... The families have offered to pay for their own motel accommodation, rather than be sent to detention. ...

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [30/11/14]

ABC [30/11/14]:

Two pregnant women brought from Nauru to Darwin to give birth are refusing to get off a bus with their families near the Wickham Point Detention Centre, asylum seeker advocates say.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the families, who were from Iran and had spent 15 months in detention on Nauru, were demanding accommodation in the community rather than at the detention centre.

Mr Rintoul said the families were among a group found to be refugees and "resettled" within Nauruan communities earlier this year.

He said the women were both around eight months pregnant and had been brought to Australia yesterday to give birth.

They had been assured they would not be placed in detention while in Darwin, he said.

"When they arrived in Australia, they were told they would be taken to the detention centre and put on a bus to take them to Wickham Point," he said.

They arrived at the centre and began their protest before midnight last night, he said.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the families had not been told they would be placed in the community.

A spokesman said they had been told they would be housed at Wickham Point.

"The Department and detention service provider is continuing to engage proactively and sensitively with the families to resolve the situation," he said.

"The transferees are receiving care appropriate to their condition."

Mr Rintoul said he had spoken with a brother in law of one of the women, who was in Australia, as well as friends of the families on Nauru.

The 10-year-old son of one of the women and both women's husbands were on the bus, he said.

He said pregnant asylum seekers were often transferred from Nauru to Wickham Point to give birth, but this was the first time the policy had been applied to refugees living outside of detention.

He said the refugees wanted to be housed in the community in Darwin or else returned to living in the community on Nauru.

'There were put on a bus to go into detention'

A man who said he was a brother of one of the men on the bus told the ABC the two families had all been found to be refugees and were released from detention to live in the Nauru community.

Melbourne resident Soliman Shirvani said the Australian Government told them they would be taken to Australia for the women to give birth.

They had been told they would be living in community housing, he said.

When they arrived at the airport they said they were put on a bus to go back into detention with no explanation given, Mr Shirvani said.

He said they would rather return to Nauru than go back into detention.

'They're distressed but they're refusing to leave'

The Wickham Point Detention Centre was not a suitable facility for pregnant woman, according to the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.

Spokesman Ben Pynt said there were several pregnant woman and small children in the detention centre.

"The facilities simply are not right to hold that kind of vulnerable person," he said.

He said he had spoken with people inside the centre who described the families as "incredibly distressed".

"The re-traumatisation posed by the process of going back into detention is so great that they don't know what to do," he said.

"They're beside themselves.

"They've been on the bus since late last night. I imagine it's very hot and stuffy in there. It's a hot Darwin day. There is a toilet on board the bus but they've simply refusing to leave. They don't care what the conditions are like.

"These two women were transferred here under the understanding they'd be going into the community and that they'd receive treatment when they needed it, but otherwise they'd be free to roam around. They've been recognised as refugees, they've passed all their security tests and they've been brought to detention by surprise."

He added the Nauruan hospital was not equipped to deal with complex pregnancies.

"People have to be transferred to Australia for medical treatment, particularly complex treatment," he said.

AMA formally notifies NT Government of harm to asylum children at Wickham Point detention facility [ABC - 18/10/14]

3 South Africans, 1 Afghan killed in Kabul attack

Daily Star [30/11/14]:

An Afghan official says three South African nationals and one Afghan were killed in an attack on a guesthouse in the capital Kabul, revising the original toll up from one foreigner.

The chief of Kabul police, Gen. Mohammed Zahir, said Sunday that the head of an international aid group was killed, along with his son and daughter, in the attack the day before. He gave no ages for the children, and did not identify the organization.

Zahir said one of the three attackers wore a police uniform.

The attack was the second in as many days on guesthouses occupied by foreigners, and comes amid a spike in violence in the Afghan capital.

The U.S. and NATO formally end their 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan on Dec. 31.

At least 18 Taliban militants were killed and 4 others were detained following military operations by Afghan national security forces in various provinces of the country. ... [Khaama - 30/11/14]

Jewish extremists set fire to Jerusalem school

Daily Star [30/11/14]:

An arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists targeting first-grade classrooms at a Jewish-Palestinian school in occupied Jerusalem sparked a wave of condemnation Sunday as months of racial tensions in the city showed little sign of abating.

The attack took place on Saturday evening at the Hand-in-Hand bilingual school which is a rare symbol of coexistence in a city fraught by division which has seen growing friction between settlers and Palestinians, who live in occupied east Jerusalem.

Scrawled on the walls were offensive anti-Arab slogans in Hebrew reading "Death to Arabs" and "There's no coexistence with cancer," police said, describing the attack as a "very serious incident."

Nadia Knane, the school's headmistress, said one of the first-grade classrooms had been badly damaged by the fire, and said the attackers had tried to set light to the second classroom but it didn't catch.

"After I saw what was written, I realized it was not just a fire. They wrote 'Death to Arabs' and 'Kahana was right' -- words which have a lot of meaning," she told army radio.

Meir Kahana was a virulently anti-Palestinian rabbi whose Kach party was banned over incitement to racial hatred but whose ideology still inspires loyalty among Jewish extremists.

"The school had been targeted several times in recent months but every other time was outside the school. This is the first time it was inside," the headmistress said.

"The fact that they went into a first grade class is really crossing a red line."

Outside the school, dozens of people gathered Sunday to condemn the attack, holding up banners in Hebrew and Arabic reading "Spread the light instead of terror."

Speaking to AFP, Hatam Mattar, head of the parents' committee, denounced it as "a barbaric attack" and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni also visited the school.

In the past few years, the school -- which has 624 pupils ranging from nursery age to 12th grade -- has been targeted by a string of racist graffiti attacks, most recently during Israel's 50-day assault against the Gaza strip during July and August.

Israel 'gun guards' terrorise East Jerusalem [Al Jazeera – 30/11/14]

Family of child killed in Israeli air strike relives attack [ABC – 30/11/14]

About 400 killed in past six weeks of fighting in Libya's Benghazi: medics

Reuters [29/11/14]:

About 400 people have been killed in six weeks of heavy fighting between Libyan pro-government forces and Islamist groups in Libya's second-largest city Benghazi, medical staff said on Saturday.

Backed by forces led by a former general, the newly formed government army launched in mid-October an offensive against Islamists in Benghazi, expelling them from the airport area and from several camps the army had lost during the summer.

In the past three weeks the fighting has centered around Benghazi's commercial port where pro-government forces say Islamists are holed up. The port has had to close, disrupting food supplies in the eastern city.

