT, which parliament has since failed to ratify.

The OPCAT is a United Nations treaty that would allow for monitoring of detention centres by national and international bodies. Its effect is broader than immigration detention, giving protection to prisons, police lockups, juvenile detention centres, locked psychiatric facilities, and secure disability and aged care facilities.

It is a lot harder to abuse people when you are being watched.

There is no argument of any substance against the OPCAT. It is a mechanism put in place by 78 other countries including the UK and New Zealand. At its heart is transparency.

The OPCAT is a robust way to ensure that the human rights of people in detention are respected in Australia. ...



A recent Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected


It was the fastest objection ever! 



Senate Hansard [11/8/15]:

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Moore: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia's own good standing is at stake.

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright's motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.




No matter your view on asylum seekers and offshore detention, a prohibition on torture is something we can all support, writes Greens Senator Penny Wright, who will present a motion to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to Parliament today. ... [Lawyers Weekly - 11/8/15]





... There is something about knowing the truth that helps you sleep at night. It doesn't make it worse, it makes it better.  ...


Relatives of Balibo Five call for reopening of war crimes investigation 40 years on [ABC - 16/10/15]:


KIM LANDERS: The relatives of one of the five Australian-based journalists killed 40 years ago today in the town of Balibo in East Timor are calling for the Australian Federal Police to reopen its war crimes investigation into the deaths.

(Sound of service)

A service was held in Canberra today to mark 40 years since the deaths of the journalists known as the Balibo Five.

Among those present were Shirley Shackleton, the wife of television reporter Greg, and Paul Stewart, the younger brother of Tony.

PAUL STEWART: Really emotional today, I can't believe it still fills me with a white rage when I think about my brother and sort of what happened to him.

I don't know if we'll ever get justice about this issue, I'll never feel good about it.

The only good thing about it is I've got lots of good Timorese - I lost one brother, but I've got 250,000 now, yeah.

I can't believe every Australian journalist doesn't, every press conference should start off with Malcolm Turnbull, what are we doing about these guys who killed some of us? We should really put the pressure on them but we don't.

SHIRLEY SHACKLETON: I don't want them strung up necessarily. I don't think killing helps anybody. I'm not asking for that. I want them in a trial, I want them telling us. They were soldiers, they've got plenty of excuses - we were just following orders, that's what the Germans said.

They won't be killed, all they have to do is tell us because there is something about knowing the truth that helps you sleep at night. It doesn't make it worse, it makes it better.





Kunduz hospital bombing: Family of only Australian survivor appalled at Australia's lack of response [ABC - 16/10/15]





American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on an Afghan hospital days before it was destroyed by a U.S. military attack because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity, The Associated Press has learned. ... [CTV - 16/10/15]





They want to crush our humanity.


It's not working.




WA Today [16/10/15]:



Crowdfunders have covered a $500 fine issued to a WA woman for stealing a packet of tampons valued at $6.75 from a service station on Wednesday.

The woman was fined under new laws announced in March that allow police to issue on-the-spot fines to people who commit low level offences such as stealing to avoid them going through the court system.

Coolgardie Police tweeted news of the fine.

Female issued $500 infringement for allegedly stealing a item valued at $6.75 from Caltex.

— Coolgardie Police (@CoolgardiePol) October 13, 2015

Essentials 4 Women SA co-founder Amy Rust, who started the crowd-funding page, said she was speechless and appalled by the police's decision to fine the Coolgardie woman.

"I don't even know where to begin – frankly, I think the crime is that a servo is charging nearly $7 for a packet of tampons," she said.

"What kind of desperation does a woman find herself in that she steals a packet of tampons?

"Imagine the sheer embarrassment of getting caught doing such a thing, let alone having the police called and then have them fine you for it."

Ms Rust said her crowd-funding page had reached its $500 target within three hours.On Friday morning, the page had more than $1000 donated.

Ms Rust believes sanitary items should be free to women who are disadvantaged and unable to pay for them.

"It would have been wrong for us not to try and advocate for her on her behalf," she said.

"To the woman fined, please get in touch with us – people are supporting you and if you are in hard times, people have contributed to help you in your situation."






Gold Coast Islamic Society invites locals to Arundel Mosque this weekend for International Food Festival


MYGC [14/10/15]:

...  Mr Hussin Goss [President] is inviting everyone to attend their open day on Sunday “there’s about 20 different types of international food will be there, there’ll be of course rides for the kids, there’s different stalls, arts and crafts”.

