100,000 join Madrid anti-austerity rally [The Local - 31/1/15]
..."No doubt the issue of asset sales will feature in media commentary," she said.
"And I want to say it is true that these were very painful for Labor.
"But I know in my heart they were absolutely necessary to hold on to jobs during the GFC and I will never regret doing what had to be done to protect our government building program and the 200,000 jobs of Queenslanders that went with it." ...
'We have a record to be proud of': Bligh [Brisbane Times - 24/3/12]
Senate Inquiry: Certain Aspects of Qld Govt Administration Next public hearing 4 Feb: Brisbane
Lucky escape after driver crashes through Gold Coast house
There has been a lucky escape on the Gold Coast after a driver who reportedly suffered a seizure at the wheel lost control and smashed through the side of a family home.
The accident happened on the corner of Rio Vista Boulevard and Markeri Street at Broadbeach Waters about 10am.
It’s understood the driver, said to be male, was travelling with two young kids, a boy and a girl, when his vehicle left the road and crashed through a fence before coming to rest inside a house on the corner block.
Early reports suggested the driver suffered a medical episode, believed to have been a seizure, before losing control.
The driver had to be taken to hospital but fortunately the children in the car and occupants of the house were unhurt.
Honda sought over fatal hit and run
WA Today [31/1/15]:
Police investigating a fatal hit and run in Ellenbrook have released photographs of a silver Honda car they want to find.
The 2003 sedan, which has a rear spoiler, was in the area where a 40-year-old local man was knocked off his motorbike around 5.40pm on Wednesday.
He was taken to Joondalup hospital but died of his injuries.
The incident happened at the intersection of Coolamon Boulevard and Pinegrove Drive in Ellenbrook.
The driver who hit the motorcyclist failed to stop at the scene.
Anyone who recognises the car is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
At least one home destroyed in Waroona bushfire; DFES emergency warning remains
At least one home has been destroyed by an out-of-control bushfire that continues to threaten lives and homes at Waroona in Western Australia.
An emergency warning remains in place for the blaze, which is moving in a north-westerly direction, and the worst affected area appears to be Lyons Road.
DFES said it has unconfirmed reports of damage to three homes on Lyons Road.
A spokesperson for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) told a community meeting that fire activity had slowed, but could flare again as temperatures rise and winds pick up.
A top of 34 degrees Celsius was predicted for the region, with winds east to south-easterly. Wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres an hour are predicted.
This morning the blaze entered the town, which is about 110 kilometres south of Perth, and DFES warned embers were likely to be blown around homes, starting spot fires.
About 50 people took shelter overnight in the Waroona town hall, however the evacuation centre has been moved to the nearby town of Harvey.
Authorities are asking people to go to the Harvey Recreation and Culture Centre, located at the showgrounds, on Tom Latch Drive.
People have been advised to evacuate their homes if the way is clear but DFES duty assistant commissioner Chris Arnol said residents should take their location into consideration when planning how to respond.
"It depends on where they are," Mr Arnol said.
"We've asked some residents to shelter in place which is the best option for them and others to evacuate to Harvey," he said.
"People should have their fire plans ready and know what to do."
Efforts are focussed on preventing the spread of the fire and the full extent of the damage has not yet been assessed.
"The fire is still very erratic. We're having variable wind speed and variable direction so it's making it very difficult for us," DFES spokesman Ryan Murray said.
"There's approximately 70 to 80 firefighting vehicles with about 200 firefighters on site at the moment and air efforts should be in place shortly."
Canada: Fracking linked to 4.4 magnitude quake in Fox Creek
Alberta's provincial energy regulator says a significant earthquake in northern Alberta was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing.
If fracturing is confirmed as the cause, scientists say, it will have been the largest earthquake ever to result from an industrial operation.
Residents in the town of Fox Creek noticed the earthquake a week ago on Jan. 22. It was of 4.4 magnitude, severe enough to cause minor damage.