"The death toll has risen to 400," a source at a Benghazi hospital said, declining to be identified for security reasons. Medics at other hospitals in the city confirmed the estimated death toll.

The fighting in Benghazi is part of wider turmoil in the North African country. Two governments, each with their own parliament and army chief of staff are vying for legitimacy, three years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

In August, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and his cabinet were forced to leave Tripoli for the east of Libya when group called Libya Dawn seized the capital.

The new rulers set up their own government and parliament, but these have not been recognized by the United Nations and world powers.

The situation has been complicated by the Benghazi fighting where former general Khalifa Haftar has merged his force with the army under a mandate from the elected parliament, which is allied to Thinni and also operates out of the east.

Haftar's spokesman Mohamed El Hejazi said his forces had surrounded the Islamists in the port area. "All types of weapons including aircraft supporting the infantry are being used to deal with them," he said.

Western powers and Libya's neighbors fear the conflict is dragging the major oil producer towards civil war.

Haftar's forces have planes from Libya's outdated air force though his opponents say he is backed by Egypt which is worried about the spread of militants. Haftar denies this.

Mother of German MH17 victim sues Ukraine

Al Jazeera [30/11/14]:

The mother of a victim of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has begun legal proceedings against Ukraine, demanding $1m from Kiev in damages for negligent homicide.

The woman lodged her complaint at the European Court of Human Rights last week, accusing Kiev of failing to close the country's airspace, the German newspaper Bild reported Sunday.

The woman said Ukraine should have closed its airspace to civilian flights when fighting raged in the east of the country, but chose not to because it did not want to lose out on overflight fees.

Flight MH17 exploded over rebel-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board.

At the time, some 700 flights were thought to be crossing Ukrainian territory per day, bringing in millions of dollars a month in revenue, Bild added.

Elmar Giemulla, an attorney and professor of aviation law who is representing the woman, had earlier suggested that the Ukrainian government bore responsibility for the security of the flight.

"By keeping its airspace open for transit by aircraft from other countries, the state must ensure the safety of the flights. If this is temporarily impossible, it means that it should close its airspace," Giemulla told the AFP news agency in September.

Kiev and the West have blamed the incident on the rebels and accused Moscow of arming them, but the rebels and Moscow deny the accusations.

European governments have so far refrained from openly pointing the finger. A Dutch investigative commission that had access to the flight recorder stopped short at blaming either side for the crash.

Kiev Bans Flights into Eastern Ukraine [Naharnet – 29/11/14]

Pakistan: Imran to unveil ‘plan C’ today

Dawn [30/11/14]:

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan told a charged crowd on Saturday that he would unveil ‘plan C’ on Nov 30, claiming that it would make it very difficult for the PML-N government to manage its affairs.

Delivering his speech from atop his container on D-Chowk, Mr Khan said that ‘plan A’ was the sit-in outside parliament, ‘plan B’ was the series of countrywide rallies that he had addressed, and that on Sunday, he would present ‘plan C’.

“In case plan C doesn’t work, I’ll bring plan D,” he said, adding that the party’s sit-in on D-Chowk would continue until “justice is done”.

On Saturday night, Mr Khan found himself addressing quite a sizeable group of men, women and children from atop his container. Police and the district administration had set up a perimeter around the area where the rally would take place.

Walk through gates beeped as people began streaming in to the site of the public meeting on the eve of Nov 30.

However, it was unclear how most people planned to spend the night at the venue, given the bitter cold of Islamabad and the absence of campfires around the site.

Atop the stage, Mr Khan was joined by a whole host of PTI leaders, including Lord Nazir - who is also expected to address the rally on Sunday.

Imran Khan lashed out at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over remarks he made during an address in Havelian, saying that, “Nawaz Sharif inaugurated a road in KP for the sake of publicity.”

He also said that both Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif spent taxpayer money on their personal publicity.

“Last year, they spent Rs10 billion on advertisements. After the sit-ins began in August, they released Rs3 billion per month for advertisements in order to influence newspapers”, he claimed.

“In his speech, Nawaz Sharif announced that he will build bridges, roads and other buildings in KP, but he doesn’t know that a nation cannot be built like this,” he said, adding that “If the criteria for nation building is constructing infrastructure, then it is better to make Malik Riaz the prime minister”.

He said alleged that the ruling party simply wanted to make money off the poor of Pakistan. “They want to make you their slaves,” he bellowed. “In August, they employed brutal force against peaceful protesters but we will begin the process of their accountability very soon.”

Mr Khan also took the credit for the upcoming price drop in petrol prices, saying that, “It happened thanks to the sit-in, not because of Asif Ali Zardari’s opposition,” he said pointedly.

“This is real change,” he said, adding that the prices of electricity and gas would also have skyrocketed if we did not hold this sit-in.

Mr Khan is also expected to spend the night in his container.

Death toll from Ebola outbreak nears 7,000 in West Africa: WHO

Reuters [29/11/14]:

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday.

The U.N. health agency did not provide any explanation for the abrupt increase, but the figures, published on its website, appeared to include previously unreported deaths.

A WHO spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Just over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed in the forests of remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the WHO data that covered the three hardest-hit countries.

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have accounted for all but 15 of the deaths in the outbreak, which has touched five other countries, according to the previous WHO figures.

Much loved and well regarded Australians die every day. They should all be remembered.

Why do we keep allowing Rupert Murdoch to feast upon the corpses of our Aussie heroes?

ABC [28/11/14]:

Five men, including an Australian, have died in Papua New Guinea after they entered an airtight compartment of a shipping barge.

PNG police said Australian dive operator Stephen Woolcott was one of the men killed in the accident yesterday that happened near Rabaul, in the country's East New Britain province.

Reports from local media and police suggested the men entered the airtight compartment of the large shipping barge Colossus to inspect damage to the bow.

They reportedly lost consciousness due to a lack of oxygen.

Local media reports said three of the men killed were from the Nivani construction company, but police could not confirm details of the locals killed.

Mr Woolcott was born in Rabaul and was well known for running the Kabaira Dive Centre.

PNG: Mother of 5 bashed by policeman husband

PNG Loop [30/11/14]:

A 34-year-old mother of five children escaped what could have been the end of her life today at the hands of her husband who is attached to police squad in Port Moresby.

The woman from Manus Province, found refuge at the Gordon Police Station and told PNG Loop that she and her husband had been having a marital problem since July this year.

She alleged the husband is having an affair with a woman who is reported to be his classmate from a tertiary institution.