Mr Goss added “it’s all held at the Mosque this year so, we’ve done this deliberately, we’ve brought this forward because we want to work with the wider community, which we’ve always done on the Gold Coast”.

Mr Goss said “on the Gold Coast we’re a bit more laid back and I think we do comprehend that at our Mosque there’s 45 or 50 different nationalities and we are working with the wider community to make the integration, especially with people that’ve come from overseas recently, in say the last ten years, to make it a bit easier for them”.

It all kicks off at 9am AEST | Visit goldcoastislam.com.au for more event details.



RPH pipe bomb accused faces Perth court


WA Today [16/10/15]:


A man who allegedly took a pipe bomb and two guns into Royal Perth Hospital has briefly appeared in court.

Aaron Lee Priemer, 29, was to be sentenced in the West Australian District Court on September 3 for online child sex offences, but didn't attend and instead allegedly left the improvised, non-functional bomb and firearms at the hospital during a visit to an associate.

He was the next day handed a minimum nine month jail sentence after pleading guilty to 11 online child sex charges.

Priemer appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday via videolink from the maximum-security Casuarina Prison but the matter was adjourned for four weeks as his lawyer is on holiday.



Collie 'axeman' released on bail after another alleged drug-fuelled rampage


WA Today [16/10/15]:

The man accused of damaging a service station and terrorising a local family with an axe has been arrested following another alleged drug-fuelled rampage.

Police said Clinton Williams, 43, drove into the garden bed at the Collie Police Station on Sunday morning, causing damage and evading arrest.

Mr Williams is alleged to have been under the influence of methamphetamines.

Senior constable Dion Jackson, who was on duty at the time, said local police had received complaints about a reckless driver just moments earlier.

"The man pulled up outside the police station and started throwing stuff on the roof," he said.

"He was yelling incoherently before doing a burnout across the front path and driving off."

It is alleged the man drove recklessly though town, narrowing missing people and vehicles before crashing into the Collie Shire pound.

The crash caused extensive damage to the pound and the vehicle was written-off.

No animals were harmed in the incident.

Police later located Williams in the street, allegedly casing vehicles in Throssell Street, where he was arrested and charged.

Despite the police recommendation that the court deny Mr Williams bail, the court released him.

Mr Williams is still due to face court after he allegedly caused thousands of damage to the Gull Service Station before terrorising a family with a newborn next door with an axe while naked.

Victorian police officers charged with assault



Nine MSN [15/10/15]:

Two police officers have been charged with assault over an incident involving a teenager in the Mornington Peninsula.

A male constable and a female constable have been charged with intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury, as well as two counts of unlawful assault, Victoria Police said on Thursday.

A 17-year-old boy also faces the same charges over the same incident in Somers in March.



Vanuatu pardons revoked


RNZI [16/10/15]:

Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale has revoked the pardon of 14 MPs issued last weekend by the acting president, Marcellino Pipite.

A week ago, the Supreme Court convicted 14 MPs, including the deputy prime minister and speaker of parliament, of giving and receiving corrupt payments.

Mr Pipite, who is the speaker, pardoned himself and 13 other MPs.

One MP, Willie Jimmy, had pleaded guilty and was not pardoned.

Father Lonsdale was out of the country last weekend and, on his return, said Mr Pipite had acted unlawfully and promised action.

Our correspondent said the president made a decision yesterday, and it was announced in Port Vila this morning.

Father Lonsdale cited constitutional obligations on leaders to conduct themselves in such a way that avoided conflicts of interest, compromising official duties, demeaning the office, allowing their integrity to be called into question, or endangering or diminishing respect for - or confidence in - the integrity of Vanuatu's government.

He said Mr Pipite infringed all of these obligations, making the revocation necessary.

The Supreme Court is due to sentence the MPs next Thursday.

The group, Vanuatu Women Against Crime and Corruption, still plans to go ahead with its planned march in Port Vila on Monday.

It had initially focussed on controversial pardoning of 14 MPs after they had been convicted of giving and receiving corrupt payments.

With that pardon now revoked the march organiser, Jenny Ligo, says they are keen to march to show their solidarity for President Lonsdale's action.

"This is to demonstrate that we also do not want to see these illegal activities happening in Vanuatu, so I think that is the most important thing for women who live in Vila to show physically our demonstration on what has happened."

Ms Ligo says the group has police approval for the march on Monday but are waiting for the green light from the government.

