This refugee became a billionaire in Australia and now wants to dictate that Australia takes no more refugees.


What a selfish hypocrite.




UNSW Chancellor David Gonski talks with Australia’s most generous philanthropist, Frank Lowy, about his past, his family and his motivation for giving.  [11/3/15]:




... DG: Frank … [at the birthday celebrations for the Lowy Institute] Rupert Murdoch made a terrific address in which he talked about Australia having … a culture of openness and acceptance of others. My question to you is, you came to Australia … with nothing. Rupert … used you as an example. Was he right that Australia was open to you? Is he right that Australia is still open to you?

FL: Well, my experience was only positive. I came here … [and in] about a week I got a job in a process factory … there was no animosity towards me whatsoever … I have never experienced any disadvantage of being either a foreigner or Jewish … Australia should be, and is, proud of that.

DG: Frank I can’t resist asking the question. Because a little earlier you said you were a boat person, and … [in] your Australian Multicultural Council Lecture of 2012 you said, “To imagine a better life for you and your family and to make the leap of faith required to leave behind all that is familiar, calls for a special kind of courage. If we look at new arrivals in Australia from this perspective, our capacity would be greater to welcome them warmly and to help them make a new home here.” What do you feel about the way we’re looking at boat people, the way we’re looking at policies in relation to boat people?

FL: Well, it is a very difficult question to answer. There are millions of refugees … and not enough places to take them. What we are going through at the moment … many other countries go through the same thing. So the basic issue is, the government is responsible for its borders … it’s black and white. But at the same time [the government] needs to deal with these issues in a humane way … So it’s very difficult and various governments try to deal with it differently. But none of them have fully succeeded … We do our best, but probably the best is not good enough.  ...






Australia and the 1951 Refugee Convention, Khalid Koser [Lowy Institute - 30/4/15]:




... Second, it should seek to reduce the need for long-distance asylum seeking. At the moment too many asylum seekers — including genuine refugees — are taking too many risks to travel long distances to reach asylum. It is these journeys that generate business for people smugglers, who arrange transportation, help overcome immigration rules and procedures, and often also insert people in the countries where they go — all illegally, and all heightening the vulnerability of asylum seekers. A more systematic response to protecting and assisting people displaced within their own countries would be one way to anchor them close to their places of origin. This would entail strengthening adherence to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, but also extending existing policies such as ‘safe havens’ that have already been tested in countries such as Iraq. Better regional protection mechanisms, as currently being promoted by the Australian Government, should also reduce the incentive to travel distantly. Again, this is not a new proposal. Development assistance should also target neighbouring asylum countries, to reduce the growing trend of secondary migration, whereby people leave refugee camps for onward journeys. All of these proposals are achievable and Australia already has a strong track record on them. What is more they should strengthen the current global policy emphasis on combatting people smuggling and trafficking.  ...




In October 2013, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service announced a joint venture with the Lowy Institute to research and develop policy strategy, options for future border management.



ACBPS CEO address to the Lowy Institute for International Policy:

... Managing the integrity of the border is essential to both the protection and prosperity of the community and the economy. The border demarcates our sovereignty and delineates our dominion – where the dominion of the state begins and ends. Borders are no longer these days seen as a barrier; they are more a space where sovereign political units control the flow of people and goods in to and out of their dominion. A border is, generally speaking, not a wall in the modern world and its global order, which completely seals off nations, states and peoples. ...






Australia: Asylum Seekers Communication Link




Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) communicates daily with dozens of asylum seekers trapped in Australia's detention centres.

These men and women reach out to us to tell their side of the story, often in secret and at great risk to themselves.

It is proving very expensive to facilitate this communication and we desperately need to raise funds to continue talking to them and having their voices heard.

We don't want them to be silenced as this is one of the major ways that we learn the truth about offshore processing and mandatory detention.

We need your help in keeping their voices alive through funding this vital communication link.




Zee News [30/4/15]:

Four members of a gang, which allegedly sent some Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from the state to various countries including Australia via Nepal using fake passports to avoid detection, have been arrested.

The gang, all of them Sri Lankan Tamils, had used fake Indian passports to send Tamil refugees to various countries, a senior police official said today.

Some documents, fake passports and Rs 1.50 lakh cash were among the seizures made by 'Q' branch police that deals with national security.

Lingaran alias Athiyaman (43), Bala (48), Thanshan (22) Jeyadasan (43) were produced before a court and remanded to judicial custody in Puzhal Central Prison.

The gang had allegedly taken money from gullible Tamil refugees staying in camps in Tamil Nadu to "facilitate" their illegal journey by using fake passports.

The matter is being probed further, said the official who declined to disclose details, including the possible number of refugees who may have exited via Nepal to other countries.

Six persons, including five Sri Lankan Tamils, allegedly involved in a similar fake passport racket were arrested near Egmore railway station here on June 23 last year.