The woman said she became a prey to her violent husband’s attacks many times but was too scared to report the matter to the police for fear of her life.

However, she said she only reported one of the incidents to police.

That was in July when she was chopped on the head and shoulder by the man with a knife. She said nothing has been done about it.

She said her husband without any proper procedures took away three of their children and brought them to his relatives in another province while she was left with the other two children.

“We were chased out of the house with all our clothes burnt by him, including my original school certificates.

“We went and stayed with my cousin at Korobosea for about five months and then returned to the barracks under the directives from the police hierarchy on a condition that if they don’t return, another police officer will move into the house,” she said.

However, she said the husband hasn’t changed even though she already laid a complaint with the police.

She said on November 2, she was chopped on her head and shoulder again and was admitted to Port Moresby General Hospital with warnings from the doctor that she had to avoid bumping her head on objects including copping her husband’s blows.

However, her husband did not comply to that which resulted in him hitting her on the head again today and nearly costing her life.

Gordon police have confirmed the incident and investigations will be carried out soon.

Australia is a duopoly party dictatorship

Mareeba community cabinet. About 100 anti coal seam gas and asset sales protesters outside

Image: @KNancarrow - ABC journalist [30/11/14]

Sydney Morning Herald [30/11/14]:

Calls for fresh talks about nuclear power have had a warmer response than expected, with economists and even a Labor MP taking up Julie Bishop's offer for a "sensible debate" about all potential energy sources.

The foreign minister, who will depart for Lima, Peru, for fresh United Nations climate talks in days, said it is an "obvious conclusion" that to bring down emissions Australia had to embrace nuclear energy.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday that although nuclear power was not Coalition policy, he was supportive of a debate but any shift would require bipartisan support.

Economist Ross Garnaut told Fairfax Media that Ms Bishop's suggestion that Australia should look at all sources of low emissions energy on their merits was a welcome one because avoiding dangerous climate change would require contributions from many sources.

"To arbitrarily limit the sources of low-emissions energy that we are prepared to consider may be to increase the cost of avoiding dangerous climate change and therefore to reduce the chances of our meeting the objectives that have been agreed by the international community," he said.

"Obviously, nuclear weapons proliferation must be avoided and costs of nuclear energy must take into account safe waste disposal."

Professor Garnaut added that nuclear energy would have to be assessed on its economic merits and ability to compete with other forms of power, including renewables and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.

He said nuclear power would become increasingly important in China and India and that Australia, with unusually rich endowments of all sources of energy, was likely to export those energies with the lowest international transport costs and keep those with the highest international transport costs for use at home.

"The economics are likely to suggest uranium enrichment – based on low cost renewable energy plus storage – before nuclear power generation in Australia," Professor Garnaut said.

The Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan said she'd been anti-uranium mining until her "conversion" in 2010. She said while she didn't think nuclear would ever be necessary in Australia, she was keen to see uranium mining expand in her home state of Western Australia.

"Nuclear has nowhere near the risks of spewing coal into the atmosphere," she said.

"But I personally don't see there's any point [to nuclear] when we have so much gas and renewable energy," she said.

Economist Dr Frank Jotzo from the ANU praised Ms Bishop's comments and said they were evidence of "mounting pressure on the Australian government to make some positives contribution to the international climate policy discussion".

He said while nuclear was feasible in the long term, the more immediate contribution Australia could make in lowering global greenhouse gas emissions was by exporting uranium to countries already using nuclear. Dr Jotzo said Australia's three main energy options were renewables, nuclear and coal and gas using carbon capture and storage.

"At this point time renewable are cheaper, however, as you move to a carbon-free electricity sector we need to push much further in the expansion of renewable energy sources and depending on the costs of both a mix of renewable and nuclear could be a cost-effective option in the future," he said.

It came as new polling for the clean energy industry showed voters want Australia to adopt more ambitious policies for renewable energy.

A survey of 1442 people commissioned by Solar Citizens, and conducted by the Australian Institute, found 76 per cent of people were either supportive or very supportive of increasing Australia's renewable energy target, rather than scaling it back.

Thirty-five per cent favoured increasing the target to 50 per cent by 2030, while a further 30 per cent wanted a target greater than 50 per cent by 2030.

Wallaby David Pocock arrested in Maules Creek coalmine protest

Sydney Morning Herald [30/11/14]:

Injured Wallaby flanker David Pocock has been arrested after chaining himself to a digger to protest against a controversial coalmine in north-west NSW, according to activists.

The former captain was chained to the digger with seven others, part of a group of 30 protesters who have converged on the Maules Creek coalmine in the Leard Forest, joining a long-running blockade at the site.After 10 hours occupying the super digger, Pocock and farmer Rick Laird were arrested and taken into custody by Narrabri police, the Leard Forest Alliance said in a statement.

A police media spokeswoman confirmed two men had been arrested at Sunday's protest but would not confirm their identities.

Pocock said it was "incredibly important" to have a conversation about these issues.

"In 2014, to put a coalmine in the middle of a state forest just doesn't seem to make any sense," he said.

"The local people are not only concerned about the effects of this mine on the climate in the future but also how it affects the water table. When you're living around the mine, that's stuff you have to think about."

The 26-year-old hasn't played with the Wallabies since undergoing a knee reconstruction in March.

He said he was participating in a peaceful protest and would stay until someone came to cut him off.

"I would be doing this regardless of what career I had," he said in a statement.

"It is part of being a human being and taking on the challenges we face as a society.

"It is about giving back and getting the conversation going."

Farmers and environmental groups are calling for an immediate halt to construction work on the Maules Creek Mine and a full inquiry into how the project was approved by NSW and federal governments.

Whitehaven coal boss Paul Flynn last week hit out at critics of the mine and those leading the blockade, saying their actions were illegal.

"These people are getting in the way of our employees, average people who are just trying to come to work and do their job," he said.

Production is ramping up at Maules Creek, with the first coal due to leave in January.

Award-winning cameraman Les Wasley and his daughter identified as victims of Sydney house fire

Nine MSN [30/11/14]:

An award-winning cameraman and his daughter have been killed in a devastating house fire at Bayview on Sydney's northern beaches.

It's believed Lindy Wasley managed to rescue her elderly mother Jan before going back into the burning home to look for her father Les.

In just minutes, the wooden home on stilts on a rocky outcrop was completely destroyed.

"Flames were jumping at least 100 metres above the house and there was embers going across the back skyline," one neighbour told 9NEWS.