"It felt like a big gust of wind hit the house. The door flew open and the couch moved," said Kelli Mcphee, who was at home watching a scary movie in her living room at the time.
B.C. has a policy that requires operations to stop after an earthquake that ranks higher than 4.0 in magnitude. Alberta has no such rule. (CBC)
“My husband grabbed a bat and started walking around the house because we didn't know what it was.”
Fox Creek, a town of about 2,000 people, is largely sustained by oil and gas development.
That work often uses hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a process that injects a high-pressure mixture of water and chemicals into the earth to break through rock.
In an emailed statement to CBC, the Alberta Energy Regulator said its monitoring system picked up strong evidence that fracking caused this recent earthquake and likely triggered others too, although it is "impossible to definitively state that it was not a naturally occurring event."
The link between fracking and earthquakes is a phenomenon that several scientists are now studying.
“We have been seeing earthquakes for about the last year in that area, starting with events just above magnitude 3,” said David Eaton, a professor of geophysics at the University of Calgary.
“In most cases, those earthquakes have occurred in association with industry activity such as hydraulic fracturing.”
Eaton and Gail Atkinson, a scientist at Western University, said if the quake is proved to be caused by fracking it would be the largest one in the world caused by fracking.
British Columbia has a policy that requires operations to halt if they trigger an earthquake greater than a 4.0 magnitude.
Alberta does not have a similar rule.
An independent investigation has determined the breach of the Mount Polley mine tailings dam in B.C. was caused by a failure to detect a weak layer in its foundation, likening the massive embankment to a "loaded gun." ... [CBC - 30/1/15]
Child Abuse Royal Commission: Compensation to reach $3.4 billion
Latin American Herald Tribune [30/1/15]:
The Australian commission investigating the response of the country’s institutions to the sexual abuse of minors has estimated that the total cost of a national compensation scheme for victims of abuse could reach $3.4 billion.
A commission paper released Friday is based on a survey conducted by a management consulting firm that assumes that there are 65,000 abuse “survivors” entitled to redress and that each one would receive about $50,000.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse reviewed sexual abuses within the country’s religious, state and public institutions.
The commission chairman, Justice Peter McClellan, also advocated the removal of legal limits set at state and territorial levels for a person to file a complaint for child sexual abuse.
According to a paper inviting community input presented by the commission, many survivors have said that legal limits are an important and sometimes insurmountable barrier to launching a judicial process since the periods are generally three years, whereas in many cases the victims have not spoken of their cases for over two decades.
For Nicky Davis, a spokeswoman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the report is of great importance because “it is about facing responsibility for an appalling abuse of absolute power against the most vulnerable in society.”
The commission was created in 2012 after police in New South Wales accused the Catholic church of covering up evidence of organized pedophilia, of trying to hush up the investigations and of destroying crucial evidence to prevent legal proceedings.
Fascist Australia: Sydney bikies rounded up, made to lie face down on the cement, trophy photographed for propaganda purposes [Nine MSN - 31/1/15]
What's the difference? In this country government goons don't shoot bikies, "terrorists" (or any other perceived enemy of the state) in the head after rounding them up, yet?
ISIS monster lines up Iraqi soldiers before 'executing them' for propaganda purposes [Georgia Newsday - 16/6/14]
Certainly hope the LNP, ALP and media jackals get this STRONG message from Queenslanders today!
Baby aged 12 weeks, toddler among four people struck by lightning on Gold Coast [ABC - 31/1/15]
Two struck by lightning on Gold Coast Two people have been struck by lightning at an election polling station on the Gold Coast, according to reports.
An adult and a child were reportedly injured in the incident at Worongary State School at 3.53pm. ... [Brisbane Times - 31/1/15]
Greece gives troika the finger [ekathimerini.com - 30/1/15]
Armed robbery charges, Southport
QPS Media [31/1/15]:
Police have charged two men following an armed robbery that occurred yesterday at a residence in Southport.