They were arrested following an alert from Interpol and later detained at Puzhal prison.



RSF concerned Sri Lankan authorities resuming harassment of Tamil journalists [Tamil Guardian – 29/4/15]





Surely these interfering warmongers have begun to spread themselves too thin? [Daily Star - 30/4/15]:




A senior U.S. diplomat told Burundi's President, Pierre Nkurunziza, on Thursday that the east African country risks boiling over if it stifles political opposition, as protests against the president entered a fifth day.

Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, arrived in Burundi Wednesday to try to help halt escalating unrest and defuse the country's biggest crisis in years, set off by Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office. ...




Saudi jets target al-Masirah TV bureau in Yemen [Press TV – 30/4/15]

Iran summons Saudi charge d’affaires in protest over air blockade [Press TV - 30/4/15]




Naharnet [30/4/15]:


Two Iranian destroyers, sent to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships, have reached the entrance of Bab el-Mandab, a strategic strait between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran's navy said Thursday.

"We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates," the head of the Iranian navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari was quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

The navy sent the Alborz and Bushehr destroyers to patrol the entrance to the strait, he added.



Iran's seizure of cargo vessel likely related to 2005 case [Daily Star – 30/4/15]:

Danish shipper Maersk Line that chartered a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel which Iranian forces have seized says the reason for stopping MV Maersk Tigris could be related to a 2005 cargo case.

Maersk Line spokesman Michael Storgaard says they "learned" Thursday that an Iranian appeals court had ruled the company must pay $3.6 million for a 10-container cargo delivered a decade ago on behalf of an Iranian company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

However, the cargo never was collected, according to Storgaard, adding it eventually was disposed of by local authorities.

Storgaard said Copenhagen-based Maersk Line will "do everything we can to resolve this matter" with Iranian authorities.

He added the ship and crew aren't theirs. MV Maersk Tigris, operated by Rickmers Ship Management in Singapore, was boarded on Tuesday.






France's Dassault Aviation poised to sign deal with Qatar on 36 fighter jets [Naharnet – 30/4/15]

France is investigating allegations that its peacekeepers sexually abused children in the Central African Republic after a leaked UN report said victims as young as eight were raped in exchange for food and money.

The French government "was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN's high commissioner for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers", the defence ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. ... [Al Jazeera - 30/4/15]



Chinese, Russian navies to hold Mediterranean drills [Naharnet - 30/4/15]:

China and Russia will conduct their first-ever joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea within weeks, Beijing's military said Thursday as it extends its reach and the pair's relationship becomes ever closer.

The live-fire exercises, set for mid-May, will involve nine surface ships in total, with three from China, military spokesman Geng Yansheng said at a monthly briefing.

The Chinese vessels involved are currently participating in international anti-piracy escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, he said.






UN envoy urges Palestinian unity, end to Israel blockade [Daily Star – 30/4/15]




In a last minute move, former U.S President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday canceled his visit to the Gaza Strip, scheduled on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The removal of the Gaza Strip from Carter's itinerary was announced without reason Wednesday evening by the Elders, a non-governmental organization that describes itself as a group of "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights." ... [Maan - 29/4/15]






700 truckloads of goods allowed into Gaza Strip [Maan - 30/4/15]





Israel has returned 15 fishing boats it seized in recent years off the blockaded coast of the Gaza Strip, the army said Thursday. ... [Maan - 30/4/15]




Jayapura: Police shoot commander of Free Papua Movement


Jakarta Globe [30/4/15]:

Papua Police arrested three members of the outlawed Free Papua Movement organization in the country’s easternmost province on Thursday, shooting a rebel commander in the legs and detaining two fighters.

Papua Police spokesman Patridge Renwarin told the Jakarta Globe that the police’s special task force had nabbed Leonardus Magai, a commander of Paniai chapter of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) at around 10.45 a.m. local time along with two other members.

Patridge said that police officers were chasing five OPM members in a car in Sanoba Atas village in Nabire district, Papua.

Police said Leonardus was shot in both knees after the men opened fire on police.

“We arrested Leonardus and his two other friends, but the remaining two members managed to get away,” said Patridge.

Leonardus is currently being treated at Nabire District Hospital for his injuries, Patridge said.

The OPM, which is seeking independence for Papua from Indonesian rule, has waged a low-level guerrilla war against state security forces since Papua was annexed in 1969.


Free West Papua Campaign:

… "We urge national peaceful demonstration will be held on May 1 to commemorate the annexation by Indonesia, the involvement of the US, the UN and the Netherlands to give the chains of colonialism to West Papua without involving or negotiating with the people of West Papua on May 1, 1963," said bazooka Logo, spokesman for the National, KNPB Center told reporters in Jayapura, (21/04/2015).





Former rebels and their family members have applauded the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) for inviting them to join celebrations of the unit’s 63rd anniversary at its headquarters in Cijantung, East Jakarta, on Wednesday.