US tactics make Dotcom hearing meaningless - lawyer

RNZI [16/10/15]:

The US is trying to turn Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing into a rubber-stamping process, a defence lawyer says.

The hearing to decide whether Mr Dotcom and three other men - Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato - should be sent to the US to face copyright violation, money-laundering and racketeering charges has resumed today.

The men have asked the North Shore District Court to delay or even halt the proceedings, saying the US has prevented them from hiring expert witnesses they need in their defence.

But Crown lawyer Christine Gordon, who is representing the US, said the court only needed to be satisfied there was a case against the men on the face of it.

Grant Illingworth, who represents Mr Ortmann and Mr van der Kolk, said the US was asking the court to accept its interpretation of extradition law and its spin on the evidence, without letting the men challenge that.

That would "reduce your honour's role to a mere rubber-stamping exercise," Mr Illingworth told Judge Nevin Dawson.

"The US [approach] would render the extradition process largely meaningless."

The hearing was due to end today but will now run into a fifth week after a series of delays and adjournments.



Former Fox News guest accused of fabricating CIA career [The Hill - 15/10/15]




Move  to "protect" rare remnant of Tweed land undermines Aboriginal land rights claim


Tweed Shire Echo [16/10/15]:

ALP north-coast spokesperson Walt Secord has moved a motion in state parliament to create a regional park over a rare remnant of Tweed coastal crown land known locally as Lot 490.

But the move has come under attack from an unexpected source, with Greens MLC Jan Barham saying the move was premature and should await the outcome of a land-rights claim.

Mr Secord introduced the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Reservation of Lot 490) Bill 2015 into parliament yesterday.

In his speech, Mr Secord said the bill would ‘put a stake through the white shoe brigade and the National Party which want to develop the land.’

He challenged National Party MPs to support the bill and congratulated the hard work of Save Lot 490’s Ron Cooper and his team and Richmond MP Justine Elliot for their tireless efforts to protect Lot 490.

‘On 15 December 2014, Labor pledged to turn lot 490 into a regional park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Putting Lot 490 into the national parks system would protect it forever; this legislation honours that pledge,’ Mr Secord said.

‘As recently as October 2015, the Baird government admitted that its Crown Lands office had declared lot 490 as “government property” on the register of potential properties to sell,’ he added.

‘Sadly, the north coast is becoming a developer battleground, with the Nationals and their developer mates on one side and pretty much the whole community on the other.

‘That was evident recently in the battle for the mayoralty of Tweed shire. But the Nationals are beholden to developer interests. The Nationals are doing everything in their power to wrest control of the council away from those who want to protect the unique quality of life on the north coast.

‘I am calling on the Nationals to support the bill and ensure that Lot 490 and its rare flora and fauna and this important piece of public open space is protected forever,’ Mr Secord said.

But the Greens’ spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Crown Lands, Jan Barham, says the ALP has ‘undermined Aboriginal land rights in the Tweed by introducing legislation that would affect a land claim.’

Ms Barham said Lot 490 had a long history of being earmarked for development by both local and state governments and called for the importance of both the Aboriginal land claim and the environmental and cultural values of the site to be respected.

‘This significant and environmentally sensitive area is currently protected from development by Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council’s land claim, which is one of thousands across the state waiting to be finalised. The legislation introduced by NSW Labor shows no regard for the importance of that claim,’ Ms Barham said.

‘Any announcement on the end use of the land is premature, and it undermines the intent of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to provide self-determination and compensation for the traditional owners and custodians of the land.

‘Labor has disregarded the fundamental importance of Aboriginal land rights and the need for self-determination and negotiation with the Aboriginal community. This bill mustn’t proceed until the land claim has been determined, and I call on the government to ensure the claim is resolved as quickly as possible.

She added that it was Labor’s Tony Kelly ‘who removed Tweed Shire Council as trustees of the Crown reserve in 2004 and then proposed leasing the site for a major development by Leighton Holdings, which thankfully fell through.’

‘For Labor to claim that they are the environmental protectors of the Tweed defies belief, and for them to undermine Aboriginal land rights in the process is disgraceful,’ Ms Barham said.


Israel’s environmental colonialism and eco-apartheid [Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal - 12/7/12]:

… Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the JNF [Jewish National Fund] -- helping to exile hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families, bulldoze their homes and clear the land to make way for Jewish settlement -- bought large tracts of land from absentee landowners, evicted local Arab tenant farmers, uprooted natural vegetation of olive, carob and pistachio trees, and planted throughout the land, in place of indigenous arboreta, vast swaths of European pinera (conifers) and eucalyptus trees.

