Helping others dampens effects of everyday stress [Science Daily - 14/12/15]:
... The results indicated that helping others boosted participants' daily well-being. A greater number of helping behaviors was associated with higher levels of daily positive emotion and better overall mental health.
And participants' helping behavior also influenced how they responded to stress. People who reported lower-than-usual helping behavior reported lower positive emotion and higher negative emotion in response to high daily stress.
Those who reported higher-than-usual levels of helping behavior, on the other hand, showed no dampening of positive emotion or mental health, and a lower increase in negative emotion, in response to high daily stress. In other words, helping behavior seemed to buffer the negative effects of stress on well-being. ...
Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced Tuesday that he has banned the Breaking the Silence organization from the education system.
“Our children are sent to the education system in order to encourage mutual responsibility and not to harm IDF soldiers. The operations of Breaking the Silence caused the slander of Israel in the world, as they made it their target to harm their brothers, who protect us,” he said.
“Lies and propaganda against the IDF - not in our schools.” ... [Jerusalem Post - 16/12/15]
Wheaton College, a prominent evangelical school in Illinois, has placed a professor on administrative leave after she posted on Facebook that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”
The official school statement Tuesday about associate professor of political science Larycia Hawkins’s suspension said Wheaton professors should “engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.”
Following a protest and sit-in of about 100 people Wednesday afternoon on campus, President Philip Ryken and later Provost Stanton Jones said they would not be lifting the suspension.
It wasn’t clear how long Hawkins was suspended for, but some of the student leaders who had been involved in talks with administrators said it was through the spring semester.
The school’s communications office on Wednesday declined comment to the Post.
Protesters chanted “Reinstate Doc Hawk,” “We love Wheaton!” and some evangelical women wore hijabs in solidarity. ... [Washington Post - 16/12/15]
Meanwhile, the Australia government drives refugees and asylum seekers in concentration camps to suicide.
Turnbull (and his media courtiers) think they can tough this out, while tormenting Australians who care.
FREE THE REFUGEES!
ALL the refugees! NOT JUST THE CHILDREN YOU CHILD STEALING WEIRDOS.
The mental health of every individual is of concern to every other Australian #stopsuicide ...
Image: @TurnbullMalcolm [13/12/15]
Media continues helping Australian government exploit Syrian people to whitewash its human rights atrocities against refugees and asylum seekers [ABC - 17/12/15]
Tax free torture ---> An Australian Tax Office report released today found of the 1509 companies with revenues above $100 million, almost 580 of them did not pay any tax in 2013-14 while many others did not come close to the statutory company tax rate of 30 per cent.
They included Shell Energy which, on almost $25 billion in sales, paid $87.5 million in tax on $1.2 billion in taxable income. Downer EDI (taxable income of $344 million), Nine Entertainment ($33.6 million), Bluescope Steel ($319.4 million), Transfield Services ($16.1 million) and Arrium ($888 million) did not pay tax.
A string of other firms paid almost nothing in tax. ... [West Australian - 17/12/15]
Save Mohammad Albederee [17/12/15]:
Mohammad will return to Manus Island detention centre this week which is confirmed with Immigration Department.
Still vomiting everything, weak and in pain.
Nothing has changed.
Jeanie M Walker, National Spokesperson for Asylum Seekers, Australian Democrats [15/9/15]:
... Mohammad was beaten until he was unconscious and sustained serious injuries to his shoulder which resulted in nerve damage causing extreme pain and numbness in his hand.
He also suffered kidney damage causing blood in his urine due to the severity of the assault.
This has resulted in severe chronic pain for over a year.
Mohammad was supposed to be brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment in February 2015 by medical request, but this did not happen.
He was told by Wilson Security that he had a flight if he signed a form saying he would never make a complaint against the guards that beat him.
When he would not sign the papers he was told that he would never leave Manus Island alive. ...
Sunshine Coast Daily publishes seriously disturbed and egomaniacal account of "unconditional love and loss" purportedly written by a Manus refugee death camp guard [Sunshine Coast Daily - 28/11/15]:
... I laid down again and could feel Bear trying to get comfortable.
He made his way up to my chest where he laid still as I stroked his tummy.
I remember thinking how much I loved that little guy and how he had helped me on my healing journey.
I dozed off but was woken by screams of terror.
We turned on the light and I shook him, asking "Bear, you right mate?".
"He's dead, he's dead, he's dead," I screamed.
I picked up his lifeless body up and shook it, pleading with God to give him back to me.
Even now, I can't believe that he's gone and look for him everywhere I go.
On those bad days when I arrive home, I just cry. ...
University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor defends contract with refugee death camp operator Broadspectrum aka Transfield [ABC - 15/12/15]
Nauru Opposition MP says Commonwealth Secretariat did not meet with him during "fact finding mission" [RNZI - 17/12/15]
A remarkable video has emerged of a waterfall flowing upwards in County Leitrim, Ireland.