Four men entered an address on High Street around 10am and police will allege upon returning to his residence, a 29-year-old man was assaulted and robbed.
It will be alleged three men armed with metal bars and one man armed with a knife assaulted the 29-year-old, causing non-life-threatening injuries, before leaving with the resident’s wallet and mobile phone.
A 39-year-old New South Wales man and an 18-year-old Southport man have been charged with one count each of armed robbery and assault occasioning bodily harm.
They are due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court today.
Investigations into the incident are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Armed robbery charge, East Toowoomba [QPS Media - 31/1/15]
Drug charges, Caboolture [QPS Media – 31/1/15]
Gold Coast police solve $50,000 jewellery theft
QPS Media [30/1/15]:
A Second Hand Dealer audit conducted by Taskforce Latro detectives has netted thousands of dollars in stolen property, and solved a $50,000 jewellery theft.
Detectives today executed a warrant in Elanora, and seized property linking a woman to a number of frauds relating to the sale of the stolen goods.
Much of the jewellery has now been recovered.
The 35 year old female alleged to have committed the offences has now been arrested.
She is to appear before the Southport Magistrates Court on 17 February 2015.
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.
Fiji compensates its veterans of British nuclear tests in the Pacific
Fiji closed “an unfortunate chapter” on Friday with a compensation payout to soldiers exposed to radiation during British nuclear tests in the Pacific more than 56 years ago, the prime minister said.
The payments came after decades of campaigning by veterans and their children for recognition of the serious health problems they suffered. More than 70 Fijians were stationed on Kiritimati, then known as Christmas Island, during the 1957 and 1958 tests.
The British government has refused to pay any compensation, but the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said the Pacific nation could wait no longer.
“We are righting a wrong. We are closing an unfortunate chapter in our history,” Bainimarama told a special ceremony recognising the suffering of the veterans.
“We are bringing justice to a brave and proud group of Fijians to whom a great injustice was done.
“Fiji is not prepared to wait for Britain to do the right thing. We owe it to these men to help them now, not wait for the British politicians and bureaucrats.”
The 24 survivors who attended the ceremony each received Fiji $9,855 (US$4,788) from a compensation pool of Fiji $2.95m (US$1.43m).
Bainimarama said it was known the veterans suffered ailments including leukaemia and other blood disorders.
Fijian personnel were deployed from the then-British colony of Fiji to Kiritimati, now part of the island nation of Kiribati, during the British tests at the height of the cold war.
“We were only told that we will go there to test some weapons, but when we got there we found out that we were brought there to be part of the British test of weapons of mass destruction,” Naibuka Naicegulevu, whose job was to clean and repair vehicles on the island, said.
“My two sons, now in their early 30s get sick suddenly and they can be ill for one week, sometimes more, this is all because of the radiation that we were exposed to,” the 76-year-old said.
Bainimarama, whose father Inoke Bainimarama led the Fijian mission, said Fiji could no longer afford to wait for Britain to take the lead on compensation.
“The ranks of these survivors are rapidly thinning. Too many men – our fellow Fijians – have gone to their graves without justice. Those who remain deserve justice and Fiji as a nation is determined for them to finally get it,” he said.
Thousands of British, Australian and New Zealand veterans of the Kiritimati tests and their families have not received any compensation or special recognition.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Germany is housing refugees within Holocaust-era concentration camps [Washington Post - 30/1/15]
US rejects Cuba demand to hand back Guantanamo Bay base [BBC - 30/1/15]
Saying that “the possibilities are boundless,” President Obama on Friday announced a major biomedical research initiative, including plans to collect genetic data on one million Americans so scientists could develop drugs and treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients. ...
“If we’re born with a particular disease, or a particular genetic makeup that makes us more vulnerable to something, that’s not our destiny, that’s not our fate,” Mr. Obama said.