More than 300 former fighters with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Free Papua Movement (OPM), who once waged fierce battles against the Indonesian Military (TNI), attended the event.

The ceremony also saw the presence of former high-ranking military leaders of East Timor, now Timor Leste, which gained independence from Indonesia in 1999. ... [Jakarta Post - 30/4/15]





PNG: Bulldozers and police enforce demolition of settlement [PNG Loop – 30/4/15]:

City enforcement officers and police moved into the Two Mile Hill area today and removed settlers from the once popular lookout point.

This was seen to be in line with recent efforts to clear up the settlement in that area and to reclaim land.

PNG LOOP this afternoon saw two bulldozers and a handful of police move in and clear out people and property.

In an interview last week Member for Moresby South Justin Tkatchenko explained that all settlers will be relocated to Six Mile at the back of the new Saraga police station.

Settlers can be seen moving out with belongings while some are making use of the bulldozers by collecting fire wood from trees that have been torn out by the dozers to clear a track for them to get in and demolish houses.

Arron Kom, a settler from Goroka, says that while he understands the land will need to go back to the State, he hopes that for the sake of his three daughters the relocation process to Six Mile is smooth.

Despite the notion that settlers were criminals and low-lifes, most of them lived there as they could not afford the expensive rental fees imposed in the suburbs.

Moresby residents travelling along that hill can finally see over the tree tops as what was once a beautiful lookout point is now slowly being reclaimed.




Jokowi portrait removed from Canberra gallery [Jakarta Post – 30/415]

... Foreign media reported that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had recalled the Australian ambassador to Indonesia after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rejected the clemency pleas of two Australian death row inmates, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

"We received such information through media, but the Foreign Ministry is yet to receive formal communication from the Australian Embassy of such an action," said [Foreign Minister] Retno. [Jakarta Post - 29/4/15]





Police ask public to help solve Toowoomba mosque fires


Chronicle [30/4/15]:

Police are asking for help from the public as they investigate a fire which gutted the Garden City Mosque.

Toowoomba detectives continue to investigate the two arson attacks at the mosque that occurred in January and April this year.

Investigators believe that the two fires are linked and that one person was seen to leave the locations after each fire.

The first incident occurred on January 23 when an unknown person has broken into the mosque on West St and lit a fire in a plastic bin which caused damage to the floor of the building.

The second incident occurred on April 17 when a window was smashed and a fire was started inside the building, causing significant internal damage.

Police believe the two fires are linked, and that the person of interest is believed to be of similar description and acting alone.

Detectives have released CCTV footage of a male wanted in connection to the arson attack on Friday the 23 of January 2015.

Police encourage members of the public to come forward with information as to the identity of this male.

There is also the possibility of a reward through the Arson Reward Scheme of up to $25,000 for providing information which leads to the conviction a person responsible for these offences.

Investigations are continuing.



Police officer served with NTA – Brisbane Region

QPS Media [30/4/15]:

A 36-year-old male Constable from Brisbane Region has today been charged with drink driving offences while off duty.

The officer has been given a Notice to Appear (NTA) in the Holland Park Magistrates Court on May 6, 2015. The officer has not been stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service at this time.

The matter is being overviewed by the Ethical Standards Command.

In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have undertaken to inform the public when an officer faces serious allegations of misconduct.

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


NT: Racist policy to stay following trial




Katherine Times [30/4/15]:


Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Peter Chandler has confirmed officers will not be removed from Katherine bottle shops when the current temporary beat location trial ends in June.

Public pressure has been mounting on the Northern Territory government to keep the TBLs after the overwhelming success of the six-month trial, and Mr Chandler said on Thursday they would become a permanent fixture in the town’s battle against alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour.

The confirmation followed comments by Treasurer Dave Tollner that the government was “absolutely” committed to the continuation of TBLs .

“We’re not backing away from TBLs at all,” Mr Tollner told the Katherine Times before a Chamber of Commerce NT budget briefing in Katherine on April 29.

“It’s a key measure in our fight against crime.”

No additional funding has been allocated in the 2015-16 Territory budget for TBLs, with Mr Chandler admitting that the cost of their operation would be sourced from existing NT Police resources.

“It will be able to be covered,” Mr Chandler said.

He added that, despite coming at a “pretty high cost”, having police officers in bottle shops would ultimately save the government money.

In mid-April, the government shelved a plan to build a $6.1 million alcohol treatment facility in Katherine, because only 1.3 people per month in the region now qualify for mandatory alcohol rehabilitation since the TBL trial began.

When asked what lifespan the “permanent beat locations” would have, Mr Chandler hinted that they would remain as long as they continued to produce positive outcomes for the community.

“How long’s a piece of string?” he asked.

“As long as we’re getting results like we’re getting, we’re not going to walk away from a successful program.”

The decision to continue the TBLs has been criticised as a poor use of police resources by NT Police Association acting president Chris Wilson.