The footage, captured on Monday during Storm Desmond, shows the stunning natural phenomenon as updrafts cause the water flowing down to shoot back up into the air. ... [NDTV - 14/12/15]
... War is over, if you want it ...
'Happy Christmas (War is Over)', John Lennon Yoko Ono 
Image: @qujunar [16/12/15]
Yemen's rival sides have agreed to exchange hundreds of prisoners in a move aimed at supporting the United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland, despite both sides accusing each other of breaching a ceasefire.
A seven-day truce, timed to coincide with the peace talks, began at midday on Tuesday to halt fighting in nine months of civil war between Houthi rebels based in Yemen's north and Saudi-backed southern and eastern fighters loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from the talks venue near Biel in Switzerland, said the prisoner swap agreement on Wednesday was "undoubtedly a positive development" in the civil war, which has killed almost 6,000 people and led to a humanitarian disaster in the Middle Eastern country. ... [Al Jazeera - 16/12/15]
Human rights advocates have called for an investigation following the Nigerian army's raid on a Shiite sect in which hundreds of people were reportedly killed.
Details of the weekend violence in Zaria have been slow to emerge, with the three attacked areas of the northern town on lockdown as late as Tuesday, with no one allowed to enter or leave. ... [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
Israeli forces on Wednesday shot dead two Palestinians during a predawn military raid in the Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah, locals and medics said.
Locals in the occupied West Bank refugee camp told Ma’an that hundreds of Israeli soldiers and dozens of military vehicles stormed the area around 1 a.m., entering the the densely-populated camp from all sides before ransacking homes and shops.
During the raid, Israeli forces opened fire on 20-year-old Ahmad Jahajha from close range after he rammed his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers, witnesses told Ma’an.
Israeli forces reportedly left Jahajha to “bleed to death” before taking his body and detaining another resident who had been shot and injured, witnesses said.
Hikmat Hamdan, 29, a resident of the nearby city of al-Bireh, was also shot dead by Israeli forces after reportedly running his car into forces present inside the camp. ... [Maan - 16/12/15]
Palestinian farmer shot, injured by Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza [Maan - 16/12/15]
Israeli forces detain radio journalist in Bethlehem [Maan – 16/12/15]
Palestinian-Canadian artist shot by Israeli troops while conducting research around Bethlehem [London Free Press - 15/12/15]
Status of Jerusalem discussed at international conference Jakarta [Metrotvnews.com - 15/12/15]
BBC Panorama Documentary: The Train that Divides Jerusalem [July, 2015]
Turkey: EU risks complicity in violations as refugees and asylum-seekers locked up and deported [Amnesty - 16/12/15]:
The report Europe’s Gatekeeper documents how, since September, in parallel with EU-Turkey migration talks, the Turkish authorities have rounded up and herded scores – possibly hundreds – of refugees and asylum-seekers onto buses and transported them more than 1,000 kilometres to isolated detention centres where they have been held incommunicado.
Some report being shackled for days on end, beaten and forcibly transported back to the countries they had fled.
While the EU is increasingly anxious to ensure Turkish cooperation in reducing irregular migration, it is allowing its funds to be used for equipment and infrastructure in facilities from which refugees and asylum-seekers are being unlawfully pressured to return to countries like Syria and Iraq.
Refugees held in the Erzurum detention centre showed Amnesty International labels attached to beds and cupboards advertising the centre’s funding under an EU pre-accession programme.
EU officials in Ankara confirmed to Amnesty International that the six EU-funded open reception centres outlined in the draft Action Plan on 6 October will actually be detention centres.
Amnesty International documented three cases of physical abuse in detention centres, amid numerous anecdotal reports of ill-treatment.
A 40-year-old Syrian man reported being confined to a room alone in the Erzurum Removal Centre for seven days with his hands and feet shackled.
“When they put a chain over your hands and legs, you feel like a slave, like you are not a human being,” he told Amnesty International researchers.
For many, the harrowing experience of unlawful detention was followed by deportation to Syria or Iraq after being pressured to sign documents in Turkish, which they did not understand.
Refugees and asylum-seekers told Amnesty International that the only way they could leave the facilities was to agree to return from where they came.
In Erzurum, a three-year-old child was forced to provide his fingerprints as evidence of his consent to return to Syria, a 23-year-old Syrian man told Amnesty International.
Düziçi camp in Osmaniye province in Turkey
Two Iraqi children, aged six and two, have been found dead in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish resort of Cesme while trying to reach EU member Greece, the Dogan news agency reported Wednesday.
The corpses of the two children were found floating in the sea by local fishermen who then handed them over to the local Izmir region coastguard, it added.