Mr Wasley was suffering health problems and had poor mobility.

He was an award-winning cameraman, who worked for both Channel Nine and the ABC and filmed on the frontline of the Vietnam War.

Their son Michael Wasley is a professional firefighter and was stationed just minutes away at Narabeen.

Fire and Recsue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins paid tribute to the family and described it as a "devastating blow" to the Fire and Rescue NSW community.

"Firefighters deal with tragedy on a daily basis and we steel ourselves for that but nothing can ever prepare us for when it is one of our own," Mr Mullins said.

"FRNSW is offering support to the firefighter and his family, as well as his crew mates who are, of course, devastated by this incident.

"On behalf of all members of FRNSW I would also like to extend my deepest condolences to the firefighter and his family at this terrible time."

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Search for Sydney baby's parents

Yahoo [30/11/14]:

The search is on for the parents of a baby found dead in the sand by young boys who were playing on Sydney's Maroubra beach.

The infant's naked body was found on Sunday morning in a shallow grave at the southern end of the beach by boys aged six and seven who were digging about 20 metres from the water.

Police cannot tell the baby's sex or age because of the advanced state of decomposition.

Inspector Andrew Holland says they will trawl through hospital and other records to try to find the parents of what he described as a very small child.

"Police are concerned about the welfare of the mother involved and hope she sought medical assistance," he told reporters.

"We're making some inquiries through births, deaths and marriages to determine where we can find the parents of this child. We're hopeful the parents will come forward."

Insp Holland said sand was being removed from around the body for forensic examination.

The boys who found the baby are receiving counselling.

Local residents expressed shock at the grim discovery.

One woman put her hand over her mouth and repeatedly said "oh my God".

Dylan DeCosta, 14, was taking photos of surfers when he noticed a group of young children making a commotion.

"Then lifeguards came and police came," he said.

"I thought someone had been hurt.

"I come here most days and think its a safe place but then something like this happens."

The tragedy comes a week after a newborn was found down a drain at Quakers Hill in Sydney's west by a passing cyclist.

A woman, 30, has been charged with the attempted murder of the baby boy.

Queensland Government to seek damages from IBM over health payroll debacle

ABC [30/11/14]:

The Queensland Government will lodge a statement of claim against IBM Australia as it tries to recoup losses from the $1.2 billion health payroll debacle.

Thousands of Queensland Health staff were unpaid or paid incorrectly under the payroll scheme ordered by the previous Labor Government.

A statement of claim will be served against the company on Monday.

Premier Campbell Newman said his Government was committed to recovering some of the cost.

"We intend to take the matter further," he said.

"Queenslanders were wronged, we believe, in the pay affair, and we intend to do what we can to recover money - for them, the taxpayers, the men and women and Queensland."

Last year, the commission of inquiry into the Queensland Health payroll system found the State Government could not recover any money from IBM because the former Labor government had settled with the company.

The inquiry found the system failure was partly the fault of public servants who failed to manage the project properly.

IBM admitted last year that as the prime contractor for the upgrade, it bore some responsibility for the payroll system's failure.

But the company said most of the blame belonged to bureaucrats who did not tell IBM what was needed to make the system function.

The inquiry found the former Labor government surrendered its ability to sue IBM for breach of contract when it settled with the company after the failure.

Mr Newman did not say why the Government's position had changed over the pursuit of damages from IBM.

Indiana high court suggests mediation in IBM case [Courier-Journal – 8/11/14]

Ford, IBM have apartheid suit dismissed in US [IOL - 1/9/14]

Feel safe Queensland?: Overarmed, trigger happy police jumping at shadows

Suspected armed person, Morayfield [QPS Media - 30/11/14]:

Detectives from the Moreton North Criminal Investigation Branch are appealing for information in relation to an incident involving a suspected armed person in Morayfield yesterday afternoon.

Around 4pm, two teenage boys, one in possession of what appeared to be a firearm, were seen acting suspiciously within the grounds of a Morayfield Road car yard and service station. The teenagers were last seen walking in a southerly direction on Morayfield Road.

One of the boys is described as being Caucasian in appearance, around 170cm tall, with brown hair and a proportionate build. He was wearing black shorts, a black hooded jumper, dark coloured joggers and carrying what appeared to be a firearm.

The second boy is described as being Caucasian in appearance, around 175cm tall, with brown hair and a slim build. He was wearing a green shirt with blue or black stripes, black shorts, joggers and a black cap with a red brim.

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.

Investigations are continuing.

Emergent situation, Deception Bay

QPS Media [30/11/14]:

Police have declared an emergent situation under the Public Safety Preservation Act (PSPA) in Deception Bay this morning.

The situation was declared at 11.06am after police responded to a disturbance at an Osbourne Terrace residence earlier this morning. It is believed that a man is inside the residence and armed.

Police are on scene and have the area cordoned off, with negotiators speaking to the man.

The cordon is bounded by Balmoral Place, Summer Street, Windsor Place and Union Street, including Osbourne Terrace within the outer bounds.

There is no further information available at this stage.

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.

The emergent declaration at Inala has been revoked following the peaceful surrender of the man to police around 10am. ... [QPS Media - 30/11/14]

Man tasered, charged with serious assault police and wilful damage, Condon

QPS Media [30/11/14]:

Police have charged a 51-year-old man with serious assault police and wilful damage after officers were called to a disturbance at Condon last evening.

It will be alleged police attended a Pelican Avenue residence around 8.25pm where they were confronted by a man armed with a knife and a tree branch.

It will be further alleged the man was agitated and aggressive and threatening officers. The man continued to threaten police and refused repeated requests to disarm. A taser was deployed however the probes failed to engage.

The man was taken into custody without incident a short time later following the presentation of a police firearm.

He was treated at Townsville Base Hospital for a laceration to his arm which he had sustained when he allegedly smashed a glass window with his fist.

The Kowanyama man was remanded in custody and is due to appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court on Monday, December 1.

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.

Serious assault, Coolangatta

QPS Media [30/11/14]:

Police are appealing for public assistance with their investigation into the assault of a man at Coolangatta early this morning.

The incident occurred outside a licenced premises on Marine Parade around 12.10am. The man had been involved in a disturbance between another man and staff when a group of people moved past. At this time the man was struck in the face by an unknown person.

The man, a 32-year-old from Coolangatta, was taken to hospital for treatment of serious facial injuries.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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.