“We don’t see it as being a permanent solution to what the underlying problem is,” he said.

However, the announcement has been welcomed in Katherine.

Katherine Town Council mayor Fay Miller, who has been one of the most vocal advocates of the TBLs, said she was “ecstatic”.

“I’m very, very happy that they’ve decided to continue supporting something that’s proved to work so well,” she said.

“There will be plenty of other things that need to be addressed [to combat alcohol abuse] but I can’t see that we can do away with TBLs.”

Ms Miller said she believed that the dramatic reduction in antisocial behaviour would attract more tourists to Katherine and boost the local economy, a sentiment echoed by Chamber of Commerce NT Katherine branch chair Kevin Grey.

“It’s been 20 years trying to get this result,” he said.

“Long-term, we would think the dynamic is going to change and make Katherine a much more attractive place for visitors and people to live.”

Police checks target aboriginal people in the NT [New Matilda – 24/4/15]:


... Barbara Shaw, an Indigenous activist, has been observing police monitoring bottle shops in the town, and claims to have seen several instances of racial profiling.

“They’re only pulling up Aboriginal people,” Shaw said. “Police are very selective of whom they can choose to ask for ID and … it is Aboriginal people that are in fact getting targeted — and it is racist.”

Non-Indigenous residents told NM they have been able to enter bottle shops without being asked for identification but have seen Indigenous patrons pulled up by police at the same outlets.

Although similar measures have been used in Alice Springs for some time, concerns about the escalation of selective policing have been growing. Twice in the past month crowds have gathered in Alice to protest racist policing and demand a repeal of Section 95 of the NT Liquor Act, which gives police broad search powers.


Signs have been placed out the front of bottle shops warning potential patrons that if they intend to take alcohol to areas where drinking is banned, police will prevent them being served.

Supermarkets such as Woolworths, Coles and IGA are licensed to sell take away alcohol, so police are performing checks on people who do not even intend to buy alcohol, according to Tyler.

“[if you’re Aboriginal] you’re watched when you go into the shop to see if you’re going into the alcohol section or the bread aisle. People are getting questioned when they just go to the shop for groceries,” she said. “People have told me how anxious they feel when approaching a grocery shop and seeing police outside.”

Dr Thalia Anthony, a criminal law expert at the University of Technology Sydney, who has spent time in the NT researching the NT Intervention, said the selective policing is only possible because of laws that target Aboriginal people.

“It’s an extension of how alcohol has been policed since 2007 [under the] Intervention,” Anthony said.

“The Stronger Futures legislation and the Northern Territory Emergency Response [Intervention] Act before it, gave police distinct powers in relation to Indigenous people and communities, especially when it came to powers surrounding alcohol and also powers relating to seizure of vehicles where there is alcohol”, Anthony said.








Two men charged with serious assault after rugby union brawl

Morning Bulletin [30/4/15]:



Police have charged two men with serious assault following a wild brawl after a rugby union match between Rockhampton Brothers and Colts on Anzac Day.

Police were called to a sports oval on Saturday following an altercation between a number of players at the fields on Norman Street.

As a result, two men, a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old, have both been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm with the 22-year-old with a further charge of common assault.

They are due to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on May 18.




Arrest of outlaw motorcycle gang member for stolen puppies [QPS Media – 30/4/15]






As drug smuggler Paul Kleindyk opened a locked box in a Welshpool storage unit to check what he thought was 12.5kg of methamphetamine crystals, he quickly suspected something was wrong.

Australian Federal Police officers who had switched the drugs and were covertly monitoring the storage unit in April last year watched him become agitated as he paced and sent text messages.


Justice Jenkins said she was unable to say if Kleindyk was the main organiser of the smuggling enterprise but was satisfied his role was much more than a trusted underling or courier.

“The drugs, money and paraphernalia found in your possession show that you were involved in or very close to the manufacture, storage, transporting and sale of a large quantity of different types of prohibited drugs,” she said. “Your role must have been vitally important to the ultimate distribution of the drugs… (which) would have caused significant harm in the Australian community.”

She told the clean-cut and smartly dressed father that illicit drug businesses relied on people like him “who looked like respectable members of the Australian community” to help them to flourish. ... [West Australian - 30/4/15]





WA man jailed for seven years for endangering police officer with shotgun [WA Today – 29/4/15]:




... Const Needs then fired her pistol at Penny's stomach, making him scream out in pain and dropping the weapon.

Justice Robert Mitchell said the officers' actions on the night were exemplary and crucial in avoiding a fatal outcome.

But Penny, a convicted murderer and rapist, showed no remorse for putting the pair's lives in serious danger and his case was almost bereft of mitigating factors, the judge said.

The sentencing had to be adjourned briefly because Penny refused to listen to what happened.

"I'm getting railroaded here," Penny said.