“We can remake it. That’s who we are as Americans, and that’s the power of scientific discovery.” ... [New York Times - 31/1/15]
... Kuruppu was told to put on a lifejacket and, with his wife and three children, to get into a small Customs and Border Protection boat. Then, as they restrained him, the Australian border officials showed Kuruppu “a very little paper and read, ‘Now we are going to hand over you to the Sri Lankan authorities’ ”.
He didn’t understand what he had just been told. It was beyond his comprehension. “In the middle of the sea I saw the Sri Lankan navy uniform and my wife held my hand tightly. I was very confused. But we didn’t have anything to do. The Sri Lankan navy took us from the small boat. I don’t have any words to explain that feeling because it’s so difficult. It’s so sad because we never thought they would hand us over to the Sri Lankan navy.”
Manoj recalls that moment. “We were feeling like dead people.”
... [Sinhalese asylum seekers' on-water claims accepted by UN - The Saturday Paper - 31/1/15]
UNHCR welcomes asylum process reforms in Greece, but more needs to be done [Media Release - 30/1/15]:
The UN refugee agency on Friday commended Greece for reforming its asylum process during tough economic and political times for the southern European nation, but noted that more needed to be done.
In a report based on an assessment carried out in the last quarter of 2014, UNHCR also recommended that other European Union (EU) nations should still not return asylum-seekers to Greece, extending advice first given in 2008. As well as applying to returns carried out bilaterally between countries, the recommendation also applies to transfers done under the EU's Dublin regulation – which determines the country in which an asylum claim is processed.
Over the past year, Greece saw a dramatic increase in refugee and migrant arrivals by sea. In all, around 43,500 people arrived there across the Mediterranean, a 280 per cent increase from 2013. About 60 per cent were from Syria, but there were also substantial numbers of Afghans, Somalis and Eritreans. Many move on to other EU states.
But problems remain in Greece's asylum system despite reforms. These problems include difficulties in accessing the asylum procedure, a continuing backlog of unresolved cases under the old procedure, risk of arbitrary detention, inadequate reception conditions, lack of identification and support for individuals with specific needs, push-backs of people at the border, concerns over integration prospects and support for refugees, and xenophobia and racist violence.
Access to asylum remains challenging in part due to a lack of regional Asylum Service offices for processing claims and a shortage of Asylum Service staff. An individual who wants to seek asylum and is unable to register or fails to register promptly may be at risk of return and, potentially, refoulement – meaning being sent to a country where his or her life or liberty could be in danger.
Despite the efforts of the authorities to process a backlog of some 37,000 appeals under the old procedure, the backlog remains. People wishing to apply for asylum can be detained without an individual assessment or without alternatives to detention being considered. Others applying while in detention remain there at least until their asylum application is registered, which can take months.
Accommodation for asylum-seekers is scarce and services insufficient. This is of particular concern for vulnerable individuals, such as unaccompanied and separated children and single women. While national legislation stipulates that special consideration and priority should be given to the identification, assistance, and protection of these groups, this has been difficult in practice. NGOs managing the existing reception centres for asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children are underfunded and there is a real risk of services being discontinued.
UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told journalists in Geneva on Friday that the agency was also concerned by reports of border practices that might place refugees and migrants at greater risk. "We continue to document accounts of informal returns [push-backs] at the Greek-Turkish land and sea borders," he said.
Tightened control measures that have been in place since 2010 have resulted in decreased numbers of people trying to enter through the Greek-Turkish land border, while entries by sea have increased.
Integration prospects and related support for refugees are practically non-existent. Many are marginalized or excluded in the absence of concrete integration measures. In addition, refugees face considerable difficulties with family unification, a right that is denied altogether to those provided with subsidiary protection.
Finding accommodation is particularly difficult. There are no specific facilities for social housing or any alternative forms of support. Moreover, there is no targeted national strategy to promote employment of refugees, and, as a result, many face destitution.
