Women and children continue to peacefully protest today at the Anibare refugee accomodation.



Refugees on Nauru [17/3/15]







Gazette [16/3/15]:




A private company that operated a South Texas prison where an inmate riot left the facility uninhabitable says its contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has been canceled.

Utah-based Management & Training Corp. ran Willacy County Correctional Center, the site of last month's uprising.

Spokesman Issa Arnita said in a statement Monday night that the bureau has canceled its contract because the prison population has dropped and the beds are no longer needed. ...









... The facility has a notorious history — despite it being only nine years old. In 2011, PBS’s Frontline featured the facility in the documentary “Lost In Detention.”

Twana Cooks-Allen, a former mental health coordinator at Willacy, was quoted as describing circumstances including, “women harassed for sexual favors, guards taking detainees and beating them, running them down like they were animals.”

Other detainees alleged routine sexual, physical and racial abuse at the hands of correctional officials. Indeed, in 2011, a former guard named Edwin Rodriquez pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a female detainee.

And in 2007, employees of MTC at Willacy were charged with smuggling undocumented immigrants across the southern border.  ... [The Intercept - 24/2/15]


Mother hits, kills son in car crash near Mildura, police believe

ABC [17/3/15]:

A mother was driving a car that hit and killed her five-year-old son near Mildura, on the NSW-Victorian border, police believe.

Detectives have been told the boy was walking along Red Cliffs Avenue in Koorlong, about 15 kilometres from Mildura, when he was hit by a car and killed at 6:00pm (AEDT) on Tuesday.

His 36-year-old mother is being interviewed by police.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.



Pedestrian killed on North Road, East Brighton

The Age [17/3/15]:

A pedestrian is dead after being hit by a car in beach-side Melbourne on Tuesday night.

The man was struck and killed while trying to cross North Road in Brighton East about 8.30pm, police said.

The unidentified man died at the scene.

Investigators are questioning the driver of the car, a woman in her 40s from McKinnon.

A police spokesman said the east-bound lanes of North Road were closed from Sussex Road.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

The death was the second fatal road incident in one night after a five-year-old boy was tragically killed by a car being driven by his mother near Mildura in the state's north-west.



Tennant Creek woman convicted of manslaughter could not escape alcohol-fuelled violence, judge says [ABC – 17/3/15]




Senate Hansard [17/3/15]:

Senator LAZARUS (Queensland—Leader of the Palmer United Party in the Senate) (16:49): The Abbott government promised to take care of our First Australians but, unfortunately, like so many other promises made they have broken this one, as well. Today, I am specifically speaking in relation to Aboriginal legal services. The Abbott government is cutting funding to Aboriginal legal services across the country by $13.4 million over two years, effective from 1 July this year. Aboriginal legal services play a vital role in providing First Australians with relevant and meaningful legal support. Services are based across the country and provide criminal, civil and family law services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families, among other educational preventative and support services. These services are already provided under the restricted funding arrangements, and service providers have managed to deliver significant value far beyond their budgetary means.

Given the nature of Aboriginal legal services, 80 per cent of operating costs are expended in staff salary costs. The majority of services are legal services provided by practitioners who spend time working one-on-one with First Australians and travelling around the countryside to undertake their role. This means the only way Aboriginal legal services across the country can work within the funding cuts from 1 July is to cut front-line staff, close offices and reduce services. Forty-five per cent of staff across Aboriginal legal services are First Australians. The service is an important employer of First Australians and provides a key role in supporting professional development, career advancement and financial security among the First Australian community.

The Abbott government is not only cutting services to First Australians but it is also taking jobs away from First Australians. It will be First Australians who suffer in every way as a result of these harsh and unnecessary cuts. I have consulted with the community, and the overwhelming feedback is that the cuts to Aboriginal legal services will be severe and will have far reaching and negative consequences. Already, staff around the country employed by Aboriginal legal services are scared and worried about losing their jobs. Staff with experience and understanding of the sector are leaving in search of other employment, morale is low and people have no idea whether they will have a job come 1 July this year. Staff are worried sick about how they are going to pay their mortgages, feed their kids and pay their bills.

Cuts to legal services will involve direct cuts to front-line services, including legal officers who travel to remote communities. This will affect the most disadvantaged in our country. My home state of Queensland covers a large area, including many remote areas. First Australians located in remote areas will be hurt the most as the Aboriginal legal services are the only form of legal support they are able to access. As a result, First Australians in remote communities will be left with no legal support.

First Australians already suffer high incarceration rates. Cutting front-line services means First Australians will no longer be able to access legal help. Courts will clog up and grind to a halt. People will be left to wait in jail cells longer until their cases are heard due to a lack of legal representation. Incarceration rates will skyrocket. Incredibly, at present, Aboriginal legal services across the country still have no idea what their budgets are going to be for the next financial year. While cuts have been announced by the Abbott government, state offices have not yet been formally advised of their forward budgets. Managers are unable to plan or make commitments to staff.

I call on the Abbott government to reverse budget cuts to Aboriginal legal services. Our First Australians deserve better. Living in a remote community is not a lifestyle choice, it is life for Indigenous communities. The Abbott government should respect this and show greater empathy and cooperation towards First Australians and immediately reinstate funding to Australia's Aboriginal legal services.



Burma Jails New Zealander for ‘Insulting Buddhism’ in Facebook Post



TIME [17/3/15]

A Burmese court sentenced a New Zealand citizen and two Burmese nationals to 2½ years in prison with hard labor for posting a promotional advert on social media that depicted the Buddha wearing headphones.

State prosecutors claimed the image posted last year on the Facebook page of V Gastro bar, where Phil Blackwood worked as the general manager, was an insult to the Buddhist religion.