Queensland government's creeping privatisation of public education extends to school facilities

Minister for Education, Training and Employment Media Release [30/11/14]:

Queensland schools will be empowered to create closer ties with their local communities, under a revamped initiative to promote the use of school facilities.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek and Member for Cook David Kempton said students, schools and locals would benefit from greater flexibility to form partnerships that benefitted the whole community.

“We want our schools to be vibrant hubs – where children learn, teachers teach and communities gather,” Mr Langbroek said.

“The LNP Government has a strong focus on revitalising frontline services and we’re delivering for Queenslanders.

“Many of our schools are equipped with sporting fields, courts, multipurpose halls and even auditoriums that can be of great use to these groups and organisations in the local community.

“This is the first time an overarching policy has been established to support principals, cut red tape and streamline the process of hiring out facilities.”

Member for Cook David Kempton MP said the real winners would be local students who will benefit from opportunities for additional revenue to enhance school programs and facilities.

“It will be great to see more local community groups and businesses using our local school facilities and seeing the netball team train in the Mareeba State School covered hall today is a great example of how well these arrangements are working,” Mr Kempton said.

...

NSW Greens call to end sniffer dogs after data reveals huge amounts of false IDs

Nine MSN [30/11/14]:

Sniffer dogs are a familiar site on Sydney's train platforms and at festivals across NSW - but now the Greens are looking to bring an end to what they claim is "police harrassment and pointless ritual humiliation".

The NSW Greens have called for an end to the use of sniffer dogs to detect drugs, after collecting data they claim shows false identifications lead to thousands of pointless personal searches by police throughout the state every year.

The SniffOff campaign launched by the party earlier this month claims the dogs have a false positive rate of 72 per cent on public transport.

In other situations the average is not much better, with false positives at a rate of 64 per cent.

The Greens claim up to 17,000 people are searched after being identified as a drug carrier every year.

Will Tregoning of Unharm told Fairfax Media he believed drug dogs were ineffective even against people who did carry drugs.

Dr Tregoning said if people were worried about being caught by sniffer dogs, they would be more likely to take illicit substances at home, or hurriedly when they were out, which could lead to an overdose.

However, a NSW Police spokesperson said their were no plans to examine the use of drug dogs on the force.

India: Suspected Chlorine Leak Affects 41 Workers in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh

NDTV [29/11/14]:

As many as 41 employees working in various private factories in Mandideep Industrial Area in the district were affected by suspected chlorine gas leak from one of the units today, police said.

The leak started during the lunch break, police said. The workers complained of vomiting and burning sensation in the eyes following which they were rushed to a hospital, Mandideep Police Station n-charge Narendra Singh Rathore said.

While 38 were admitted at the local Gitanjali Hospital, three were sent to Bhopal as their condition was serious, he said, adding, further probe is on.

Israeli cricket umpire killed by ball

BBC [29/11/14]:

An umpire at a cricket match in the Israeli city of Ashdod has died after being hit by a ball, reports say.

Witnesses say a fast delivery by the bowler came off the batsman's bat, striking the wicket and then the man.

The incident comes just two days after Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died of a head injury caused by being struck by a ball at a match in Sydney.

Umpires in cricket, unlike some players, do not wear helmets but such incidents are extremely rare.

An umpire at a match in Wales died five years ago after a ball thrown by a fielder hit him on the head.

AFP news agency, quoting the Israeli Cricket Association, named the umpire as Hillel Oscar, 55, and described him as the former captain of the national cricket team.

There were conflicting reports about how he died, with some saying that he was hit in the face, others that he suffered a heart attack after being hit in the chest.

He was taken to a city hospital, but medics were unable to revive him.

Saturday's match was the last in Israel's league season.

Correspondents say cricket is not a popular sport in Israel, though there is an amateur league with players from countries such as India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

However, the incident took place amid sorrow and shock in the cricketing world.

On Thursday Australian Test cricketer Hughes died of his injuries two days after being struck on the neck by a bouncer.

His funeral is due to be held on Wednesday.

Russia to Withstand OPEC Decision, Focus on Import Substitution: Deputy PM

Sputnik News [29/11/14]:

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov noted on Saturday that the government will pull through despite OPEC’s decision not to reduce output, and identified a number of priorities for the government, including tackling inflation and pushing through efforts to increase import substitution, Russian media have reported.

Shuvalov told Rossiya 1’s ‘News on Saturday’ program that the OPEC decision was not entirely a surprise for the government, noting that events, including the ruble’s reaction to the announcement, “were calculable.” Moreover, “we understand how to respond,” he said.

Addressing falling prices in relation to figures projected in the country’s budget, approved last week by the Duma, Shuvalov said that “indeed, we had considered a price-per-barrel rate of $96…But the new rules for determining the value of the currency basket do not have any impact on the revenue side of the budget, since even though the rate is changing and the ruble becomes cheaper, the fulfillment of the budget remains unchanged. All the commitments which exist in the federal budget will be fulfilled in full.”

Shuvalov’s remarks echoed those made by Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev last week, when the latter noted that falling energy prices would be partially compensated by the weaker ruble, given that Russian oil revenues are paid for in dollars. Ulyukaev also noted on Friday that his ministry may revise GDP growth projections slightly in response to the continuing decline in energy prices.

The deputy prime minister noted that the two issues at the top of the government’s current list of priorities remain inflation and import substitution. Both the government and the country’s Central Bank still have plans on achieving an inflation rate of four percent in the medium term, he noted.

On import substitution, Shuvalov noted that “a great deal will depend on the leaders of [the country’s] regions,” but “if we work together cohesively we will be able to quickly solve the issue of import substitution. And then we will no longer face any problems associated with changes in the value of the national currency, or in the falling price of oil, because products that are produced in Russia will not depend on external market fluctuations. The country must learn how to produce and consume domestically produced goods,” he said, as quoted by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The Deputy Premier also noted that the government must be careful about spending its Reserve Fund. “If energy prices will continue to fall, and if suddenly the revenue stream of the federal budget could not be replenished, we will use the Reserve Fund, in accordance with the law. But the position of the president, which the government strictly follows, is that these reserves cannot be spent haphazardly; reserves must be spent only as a last resort and only for the aim of the modernization of the economy and the maintenance of fiscal stability,” Rosbalt quoted him as saying.

European Nations Repatriate Gold Reserves From United States Vaults [Sputnik News – 28/11/14]

Japan: LDP accused of avoiding election questions from foreign journalists

Japan Today [30/11/14]:

The ruling party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not send anyone to speak at a foreign journalists’ club before the general election, a spokesman admitted, sparking accusations it is shying away from tough questions.

The Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) said it has been unable to find anyone among its senior ranks who can represent the party at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) ahead of the Dec 14 election.

But the move has fanned suspicions that LDP bigwigs want to avoid the foreign press, which is generally considered more probing than its sometimes-tame Japanese counterpart.

“A lot of people at the club are seeing this as an abdication of the LDP’s responsibility to take questions on the world’s third largest economy,” said David McNeill, chairman of the FCCJ’s events committee, and a practising journalist.

The FCCJ, a fee-paying club mainly aimed at foreign journalists, regularly hosts press conferences and events to which key figures in the world of politics, academia or entertainment are invited.

The gatherings can be rambunctious, with subjects sometimes facing more aggressive questioning than they do at the hands of domestic journalists, who, by Western standards, tend to pull their punches.

As a result, the FCCJ’s press conferences frequently make news in Japan, where television and newspapers use the prism of foreign press to examine issues they may feel uncomfortable tackling head on.

McNeill, who writes for The Economist and the Irish Times, said club members could not remember an election when the LDP did not send a senior official to speak to global media.

“We are very upset that they have broken the tradition,” he said, adding: “The reasons that they have given for not coming are a disappointment. If it was the case that they were busy, we could have discussed it.”

The suspicion, he says, is that the party is wary after the mauling a cabinet minister got in a recent appearance, when she was repeatedly pressed on her links to rightwing groups.

The LDP denied it was avoiding the foreign press corps, and insisted it was simply a matter of scheduling.

“We appreciate such an opportunity to speak at the FCCJ at a normal time, but we are now in the middle of the election battle,” an LDP spokesman told AFP.

“Prime Minister Abe has spoken at the FCCJ in the past, even if not in the capacity of prime minister. But he is now on the campaign trail across the country,” he said.

Japan goes to the polls next month, less than two years after Abe swept to power on a wave of optimism over his plan to reinvigorate the soggy economy.

He has said he needs the public’s seal of approval for his plan to put off a sales tax rise, but commentators suggest the election, which will cost the public purse $500 million, is more an exercise consolidating his grip on power.

Maru to lead delegation to West Papua

PNG Loop [29/11/14]:

Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru will lead a delegation to the Papua Province of Indonesia commonly known as Irian Jaya next year.

It will be a follow up on bilateral talks to introduce a ‘Visa on Arrival’ arrangement between Indonesia and PNG.

Maru met with the Leader of the Board of Border and International Cooperations in Papua Province, Suzana Wanggai, to establish trade ties with that province.

In a media conference after the talks, Maru said he will lead a fact finding mission to further the bilateral talks and formally begin the trade process.

He said once the fact finding mission is done, he will lead a trade and investment delegation to the Papua Province.

Maru said once the issue of ‘Visa on Arrival’ is done, Air Niugini can step in to begin flights between PNG and Papua Province or West Papua. Shipping services will be introduced as well so that PNG products can be exported to the Papua Province.

Maru says this is a catalyst for growing trade between PNG and Indonesia.


 

... Don't spend your last day waiting

Feeling you're the only one

'Cos we're all in this riot

We riot as one. ...

'When The Night Falls Quiet', Birds of Tokyo [2013]


Former Wallabies captain and local farmer join with Canberra protest group to ‘tackle’ coal in the Leard State Forest

Frontline Action on Coal Media Release [30/11/14]:

In an extraordinary show of solidarity 8 Canberrans have responded to a call for help from the Maules Creek community impacted by Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine in the Leard State Forest.

The group have swarmed a ‘super digger’ operating in the Maules Creek project site and are joined by 5th generation Maules Creek farmer, Rick Laird and high profile former Wallabies Captain and Brumbies player, David Pocock.

The group of Canberrans are calling on the ACT Government to divest its shares in Whitehaven Coal given the ACT Government has taken taken a strong stance on tackling climate change.

Maules Creek farmers are struggling with the effects of drought exacerbated by climate change. Local farmers are facing a double blow on water, holding deep concerns about the impact of the new mine on underground aquifers and their access to irrigation water.

David Pocock said “I believe it’s time for direct action on climate change, standing together as ordinary Australians to take control of our shared future. It’s inspiring to join other Canberrans and Rick Laird in their call for the ACT Government to quit their investments in Whitehaven.”

Local farmer and long time vocal opponent of the mine Rick Laird said “I’m out here for the sake of my 5 children. The mine is about 4kms from the school they go to and I worry about their future and their health growing up next a coal mine that is always blasting and kicking up dust.”

The Leard Forest Alliance, comprising of local farmer groups and prominent environmental groups, are calling for immediate halt to construction work on the Maules Creek Mine whilst there is a full inquiry into how this scandal-plagued project was approved by NSW and federal governments.

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Phil Evans said, “This mine has been a rort from word go – and this is why prominent Australians, farmers and city folk are flocking to the area to oppose this symbol of corruption and climate disaster.”

There have been over 280 arrests since the establishment of the Leard Blockade camp in August 2012.

...

"Water gets everywhere - like the will of the people."

Image: @liuyun1989 [29/11/14]

Peter Gabriel, Pussy Riot rally for Hong Kong protesters [Channel News Asia - 30/11/14]

Ferguson protesters shut down malls across United States on Black Friday

Independent [29/11/14]:

US demonstrators appeared to shut at least three large malls in Ferguson yesterday as local residents took to the shops to protest against the Grand Jury’s decision.

The Missouri town has been struck with numerous – sometimes violent – demonstrations in the past week following a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of black unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Stores in the Galleria Mall in Richmond Heights, a few miles south of Ferguson, lowered their security doors and locked entrances after the appearance of around 200 peaceful protesters.

Lying on the ground inside the mall, the group chanted: "Stop shopping and join the movement," until authorities closed the shopping centre for over an hour in the afternoon.

The protesters also shouted: “Black lives matter” and “stop don’t shoot” while urging shoppers to quit the mall in solidarity with their demonstration.

Shoppers appeared unperturbed by their presence. "I thought they were very peaceful," Sarah Jeffords-Haas told USA Today, as she walked around the protesters on the floor of the mall.

St. Louis resident Cbabi Bayoc brought his three children to take part in the protest. "I brought my kids to show them what peaceful protest and engagement looks like," he said.

A peaceful protest outside West Country Mall in nearby Des Peres and the appearance of a few demonstrators at the Chesterfield Mall also precipitated its early close. There were no arrests made.