He was sentenced to nine years behind bars and must serve a minimum of seven years, with Justice Mitchell saying he granted parole eligibility by the "barest of margins".




15-year-old boy arrested allegedly driving stolen car, Springfield [QPS Media – 30/4/15]






Fatal traffic crash, Draper

QPS Media [30/4/15]:

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating after a fatal traffic crash occurred on Eatons Crossing Road and Hodge Street in Draper this afternoon.

Initial information suggests that around 4.15pm a single vehicle lost control and crashed into trees, the vehicle then caught alight.

A person was located deceased at the scene, and investigations are continuing to confirm their identity.

Police are appealing for anyone that may have witnessed the crash to contact Crime Stoppers.

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




Fatal traffic crash, Maroochy River



QPS Media [30/4/15]:

A woman has died following a two car crash today on Yandina-Coolum Road, Maroochy River.

Initial investigations indicate that about 12.40pm two cars crashed head on near the intersection of River Road.

One driver, a woman in her 20’s died at the scene and the second driver was transported to Nambour General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Yandina-Coolum Road is currently closed in both directions and police and emergency services remain on the scene.

Forensic Crash Unit are investigating and are asking for witnesses to contact their local police station or policelink.

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



Emergency services respond to truck crash, gas leak

Chronicle [30/4/15]:


One person was taken to hospital with minor injuries after a semi-trailer truck crashed into two cars on Anzac Ave today.

Emergency crews were called to the scene about 11.30am.

Meanwhile, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crews were called to a gas leak behind the Metropole Hotel on Ruthven St about 9.30am.

Crews secured the area while repairs were made.

The leak was fixed by 10am.



Three crashes on Cunningham Highway



News Mail [30/4/15]:

A ute rollover near the entrance to the Amberley RAAF Base has triggered a chaotic morning on the Cunningham Highway.

Police say a man escaped unharmed after crashing his ute into a ditch about 6.25am.

Witnesses have told police the driver freed himself from the wreckage and left in a black convertible.

Attempts are being made to speak with the man.

While emergency services were attending to the first accident, another nose-to-tail crash occurred nearby.

This was followed by a third crash a short time later.

One person is being treated for minor injuries.

Police say a fourth accident, which occurred on the Brisbane Valley Highway turn-off on the Warrego Highway about 5.30am, resulted in no injuries.



Police re-enact Melbourne lake crash that killed three children

Nine MSN [29/4/15]:

Police are re-enacting circumstances that led to a fatal crash in a Melbourne lake that killed three young children.

Bol, Anger and Madit died when their mother Akon Guode drove her 4WD into a lake in Wyndham Vale on April 8. Ms Guode and her daughter Awel, 5, survived.

Detectives will reconstruct the scene in Manor Lakes Boulevard today.

Investigators are still appealing for further assistance from the South Sudanese community, in particular from those who have knowledge of the family and their movements on the day of the crash.







Rowing coach sues Brisbane private school for breach of contract, defamation

Yahoo [30/4/15]:

A rowing coach who was sacked by a Brisbane private school after using slang during a sex talk with students is suing for more than $1 million in damages.

Former Brisbane Boys College head rowing coach David Bellamy was stood down in 2014 after warning students at a camp not to wave their "wangas".

Mr Bellamy had been asked to give the talk after some students engaged in "inappropriate lewd or sexual behaviour" at a 2013 camp, according to court documents.

The rowing coach alleges he apologised to headmaster Graeme McDonald for using the term but was sacked when he refused to comply with a number of "vindictive" and "overbearing" conditions.

They included an unreserved apology, an admission that he let the boys down and an acknowledgement the school had acted with "strong Christian conviction".

In a Supreme Court claim filed on Wednesday, Mr Bellamy's lawyers say BBC's operator, the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, breached its contract with the rowing coach.

They also allege Mr Bellamy was defamed in media interviews with Mr McDonald that continue to be accessible to prospective employers.

The former coach is seeking $1.1 million in damages, claiming he has lost work opportunities and that his reputation has been destroyed.

No training or guidance was given to Mr Bellamy on how he should have instructed the students about lewd behaviour, the claim states.

"The plaintiff's opportunities to continue to develop his career and reputation as a rowing coach and administrator have been severely adversely affected, effectively destroyed," says the claim, filed by Milner Lawyers.

It says Mr Bellamy's reputation has been "gravely injured" and the defamation has caused economic loss and "great distress".

Cladding behind Australian fire used in New Zealand

RNZI [30/4/15]:

The combustible aluminium cladding of the type implicated in a fire at a Melbourne apartment building is still sold widely in New Zealand.

However, the former owner of a company which sold it here said New Zealand's strict building code meant it was safe.

Craig Webber, who sold Alucobest, said it could be installed only with a cavity between it and a concrete or fire-proof wall.

"So I actually have no concern at all that anybody would be in danger with this system that's made because, with our standards, it's foolproof that nothing can actually encroach into the interior of the building," he said.