The establishment later issued an apology for causing offense, but Blackwood, along with the bar’s Burmese owner Tun Thurein and manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin, were arrested on Dec. 10 and have been held in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison ever since.

Ahead of Tuesday’s decision, the visibly disheveled Blackwood still appeared optimistic.

“Well, hopefully a bit of justice is going to happen,” Blackwood told the BBC as he was frog-marched into court by police.

Hours later, activists panned the decision that they say further erodes freedom of expression and promotes growing religious intolerance in the former military state.

“That these three men acted in a culturally insensitive way by posting the Buddha with headphones image on Facebook is obvious, but that is nothing they should have been hauled into court for, much less sent to prison,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.





France blocks five websites accused of condoning terrorism

Naharnet [16/3/15]:

France has blocked five websites accused of condoning terrorism, in the first use of new government powers that came into force in February, the interior ministry said on Monday.

One of the sites -- al-Hayat Media Center -- is accused of links to the Islamic State group, the ministry said.

The site "islamic-news.info" has also been blocked since the end of last week.

The banning order was given to Internet service providers, who had 24 hours to take "all necessary measures to block the listing of these addresses" under the new rules.

They were introduced as part of a package of counter-terrorism measures approved by parliament in November.

Critics argued they could breach citizens' rights by bypassing the need for a judge to make the banning orders.

Other powers include the right to stop people traveling out of the country if they are suspected of trying to join jihadist groups.

Six French citizens aged between 23 and 28 had their passports and identity cards confiscated in February for a period of six months. The order can be renewed.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at the time that 40 more people were likely to be barred from traveling in the coming weeks.

He visited California last month, meeting major Internet firms in a bid to improve information-sharing about online jihadist networks, and was due to meet again Internet company bosses in Paris in early April.

The interior ministry has set up a warning system through which friends and family can alert authorities about potential jihadist cases.

Cazeneuve said last month that the ministry had been alerted to over 1,000 cases and that "several dozen" planned trips to Syria and Iraq had been prevented as a result.

Some 1,400 people living in France have either joined the jihadist cause in Syria and Iraq or are planning to do so, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in March.

"There have already been nearly 90 French people who have died out there with a weapon in their hands, fighting against our own values," Valls said in an interview on French television.







... The body of Mr Johnston, who became the first Westerner killed in action against IS in late February, is due to arrive on a flight from Turkey by the end of the week.

A poster of Mr Johnston, describing him as a martyr.

His coffin was transported out of Kurdish-controlled Syria at the weekend after a funeral procession through the streets of Darbasiye, attended by thousands.

It will be the first time the remains of an Australian deemed a "foreign fighter" has been repatriated. Under the Foreign Incursions Act, Mr Johnston would have faced 20 years' jail if he had returned alive. ... [Canberra Times - 17/3/15]


Egyptian court wants death penalty for Brotherhood leader and 13 others: sources

Reuters [16/3/15]:



An Egyptian court seeks the death penalty for the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader Mohamed Badie and 13 other members of the group for inciting chaos and planning attacks on police and army institutions, judicial sources said on Monday.

The court formally referred the case to the Grand Mufti, the country's highest Islamic legal official, which is the first step towards imposing a death sentence.

Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to the Mufti for an religious opinion before any execution can take place, although the Mufti's ruling is not binding. Once the court issues a final verdict, set for April 11, the defendants can appeal it.

The 14 include the Brotherhood's Salah Soltan, a preacher, and Saad al-Hosseiny, ex-governor of Kafr el-Sheikh province.

Egypt has jailed thousands linked to the Muslim Brotherhood since the army removed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi from power in July 2013, a year after he was elected, following mass protests against his rule.

As the top leader of the now-outlawed Brotherhood, Badie has already been sentenced to multiple life terms. He was one of hundreds given the death sentence in a mass trial last year that drew international criticism of Egypt's judicial system.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief toppled Mursi, describes the Brotherhood as a major security threat.

The Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism and had nothing to do with recent Islamist militant violence.

The state news agency MENA said the judge overseeing Monday's decision was Mohamed Nagi Shehata, who has played a prominent role in the Egyptian judiciary's mass jailings of Islamist and liberal demonstrators.








Known simply as "Carmen" to her legions of supporters, the dismissal of Carmen Aristegui from her daily four-hour radio show has provoked anger on Mexican social media.

One tweeted: "the voice of Aristegui, although we haven’t always liked it, is necessary in our democracy."

Another said: "I hope our eyes are opened by the firing of Aristegui.

This confirms for us that we live not in a democracy but in an 'Imperfecta Teledictadura.'"

The reference to an "imperfect dictatorship" is an allusion to the dominance of Mexico's PRI (or Institutional Revolutionary Party), which held power for 70 years, and was nicknamed "the perfect dictatorship" for its grip on the presidential office. ... [Al Jazeera - 166/3/15]





Malaysia Arrests Anwar’s Daughter for Sedition: Opposition Party [Jakarta Globe -16/3/15]







Workers Block Access to Grasberg Mine in Labor Dispute

Jakarta Globe [16/3/15]:

Freeport’s operations at the Grasberg mine in Papua are being hampered, the company confirmed on Monday, as hundreds of upset employees were blocking access to the facility.

“It is true that we have received a report that some employees have staged a protest this morning,” Freeport spokeswoman Daisy Primayanti told the Jakarta Globe.

Angry workers from seven mining areas in Papua were blocking the access to the mine to express their disappointment with Freeport management, accusing the company of firing and suspending a number of their colleagues for going on a strike recently.

The protest on Monday cut off completely the supply of food for miners still underground.

“The access to the mine has been interrupted,” Daisy said.

The spokeswoman added however that there was no unsafe situation at the mine as a consequence of the blockade and that management was communicating with the protesters.

Freeport Indonesia is a local unit of US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan.








