Not long after the first transportation convoy reached Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya, a group of jihadist rebels opened fire on the second batch of buses attempting to reach these besieged Shi'i towns in the Idlib Governorate. ... [AMN - 18/12/16]



Syria hands over evidence of mustard gas attack by rebels on civilians to OPCW [RT - 18/12/16]



United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 18/12/16]



Milan, Italy: Demonstration in solidarity with the migrants, against Frontex and the EU-Turkey deal. ‏@RRYrevolucion [17/12/16]



International Migrants Day [teleSUR - 17/12/16]



Stories of migration: Images of exile and hope in refugee art from around the world [teleSUR - 19/6/15]



Will Australia's political prisoners in Manus and Nauru concentration camps still be alive when the human rights establishment and media return from their pathetic, hypocritical Christmas holiday?



Australia's political prisoners protest on Nauru, May 2016  



What about the Syrian refugees imprisoned by the Australian government on Nauru and Manus Island Dr Alwani? ---> Hundreds of protestors from South Australia's Middle Eastern and African communities have called for Australia to take more refugees from war-torn Syria.

A crowd of about 300 men, women and children gathered on the steps of the South Australian Parliament, chanting "down, down, Assad down" and "stop bombing the children of Syria".


Dr Alwani said he wanted to see Australia's intake of Syrian refugees urgently increased. ... [ABC - 18/12/16]



The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws.

The emails support reports from Guardian Australia in March, showing that Syrians detained offshore told Australian immigration department officials they would be killed if they returned to Syria, but the department facilitated plans for their repatriation nonetheless.  ... [Guardian - 14/8/14]



@oulosP [18/12/16]:  Just about to cross #Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge. #AleppoIsFree!!! ...


@oulosP [18/12/16]:  Slowly starting to build. #AleppoIsFree. ...



... BGB sources said the boats were carrying more than 100 Rohingyas and most of them were women and children. ... Region continues pushing back Rohingya refugees to Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide [Prothom Alo - 18/12/16]



‏@JonahFisherBBC [17/12/16]:  Malaysia claiming it forced Suu Kyi into Monday's ASEAN FM's meeting on Rohingya. She wouldn't have held it without pressure certainly.  



Protest and march from Bangladesh capital Dhaka to Teknaf against Rohingya genocide in Myanmar [Arakan Times - 18/12/16]



Myanmar government forces have started launching attacks on the headquarters of the military wing of one of the country's ethnic rebel groups, the group said on Saturday.

Tang San, a battalion commander with the Kachin Independence Army, said government forces have been using "fighter jets and heavy weapons continuously'' on the headquarters in northeastern Mynamar since early Friday. ... [Bangkok Post - 17/12/16]



Indonesian air force plane crashes in Papua killing 13, official says [Reuters – 17/12/16]



China will return an underwater U.S. drone seized by a naval vessel this week in the South China Sea, both countries said on Saturday, but Beijing complained that Washington had been "hyping up" the incident. ... [Reuters - 17/12/16]



Unknown gunmen kill three in Paghman [TOLO News - 18/12/16]



The Ministry of Education (MoE) said in a statement on Sunday that “enemies of education” set fire to a girl’s school in central Logar province on Friday night.

The incident took place in Mohammad Agha district of the province. ... [TOLO News - 18/12/16]



14 dead, 40 injured after bus hits fuel tanker in western Afghanistan [Firstpost - 18/12/16]



Gunmen kill five female Afghan airport staff in Kandahar [Reuters - 17/12/16]



A top police official escaped unhurt from a roadside bomb explosion in western Herat province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, the police chief of Obe district, Sher Aqa Alokozay, survived the attack but a policeman sustained injuries. ... [Khaama - 18/12/16]



US President feels responsible for killings in South Sudan [South Sudan News Agency - 17/12/16]:


... “I feel responsible for murder and slaughter that’s taken place in South Sudan that’s not being reported on, partly because there’s not as much social media being generated from there,” he said.

It is not clear why the US president blames social media for not generating news.

South Sudan’s civil war has been in the news for three years and western media have also involved in the reporting. ...



The head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj announced Saturday night that the city of Sirte is no more the Libyan stronghold of the Islamic State organization (IS) yet the war against terrorism in Libya has “not finished”. ... [Africa News - 18/12/16]



One year on and the Skirhat deal is still waiting [Libya Herald - 17/12/16]



First tanker ships oil from Sidra [Libya Herald - 16/12/16]



At least 30 forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, have been killed in a bomb attack in the country’s southern port city of Aden.

Many others were also injured in the incident that took place at al-Solban base in the al-Arish district of northeastern Aden, on Sunday.