Alucobest and identical products were sold and used worldwide.

An investigation into the fire at Melbourne's Lacrosse apartment block has found the external cladding breached combustibility standards for high-rise buildings.

It took just 11 minutes for the whole side of the building to ignite once the cladding caught fire.




Authorities battle to contain acid spill on CSG site


Chronicle [30/4/15]:

Emergency crews are today battling to contain a hydrochloric acid spill on the western Darling Downs.

The spill occurred at Woleebee, north-east of Miles.

The spill, at a QGC work site, was reported to authorities about noon.

Crews remain on scene late this afternoon.




Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed an announcement by the NSW Greens that they will introduce a Bill to prohibit unconventional gas development and called on all political parties to work together to act on the State election mandate to hit pause on the dangerous industry. … [Media Release – 30/4/15]









I know I'm corrupt, but whatever you do please don't give me up ...




Nauru uses familiar pretext to censor internet [RNZI - 30/4/15]:



The Nauru government says it will block access to internet sites that show pornography, particularly those featuring children.

The justice minister, David Adeang, says the government has directed the nation's internet service provider, Digicel, to start blocking such websites.


Mr Adeang says as a nation, Nauru has the right and the ability to promote the values that helped build the country, and these include values that are based on scripture.






Nauruan refugee shot with air gun pellet and then beaten by locals [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 15/4/15]



Refugee punched during Nauru protest [VIDEO - Guardian - 4/3/15]






Australia pays Nauru $1,000 a month per asylum seeker and refugee in visa costs [SBS - 30/4/15]:



 The Australian government is forking out $1000 a month per asylum seeker and refugee in visa costs on Nauru.

The immigration department has revealed it had paid the Nauru government $27.9 million for asylum seeker visas up to March 30 and just over $1 million for refugee visas to February 23.

There are currently 718 asylum seekers in detention on Nauru and 500 refugees temporarily resettled [exiled] on the island.



... Less than two years ago Nauru Airlines was operating just one jet, but on the back of the activity brought by the Australian run detention camps on Nauru, it can now support four Boeing 737 passenger jets and a freighter. ... [RNZI - 29/4/15]





Tom Porteous:  Oz-style response to boat arrivals in Med would be illegal under European Convention on #HumanRights ...



"tweeted" by @OzRefugeeCounc - Refugee Council of Australia [30/4/15]





Join us for a presentation by Tom Porteous, Deputy Program Director, Human Rights Watch [Kaldor Centre]:



Global challenges to refugee protection: lessons from the Middle East and Europe


Tom Porteous is the Deputy Program Director at Human Rights Watch and is based in Washington DC.

He oversees Human Rights Watch’s work on refugees globally, and also supervises all of Human Rights Watch’s work on the Middle East and Europe.

He joined Human Rights Watch in 2006 as the London director responsible for communications and advocacy in the United Kingdom.




Australia expelling Iranian sheikh violated human rights, UN body finds [Guardian – 30/4/15]:

Australia’s expulsion of an Iranian sheikh and separating him from his family on undisclosed national security grounds breached his human rights, the United Nations human rights committee has found.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei was an Iranian citizen who had lived in Australia between 1994 and 2010.

He was the founder and director of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Arncliffe.

He arrived on a business visa, and in 1996 applied for a permanent visa, with his wife and dependent children.

But in 1996 Leghaei was issued with an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). He was never provided with full reasons for the decision – although some details were released relating to the nature of the assessment – and spent several years attempting to appeal against the decision in largely unsuccessful litigation in the federal court.

ASIO later undertook a fresh security assessment in 2004, and found that it remained adverse, but again provided Leghaei with no reasons for the decision, or any direct information about its contents.

Australian residents are entitled to a notification of reasons for an adverse security assessment, but non-citizens who do not hold permanent residency are not. Leghaei was forced to return to Iran, while his family continues to live in Australia.

The United Nations human rights committee found Australia’s actions constituted an arbitrary interference with Leghaei’s family, in breach of the international convention on civil and political rights (ICCPR).







The French government defended Wednesday its policy of demolishing Roma camps Wednesday before a special U.N. panel that denounced the discrimination against Romas and trivialization of “hate speech” in the country.

The 18 members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination grounded its accusations on the situation observed in the country over the five past years – as its last assessment on racism in France was in 2010. ... [teleSUR - 29/4/15]




Low builds off coast, Queensland and NSW under flood watch

Tweed Daily News [29/4/15]:

The Bureau of Meteorology is closely monitoring the development of a low off the coast of south east Queensland, which is forecast to move into New South Wales later this week.

Queensland Regional Director Rob Webb said moist easterly winds combined with a strong upper air system are forecast to bring heavy falls to Queensland coastal areas south of Gladstone, extending as far west as Roma.

"The Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast are all expected to feel the effects of the low from Wednesday night, with heavy rain, strengthening winds and large swells expected," Mr Webb said.