Terror: The use of extreme fear to intimidate people.








Murder investigation in Gordon [Canberra Times - 17/3/15]:

Neighbours say they heard shouts and screams coming from a Gordon house where a 28-year-old mother-of-two was found dead with stab wounds in the early hours of Tuesday.

The woman's death prompted police to launch their third homicide investigation in the ACT in the past three weeks.

Officers were called to the Knoke Avenue house after reports a woman had been killed about 3.10am.

They discovered the victim in a bedroom with critical head injuries and several stab wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

ACT Policing acting Superintendent Harry Hainssaid no-one else had been inside the house when police and paramedics arrived.

"As with any crime scene, it was horrific," acting Superintendent Hains said.

"The woman suffered significant stab injuries and obviously that speaks for itself."

A man was helping police with their investigation but no charges had been laid on Tuesday afternoon.

Police would not be drawn on the relationship between the man and the woman.

"At this stage he is not a suspect, he is just assisting police," acting Superintendent Hains said.

Neighbours said a couple and two children had moved into the public housing townhouse in the past year.

Duncan Kidston, who lived behind the house, said he had heard screams and cries in the middle of the night. He had also heard arguments in the house previously.

Neighbour Frances Ottewill said she didn't know the woman but had called police after she heard a loud argument at the house several weeks ago.

Play equipment and toys were littered in the home's backyard, and residents in the complex behind the house said the children often played with other youngsters who lived nearby.

A neighbour who used to live in the house next door said the woman had stayed at home and was often seen walking her children to and from school.

"She was very lovely. She was very quiet."

"Nobody was close to her, she kept to herself. When I'd see her she'd just nod her head."

The neighbour said she intended to buy a bunch of flowers to lay near the woman's house.

Manuara Morgan, who has lived on the street for five years, was shocked by the death.

"I always see kids playing out the front, but I've never heard anything [suspicious]," Ms Morgan said.

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, was also surprised by the death.

"It's a quiet area with no major crime, just occasionally some hoons," she said.

A section of Knoke Avenue and Matson Street was taped off and closed to traffic on Tuesday morning as AFP forensics crime scene investigators examined the crime scene.

Police said a weapon hadn't been identified.

It is the third murder investigation in Canberra's south in as many weeks, after the alleged murders of Ms Costigan in Calwell on February 28, and Neal Keith Wilkinson in Wanniassa on March 10.

Two men have each been charged separately with murder in relation to those incidents. The three deaths were not connected.

The Gordon woman's death was the second gruesome incident to take place in the otherwise quiet suburban street on Canberra's southside in little more than a decade.

Susan Winburn, 45, was found strangled to death in the bathtub of her Knoke Avenue home in January 2004. Her murder has never been solved.

Police are urging anyone who may have witnessed the Gordon incident or can provide information and have not yet spoken to police to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via act.crimestoppers.com.au






Sudden death, Maryborough [QPS Media - 17/3/15]:

Detectives are investigating the sudden death of a man in Maryborough this morning.

Police were called to a residence in Lennox Street at about 11.20am after a man was located deceased.

A crime scene has been established at the residence and police investigations are continuing.

There is no further information available at this time.

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.


Yahoo [17/3/15]:

A man has been jailed for trying to blow up a Gold Coast car dealership because they wouldn't fix his car under warranty.

Jamie Peter Ripley, 38, planted the three explosives in mid-2013.

Two of the pipe bombs were found at the Robina car lot, while the third was in a car that had been driven between the dealership and a mechanic workshop.

Ripley pleaded guilty in the District Court in Southport on Monday to offences including attempting to destroy property by explosives, and not having authority to possess explosives.

He was sentenced on Tuesday to three years' jail, and will be eligible for parole after six months.




'Vigilante attack' on gay man [West Australian – 17/3/15]:

A former Sydney DJ was allegedly fatally bashed in a disabled toilet by two strangers in a "vigilante attack" to rid a Caversham park of gay men.

Warren Gerard Batchelor, 48, died a few days after he was allegedly attacked in a public toilet block at Middle Swan Reserve in November 2013.

Two men who were camping at the reserve at the time, Daniel Wade Jones and Mark Taylor, went on trial yesterday accused of murdering Mr Batchelor.

Prosecutor Bruno Fiannaca told the Supreme Court the pair burst into the cubicle and attacked Mr Batchelor while he was in there with another man.

He said Mr Taylor, whose four young children were nearby, made derogatory remarks and punched and kicked Mr Batchelor before Mr Jones repeatedly hit his head with a metal pole.

"Certainly there was no justification or excuse or any lawful basis for the killing of Mr Batchelor," Mr Fiannaca said.

Mr Batchelor briefly regained consciousness but collapsed next to his car as he tried to leave the area. He had a fractured skull, bleeding, brain swelling and a blood clot that pushed his brain downwards.

Doctors tried to relieve the pressure on Mr Batchelor's brain by removing part of his skull but he died in hospital two days after the attack.

Mr Fiannaca said the public toilet block appeared to be a well-known meeting place for homosexual men.

He urged the jury to put aside any judgments they may have about the lifestyles of people involved in the case.

Recorded evidence from two of Mr Taylor's children who were at the park at the time of the assault will be played to the jury.

The court was told Mr Taylor's oldest child heard yelling and was later told by her father someone was half dead in the toilets and there was blood everywhere.

The man who was in the toilet with Mr Batchelor, whose name is suppressed, was the only witness to what happened inside the cubicle and will give evidence during the trial.

Mr Fiannaca said the man was assaulted and threatened with a knife but managed to barge through the men and flee in a car.

During an interview with police, Mr Taylor said he saw a man on the floor of the cubicle but claimed he did not notice any blood or injuries.