"We want to really let the world know that it is no longer business as usual," Chenjerai Kumanyika, an assistant professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, told Fox News at a rally at a Wal-Mart in Manchester, in a St. Louis suburb.

Another St. Louis protest, starting outside a local shopping mall, ended up outside the Missouri police station and resulted in 15 peoples’ arrest.

Across the country similar protests also resulted in early shop closures on the busiest day of the retail calendar.

In San Fransisco a vital commuter train was delayed for an hour when protesters, wearing black t-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter”, chained themselves to the trains.

In Seattle demonstrators attempted to prevent the city’s lights from being turned on, with reports also emerging that claimed some protesters attempted to chain store doors shut.

USA Today reported that at least three dozen people had been arrested in connection with these events.

In Chicago around 200 people gathered along the popular Magnificent Mile shopping district, with one protester calling the movement “a day of awareness and engagement.”

Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown who was killed in Ferguson Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown who was killed in Ferguson The continued: "We want them to think twice before spending that dollar today".

“As long as black lives are put second to materialism, there will be no peace," she claimed.

Since the Jury’s decision was announced on Monday evening the protests have gradually become more peaceful, but the latest demonstrations have drawn criticism from local Ferguson business owners.

Mobile phone salesman Abdullah Norman claimed: ““Basically we’re losing a lot of business. I think we’re going to leave in a minute if we stay like that.”

Darren Wilson, Officer in Ferguson Shooting, Resigns From Police Dept. [New York Times – 29/11/14]:

... Earlier in the day, about 100 marchers led by the N.A.A.C.P. set off from the street where Mr. Brown was killed on a weeklong walk to Missouri’s Capitol, 120 miles from this fractured city. They invoked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1965 march in Selma, Ala., the Freedom Rides and other Civil Rights-era pilgrimages for justice. ...

Ferguson protests continue after police arrest 16 overnight [Guardian - 30/11/14]

Egypt Police Tear-Gas Protesters Denouncing Mubarak Verdict

Naharnet [29/11/14]:

Egyptian police fired tear gas Saturday at more than 1,000 protesters in central Cairo who gathered to denounce a court's decision to drop a murder charge against ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

An Agence France-Presse correspondent said police also used water cannons and chased protesters in side streets near Tahrir Square, the hub of the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down in early 2011.

Police, some in plain clothes, chased protesters on foot and in armored vehicles, putting at least 20 arrested demonstrators in vans and driving off, the correspondent said.

The protest appears to have started with secular leaning activists but was joined by supporters of the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

The interior ministry said in a statement police dispersed the protest after Brotherhood members showed up and started throwing stones.

Independence rally at the Scottish parliament today #takingbackourcountry #hopeoverfear #Scotland

Image: ‏@lachlanthomson1 [29/11/14]

Hundreds protest 'Jewish state bill' at PM’s residence in Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post [29/11/14]:

Hundreds of demonstrators converged in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem Saturday night to protest the proposed "Jewish state bill."

Amid angry shouts of “Democracy Now!” and “Equality!" protesters argued that the legislation will further alienate Arabs by stripping them of basic rights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial proposed draft, which would legally define Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, has been met with vehement opposition not only by the Arab world and Israelis alike, but by members of his own coalition.

A recent Knesset vote to approve the law was postponed due to significant infighting among coalition members, including outspoken critics such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

“I’m here because November 29th was the day the UN recognized Israel as a Jewish and Arab state,” said 18-year-old Eliran Bykhovsky. “The Nationality Law proposed by the extreme right in Israel is supposed to erase the civil national rights of Arabs and maintain them only for Israelis.”

“For 66 years we were democratic enough and Jewish enough to have Arabs in Parliament and have legislation that Arabs can live in any part of Israel they like, and this law will take it away,” he continued. “We’ve survived quite well without this useless law.”

Hila, a retired nurse who requested her last name not be published, expressed visceral outrage over what she deemed to be the legislation’s existential threat to the country.

“I want Bibi [Netanyahu] to get out of here – out of Israel, out of the government!” she said. “He’s the wrong person to be the leader because he’s taking us to dark times which is very bad for the country.”

Hila added that she believes the prime minister’s motivation to pass the bill is self serving.

“He doesn’t care about the people – he cares about his own survival,” she said. “The worse thing that he has put into the Israeli mind is that there is no partner for negotiations, which is wrong because there is: Abbas. He wants to make an agreement, but we are not a partner for him.”

Moreover, she said such legislation is teaching young Israelis to hate and become intolerant.

“There is a young generation in Israel that is learning how to hate and become violent – where human rights mean nothing to them,” she continued. “Not just for Arabs, but for refugees as well.”

...

Yahoo [29/11/14]:

Jordan, an Arab member of the U.N. Security Council, will formally present "in the next few days" a draft resolution setting a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state, Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby said.

"The Palestinian issue has been circulated in the past, but what is new today is that the Arab states and Palestine decided to go to the Security Council, through Jordan, with an Arab draft resolution," he said, after an Arab League foreign minister's meeting in Cairo.

Seafarer’s Rights International voices concern over operation ‘Triton’

Marine Trader [25/11/14]:

Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) has raised concerns about the implications for masters of the recent reports of the launch of the new EU Frontex operation ‘Triton’ which will apparently have a reduced budget and focus on border control in place of the Italian ‘Mare Nostrum’ that is credited with saving more than 150,000 migrants in the Mediterranean.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) said: “The commendable practice of merchant ships of the world rendering assistance to persons in distress at sea was enshrined in the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS Convention) 1914 which was enacted in direct response to the Titanic disaster. Since that time, the SOLAS Convention in its successive forms has obligated masters to provide assistance to distressed persons, irrespective of their nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. The obligation is enshrined in the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention 1982, as well as in the international Salvage Convention of 1989.”

“This is a serious obligation on masters and under many national laws, the master who fails to render assistance to any person in danger of being lost at sea could face prosecution, and on conviction, a jail sentence. However, a master must be equally cognisant of his duty to protect the lives of his own crew and passengers and not to expose them to risks including risks of infection such as Ebola that may arise when he rescues people at sea.”

In his opening address to the Maritime Safety Committee on 17 November 2014, the Secretary General of the IMO said that figures that he had seen suggest that, so far this year, more than 600 merchant ships diverted from their routes to rescue persons at sea. These deviations are detrimental to shipping and are not offset by any realistic prospects of salvage awards.

The obligation of masters to render assistance to persons in danger of being lost at sea can be seen alongside the obligation of governments to ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea. Under the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue governments must “ensure that necessary arrangements are made for the provision of adequate search and rescue services for persons in distress at sea round their coast.” Any reduction in search and rescue by governments may increase the number of incidents to which merchant ships have to respond, with consequent burdens and legal responsibilities on masters and crews.