Protection and integration is further impeded by xenophobia and racist violence against migrants and refugees. For example, the Racist Violence Recording Network, an umbrella network of civil society organizations supported by UNHCR, recorded 65 incidents in the first nine months of 2014, involving physical attacks in public places against migrants and refugees because of the colour of their skin and ethnicity.
The actual number of incidents is likely to be much higher, as only a small fraction of them are reported. While the Greek authorities have adopted a series of reforms and actions to record, prosecute and prevent such crimes more effectively, people continue to be subject to verbal and physical abuse that remains unaddressed.
"UNHCR is ready to continue working with the Greek authorities to address these challenges and encourages EU member states and institutions to continue to extend their support to Greece," UNHCR's Spindler said.
Fresh fighting over past month forces 3,000 to flee Sudan's Nuba Mountains [UNHCR Media Release - 30/1/15]
Islamic State militants struck at Kurdish forces southwest of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday, while bombs in Kirkuk, Baghdad, Samarra and Ramadi killed at least 27 people. ... [Reuters - 30/1/15]
The acts of violence that occurred today in Iraq show ISIL's willingness to attack the ordinary citizens of Iraq. These were acts of desperation and show ISIL's callousness to attack even those who were offering aid to victims. ISIL cannot win against the Iraqi people but only frighten them.
Our condolences to the victims of today's atrocities and we salute the strength of the Iraqi people who stand firm against them.
The Coalition is resolved to assist Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in their fight against ISIL. The ISF have successfully pushed far into areas formerly controlled by ISIL in their efforts to eradicate them.
We stand with the Iraqi government.
*WARNING - GRAPHIC* @IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [VIDEO - 30/1/15]: Diyala: Birwana massacre in Diyala committed by militia swarms which is supported by government's forces ..........
Al-Nusra Launches Assault on Western-Backed Syria Rebels [Naharnet -30/1/15]
NZ peacekeepers take cover in Sinai attack [RNZI - 30/1/15]
The Foreign Ministry on Friday submitted a complaint against Israel to the U.N. Security Council over its violation of Resolution 1701 through the retaliatory shelling that followed Hizbullah's operation in the occupied Shebaa Farms. ... [Naharnet - 30/1/15]
UN highlights power of electronic graffiti in modern diplomacy during day-long New York event
UN Media Release [30/1/15]:
The United Nations is holding its first ever Social Media Day at its New York Headquarters today, in an event featuring social media professionals, digital diplomacy practitioners and academics who are sharing their experiences, discussing trends and proving insights into their work.
The Acting Head of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), Maher Nasser, opened proceedings earlier this morning and his address was followed by a keynote speech from Adam Snyder, a strategist at the private sector firm Burson-Marsteller, who helped produce a study spotlighting Twitter's impact on diplomacy.
Mr. Snyder told the audience that Twitter is making diplomacy more real-time and he expanded on those comments later in an interview with the DPI.
“You look at 10 years ago, if an ambassador comes out of a meeting and would say 'I just met with so and so and we were talking about this issue,' that would either be done in the form of a letter or a blog post or an article,” he said. “Now it can go out in real time.”
After Mr. Snyder's speech, UN Ambassadors from Canada, Fiji and Pakistan described their lives “Tweeting from the Top” before representatives of Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr discussed how to make the most of social media platforms.
At 3.00pm, the event resumes and can be followed live via UN webcast and on UNYouTube.
The afternoon session begins with a series of presentations showcasing how three different organisations have used the power of digital media to create online movements through strategic storytelling, community generated content and amplifying action.
The talks will be followed by a third panel featuring social media experts.
Queensland establishment media types are claiming voters are being turned away because of inadequate ID.
I imagine this is BULLSHIT, like everything else they write.
Electoral Commission of Queensland:
What is proof of identity and what does it mean for you?
Changes to the Queensland Electoral Act now require all electors to show proof of identity in order to cast an ordinary vote at a polling booth. If you are unable to provide one of the Proof of Identity documents listed below, you will still be about to vote. You will simply need to complete a declaration envelope at the time of voting.
31 January 2015