When he was arrested, Mr Jones denied any involvement in the toilet block attack.

Mr Jones' and Mr Taylor's lawyers will deliver opening addresses to the jury today.



North West Star [16/3/15]:

Three Mount Isa residents say they were disappointed by the police response to reports of a gunman in a horse paddock in Pioneer on Saturday afternoon.

About 10 children were at a 9th birthday party in Stretton Street, when parents and kids noticed a man carrying a sawn-off shotgun less than 100 metres away in a paddock off Nathan Street.

Sarah Nilson was hosting the party and said one of the kids came in from the street yelling: “He’s got a gun”.

The kids were rounded up into safety and away from windows and the police were called.

But it was the police response which has left Mrs Nilson, her husband Errol and Leonie Reading angered.

Mrs Nilson says she called Mount Isa Police at 4.13pm and had to make another phone call at 4.25pm before police arrived about 20 minutes after her initial call.

But Mount Isa Police Sergeant Brad Inskip said police had gathered the information and began searching the parameter of the paddocks within 20 minutes of the call.

“Based on the details provided that’s as far as the initial search went because the description was that the man had a gun, a sword or a stick and there was no other information,” he said.

Mrs Reading said the gunman told her to “sit the f--- down” and was “mouthing off at the children”.

The trio spotted the gunman later that day, and Mrs Nilson says she called police at 5.22pm but they didn’t attend her residence until about 6.30pm.

Sergeant Inskip said police had cordoned off the horse paddock and had all available police resources on scene with officers positioned tactically on the paddock boundaries within 35 minutes of the call.

Mrs Nilson said if police took the first call “seriously they would have caught him”.

“When you call 000 and tell them someone has a gun they should respond quickly and take it seriously,” she said.

Mrs Nilson said the kids were “stunned, hysterical and couldn’t breathe” after the ordeal.

Police received three separate reports of gunshots in the area later that night but could not locate the alleged gunman.

Sergeant Inskip said anyone with information can call the police station or Crime Stoppers.







Couple charged after police shoot them

ABC [17/3/15]:

Police have charged two people involved in last week's incident in central western Queensland in which a police officer shot a man in the arm.

The Ethical Standards Command is investigating, after a 41-year-old man was shot on Friday night as officers tried to stop a car on the Landsborough Highway, 130 kilometres north-west of Longreach.

Acting Inspector Graham Seabrook said officers were trying to intercept the car when a police gun was fired.

"Police were patrolling. They had observed the vehicle in question and attempted to intercept," he said.

"At one point the vehicle had left off the side of the road. Officers had exited their vehicle at one stage and officers had feared for their life and fired some shots from their police weapon."

The 41-year-old man from Brassall is facing several charges, including stealing, evade police and the dangerous operation of a vehicle, while a 32-year-old woman has been charged with stealing.

Police said the pair came to the attention of officers after allegedly driving away from a service station at Barcaldine without paying for fuel.

They remain in custody.



Yahoo [17/3/15]:

A teenager has become the second person to be charged after a girl was killed during a street race on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Police say the 18-year-old man was racing another driver, also 18, in Caloundra West on the night of December 11 last year.

The other driver, who has already been charged, ran off the road and hit a tree.

A 17-year-old girl died at the scene.

Queensland police on Tuesday announced the second driver had been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death whilst excessively speeding whilst taking part in an unlawful race.

He's due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on April 8.




Person of interest arrested after land and air search on the Gold Coast [MYGC – 17/3/15]



Fatal traffic crash, Grandchester

QSP Media [17/3/15]

Police are investigating a single vehicle fatal traffic crash that occurred this morning in Grandchester.

Initial investigations indicate that just before 9am a vehicle travelling east on the Laidley-Rosewood Road has left the road and collided with a tree.

The driver and sole occupant, an 89-year-old man, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.






Death spurs safety laws push

West Australian [17/3/15]:

The death of a 25-year-old cyclist as he rode to work last month has renewed calls for safe passing distance laws in WA.

Cycling advocates want the laws to require motorists to be at least 1m clear when overtaking a cyclist.

Kaleb Smith died after he was hit by a truck as he cycled to work along Toodyay Road in Gidgegannup on February 16.

WestCycle chief executive Matt Fulton said Mr Smith's death was the third cycling fatality in four months - all the result of a motor vehicle striking a rider from behind.

"It wasn't because cyclists were riding in large groups, riding more than two abreast or disobeying the road rules," he said.

"I think there's general agreement we need to do more to create a safer environment for the 420,000 West Australians who choose to ride a bike every week.

"A greater investment in infrastructure and the introduction of safe passing distance legislation is the best place to start."

Greens MP Lynn MacLaren has introduced safe passing distance legislation into State Parliament.

Ms MacLaren said WA's major trauma unit had indicated that the most serious injuries to cyclists had occurred after they were hit from behind.

"WA has a serious anger management problem if that is considered OK," she said.

"No responsible adult should view this through the prism of irritation that one bad cyclist, or peloton of enthusiasts, might ignite."

Ms MacLaren said the legislation would require drivers to give a metre or more distance when approaching, passing and overtaking cyclists.

"Contrary to criticism, similar laws have proved practical in many European countries and 20 US States, and it is being tried in the ACT and Queensland.

"I already give a metre or more space around cyclists. I do this as a courtesy and I arrive no later at my destination as a result," she said.

"The only drivers whose behaviour this legislation would change are those who do not share the road. These drivers are a minority but they hold lives in their hands."

Bicycle Transport Alliance spokesman Heinrich Benz said the recent fatalities all occurred where no cycling lanes and paths were available and victims were hit by vehicles travelling in the same direction as the cyclists.

"That's why we need to legislate for a safe passing distance of at least 1m when a car overtakes a person on a bicycle," Mr Benz said.