Brian Orrell OBE, Chairman of the Advisory Board of SRI said: “The obligation of masters to assist persons in distress at sea is steeped in maritime tradition and legal history. It is therefore of concern if budgets for search and rescue in the Mediterranean are being reduced. This may increase the number of search and rescue missions that masters have to undertake, as well as their risks of criminal prosecution for any perceived failure to attend to persons endangered at sea."

David Cameron has stepped back from a radical plan to cap directly the number of EU migrants entering Britain after an intervention from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who warned him she would not tolerate such an incursion into the principle of the free movement of workers. ... [Guardian - 29/11/14]

Australia's Minister for Immigration doesn't see himself in The Hague in a few years time

West Australian [29/11/14]:

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed UN criticism of Australia's asylum seeker policies.

A report by the United Nation Committee on Torture, released on Saturday, has slammed Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, warning of physical and mental suffering, persecution and abuse.

It's also expressed concern at Australia's policy of transferring asylum seekers to Manus Island and Nauru.

The report has found there were harsh conditions in mandatory detention, with overcrowding, inadequate health care, and allegations of sexual abuse and ill-treatment.

Mr Morrison made it very clear that only Australia will decide its policies.

"I don't share their view," he said in Sydney on Saturday.

"Australia's border protection policies are made in Australia, nowhere else."

Earlier on Saturday it was revealed that 37 Sri Lankan nationals who were returned to their home country after their boat was intercepted off Cocos Island have since been arrested.

One other passenger was transferred for offshore processing.

Mr Morrison said he was very confident that the Australian government had fulfilled its international obligations in that situation.

"The screening process which we adopt ... has ensured that we have acquitted our obligations as we must and as we do," he said.

...

Australia must take action to improve its compliance with Convention Against Torture and Ill Treatment, says UN Committee [Human Rights Law Centre Media Release - 29/11/14]

Australia’s asylum policies named and shamed at the UN [Amnesty Media Release - 29/11/14]

Manifesto for a pogrom: hostility to exiled refugees grows on Nauru, Australian media blackout continues [The Conversation - 20/11/14]

House debris of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels exhibited in Warsaw [Deutsche Welle - 29/11/14]:

The latest exhibition from controversial German artist Gregor Schneider opened at the Zacheta Gallery in Poland's capital on Saturday. Displaying roof beams, clay bricks, glove puppets and literature from the birth place of Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, the "Unsubscribe" installation is set to raise a few eyebrows in Warsaw, which was brutally torn apart by the Nazis during the Second World War.

As Hitler's right-hand-man for waging anti-Semitism across Germany during the 1930s and 40s, Goebbels also strongly supported the Nazi's "Final Solution," which aimed to systematically eradicate the entire world's Jewish population through genocide. As a result, two thirds of Europe's Jews were murdered.

"The work is to remind and warn," said Schneider, who is known for his disturbing sculptures. He bought the birthplace of Goebbels in Rheydt, now a district of Mönchengladbach, in 2013 and had considered completely demolishing the property. However, for structural reasons, this wasn't possible. Instead, the building was completely gutted and the debris was transported to Warsaw.

"This is indeed a place of birth, but it is also the history of perpetrator," said the artist about the Goebbels' house. With his art project, Schneider wants to remember the millions of victims of the Nazi dictatorship. However, at the same time, the exhibit also aims to be a symbol of closure. Amid concerns that the house could have become a "shrine" for neo-Nazis, 45-year-old Schneider said the house was now "in good hands."

"It would have been inconceivable if it had become a meeting point for right-wing extremists," he added.

In a country that was hit hardest by Nazi terror, it's a somewhat daring art project. In the Polish capital there are numerous plaques remembering the mass execution. In 1944, following a bloody and defeated uprising, Warsaw was also systematically destroyed. Zacheta Gallery's spokeswoman, Marta Mis-Michalska, said they trust that an artist of Schneider's stature is not simply out to create a sensation, but actually wants to express something. "As a gallery we focus on supporting the freedom of art."

The winner of the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Biennale has repeatedly created a stir with his provocative installations. It remains to be seen how the public will react to his rubble exhibit in Warsaw. In 2012, the presentation of a Hitler statue in the former Warsaw Ghetto caused public uproar. Zacheta Gallery's curator Anda Rottenberg, however, is not afraid of provocative art. "[Goebbels'] house is a silent witness to history," she said. "The ordinariness of the rubble is simultaneously a confrontation with the banality of evil that lives behind the unassuming facade."

The exhibition runs from November 29, 2014, to February 1, 2015.

The geneticist James Watson, who has been ostracized since public comments about black African IQ in 2007, is to auction off his 1962 prize for discovering the structure of DNA. It is expected to fetch in excess of $3 million. ... [RT - 29/11/14]

German Foreign Intelligence Accused of Spying on Citizens Living Abroad [Sputnik News - 29/11/14]

Thousands in Germany are saying “danke” to a Turkish young woman who was brutally attacked for trying to rescue two German women from being harassed. After her life support is turned off on her birthday, German President Joachim Gauck called the family. ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 28/11/14]

Seven crew members from a freighter found drifting early this week with nearly 600 migrants on board have been charged with people smuggling, Greek authorities said on Saturday. ... [Naharnet - 29/11/14]

Welcome to Teddy Bears Without Borders:

Teddy Bears Without Borders is a community project with the goal of donating handmade teddy bears to children in Australian immigration detention centres on mainland Australia, Christmas Island, and Nauru.

Many refugee and asylum seeker families in Australian immigration detention suffer a variety of mental health issues which directly arise from being detained with little certainty about their future. Mothers, fathers and children frequently suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and in these circumstances children are particularly vulnerable. As a result, parents find it increasingly difficult to provide the level of emotional support, comfort, and attention that children need.

Teddy bears can be an important tool to enable children to ‘self-soothe’ (for example, when they wake from nightmares), and they may also provide comfort and reassurance, relieve anxiety, and promote feelings of nurture and love.

The need for resources for children to cope has been identified by trained mental health professionals working within the detention system. There are currently (as at October 2014) between 700 and 800 children held in Australian-run immigration detention centres. We believe no child should be held in detention.

Community, volunteer, and advocacy groups, and a variety of other organisations are among the many groups and individuals supporting and contributing to this project and we thank them all.

 

30 November 2014

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