The casualties came after a bomber set off his explosives, targeting a crowd of pro-Hadi militants who had gathered to collect their salaries, officials and medics said.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s assault. ... [Press TV - 18/12/16]



... Meanwhile, the US State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Saudi capital on Sunday to hold talks with Saudi leaders on several topics in the Middle East. ... [Al Arabiya - 17/12/16]



‏@HishamAlRadhi [15/12/16]:  Happening now: #Saudi jets bombing #Sanaa while people R heading 2 mosques for Friday prayers, they didn't stop hovering since morning#Yemen



A car bomb killed at least 13 soldiers and wounded 56 when it ripped through a bus carrying off-duty military personnel in the central Turkish city of Kayseri on Saturday, an attack President Tayyip Erdogan blamed on Kurdish militants. ... [Reuters - 17/12/16]



Israeli forces shoot, kill 19-year-old Palestinian during clashes in Ramallah area [Maan - 18/12/16]



Israeli forces stationed east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip opened fire on Palestinian farmlands in the area Saturday morning.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces opened fire from across the border fence at agricultural lands east of Khan Yunis, though no injuries were reported. ... [Maan - 17/12/16]



IDF soldiers briefly abandon posts in West Bank in protest over Amona evacuation [Times of Israel – 18/12/16]


... The incident came as at least one thousand people gathered in Amona on Saturday night in a show of support for the illegal West Bank outpost as the court-ordered December 25 deadline for its evacuation neared. ...



Israel ‘assassinated’ Tunisian drone engineer for Hamas links [Middle East Monitor - 17/12/16]



Palestinian child prisoners continue to face severe repression at the hands of the Israeli occupation.

There are over 350 child prisoners held in Israeli jails, and there has been an escalation in the length of the sentences and the young age of Palestinian prisoners since the beginning of the Palestinian popular uprising in October 2015. ... [Samidoun - 15/12/16]



‏@EmpireFiles [15/12/16]:  IDF friends got our video about settler terror against Palestinians taken down. Watch what they're trying to censor ...



Bahrain authorities ban Friday prayers in Diraz for 28th week [Al-Manar - 16/12/16]



Bahrain human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who is facing 15 years in jail for posting tweets "criticising" the government and "insulting" Saudi Arabia, has had his trial postponed for a fifth time.

The chief director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was due to hear his fate on Thursday but the 51-year-old will now remain detained until 28 December.

He has been in pre-trial detention, much of it in solitary confinement, since his arrest in June as part of a state crackdown on dissidents. ... [The New Arab - 15/12/16]



A young boy who died after being shot while riding in a vehicle was struck at least once by gunfire during a "road rage incident" in southwest Little Rock, authorities said late Saturday night.

Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner said earlier that details surrounding the shooting were unclear after the boy, who was said to be about 3 years old, was found shot in a car that arrived at a JCPenney in west Little Rock before 6:30 p.m.

The child died from his injuries a short time later. ... [Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette - 17/12/16]



Ex-NYPD chief to stand trial in Occupy Wall Street police brutality case [RT - 17/12/16]



MPs vow to occupy Polish parliament until Tuesday [The News - 17/12/16]:


... Friday’s protests inside and outside parliament were instigated by a planned tightening of media access to parliament, restricting most TV journalists to a separate space a short distance away from the main building.

On Saturday, media reports said that Speaker Kuchciński had cancelled all press passes to all journalists, barring them from entering parliament.

Between Friday and Saturday, a spontaneous rally called by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) movement gathered outside the parliament building, with a crowd of Warsaw residents chanting their support for the MPs protesting inside.

Before the break of dawn on Saturday, the protesters tried to stop PiS deputies from leaving the building. Police who were called in to watch over the protest blocked off the street leading out of parliament, allowing the MPs to drive away.

In the commotion which ensued, several protesters were thrown to the ground by police, and a number of people were detained, according to KOD. ...



The United States has accelerated the deployment of troops to Poland, the Baltic states and Romania as part of raising security in the region, officials said.

Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz made the announcement on Wednesday following talks with the commander of US land troops in Europe, Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges. ... [Al Jazeera - 15/12/16]



Making Russia ‘the enemy’ [ICH/Consortium News - 17/12/16]:


... Murray said he flew from London to Washington for a clandestine handoff from one of the email sources in September, receiving the package in a wooded area near American University.

“Neither of [the leaks, from the Democratic National Committee or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] came from the Russians,” Murray said, adding: “the source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”

Murray said the insider felt “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.”

Murray added that his meeting was with an intermediary for the Democratic leaker, not the leaker directly. ...



‏@wikileaks [16/12/16]:  Obama should submit any Putin documents to WikiLeaks to be authenticated to our standards if he wants them to be seen as credible.



Billionaire Clinton donor George Soros is among a line-up of wealthy liberal figures who will fund Facebook's fake news fact checker.

The 86-year-old Hungarian financier's Open Society Foundation is listed among organizations which are backing The International Fact Checking Network, the body tasked with flagging bogus news stories to social media users, on its website.