Turkish media reports said the two had been among 200 migrants seeking to reach Greece by crossing the Aegean, all of whom had otherwise been rescued. ... [Naharnet - 16/12/15]
A number of suspected "illegal" immigrants have been detained after the lorry they were traveling in was stopped on the A14 this morning.
The vehicle was located by Cambridgeshire police officers at approximately 10am and was pulled over into a layby by the crematorium just before Bar Hill, on the west bound carriageway.
22 of the people have been detained. 14 Have been taken to Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough and eight have been taken to Kings Lynn.
Two were unwell and have been taken to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge to receive medical treatment, taking the total number 24.
It is believe that nobody is outstanding.
It is believed the passengers are all adults and Iranian and Kurdish. [Cambridgeshire Police - 16/12/15]
Turkey kills 8 Kurdish rebels in new curfew operations [Naharnet - 16/12/15]
Russian warplanes destroyed almost 100 IS tanker trucks — defense ministry [TASS - 16/12/15]
The Russian Air Forces have conducted 59 combat missions hitting 200 Daesh targets in 7 Syrian provinces over past 24 hours, the Russian Defense ministry said. ... [Sputnik News - 16/12/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [15/12/15]:
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.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six strikes in Syria:
-- Near Ayn Isa, a strike wounded two ISIL fighters.
-- Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed an ISIL excavator and an ISIL building.
-- Near Mar’a, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, wounded an ISIL fighter, and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
Strikes in Iraq
Fighter and bomber aircraft conducted eight strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed three ISIL light machine guns, an ISIL heavy machine gun, four ISIL fighting positions, and an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, halted an ISIL vehicle’s movement, and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL light machine gun.
EU Border Plan is a textbook example of tunnel vision [Border Criminologies - 16/12/15]:
... The 1 or 1.5 million new asylum applications which the European Union will be facing this year are a challenge for the asylum systems of European states.
But if there would have been something worth calling a Common European Asylum System, this wouldn’t have created a crisis. Less than 0.5% of the population of the European Union (with over 500 million inhabitants) will be a new asylum seeker―a number that pales in comparison to the challenges faced by Turkey (2.5% of the population are Syrian refugees), Jordan (10% Syrian refugees), and Lebanon (over 25% Syrian refugees).
True: the new asylum seekers in 2015 will be added to asylum seekers and refugees from previous years. But the same is true (and much more so) of the countries in the region. ...
"If this was happening in UK, you'd hope that other countries would help you, and would support you" Tracey and Tamar, volunteers in the Jungle, Calais in France [VIDEO - Voices From The Road - 15/12/15]
@rojas1977 [16/12/15]: Ocho pateras en 10 minutos. Atasco de llegadas en la playa de Skala Skaminias con @PROACTIVA_SERV y @rvillaecija
@MSF_Sea [15/12/15]: The @MSF @Greenpeace team has assisted ≈800 #people from 15 boats to reach safety in #Lesvos this morning
@MSF_Sea [15/12/15]: #Argos is docking in #Pozzallo with 450 #people. It's winter but the hell of #Libya means many still flee
How many asylum seekers did the Australian navy stop from seeking protection in the last 24 hours? ---> @ItalianNavy [15/12/15]: #SAR Nave Borsini #MarinaMilitare - immagini del soccorso a gommone con 108 migranti a bordo
@guardiacostiera [15/12/15]: #SAR #StrettodiSicilia Nave Corsi CP906 della #GuardiaCostiera soccorre un altro gommone con 112 migranti a bordo
Manjimup Shire Council votes to use 12,000 Syrians to whitewash the Australian government's human rights atrocities against refugees and asylum seekers [West Australian - 16/12/15]
As sea levels rise, Bangladeshis seek higher ground [UNHCR Media Release - 15/12/15]
Bangladesh extends social media ban, blocking Twitter and Skype [The Stack – 14/12/15]
More than 200 workers at Htate Tan Myanmar garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar township’s industrial zone 4 have been protesting in support of a demand for unpaid wages since December 14. ... [Myanmar Times - 16/12/15]
Bangladeshi photographer Saiful Huq Omi’s images explain Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis in a way politics does not [Indian Express - 13/12/15]:
... Omi, winner of a number of awards, the All Roads National Geographic Award, as well as an emerging photographers’ grant from the Open Society Institute, recalls a morning in 2012, when he was out photographing in Cox’s Bazar.
“I was on the shore when security guards found 139 people, who had tried to get into Bangladesh overnight from Burma on broken-down boats. They wanted protection and asylum, but the country decided to close down its borders,” says Omi.
The government ordered that the Rohingya be pushed back, either into the hands of the people who had persecuted them or into the sea.
“When this announcement was made, the people waiting at the jetty started to cry. I began photographing and filming people who would be mass executed in hours,” says Omi.
In the crackdown that followed, 132 of the 139 people died.