Forests, parks and recreational facilities were strategically placed atop the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages, so that the fast-growing pines would erase the history of Palestinian existence and prevent refugees from ever returning to their homes. In addition, pine forests were planted to guard and expand settlements built atop stolen land and, after 1967, to seize and divide Palestinian territory within east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

The pines helped evoke images of a European wilderness, creating a familiar “natural” environment for the mostly European Jewish settlers, so much so that settlers affectionately nicknamed Carmel National Park, planted partially over the destroyed Palestinian village of al-Tira, “little Switzerland” for its resemblance to the Swiss Alps.

Gold Coast Airport expansion sparks fears for endangered plants, animals



ABC [14/10/15]:

Gold Coast Airport says it is considering ways to protect endangered plants and animals in the path of its expansion.

The airport is looking at a $200 million upgrade ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

However, a Tweed Shire Council report said the move would affect endangered plants and animals, including the common planigale.

The council's planning director, Vince Connell, said the proposal should go ahead after plants and wildlife around the site were accommodated.

"We are seeking from the airport just to put a bit more time into the assessment of the fauna and flora," he said.

He said the airport needed to compensate for the areas lost to the expansion.

"Whether it be on the site itself or in other sites to recognise that there is going to be a loss of important vegetation," he said.

Gold Coast Airport's chief operating officer, David Collins, said a strategy was being put in place to mitigate the impacts on surrounding areas.




Aboriginal activists vow to fight nuclear waste shipment destined for Australia [ABC - 16/10/15]





4WD damage in Arthur-Pieman would not be of national significance: Tasmania's solicitor-general  [ABC - 12/10/15]




How much lower is Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister going to go?




Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [16/10/15]:

The Immigration Department has grabbed Abyan from her room at Villawood this morning to return her to Nauru.

She is presently being processed at Villawood detention centre.

Abyan has not seen any counsellors, nor been advised of any medical arrangements for her planned termination.

“This removal to Nauru must be stopped. Abyan has requested to see counsellors and to get advice from doctors to discuss the planned termination of her pregnancy. There has been no counselling and no arrangements to see counsellors or doctors,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“I sat with Abyan on Tuesday at Villawood where she made it clear that she wanted to see counsellors regarding the termination of her pregnancy. She has been denied the right to seek advice from doctors.

“Immigration is claiming that Abyan has declined to proceed with the termination, but this has not been confirmed with Abyan herself.

“This attempt to remove her is the most shocking violation of her rights imaginable. It is a vindictive move by the government against someone who has already suffered months of unnecessary trauma on Nauru.

“We are urging everyone who has been moved by Abyan’s plight and the situation of refugee women on Nauru to urgently contact the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister to put halt to Abyan’s removal.”







Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru [16/10/15]:


An update from Pamela Curr:

Abyan was transferred from Nauru on Sunday night to Australia for medical care following rape on the 18 July.

She has been here for 4 days and has not seen a doctor or counsellor despite requesting to do so.

She was seen by the IHMS nurse at the Villawood Detention Centre yesterday. IHMS are the medical contractors for BorderForce

Abyan said " I am a mother -this is a hard decision to make".

She said that she just needed a little time to make the decision.

This morning Abyan was woken in her room in Villawood, and told that she had an appointment with Immigration.

Some time later SERCO Guards came into the room with a bag and collected all her things. Amal did not return to the room.

Now we learn that the Minister has decreed that Abyan is to be sent back to Nauru without seeing a doctor of counsellor.

Yesterday the Minister for Immigration Dutton, told the media that the women from Nauru were "blackmailing" him and that he "would not be played for a mug".




Australian government and IOM disappear refugees exiled from Nauru to Cambodia



 Cambodia Daily [16/10/15]:

The first group of refugees to arrive in Cambodia as part of a controversial deal the government struck with Australia a year ago have moved out of their temporary accommodations in Phnom Penh, the Australian government said Thursday.

Four refugees arrived in Phnom Penh from the South Pacific island of Nauru on June 4 and were immediately whisked off to a gated villa in the city’s south, where they were sequestered since.

On Thursday, after a meeting with Sok Phal, chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office said in a statement that the refugees had moved out.

“During the meeting, Mr. Dutton acknowledged the methodical approach that the Government of Cambodia had applied to integrate the first group of refugees into the com­munity,” the statement said.

“This was highlighted by the recent movement of the refugees from the initial transit accommodation to their own accommodation in Cambodia.”