"But neither the police nor the Office of Road Safety supports this simple measure.

"Both the Minister for Police and the Premier have publicly expressed the view that these serious crashes are mainly the fault of the bicycle rider," he said.



'Live' pole damaged for five months


West Australian [17/3/15]:

The City of Mandurah is facing questions about why a fallen street light pole blamed for nearly killing a teenager yesterday had been left unrepaired for five months.

The 15-year-old was last night in a critical but stable condition in Princess Margaret Hospital after receiving a severe electric shock when he allegedly touched the light pole and a wire fence.

The Education Drive pole had been damaged since October 18 when it was struck by a car late at night.

Western Power confirmed yesterday its officers attended that night to make the pole safe before notifying its owner, the City of Mandurah.

An investigation is under way into whether any work has been done in the area since.

EnergySafety inspectors are likely to return to the street today as they try to work out why there was live electricity at the pole and whose responsibility it was to isolate the power.

Education Drive light poles are branded with a plate that says they are owned and maintained by the City of Mandurah.

But council chief executive Mark Newman claimed yesterday an investigation was under way to determine ownership of the pole as well as the cause of the incident.

"However, Western Power did advise the city last year that the power pole was made safe at that time," he said.

The boy and a 15-year-old girl were hurt as they walked to John Tonkin College. Authorities suspect the boy touched the pole as he held on to a fence, effectively creating an electrical circuit.

The girl had minor injuries from also touching the pole and fence, police believe.



Queensland boxer  passes away after life support turned off



ABC [16/3/15]:

A Queensland boxer who collapsed after a bout on the weekend has died in hospital.

Braydon Smith, 23, had been in an induced coma since the Saturday fight against featherweight Filipino John Moralde at Rumours International Convention Centre.

Smith lost in a unanimous points decision. After praising his opponent and congratulating Moralde on his win Smith returned to his dressing room.

Despite being alert and responsive after the 10-round fight, Smith collapsed 90 minutes later. He was placed in an induced coma.

It was hoped the induced coma would relieve swelling on his brain, but his life support was turned off this afternoon.

Family representative James O'Shea said Smith, from Toowoomba, died surrounded by family at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Smith, nicknamed "The Great White", was in his final year of law at the University of Southern Queensland and was the son of prominent Toowoomba boxing trainer and promoter Brendon Smith.

Mr O'Shea said the past two days had been extremely tough for Smith's family.

"He really wanted to change the image of boxing," Mr O'Shea said.

"A lot of times in this country the sport gets a bad rap.

"A big goal of his in life was to show people it's not [a bad sport]."

He said the massive outpouring of support from the local and wider community was testament to Smith's reputation.

"So many people looked up to him," he said.

People using the hashtag "prayforbrayd" have sent messages of condolence on social media to a man described as a "true gentleman" of the boxing fraternity.





Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army did not protect young boys from being abused while in its care

ABC [17/3/15]:

The Salvation Army did not protect young boys from being abused while in its care from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has found.

Last year the commission heard harrowing details and accounts from victims of child sexual abuse that occurred in four boys' homes run by the Salvation Army in NSW and Queensland.

In a report released on Tuesday, the commission found that the boys who reported abuse were punished, disbelieved and accused of lying.

"Former residents told us of brutal sexual abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers, at times accompanied by extreme physical punishment," the report said.

The commissioners also found the Salvation Army's policies and procedures did not enable the prevention or detection of child abuse, and that it failed to provide appropriately trained staff to ensure child safety.

Government agencies were also criticised in the findings for not properly investigating allegations.

A survivor of child sexual abuse while in the care of the Salvation Army, James Luthy, said he felt vindicated after the findings were handed down.

He was a resident at the Gill Memorial Boys Home in Goulburn and said he was subjected to brutal abuse, but was ignored when he first made a complaint in the 1970s.

"People were told that no-one would believe us, things were hushed up and people just wouldn't and couldn't believe that the Salvation Army was involved in these kinds of things," he said.

"But they were - they hid officers, they moved them interstate, they denied these things happened.

"And now I guess we all feel very much vindicated."

The report said the Salvation Army had since developed its approach to dealing with child sexual abuse claims.

Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide charged with concealing child sex abuse

Sydney Morning Herald [17/3/15]:


The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has been charged over the alleged cover-up of child sex abuse by the Catholic Church in the Maitland-Newcastle region.

The charge relates to the 64-year-old's alleged failure to report child sex abuse carried out by priest James Fletcher during the 1970s.

Fletcher died in 2006, a year after he was jailed for at least seven and a half years following his conviction of nine sexual abuse charges relating to a teenager between 1989 and 1991.

A special commissioner of inquiry into the alleged cover-up of child sexual abuse by the church in the Hunter region found that Fletcher had an "extensive history of sexually abusing children in the Diocese, exclusively abusing young males and particularly altar boys.

"His offending history dates back at least to the 1970s," the inquiry found.

Archbishop Wilson is due to appear in Newcastle Local Court on April 30.




"You can shine a light in a dark corner and make life better for people living in the dark."


 Ed Bradley






Rez Nez Film [VIDEO - 17/3/15]: Refugees attacked in Nauru on 16 March. Phone interview and photos of Iranian couple badly injured by locals throwing rocks, also causing their motor bike to crash.





Australia tortures refugees because the media and  "opposition" protect Dutton.


Stop the boats?


Why not stop the racism and the lies?






No lawyers, journalists or UNHCR.  So called human rights groups are still silent.





Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [17/3/15]:



An Iranian refugee couple was hospitalised last night (Monday) after being attacked by rock-throwing Nauruans (see photos).

Around 10pm, Nauru time, the married couple was riding their motorcycle past the Menon Hotel when they were hit by a shower of rocks.