“They were pushed back into the sea though the government knew that probably all of them would die. That has been filmed and we will release it next year. Hopefully, the world will see,” says Omi.
Opium production in Myanmar has stabilized for a third year, the United Nations said on Tuesday, but remained a daunting challenge for the untested government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi that takes power in February.
Myanmar produced an estimated 647 tons of opium in 2015, second only to Afghanistan, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a new report.
That figure was steady from the previous year, as was the total area under opium poppy cultivation, which stood at 55,500 hectares (212 sq miles) in 2015, the UNODC said. ... [Channel News Asia - 15/12/15]
US tries to 'discredit' Venezuelan army with drug charges [teleSUR – 15/12/15]
The Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday continued to explore the alleged 1978 massacre of ethnic Vietnamese at Siem Reap’s Wat Khsach pagoda, with witness Y Vun telling the court that he had heard the screams of “many” victims.
Previous testimony from witnesses Um Sun and Sien Sung described a nighttime massacre of ethnic Vietnamese families in which victims were disembowelled, beaten with bamboo sticks and buried in large pits. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 16/12/15]
Researchers say respiratory bacteria and a mosquito-borne virus caused the death of dozens of children in Indonesia's Papua region last month.
The Papua Health Office announced in November that 41 children died in Nduga regency from an unidentified disease. ... [RNZI - 16/12/15]
The Vanuatu Supreme Court has rejected an opposition bid to overturn the dissolution of parliament.
Former members of the opposition and Kenneth Natapei, who was elected but not sworn in, challenged last month's decision by President Baldwin Lonsdale to dissolve the parliament and force a snap election.
Today, Justice Dudley Aru ruled that the dissolution was lawful but gave the opposition 48 hours to appeal.
The poll is set for 22 January. ... [RNZI - 16/12/15]
The United States Government has added USAID to the country’s growing community of international aid partners for development in PNG and the region. ... [PNG Loop - 16/12/15]
Imagine having just a little sovereignty! -----> Philippine court puts off ruling on US military pact [Reuters - 16/12/15]:
The Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday put off for a second time a decision on the legality of a new security agreement with the United States, raising fresh doubt about a deal that would give U.S forces access to Philippine military bases.
The Philippines has long been a staunch U.S. ally and the pact is widely seen as important for both as the Philippines confronts an assertive China in the disputed South China Sea and the United States implements a "pivot" back to Asia.
But left-wing Philippine politicians and others have challenged the constitutionality of the pact, known as the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which as a result, has become held up in the Supreme Court. ...
France due to return Tahiti bases next year [RNZI – 16/12/15]
A Fiji lawyer who claimed his associates have been tortured by security forces says he's disgusted at the Attorney General for shutting down a parliamentary probe into the affair.
Aman Ravindra-Singh says he was preparing to present his report to a parliamentary committee yesterday when he was told it had been cancelled.
He says a reason given by the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was because he had not reported the matter to the police. ... [RNZI - 16/12/15]
Murdoch monopoly is the antithesis of freedom of speech
KFC television advertisement featuring Australian Olympic Gold Medalist Libby Trickett 
KFC Libby Trickett ‘Burger’ 
Good opinion piece on the rule of law in Queensland. I would add "and boycott all of Murdoch's shitty little hate rags" ---> Justice in Baden-Clay case will be determined by his sentence - Opinion editorial by Queensland Law Society president-elect, Bill Potts - published in The Courier Mail, 15 December 2015
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston withdraws as candidate for Logan Mayor [ABC - 15/12/15]
Feel safe Australia?: Melbourne ANZAC Day thought crime accused faces additional social media thought crime charges
New charges have been laid against Melbourne teenager Sevdet Besim, who was allegedly involved in a plan to launch a terror attack during Anzac Day commemorations.
The 18-year-old from Hallam was charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act following police raids in April this year.
He was denied bail in May. In a court hearing today prosecutors filed more charges against him in relation to preparing for a terrorist attack, including searching internet sites and using his phone and online messaging applications.
He was remanded back into custody and was scheduled to appear again in late January.
A number of other teenagers were arrested during the raids in Melbourne's south-east.
Huran Causevic, 18, was given a good behaviour bond after he pleaded guilty to three weapons offences.
Mehran Azami, who was accused of supplying weapons for the alleged plot, pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges relating to the importation of weapons.
Man dies in hospital following Seaford stabbing that sparked siege [Nine MSN - 15/12/15]:
A Melbourne man, whose stabbing triggered a 14-hour siege yesterday, has died in hospital.
Victoria Police confirmed the 45-year-old, who was stabbed in the back at Seaford, in Melbourne’s south, had died this evening.
The attack sparked a siege at Frankston overnight, which ended in police opening fire on the alleged knifeman.
Police stormed the Frankston home this morning following a tense 14-hour standoff that saw a 35-year-old woman stabbed and another man slashed.