The statement did not specify how many of the four refugees made the move.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that one of the refugees, a Rohingya man who had asked to return home to Burma, was scheduled to have departed on Sunday, but that he did not know whether the man had actually left Cambodia.

Australian and New Zealand Greens lodge complaint with Human Rights Commission about detention of New Zealanders

Greens Media Release [16/10/15]:

The Green parties of New Zealand and Australia will be lodging a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission about the detention and treatment of New Zealanders in Australia.

Hobart-based barrister Greg Barns will be handling the case on a pro-bono basis.

"There has always been a special relationship between Australian and New Zealand, but now the Coalition government is putting that at risk," the Australian Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"This is a real test for Malcolm Turnbull and he will have some serious questions asked of him when he lands in New Zealand today. Will he let the vestiges of the Abbott government's overreach on immigration law hurt our regional partnerships or will he see sense and let the courts consider these matters on a case by case basis?

"There is serious potential for human rights abuses under these new laws. I hope that the ANZAC spirit isn't jeopardised by the rashness of the Coalition government's obsession with political point scoring on immigration."

New Zealand Green Party human rights spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said: "We are very concerned about the human rights breaches that New Zealanders are subject to while being detained in Australia, which is why the Australian and New Zealand Green parties will be lodging a complaint.

"John Key has said that New Zealanders whose rights have been breached should contact the consulate but we know for a fact that the consulate has not been providing enough support. We now have to look at other avenues to ensure Kiwis' rights are being protected.

"There are appalling stories out of Christmas Island in particular. New Zealanders in detention are being bullied by guards, there is a lack of access to medical treatment, they are not able access legal support and a number are subject to arbitrary detention.

"All of these are serious human rights breaches," said Ms Delahunty.



Overall crime increases across the Gold Coast



 Annual Statistical Review 2014/15 – Gold Coast District [QPS Media - 15/10/15]:


Gold Coast District Officer Chief Superintendent Terry Borland today welcomed the release of the Queensland Police Service’s Statistical Review which demonstrated a reduction in robbery offences and break-ins across the district.

The Statistical Review represents a comprehensive insight into the level and nature of crime reported for each police region and district throughout Queensland.

The overall crime rate across the district increased by 1.8 percent.

“The overall crime rate of offences against the person increased during 2014/15 with assaults increasing by four percent, robbery offences decreasing by 27.3 percent and other offences against the person including kidnapping and abduction offences decreasing by 10.2 percent,” Chief Superintendent Borland said.

“Sexual offences increased by 30.1 percent. Reported rapes or attempted rape offences increased by 54.6 percent and a there was a 19.6 percent increase in other sexual offences.

“The increase can be attributed in part to more people reporting incidents of sexual offences to police especially historical cases.”

The rate of break-ins across the district fell by 18.9 percent. Unlawful entry into houses decreased by 23.1 percent while unlawful entry into shops fell by 21.1 percent.

“A lot of break-ins are opportunistic and are preventable,” Chief Superintendent Borland said.

“It is encouraging to see a steady decrease in these offences and demonstrates the community is actively participating crime prevention. Police will continue with proactive policing and community programs, such as the Gold Coast myPolice blog and Neighbourhood Watch groups.”

Chief Superintendent Borland encourages the community to remain vigilant despite the rate of fraud offences decreasing by 4.9 percent.

“There was a 58.9 percent decrease in computer fraud and other fraud offences such as card skimming or falsification of records decreased by 10.9 percent. Cheque fraud increased by 28.6 percent, credit card fraud increased by 5.8 percent and identity fraud increased from 104 offences in 2013/14 to 106 offences in 2014/15.

“It is extremely important that people protect their identity and not give their details to unverified third parties and to destroy bank statements and personal documentation rather than simply throwing them in the bin.

“Fraud criminals are out there and once your identity is taken, it takes a lot of hard work to get it back again.”

Note: All percentages used in this release relate to the number of reported offences per 100,000 people. Media seeking regional and district crime statistics from the Queensland Police Service 2014/15 Annual Statistical Review can locate details on the QPS website at www.police.qld.gov.au.





Australians using payday lenders increased 80 per cent in two years: research [ABC - 16/10/15]:



... LUCY CARTER: As the CEO of not-for-profit lender Good Shepherd Microfinance, Adam Mooney has seen lives ruined by payday lending services.