Weather conditions over northeast New South Wales are forecast to deteriorate later in the week as the low pressure system moves southwards on Saturday.

Flood Watches have been issued today for several Queensland river catchments and for the New South Wales coastal rivers from the border to Taree.

The public are urged to stay tuned for more detailed forecasts and warnings and follow the advice of local emergency services as this event unfolds.

Falls in the range of 150 to 200mm are expected for south east Queensland and northern New South Wales between Wednesday and Saturday nights, with localised falls above 350mm possible.

The most intense and widespread rainfall is forecast for Friday and Saturday.

New South Wales Regional Director, Mr Barry Hanstrum, said the main impacts for New South Wales will be in the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast regions, including Tweed Heads, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

Mr Hanstrum said the Bureau is acutely aware of ongoing clean-up operations in New South Wales, and mindful of the impact further rain could have in affected areas.

"Further rainfall is possible for catchments that experienced flooding last week, with renewed flooding also possible on Sunday given the saturated landscape. However, we don't expect to see the extreme rainfall totals and destructive winds that we saw in the last event," he said.

Coastal gales and locally damaging winds are possible for the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast as the low moves south, but are unlikely for the Sydney metropolitan and Hunter regions.

Thunderstorms are possible along the coast north of Sydney, which could lead to localised heavy falls.




Chevron and its Gorgon partners Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil have made a big gas discovery north of Barrow Island to continue their successful exploration push. ... [West Australian - 30/4/15]





Yesterday marked one year since the PNG LNG project, operated by ExxonMobil PNG Ltd, started production of liquefied natural gas (LNG). ... [The National - 30/4/15]





Violent arrests, protest camp dismantled ahead of National Day of Action



ABC [30/4/15]:

Dozens of riot police and City of Perth rangers have again moved into dismantle an Aboriginal camp at Heirisson Island, set up in response to the State Government's plan to close remote communities.

Officers began dismantling the camp just after 11:00 am, pulling down tents and issuing move on notices.

The tents, as well as residents' belongings, were confiscated.

There were angry scenes as a man and two women were arrested, and several others were issued with move on notices.

Activist Gerry Georgatos said there had been 41 tents on the island last night.

He said the protest was about homelessness, as well as the closure of remote communities.

Aboriginal elder Mingli Wanjurri Nungala said she was pushed hard by police.

"We saw the police coming, there seemed to be 100 or more, all the vans came, and they came in riot stuff ... and they went to pull the tents down," she said.

"One police woman was trying to push me away, and then suddenly, this big policeman came like a bull and grabbed me by my shoulder.

"They're the violent ones, they are the criminals.

"I don't want our people hurt, it's wrong.

"This is our land - when I was a young girl I used to come prawning along here."

The camp was set up early last month in protest at plans to close up to 150 Aboriginal communities, judged by the Government to be unsustainable.

Police and the City of Perth removed camping equipment from the site last month, but the camp has gradually reassembled since then.

Premier Colin Barnett said last year the State Government could no longer continue to service remote communities.

The Commonwealth provided funding for about two thirds of the state's Aboriginal settlements with the WA Government funding the balance.

But the Commonwealth has withdrawn its funding, and is handing over responsibility to the State Government over the next two years.




‏@Irena_Ceranic  - ABC journalist [30/4/15]:   Tents and belongings removed from Heirisson Island ... 





Four Geraldton police harass one aboriginal girl [VIDEO via Australians against Aboriginal Racism and Forced Land Acquisition - 29/4/15]:




After this footage was filmed, TWO additional Police arrived in a Police 4WD Vehicle which for some time totalled SIX Geraldton Police to ONE "Unaccompanied" Aboriginal Girl





Union strike shuts down coal trains in Central Queensland

Daily Mercury [30/4/15]:

Coal trains were idle in central Queensland yesterday after the state branch of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) called a 24-hour strike.

The stoppage, at three depots, followed the Fair Work Commission's decision to allow Aurizon to terminate a number of enterprise agreements.

RTBU state secretary Owen Doogan said the strike affected depots at Callimondah (Gladstone), Rockhampton and Bluff, east of Blackwater.

"We have also imposed an overtime ban at Mackay, Rockhampton and Maryborough and are stopping the transport of perishable goods on trains between Brisbane and Townsville," Mr Doogan said.

"This was our first industrial action since early this year and yesterday we lodged an appeal against the decision to the Federal Court.

"We are looking for a judicial review of the decision," Mr Doogan said.

"We are asking for the appeal to be heard before May 18, when the old agreements will be terminated."

Mr Doogan said the strike could be the first of more during the next few weeks depending on how negotiations went.

"We want to negotiate a settlement. If Aurizon is prepared to negotiate, we will not seek further action.

"We have been seeking negotiations for more than a year and while some progress has been made, things are not moving fast enough as far as we are concerned."