Special Operations Group officers shot the 46-year-old alleged knifeman in the stomach and the leg.
The man remains under police guard at The Alfred Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
A man accused of killing Queensland schoolgirl Jayde Kendall is due back in court.
Brenden Jacob Bennetts, 19, is charged with one count each of murder and interfering with a corpse.
The 16-year-old schoolgirl went missing in Gatton on August 14, sparking an exhaustive search and an ongoing appeal for information before her body was found in a paddock two weeks later.
Bennetts is expected to appear at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday. [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
... Details of the alleged events leading to Enoggera resident John Howdle's death emerged at a bail hearing for his accused killer on Wednesday. Brent Anthony Seymour, 42, is accused of murdering Mr Howdle during a confrontation at the pair's unit complex in September.
Defence barrister Carl Heaton QC said the unusual case began when Seymour came home to find a mystery $10 on his bench. Seymour assumed it was payment for items that had gone missing.
He confronted Mr Howdle and became suspicious when Mr Howdle refused to try his key in Seymour's door to see if it would fit.
There was an extended confrontation during which Mr Howdle allegedly made comments about Seymour's grandmother who had recently died, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard.
Justice David Boddice referred to court documents which allege Seymour picked his neighbour up "like a sack of potatoes" and threw him down the stairs, saying "I'll kill you".
Seymour was seen to be distraught afterwards and concerned for his neighbour, who initially appeared as if he would survive.
But Mr Howdle later died from a head injury.
Justice Boddice refused to grant Seymour bail and cited an "appalling" past performance when it came to respecting court orders.
"The risk of flight is simply too great," the judge said. [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
Cairns killer Klaus Andres who dissolved wife's body in acid seeks High Court appeal against murder conviction [ABC - 15/12/15]
Serious traffic crash, Deagon [QPS Media - 16/12/15]:
Forensic Crash Unit officers are currently investigating a serious traffic crash that occurred at Deagon this morning.
Initial information indicates around 5:20am a bicycle was being ridden on Braun Street (which becomes Sandgate Road) when it collided with a truck near the Gateway overpass.
The 42-year-old female cyclist sustained serious head injuries and was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Woman’s hospital in a serious condition.
It is unclear what has caused the incident and police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the cyclist travelling inbound on Braun Street prior to the crash to contact Crime Stoppers.
Police have spoken with the 31-year-old male truck driver at the scene and 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.
Two adolescent males have been transported in a stable condition to Toowoomba Hospital with minor injuries following an accident at McDonald's in Toowoomba earlier today.
Reports suggest the driver of the vehicle was attempting to park in a disabled space when she accidentally accelerated causing the accident.
Emergency services were called to the Herries Street location around 11.20am after the vehicle crashed into the building's foyer.
The female driver was assessed at the scene and didn't require hospital treatment. [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Craignish [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Smithfield [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Serious Traffic Crash, Mundingburra [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Multi-vehicle traffic crash involving truck and two buses, Helidon [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Two injured in multi-vehicle crash on M1 at Pimpama [MYGC - 14/12/15]
Armed robbery, Mackay [QPS Media - 16/12/15]
Armed robbery, North Toowoomba [QPS Media - 16/12/15]
Police have charged a 36-year-old woman following an investigation into an alleged stabbing at Aroona last night.
It will be alleged that the woman was at a house in Utah Street at about 10.30pm when an argument started with a man known to her.
During the incident, the man was stabbed in the left side of his torso with a broken glass and has struck him over the head with a metal object.
The 36-year-old Golden Beach man was taken to the Caloundra Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A 36-year-old Aroona woman has been charged with one count each of unlawful wounding and assault occasioning bodily harm.
She will be appear at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this morning. [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
A significant hydroponic cannabis network operating across south east has been shut down as part of a joint operation between officers from the Queensland Police Service, the Australian Crime Commission and Australian Border Force.
The protracted operation culminated in a two-day closure involving 240 law enforcement staff who executed 25 search warrants yesterday across south east Queensland.
A total of 37 people have been charged with 108 offences across the operation. Included in this figure are three people who were charged under the VLAD legislation.
A significant aspect of the operation was the location of a warehouse situated in Acacia Ridge filled to the rooftop with equipment, believed to be worth $1.3million and used solely for growing hydroponic cannabis.
The warehouse which resembled a hardware store is believed to have been used to supply equipment to a variety of grow house operators across Brisbane.
Over the course of this six month operation police located 20 purpose built hydroponic grow houses resulting in the seizure of 3,704 cannabis plants, 45 kilograms of dried cannabis and cocaine with a street value of approximately $20 million along with a significant amount of cash. ... [QPS Media - 16/12/15]
As part of a national day of action focused on the FINKS outlaw motorcycle gang, detectives from Task Force Maxima have charged the alleged treasurer of the FINKS Gold Coast Chapter with fraud and tainted property. ... [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Facebook video appears to show WA police officer punching woman in Kununurra [WA Today - 16/12/15]
A 37-year-old female Senior Constable from Operations Support Command has today been stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer is subject of a disciplinary investigation concerning allegations she, whilst off duty, stole a quantity of groceries from a retailer.