ADAM MOONEY: I can think of one particular client, a woman in Geelong who was on a disability support pension who did earn an income but needed a fridge and was unable to afford that to pay outright. And her only option, to be able to keep her medicine in the fridge for diabetes was to go to a payday lender.

LUCY CARTER: The woman, who can't be identified, had been rejected by banks for a loan and didn't qualify for a credit card. She ended up with five separate paydays loans that financially crippled her.

ADAM MOONEY: She had an energy bill, a telco bill, eventually had to bring forward that money to pay the payday loan and also the energy bill, missed the rent. That was the third month in a row that she missed the rent and was evicted, causing this very slippery slope to substance abuse and alcohol abuse and triggering underlying mental health issues.





Reserve Banks warns of significant housing downturn but says risks are 'manageable' [ABC - 16/10/15]:



... The RBA said it was also worried about commercial property developers because of a potential oversupply of apartments which could lower prices and high vacancy rates for office buildings.

"While the housing market remains a long way from oversupply nationwide, some geographic areas appear to be reaching that point, particularly in inner city areas of Melbourne and Brisbane," the RBA said in the report.





... Why don't anybody feel like crying for the Somerton somebody with the hazel eyes? ...




'Taman Shud',  The Drones [2015]







Teenager suspected in death of NSW Police worker refused bail


ABC [16/10/15]:

A Sydney man charged with helping carry out the Parramatta terrorist shooting has been formally refused bail.

Raban Alou, 18, was charged with aiding, abetting, procuring and counselling a terrorist act yesterday, after spending eight days in custody.

Police have alleged Alou handed a revolver to Farhad Jabar, who then used it to shoot police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta two weeks ago.

Alou did not apply for bail when his charge was heard in Sydney's Central Local Court this morning.

He will now be transported to the Supermax section of Goulburn prison.






Police have arrested two men in relation to the murder of Curtis Cheng at Parramatta on Friday 2 October. ... [AFP Media Release - 15/10/15]



UK schoolgirl given non-custodial sentence after admitting terror offences [Guardian - 16/10/15]





Police have reportedly identified a possible fourth victim of the Claremont serial killer. ... [West Australian - 16/10/15]





Queensland mother failed to stop toddler's abuse




Yahoo [15/10/15]:


A Queensland mother whose toddler daughter was brutally abused at the hands of her partner has pleaded guilty to child cruelty.

The 28-year-old, who can't be named to protect the child's identity, admitted to failing to remove her three-year-old from her then-partner's care, or provide her with medical care, at a sentence hearing in the Brisbane District Court on Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said the victim, now age nine, presented at hospital in November 2009 with injuries so severe doctors believed she could have died.

She had extensive face and head injuries, extensive bruising to her body, internal injuries and severe trauma to her genital area, the court heard.

Ms Farnden said according to one doctor the injuries would have made it painful for the child to walk, eat or use the toilet.

They were so severe they would have been fatal if left untreated.

The woman's former partner has been convicted of a string of charges including several counts of rape, as well as torture, grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm.

The mother was also convicted of similar charges but won a retrial on appeal.

Her previous charges were substituted for the child cruelty charge on Thursday.

The woman denied knowledge of her daughter's sexual abuse, though Ms Farnden said she "must have" noticed the child's sexual injuries.

Her sentence hearing is due to conclude on Friday.





More than 16,500 domestic violence orders were breached in Queensland last financial year, new statistics from the state's police service show.

Breaches of DVOs grew by 13 per cent* between 2013-14 and 2014-15, occurring at a rate of 347 breaches per 100,000 people across the state.

The Queensland Police Service annual statistical review also revealed males made up 86 per cent of the offenders who breached DVOs. ... [Brisbane Times - 15/10/15]





44yo Bundaberg man jailed for role in abduction, torture of man with cerebral palsy [ABC - 15/10/15]





Armed robbery, Carindale Library




QPS Media [16/10/15]:



Police are investigating an incident at Carindale last night.

Around 7.15pm the man was at a library on Creek Road when another man reached over his shoulder and took his wallet and phone from the desk where he was sitting.

The victim gave chase before the man turned and threatened him with a knife.

The victim stopped pursuing as the man ran away on Millennium Boulevard.

He was not physically injured during the incident.

The man is described as Caucasian, 178cm tall and of average build. He was wearing a black hooded jacket and dark trousers.

 Investigations are continuing.

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.








Armed robbery, Redcliffe [QPS Media - 15/10/15]







Armed robbery, Victoria Point [QPS Media - 15/10/15]





A man has been arrested after sparking a security threat at a Gold Coast Hospital.