The motorcycle crashed after the male driver was knocked unconsciousness when one rock struck him on the head as they rode past the hotel.

The husband had regained re-gained consciousness a couple of hours later in the hospital and was able to talk to other refugees. The full scale of his injuries, and those of his wife are not known.


Ten refugees, including three children are due to appear in the Nauruan district court tomorrow (18 March) following the mass arrests made on 4 March.






Man pleads guilty to organising asylum seeker boats.  Australia still repudiating UN Refugee Convention. [ABC - 17/3/15]:


An Iraqi man once described as one of Australia's most wanted people smugglers has pleaded guilty in a Perth court to organising two asylum-seeker boats 14 years ago.

Sayed Omeid has been in custody since he was extradited to Australia from Malaysia in November 2013.

He had been due to stand trial in the District Court in Perth in May, but today entered pleas of guilty to two charges of organising boatloads of asylum seekers to travel to Australia between January and August in 2001.

A third charge was withdrawn by Commonwealth prosecutors.

Omeid's lawyer, Jonathan Davies, said there was "quite a deal of history" attached to the case, which he also described as "very complicated".

Mr Davies said his client's case was linked to that of Hadi Ahmadi, who in 2010 was sentenced in Perth to seven-and-a-half years jail for organising two boats carrying more than 550 asylum seekers to travel to Christmas Island in 2001.

Ahmadi was the first person to be extradited from Indonesia for people smuggling offences.

He had been in custody since his extradition in June 2009 and because of time already served he was eligible for release on parole in 2012.

It is believed he has since returned to Iran where he has family.

No details of Omeid's offending was given in court today.

He was remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing, which is expected to take place in May.





... Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
'Till you find your dream ...

'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.

Do you think Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oskar Schindler, Captain Schroder and the nuns who helped the Von Trapp family were people smugglers? As well as being misleading and dishonest, the political rhetoric about people smugglers is actually code for "we don't want boat people".


People smuggling [Refugee Action Coalition]:


Successive Australian governments have used people smuggling to attempt to criminalise asylum seekers themselves. People associate people smuggling with illegal activity, when it is not illegal to claim asylum at all.

Yet, the penalties for people smuggling offences – up to 20 years jail for boats carrying more than five passengers – are now at the level of such crimes as terrorism, rape and murder! For assisting asylum seekers!

Kevin Rudd put people smuggling at the centre of his anti-refugee rhetoric in April 2009, when he declared that people smugglers were the “absolute scum of the earth”.

Yet, one of the refugees assisted by Ali Al Jenabi (whose story is told in the new book The People Smuggler) recently said, “I think he is the best smuggler. He had a good heart. He was not hard, not a greedy person”.

In 2010, the Labor government introduced legislation to create a new offence of providing advice and material support to assist an asylum seeker to get to Australia even if that assistance is entirely for humanitarian reasons. The new offence is clearly aimed at family members, refugee communities and supporters and makes them potentially subject to ASIO surveillance.








... May the frost never afflict your spuds.

May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms.

May the crows never pick your haystack.

If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal. ...





Old Irish Blessing





The workhouse women [Dictionary of Sydney]:

... Post-Famine Irish immigration to Australia was very significant, with estimates that over 30,000 single Irish women arrived over a 15-year period between 1848 and 1863. In a male-dominated society, the Irish workhouse women altered the demographics of Australia in a very significant way with 11 shiploads arriving in a three-year period. On 6 October 1848 the Earl Grey was the first ship to arrive in Sydney with female orphans and was followed by the Panama, Thomas Arbuthnot, Inchinnan, Lady Peel, William & Mary, Lismoyne, Digby, John Knox, Maria and Tippoo Saib. After volunteering for emigration, all potential emigrants were carefully inspected by the Poor Law Guardians in Ireland, and their literacy, health and previous employment record examined before embarkation. This process was far more vigorous than for other applicants for assisted passage from Ireland. ...





A guide to St Patrick's Day [Canberra Times]: 




... Guinness, potatoes and lots of Irish dancing St Patrick's Day Service Brigidine nun and child refugee advocate Sister Jane Keogh will deliver a St Patrick's Day address at the lunch-break friendly service from midday. Irish Minister of State for Food, Forestry, Horticulture and Food Safety Tom Hayes, Irish ambassador Noel White and acting British High Commissioner Tony Brennan will be among guests. Performers include the Canberra Celtic Choir.  12 noon - 12.45pm. Australian Centre for Christianity & Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton.  ...






Caroline Chisholm



In her letter to the editor of the Gympie Times, "Faith" explains why Australia should keep torturing refugees. [16/3/15]







Refugee Rights Action Network WA [16/3/15]:



Manus: the spate of suicide attempts continues on Manus. RRAN has received multiple notifications, including one man who attempted twice in as many days. These men are being driven to intense despair....tortured mentally for an unjust and untenable policy. Several have been removed to mental hospitals in Australia. We hear daily from people who are now saying repeatedly how tired they are, exhausted from the effort of coping. RRAN will continue to support them in their stru...ggle and to call for the end of offshore processing and mandatory detention. For anyone distressed by this information remember to seek support: https://www.lifeline.org.au/



Refugees on Nauru [16/3/15]:

Just now a refugee man and his wife have been attacked by a local with a rock and are now in hospital.

The refugees were on their way back to their accommodation when the local began swearing at them and struck the man with the rock.

Details of injuries are not yet known and it is unknown if the wife has been injured.

Police have arrived at the accommodation to take the bike the refugees were riding as it was covered in blood. ...



Today [16/3/15] the House of Representatives was silent on the UN finding that Australia tortures refugees. The persecution of Baha'i in Iran was discussed - at length.