The officer has been served with a Notice to Appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 2 February, 2016 on one charge of unlawfully taking away goods under Section 5 of the Regulatory Offences Act. ... [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
A 47-year-old male Senior Sergeant from South Eastern Region has today been suspended from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer, is alleged to have breached a domestic and family violence protection order. ... [QPS Media - 15/12/15]
Fatal crane collapse: Chris Powell remembered as man with passion for family and photography [ABC - 15/12/15]
Detectives from the Gold Coast Child Protection Investigation Unit in a joint operation with the Child Trauma Task Force have today arrested a couple in relation to the alleged assault of a 13-day-old boy in October last year.
It is alleged that the baby was taken to a Gold Coast University Hospital with significant head injuries which were considered life threatening.
The child survived but sustained brain damage.
A 24-year-old woman and 28-year-old man, both from Logan, have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to an infant.
The pair are due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today. ... [QPS Media - 16/12/15]
Mother of 4yo Gold Coast boy who drowned in neighbour’s pool breaks down at inquest [MYGC - 16/12/15]
A toddler has been rushed to hospital following a near drowning in Logan this morning.
Paramedics rushed to a Browns Plains public pool just after 11.20am Tuesday following reports a 3-year-old boy was unconscious.
The mother of the child performed CPR at the scene before paramedics arrived. The toddler has been transported to hospital in a stable condition. [MYGC - 15/12/15]
A young girl has been taken to hospital with injuries to her hand after it became stuck in an escalator at a shopping centre on the Gold Coast yesterday.
Emergency services rushed to Pacific Fair in Broadbeach around 4.30pm Tuesday after receiving reports a five-year-old girl had been injured in an escalator accident.
The child was treated at the scene before being transported to Gold Coast University Hospital with injuries to her fingers.
It is the second escalator accident the shopping centre has encountered in just two months. [MYGC - 16/12/15]
A Brisbane couple have appeared in court charged with taking their two daughters to Africa to undergo female genital mutilation.
The man, 53, and woman, 41, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, made a brief appearance in the Beenleigh magistrates court on Wednesday.
Their case, believed to be the first prosecution of its kind in Queensland, was adjourned for a committal mention on 16 March. ... [Guardian - 16/12/15]
Priest accused of lying to Child Abuse Royal Commission to 'save' Cardinal George Pell [Sydney Morning Herald - 16/12/15]
State of Queensland ordered to pay nearly $800K to sisters sexually abused by foster care brother in 2005 [ABC - 15/12/15]
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last! ----> Queensland's government has sent a business case for a new Townsville stadium to the federal government.
The business case is only for a stand-alone stadium, with the option of expanding the project in future to include an entertainment and shopping precinct, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk believes it will still boost the economy.
"We know this is good for the Townsville economy. We know that this will create jobs and I want to see construction under way in Townsville as soon as possible," she said. [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
Doors close on Sunshine Coast's Katie Rose Hospice amid pleas for ongoing funding [ABC - 16/12/15]:
... Health Minister Cameron Dick said the State Government would consider stepping in but he would prefer the community to fund the hospice.
"The power and importance of this hospice is because it came from the community," he said. "It was funded by and led by and supported by the community.
"I would like to see the community consider how they can support the hospice in the first instance."
Queensland's health minister has heavily criticised the federal government over new health cuts he says will hit the state hard.
Cameron Dick said the slashing of health funding will shift the cost back onto patients and the public hospital system. ... [Yahoo - 15/12/15]
Land Court of Queensland rejects Adani Carmichael coal mine challenge [Yahoo - 16/12/15]
Linc Energy chief executive says 'no evidence' its operations near Chinchilla allowed toxic gas to escape [ABC - 15/12/15]
Photographers have captured incredible images of a major dust storm which hit central west Queensland on Tuesday.
The outback town of Boulia, located about 500 kilometres west of Longreach, bore the brunt of the storm which blanketed everything in its path in red dust. ... [Brisbane Times - 16/12/15]
Naomi Shaw was snuggled in her chair about to watch the start of a movie at Westfield Bondi Junction when a woman burst in and screamed these words on Wednesday afternoon.
"We were in the cinemas about to start watching Spectre when all of a sudden a lady ran in screaming for her children to get out because the roof was collapsing," Ms Shaw said.