The man was taken into custody after allegedly threatening staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital on Thursday morning.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the man was currently in the Southport watch-house.

A Gold Coast Health spokesperson said he did not, despite earlier reports, have a weapon and the facility was not put into lockdown. ... [Yahoo - 15/10/15]





Large drug seizure, Sunnybank [QPS Media - 14/10/15]







Drug charges, Gympie [QPS Media - 14/10/15]







A 19-year-old Ipswich man has been charged with 83 counts of willful damage by graffiti following the execution of a search warrant and is expected to appear at the Ipswich Magistrates Court on November 11, 2015.

Detectives from the Graffiti Taskforce executed the search warrant at an Ipswich address where they allegedly discovered evidence of graffiti offences committed across Brisbane and Ipswich.

A 21-year-old Ipswich man has also been charged with 121 counts of wilful damage by graffiti and is expected to appear at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on November 11, 2015. ... [QPS Media - 14/10/15]






Woman rushed to hospital after alleged hit and run, Broadbeach Waters




MYGC [16/10/15]:




A woman has been rushed to hospital this morning after being struck by a car in Broadbeach Waters in an apparent hit and run.

She was struck along Rio Vista Boulevard around 6.20am.

According to reports, the driver of the car may have stopped briefly to help but then fled the scene.

Queensland Ambulance says the woman, believed to be in her 40’s, suffered multiple injuries.

She was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Her condition is unknown at this stage.








Serious traffic crash, Brisbane Airport [QPS Media - 16/10/15]








Serious traffic crash, Clumber - east of Warwick [QPS Media - 15/10/15]






Brown snake bites man on Surfers Paradise Beach [Brisbane Times - 14/10/15]




Police officer suspended, South Eastern Region




QPS Media [16/10/15]:



A 43-year-old male Senior Constable from South Eastern Region has today been suspended from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.

It is alleged the suspended officer engaged in inappropriate discussions with others of a sexual nature, and utilised the Queensland Police Service computer system without an official purpose. 

The allegations are now under investigation.

In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have undertaken to inform the public when an officer faces allegations of serious misconduct.

 This does not mean that any allegation against the officer has been substantiated.





Sun reporters acquitted


Open Democracy [15/10/15]:

Two senior tabloid journalists were today acquitted of corrupting a detective who sold the Sun inside information on live police inquiries.

Jamie Pyatt, the Sun's Thames Valley reporter, and Chris Pharo, Assistant Editor (News), were found not guilty of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office after a four week trial at the Old Bailey.

The court heard that Mr Pyatt had paid Surrey constable Simon Quinn about £10,000 between 2000 and 2011 for information about investigations into celebrities, the murder of Milly Dowler, M25 rapes and other serious crimes.

Prosecutors had opted to re-try Mr Pyatt and Mr Pharo after a jury at Kingston Crown Court had been unable to reach verdicts on charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office against them in January.

Shortly before midday, the jury forewoman in a packed Court 13 of the Old Bailey announced a "Not Guilty" verdict to the single charge against each defendant, to the relief of watching family members, friends and colleagues.

After they walked from the dock, Mr Pyatt, 52, from Windsor, called on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, "to consider her position."

Mr Pharo, 46, the Sun's head of news – who told the court he had not known Mr Pyatt was paying a police officer – said he had had a "four year nightmare" and thanked his wife Jen.

He asked how spending more than £13 million of taxpayers' money prosecuting journalists "for doing their job was remotely in the public interest".

The Crown Prosecution Service said: "It is right that a jury, rather than the CPS, decides whether a defendant is guilty or not."

The jury was not told that Quinn, 43, from Horsham, West Sussex, had pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office between 2000 and 2011. Quinn was jailed for 18 months in April.





Bernard Tomic upsets Richard Gasquet to meet Novak Djokovic in Shangai Masters quarters



 Sydney Morning Herald [16/10/15]:



 Having taken a significant step towards attaining his goal of a top-16 Australian Open seeding with a fine three-set upset of 11th seed Richard Gasquet, Bernard Tomic will face world No.1 Novak Djokovic on Friday for a place in his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

Tomic, who recently broke into the top 20 for the first time, claimed the late-night encounter on his third match point 6-3, 6-7(1-7), 6-4 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters to reach the last eight at one of the ATP's showcase events for the just the second time.

He served 19 aces among 47 winners and did not face a break point until the penultimate game of a match that did not start until after 10pm and lasted two hours, 13 minutes.