Soros, a staunch Democrat who tried to block George W. Bush's campaign in 2004, has given $25million to Clinton and causes dear to her.

Other donors involved in the new fact checking feature include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar who has committed more than $30million to the Clintons and their charities.

Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy are also funding the pilot. ... [Daily Mail - 17/12/16]



German Parliament source behind WikiLeaks dump on mass surveillance, not Russia [Sputnik News - 17/12/16]



Philippines President Duterte dares US to file human rights complaint before UN [GMA - 17/12/16]:


... "Akala mo every time you criticize, you always connect it with the aid. Bullshit you guys. You know what, I tell you straight, you invaded my country, sat on it for 50 years and you have the gull to say to us that you we do not give you the aid. Son of a bitch. You are a son of a bitch. Do not do that to us," Duterte said. ...



Nazis trained and supported Chile's Operation Condor activities [teleSUR – 17/12/16]



Declassified documents on Operation Condor reveal that the U.S. knew and assisted the Argentine dictatorship as it threw unconscious prisoners to their death in notorious “vuelos de la muerte,” or death flights. ... [teleSUR -16/12/16]



Haitian refugees alarmed by renewed US deportations [Huffington Post - 16/12/16]



In legal limbo: Former Appalachian State student faces DWI charges, deportation, injuries [Winston-Salem Journal - 16/12/16]:


... Avila faces two charges of DWI, according to one of his attorneys, Brad Polk, a former Durham County assistant district attorney. One charge was brought two years ago. The other came Aug. 13, triggering ICE’s involvement.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email that “given the serious and repeat nature of the multiple charges Mr. Avila-Miranda faces, ICE leadership has designated Mr. Avila-Miranda as an Important Federal Interest case under the DHS Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities.” DHS refers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Winning the DWI cases would favor Avila’s efforts to stay in the United States. Both charges are “winnable,” Polk said. But Avila has not been able to clear his name because ICE won’t release him on bond to stand before a state District Court judge on the DWI charges.

He has been detained for four months, with no end in sight.

“It’s brutal,” Polk said.

The wreck also left Avila with a debilitating injury that his immigration attorney, Nardine Guirguis, said has been aggravated by inadequate medical care while under ICE custody. Cox declined to discuss the injuries or the medical attention Avila has received, citing health-privacy laws.

From the van, Avila was taken by paramedics to Duke Regional Hospital in Durham. After having lost consciousness several times, Avila woke up with his neck in a brace and severe injuries to his right foot, he said.

Last week, at the privately owned Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, his right foot was still swollen, Avila said. It changes colors sometimes, a darker color. At times, it’s purple. Other times, it’s blue. Frequently, Avila’s foot is cold.

For the ailment, Avila has received muscle relaxers and such pain relievers as ibuprofen and Tylenol. The Stewart Detention Center is owned by Corrections Corporation of America, a publicly traded company that branded itself in October under a new name: CoreCivic.

The detention center is something of a stopover on the road to deportation. ...



Ex-Guantanamo detainee exiled to Uruguay flies to South Africa [Reuters - 16/12/16]:


A former Guantanamo prisoner who was resettled in [exiled to] Uruguay but has asked to leave flew to South Africa on Thursday as a tourist, a Uruguayan official said on Friday.

Once in South Africa, Jihad Diyab, a Syrian National, would have to return to Uruguay in 90 days or find another country to give him residency, the official said.

"He left the country on his way to Johannesburg with a stopover in Buenos Aires, paying his own way," said Christian Mirza, the government's liaison with former detainees.

Diyab was held for 12 years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without being charged and was released along with five other prisoners to Uruguay in 2014 to reduce the number of detainees.

Earlier this year, Diyab traveled through Brazil and Venezuela and was held briefly by Venezuela's intelligence agency after arriving in Caracas in July.

While there a lawyer said he asked the Uruguayan consulate to help him travel to Turkey, where he wanted to be reunited with his family.

He was deported back to Uruguay in late August and was on a hunger strike for 68 days in Montevideo, demanding to be resettled.

Uruguay has agreed to extend financial assistance to the detainees remaining in the country for another year.



The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will vote on the resolution putting the evacuation of Syrian city of Aleppo under the UN supervision later in the day, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations said Sunday. ... [Sputnik News - 18/12/16]



Putin, Pope Francis discuss protection of Christians in regional conflicts by phone [TASS - 17/12/16]



‏@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [17/12/16]:


Baghdad: News agencies: Deaths and injuries were resulted as an IED exploded in Iskan neighborhood west of Baghdad.


Baghdad: An oil pipeline southeast of Baghdad was targeted when a roadside bomb exploded.


Ta'meem: A civilian was killed and 11 were wounded as an IED exploded southwest of Kirkuk.



The Islamic State abducted 43 civilians fleeing Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, for leaving the land of caliphate, a local source told Alsumaria News in Saturday. ... [ - 17/12/16]




18 December 2016