Howling winds and rain had caused the roof of the Oxford Street shopping centre to partially cave in, causing a mass evacuation of Christmas shoppers. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 16/12/15]
Hornsby Westfield cinema roof collapses [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/11/13]
Car park collapses at Westfield Eastgardens Shopping Centre in Sydney [Sydney Morning Herald - 24/7/12]
First Selectman Timothy Herbst said the town's building officials will be working with Westfield Trumbull mall management, its construction company and engineers to determine the cause of another structure collapse in the mall's food court area Saturday afternoon.
This time, the collapse of the sign over Sbarro's, which also took down a portion of the facade behind it, slightly injured two patrons around 4:20 p.m. ... [Connecticut Post - 17/7/10]
A 32-year-old man who stole thousands of dollars from unsuspecting disaster victims after Cyclone Yasi has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail. ... [ABC - 16/12/15]
Dallas Buyers Club can rest a little easier after the Federal Court rejected a second bid to get their contact details.
Voltage Pictures is the company that owns the copyright for Dallas Buyers Club.
It has been attempting to get iiNet and other internet service providers to reveal the contact details of 4726 customers it claims have been caught illegally downloading the movie.
In August the company received permission to ask for the details under strict conditions that included Voltage Pictures paying a $600,000 bond and only being allowed to ask for the cost of the movie and some out-of-pocket expenses.
In September Dallas Buyers Club went back to Justice Perram and asked to access the details of just 472 customers in exchange for paying 10 per cent of the bond, or $60,000.
They also requested the right to ask for more compensation.
But Justice Perram rejected the request on Wednesday and said the entire case would be thrown out of court by February 11 unless further action was taken. ... [Canberra Times - 16/12/15]
Centrelink apologises for website outage [Canberra Times - 16/12/15]
A stomach bug has struck down more than 180 cruise ship passengers and crew on a Royal Caribbean liner that has docked at Sydney's Circular Quay.
The Explorer of the Seas arrived at around 6am on Wednesday with Royal Caribbean confirming 182 cases of a gastrointestinal illness among guests and crew of the 14-night trip. ... [West Australian - 16/12/15]
@ChicagoRising [15/12/15]: Please note this protest happened @ intersection of ICE, fed prison MCC, near Chi Board of Trade. That wasn't an accident. #memorialblockade
@aaroncynic [15/12/15]: Nearly all demonstrators have been moved from intersection & loaded onto trucks #memorialblockade #ResignRahm
@aaroncynic [15/12/15]: "There are some who would have us believe that we are not worthwhile, that we do not deserve justice,"says protester
Community members shut down intersection in remembrance of those who've fallen to violence in Chicago, demand Rahm's resignation [15/12/15]
@monicatea2 [15/12/15]: Folks have shutdown congress and Clark #forthefallen #resignrahm #byeanita
A Chicago police commander accused of sticking a gun in a suspect’s mouth, holding a Taser to his groin and threatening to kill him was acquitted of felony charges on Monday by a circuit court judge. ... [New York Times - 14/12/15]
A jury is deadlocked in the trial of police officer William Porter, charged in the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said on Tuesday.
Williams said he had received a note from the jury of seven women and five men after it had weighed the fate of Officer William Porter, 26, for almost 10 hours.
Williams ordered the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict. It was not immediately clear how the panel was deadlocked. ... [Reuters - 15/12/15]
Clinton interrupted by protesters during immigration speech [Democracy Now - 15/12/15]:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has outlined her policy on immigration. Speaking in Brooklyn, New York, Monday, Clinton promised to waive fees associated with naturalization, close privately run detention centers and help create a path to full citizenship for the millions of undocumented people living in the United States.
Hillary Clinton: "We are a big-hearted country, and we should never forget that, and we shouldn’t let anybody on the public stage say that we are mean-spirited, that we are going to build walls—mentally and physically—that we’re going to shut doors, and we’re going to lose the talents and the contributions of millions of people who are here doing the best they can, building lives for themselves and their children."
Clinton was interrupted by protesters who criticized her previous remarks on immigration and called for a moratorium on immigrant detention.
... Critics may declare President Obama soft on immigration, but as this Reuters graphic shows, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data the Department of Homeland Security deported 414,481 people in fiscal year 2014, down from 438,421 the year before.
Each year of the Obama administration has seen more deportations than any preceding president; the pre-Obama high of 358,886 removals in FY2008 came during President George W. Bush’s last full fiscal year in office. ... [Reuters - 25/2/15]
Operation Streamline: Ten years of criminalising immigrants in the US [American Immigration Council - 15/12/15]
... In addition, in May 2015, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General released a report which casts doubt on whether the prosecutions achieve the desired results.
It found that Border Patrol is “not fully and accurately measuring Streamline’s effect on deterring” illegal immigration and that CBP targets for prosecution individuals seeking asylum.
This practice violates U.S. obligations of the Refugee Convention.
Furthermore, the dramatic increase in criminal prosecutions has meant that private prison companies are profiting. In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, “the federal government paid immense sums of taxpayer money to private prison companies, $744 million and $640 million to CCA and GEO Group, respectively.” ...