Court orders state to pay damages for noise at Iwakuni base

Japan Today [15/10/15]:

A district court in western Japan on Thursday ordered the state to pay a total of 558 million yen in damages to residents around an air base in Yamaguchi Prefecture for excessive noise caused by flights.

The Yamaguchi District Court’s Iwakuni branch, however, rejected the plaintiffs’ call for the suspension of nighttime and early morning flights by U.S. and Japanese forces at the Air Station Iwakuni.

It was the first ruling over noise at the base, jointly used by the U.S. military and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, which is expected to become the largest U.S. base in East Asia in 2017 after realignment.

A total of 654 residents filed the suit in 2009, seeking compensation totaling roughly 1.8 billion yen for past noise and 23,000 yen a month for each plaintiff for future noise as well as the suspension of some flights.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Mitsuoka said the court recognized the plaintiffs “suffered psychologically and sustained health damage,” with their ability to hold conversations and sleep disrupted by noise from the base.

But the court limited the scope of government compensation to past damage, deeming there was insufficient data accumulated to calculate future damage.

It also turned down the plaintiffs’ demands that the planned relocation of U.S. carrier-borne fighter jets to Iwakuni from the Atsugi base near Tokyo in 2017 be cancelled and a total flight ban imposed for MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft.

Shortly after the ruling was handed down, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We would like to make an appropriate decision (regarding the next move) after reviewing the ruling thoroughly.”

The top government spokesman also said the state is working to alleviate the burden of hosting U.S. bases while maintaining deterrent power.

Itsuo Yoshikawa, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, said the ruling was a significant first step toward eliminating noise at the base but added “it was by no means satisfying.”

“It wouldn’t be a fundamental resolution unless the flights of military aircraft are suspended,” said Mitsunori Yoshioka, a 69-year-old plaintiff.

The plaintiffs live in an area where noise levels register 75 or higher on the Weighted Equivalent Continuous Perceived Noise Level index, an international environmental measurement.

The figures should be at 70 or lower in residential areas and at 75 or lower in commercial and industrial districts under Japanese government standards.

During court hearings, the state argued that noise had eased since a replacement airstrip located 1 kilometer offshore came into operation in 2010.

The latest ruling recognized noise had been reduced for some of the plaintiffs and rejected their damages claims.

The Iwakuni case has attracted public attention as it is expected to receive a total of 59 fighter jets from Atsugi air base in the outskirts of Tokyo in 2017 as part of a road map for the realignment of U.S. military force in Japan, agreed by Tokyo and Washington in May 2006.

Thursday’s ruling is perceived by some as a retreat from a Yokohama District Court ruling in May last year, which ordered the suspension of SDF flights at Atsugi air base in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, as well as the Tokyo High Court ruling in July that upheld it.

The Yokohama court ordered for the first time payments of damages for future noise to the end of 2016 while taking into account that fighter jets at Atsugi base will be relocated to Iwakuni.




Japan on Thursday restarted a second nuclear reactor after a shutdown triggered by the 2011 Fukushima crisis, as the government pushes to return to a cheaper energy source despite widespread public opposition.

Utility Kyushu Electric Power said it restarted the number-two reactor at Sendai, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 10:30 am (0130 GMT). ... [Yahoo - 15/10/15]




Prompted by the Murdoch Press, Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady seeks late application for Australia's radioactive waste dump [North West Star - 15/10/15]



Hong Kong police charged over beating of democracy activist [Channel News Asia - 15/10/15]




In Baltimore, police have arrested at least a dozen protesters who occupied City Hall overnight Wednesday in protest of the plan to appoint permanently Baltimore’s interim police commissioner.

The occupation came after a City Council committee approved Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis’ permanent appointment.

Activists say since Davis has taken office, there has been a "heightened aggression" toward protest. ... [Democracy Now - 15/10/15]




Chicago police torture victim freed from prison after 25 years [WGNtv.com - 15/10/15]




Wife of jailed CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling seeks Presidential Pardon



 Democracy Now [15/10/15]:



In an unprecedented news conference today, the spouse of a jailed CIA whistleblower is speaking out. Holly Sterling, the wife of imprisoned former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, will appear at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to appeal for a presidential pardon.

Sterling is serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.

Risen later exposed how the risky operation could have actually aided the Iranian nuclear program.

In January, Sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage.

Ahead of her news conference, Holly Sterling joins us along with Norman Solomon, longtime activist and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. ...





16 October 2015