Senate Hansard [16/3/15]:




Senator MILNE (Tasmania—Leader of the Australian Greens) (10:55): I rise to oppose this appalling piece of legislation, the Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014. I oppose it because it confirms what many other countries around the world are saying—that is, that Australia, as a state party in the United Nations, has gone rogue on human rights, on international law and torture. It is not something that the Australian community is proud of. It is not something that decent people around the world can understand. How is it that a country like Australia, a rich country, could imagine that it can behave so appallingly and absolutely thumb its nose at international law.

I do not know about other senators in this chamber, but I felt really ashamed and horrified when Juan Mendez, the special rapporteur to the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, found that Australia's indefinite detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island, the harsh conditions and the failure to protect certain vulnerable individuals, all amount to breaches of the Convention Against Torture. So our government is involved in torturing people. And that just turns up on the news in amongst everything else as if this is just normal behaviour in Australia—torturing people. As a community, surely we do not support torture. As a community, surely we do support international law.

When Australia signs up to a convention on human rights, on refugees, on climate change, or on biodiversity—whatever we sign up to in the international community—there are expectations that we will adhere to those rules. Yet under the Abbott government, and additionally under the former Rudd and Gillard governments, there has developed this view of Australian exceptionalism—that for some reason all other countries in the United Nations have to adhere to environmental law, to international law and to refugee law but Australia does not. Somehow, our circumstances are so exceptional that everybody else should be held to the law except us, and we can do as we like. Well, we cannot do as we like. We are shaming ourselves and demeaning Australia's reputation, and it is something the rest of the world will hold us to account for, not only now but into the future. We used to have a proud record and now we have a record of shame.

I want to go through some of the issues here. This bill carries with it the very likelihood that Australia will deport people back to danger, breaching our obligations under international law. It seriously compromises Australia's protection determination system, it erodes procedural safeguards, and it puts Australia at risk of breaching its non-refoulement obligations. You cannot send people back to a place where they are going to be tortured, raped, murdered, jailed and so on for the beliefs that they hold and the reasons they are seeking asylum.




Australian scientist rescued by Indonesian Navy

West Australian [16/3/15]:

A WA scientist is among a group of 19 people rescued by the Indonesian Navy after their wooden ship sank near Bintan Riau on Saturday night.

Roleystone-based Gerald Allen was among 11 coral reef experts and eight crew members who were stranded at sea for at least four hours after the ship started taking on water about 9.30pm.

The Indonesian Navy conducted a search and rescue operation in the area, in Tanjung Todang waters, when they spotted the group on lifeboats about 2am.

Dr Allen’s wife Connie said the group, which included three Australians, were taken back to hotels and were tired but OK after the ordeal.

“My husband’s been in a few close calls. I think they were a little bit shocked by it. He’s a very experienced diver and scientist but you don’t expect anything like this to happen,” she said.

The group are understood to have been researching coral reefs in the area when the a leak was discovered four hours into their trip.

The bilge pump reportedly failed and the ship malfunctioned, leading to the ship’s sinking.






Government’s surveillance shambles adds to Senate chaos

Senator Ludlam Media Release [16/3/15]:




The Greens have called for debate on the Government's controversial mass surveillance legislation to be adjourned, as concerns have escalated rapidly over costs, privacy and protection of journalists' sources.

"During question time today, Attorney General Senator George Brandis quoted Government policy and told the Senate that:

"Australia's existing legal framework is founded on robust principles with provide fair and equal treatment of all subject to its laws; the same laws, Senator Ludlam, apply to all citizens, and they ought to apply equally."

"Less than an hour later, Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a vague announcement that journalists would be granted additional layers of protection. Like many others, I will believe it when I see it," said Greens Communications spokesperson Senator for WA Scott Ludlam.

"Despite being in direct contradiction to what Senator Brandis just told the Senate, this concession begs the question of how the Government proposes to protect the communications of doctors, diplomats, lawyers and others for whom unregulated access to their private information could be a major threat. Ultimately, that would include everyone, which is precisely why this proposal is so unpopular.

"As the Government scrambles to hose down condemnation by powerful media proprietors, the issues of cost, security of the data, indiscriminate nature of the collection continue to lurk in the background. Debate on this bill should not proceed until these issues have been resolved."


... Having said that, under the current law Murdoch has found a way to gain de facto control of Ten by using his half-owned Foxtel to make a joint offer (with US Discovery) for the ailing television network. (This offer may or may not be successful.) ... [Canberra Times - 16/3/15]



... However, he [Turnbull] denied Foxtel's request to show more sporting events at the expense of free-to-air television, a move that would be unpopular with the electorate. He also proposed changes that could mean Foxtel is effectively forced to pay commercial free-to-air TV networks a fee to retransmit their signals. … [Sydney Morning Herald - 15/3/15]




Yahoo [12/3/15]:

Two suburbs in Brisbane will trial a new plan for the National Broadband Network to use existing pay TV cables for high-speed internet.

Redcliffe and Slacks Creek have been selected to take part in the construction trial, which is designed to ramp up the NBN rollout.

Announcing the measure, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said using existing hybrid fibre coaxial (HCF) cables, previously used for pay TV services, was a pragmatic way to ensure faster web speeds for homes and businesses.

Deals signed last December mean these cables will be progressively incorporated into the NBN framework from mid-year.

Three million premises nationwide already have access to the pay TV cable, Mr Turnbull said.

By using the existing cables, the government will save money and time in the wider rollout, he said.

"That will deliver, in the next few years, really high-speed broadband," he said.

The current trial will start to fill in gaps where new lead-ins would be put in to make the HCF coverage complete, such as in the 6000 premises in Redcliffe that aren't connected yet.

But Mr Turnbull denied using existing cables meant the technological infrastructure would age quicker, insisting the plan was a flexible and agile one.

"Nothing is future proof," he said.

The NBN network is scheduled to start in 2016.