$1billion budget blowout in Australian government's punishment of people who try to seek asylum by incarcerating and torturing them in island gulags [Sydney Morning Herald - 15/12/15]
MYEFO: Australia government to spend $900 million on 12,000 Syrians who are being used to whitewash human rights atrocities against refugees and asylum seekers [ABC - 15/12/15]:
... The Government also allocated $44 million to provide food, water, healthcare and education to people displaced in the Syrian and Iraqi conflict zones. [Really?]
In Australia, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been allocated $499.7 million to manage the legacy caseload of asylum seekers.
An additional $342.2 million has been allocated over two years for refugee resettlement [exile and disappearance] arrangements for asylum seekers in offshore centres, as well as $213.3 million over four years for the management of the onshore centres.
UNHCR in Jordan excitedly promotes militarised border control techonology as it creeps into mainstream ----> @And_Harper [8/11/15]: Rest of world is now waking up 2 what we are doing in #jordan w @IrisGuard @CairoAmmanBank @Refugees #innovation
UNHCR's new biometrics system helps "verify" 110,000 Myanmar refugees in Thailand [Media Release - 30/6/15]
Portfolio Budget Statements in support of the 2014-15 Budget for the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio:
Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance
$762,000 ---> IOM
Initiatives to address the situation of displaced persons and promote sustainable returns - $700,000
Refugee and humanitarian passage, associated costs and related services - $18,966,000
$4,817,000 - offshore biometric program expansions
Still waiting for a single Australian politician or human rights group to respond. Their ongoing silence indicates approval of the policies and "deterrence" lies which have created such desperation ---> Merry Christmas Malcolm Turnbull from all of us here on Manus Island [Guardian - 7/12/15]
How Australia stops asylum seekers from accessing protection and is trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----> Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]
Companies involved in Australia's offshore refugee concentration camps have not been "frozen out" by the City of Sydney.
The "No Business in Abuse" pledge doesn't call for divestment or the closure of Manus and Nauru. It's toothless (as well as weaselly worded).:
It's not enough that any individual detention centre is closed or a single company refuses to be involved – the fundamental human rights abuses inherent in the many incarnations of this system need to be clearly outlined and rejected.
The NBIA pledge outlines a values basis for all people and institutions in our community. It ensures that we, as a society, hold to the fundamental values of humanity, that will ensure our current detention centres cannot reincarnate, under different names, in different places or with different companies.
GetUp and "No Business in Abuse" are trying usurp a genuine grassroots campaign.
The successful Hesta divestment campaign was run by Hesta Divest, @xBorderOps and others.
The only people "frozen out" by the City of Sydney are the Occupy group. [Altmedia - 27/6/13]
Unisuper Divest [22/9/15]:
A few problems with Get Up's No Business in Abuse campaign:
1. The campaign pledge - which calls on you to sign it - contains no demand as such to oppose, close *definitively and forever* Australia's detention camps, both onshore and off-shore;
2. The implicit aim of the campaign is to make the business of mandatory detention of asylum-seekers 'nicer' = free of abuse;
3. The campaign is about making business 'ethical', rather than challenging the very underpinnings of the detention complex;
4. The 'campaign' - if one can call it such - consists solely of signing pledges and petitions. Please, show me an example when that has ever worked in influencing government policy. Direct action, anyone?
As some of us who have visited detention centres know well, detention per se IS abuse.
Irrespective of the conditions in centres, or how 'nice' they seem, detention is detrimental to asylum-seekers' physical and mental health, and is, in and of itself, a system that is premised on the idea that human rights abuses are *justified* when one's state borders are dealing with 'illegals'.
In other words, there is nothing in the No Business in Abuse campaign that challenges the premise behind 'Operation Sovereign Borders'.
In fact, that the campaign fails to do so - is precisely the reason why it reinforces the current government policy.
Jakarta will soon see the operation of the long-awaited railway connecting Manggarai Station in Central Jakarta to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tanggerang, Banten, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday, with the last12 kilometers of track expected to be completed in early 2017.
Jokowi said the government had invested Rp. 2.5 trillion (US$177.4 million) in the project, which started in 2015.
"This is a solution for the chronic city-to-airport traffic congestion," Jokowi said when inspecting the 30-km railway project.
According to Jokowi, people will be able to travel between Manggarai and Soekarno-Hatta in 40 minutes with the new railway, which in turn will ease traffic congestion from the city to the airport.
Jokowi added that in the long-run, all densely populated cities in Indonesia should have such railways that connected their cities and airports.
"A city and its airport should be connected by mass-transportation, such as Palembang [in South Sumatra], Surabaya [in East Java], Padang [in West Sumatra] and Yogyakarta," Jokowi said. [Jakarta Post - 15/12/15]
16 December 2015