Senator Lazarus opposes deregulation despite Pyne’s backflips

Media Release [17/3/15]:

Independent Senator for Queensland, Glenn Lazarus, today reconfirmed his opposition to the Abbott Government’s higher education deregulation measures.

“All Australians can be assured I remain firmly opposed to the Abbott Government’s higher education measures,” Senator Lazarus said today.

“Despite the Government’s continual backdowns, turnarounds and backflips, I do not support deregulation of universities.

“I will be meeting with Christopher Pyne in person to explain this.

“I can not support any measure which will discourage Australians from seeking to better themselves through higher education.

“Deregulation will significantly change the higher education funding system in Australia and push degrees beyond the reach of most Australians.

“Such a significant structural change to the higher education system will have far reaching and negative consequences for our country.

“Once the deregulation switch is turned, it will be impossible to turn it back.

“Australia will be well on its way to an Americanised system where only the wealthy get ahead and the poor are laden with debt or simply just left behind.

“The Abbott Government needs to take this issue to the people at the next election.

“The Abbott Government needs to take this terrible measure off the table and instead increase funding to the higher education sector and get on with things.”

Relief teams report devastation, death after Vanuatu cyclone

Reuters [16/3/15]:

Reports from the outer islands of Vanuatu on Monday painted a picture of utter destruction after a monster cyclone tore through the South Pacific island nation, flattening buildings and killing at least eight people.

Disaster management officials and relief workers were struggling to establish contact with the islands that bore the brunt of Cyclone Pam's winds of more than 300 kph (185 mph), which destroyed homes, smashed boats and washed away roads and bridges as it struck late on Friday and into Saturday.

The official toll of eight killed and 20 injured looked certain to rise as reports began to trickle from the hardest hit parts of the scattered archipelago.

The Australian Red Cross tweeted it had reports of "utter devastation" on the southern island of Tanna, with most homes destroyed. Tanna, about 200 km (125 miles) south of the capital, Port Vila, with its 29,000 inhabitants took the full force of the category 5 storm.

Reports from aid groups said the main town on the island of Erromango, north of Tanna, had suffered similar destruction, with at least two people reported dead.

A clean-up was under way in Port Vila, where seas were reported to have surged as high as 8 metres (26 ft), with as much as three-quarters of the capital's houses reported destroyed or severely damaged.

"Things in Port Vila are improving, people are returning to the market and getting on with the job of starting the clean-up, but the key thing is we still have no contact with other provinces," Tom Perry, from aid agency CARE Australia, told Reuters by telephone from the capital.

"That's of grave concern because there's no real sense from anyone of what the impact has been, but we know in the south in particular, it sat under the eye of the storm for hours."


Red Cross Vanuatu CEO Jacqueline de Gaillarde said shops were already low on supplies because people had stockpiled food before the storm but those supplies were then lost when homes were destroyed.

"We need food for the coming weeks and we need humanitarian people to do assessments and we need transport, we need boats to access the islands because lots of the airports on the islands are grass only and they are flooded so we cannot land," de Gaillarde said from Port Vila.

Diseases, including dengue fever and malaria, were a concern with widespread flooding and houses damaged or non-existent, she said.

"People are coming to sleep in shelters at night and in the morning going back to their properties to protect their belongings," she said.

Military flights from New Zealand and Australia were bringing in water, sanitation kits, medicines and temporary shelters for the estimated 10,000 made homeless on the main island.

Commercial flights were also due to resume on Monday to bring in more aid and take out tourists.

Formerly known as the New Hebrides, Vanuatu is a sprawling cluster of 83 islands and 260,000 people, 2,000 km (1,250 miles) northeast of the Australian city of Brisbane.

Perched on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire, Vanuatu, one of the world's poorest nations, suffers from frequent earthquakes and tsunamis and has several active volcanoes, in addition to threats from storms and rising sea levels.

UNICEF said around half of Vanuatu's population may have been affected, with thousands more in neighbouring Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

Aid officials said the storm was comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013 and killed more than 6,000 people, and looked set to be one of the worst natural disasters the Pacific region has experienced.

Australia promised A$5 million ($3.8 million) in aid and New Zealand NZ$2.5 million ($1.8 million). Britain, which jointly ruled Vanuatu with France until independence in 1980, has offered up to 2 million pounds ($2.95 million) in assistance.

The World Bank said it was exploring a swift insurance payout to the government, and the International Monetary Fund said it was ready to send funds and assistance to rebuild Vanuatu's economy.

Pam was losing its intensity as it passed by the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, where it was bringing strong winds, rain and big seas but so far little damage.




In Vanuatu, concerns with lack of communication mount [RNZI – 16/3/15]




Guardian [16/3/15]:



… Vanuatu’s president, Baldwin Lonsdale, spoke at a United Nations world conference in Sendai, Japan, on Monday, and said the storm was a major setback for the people, virtually wiping out Vanuatu’s development.

“This is a very devastating cyclone. I term it a monster that has hit Vanuatu,” he said. “It is a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. All the development that has taken place has been wiped out.”

He said the cyclone seasons that the nation had experienced were directly linked to climate change.

“We see the level of sea rise. The cyclone seasons, the warm, the rain, all this is affected ,” he said.

“This year we have more than in any year. Yes, climate change is contributing to this.

“I am very emotional. Everyone has that same feeling. We don’t know what happened to our families. We cannot reach our families; we do not know if our families are safe.








Power and water has finally been restored in the Western Australian coastal town of Carnarvon, three days after Tropical Cyclone Olwyn ripped through the area, damaging buildings, crops and critical infrastructure.  ...  [ABC - 16/3/15]




Tropical Cyclone Nathan could return to Queensland coast, weather bureau says [ABC - 16/3/15]







17 March 2015