Mr Doogan described last week's FWC decision as "bizarre'' saying it went against the Fair Work Act and was an anti-workers decision.

Aurizon applied to the FWC last May to have existing agreements terminated after failed attempts to negotiate a new agreement with unions.

An Aurizon spokesperson last week said the company would strive to implement a modern, productive workplace agreement across the business.




Neighbour saw man strike ex-wife with hammer

Chronicle [30/4/15]:

Chinchilla man Dean Bein woke to the sound of a vehicle crashing into his neighbour's house and rose to see a man allegedly striking a woman with what appeared to be a hammer, Toowoomba Supreme Court has heard.

Mr Bein told the court he had gone next door to find a utility crashed into the front of the residence in King St, Chinchilla, in the early hours of March 8, 2013.

He said he could see two people struggling inside the home.

He said the front door then opened and a man emerged holding a woman by the scruff of the neck.

The woman had held up her hands in defence and was struck by the man holding what appeared to be a hammer, he said.

Mr Bein said the man had then thrown the woman to the ground outside the home before straddling her on one knee and striking her to the head and shoulders with a hammer.

He said he approached telling the man, "Mate, what are you doing?"

After calling to a friend next door to call police, Mr Bein said he pushed the man away from the woman and the man had come at him briefly.

He said that while swinging the hammer the man lost control of the tool which flew up onto the roof of the house and the man left.

The evidence came on the second day of the trial of Anthony Desmond Wright who has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of his ex-wife Victoria Wright at her home on March 8, 2013.

Wright has pleaded guilty to intentionally causing his ex-wife grievous bodily harm, but claims he had not intended to kill her.

Ms Wright sustained a fractured skull and fractures of her fingers in the incident.

The Crown claims Mr Wright drove his utility into the front bedroom of his estranged wife's home before attacking her with a hammer.

The couple, who have four sons who were sleeping at their mother's home at the time, had separated in 2012 with Mr Wright living at another Chinchilla residence.

The trial before Justice Peter Lyons continues.







Man rammed ute into car of ex-girlfriend... twice [Queensland Times – 30/4/15]







A Canberra man threatened to cut his unborn child out of his pregnant partner before he repeatedly punched her in the stomach. … [Canberra Times – 29/4/15]




Adelaide police pursuit ends in crash, hospitalisation

Nine MSN [30/4/15]

A police pursuit in Adelaide has come to a dramatic end after a stolen truck crashed into a police 4WD.

South Australian police pursued the truck through Adelaide’s northeastern suburbs this morning, after it failed to stop.

Road spikes were deployed and the vehicle was eventually cornered by police cars before crashing into an unmarked police 4WD on Payneham Road about 9am.

Police also allegedly found a rifle in the vehicle.

Another police car sustained major damage during the chase and police were earlier urging motorists to avoid the intersection of Montacute, Glynburn and Payneham roads.

At least one, unrelated, car was also damaged.

It is believed the chase started on the South Eastern Freeway.

Police said the driver of the truck was arrested and had been taken to hospital.



Man dies after being electrocuted on work site, Mackay




Yahoo [30/4/15]:




A man has been electrocuted on a work site near Mackay.

The man, in his mid-20s, died on Thursday morning after suffering an electric shock.

 Three ambulance crews had rushed to the Glenella site and reportedly tried to revive him for an hour.

But he was eventually declared deceased at the scene, a Queensland Ambulance spokesperson said.






Armed Robbery, Sunnybank Hills



QPS Media [30/4/15]:



Detectives are investigating following the armed robbery of a licensed premises on Hellawell Road in Sunnybank Hills in the early hours of this morning.

Initial investigations indicate around 1.45am a man entered the business and presented a firearm, detaining staff members before demanding money from the safe.

A staff member complied with the man who then left the business on foot with a large sum of cash, heading along Jackson Road.

The man is described as approximately 190cm tall, of solid build with an olive complexion and was last seen wearing a dark hoodie and dark jeans.

No one was physically injured during the incident.

Investigations are continuing.

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






Drugs, cash and weapons found, Varsity Lakes [QPS Media - 30/4/15]






DFAT and Queensland government export privatisation/outsourcing by stealth model to Samoa




Minister for Health Media Release [30/4/15]:




Queensland Health is collaborating with the Samoan Ministry of Health to assist with reforming and improving the governance of the nation’s health program.  

This is a part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) eight year Samoa Health Investment Plan, which is a key element in Australia’s official development assistance to Samoa.


“Two of our best, Queensland Health Deputy Director-General Phillip Davies, Health Commissioning Queensland, and Manager Governance and Improvement Ms Karen Kerr, are visiting Samoa on April 29/30 to finalise a one year work plan and agree to key priority areas for a three year work plan.  

“At this meeting, we expect to settle on a work program that might include sharing of expertise, building an internal corporate governance capacity by mentoring for senior Samoan officials, progressing a purchaser provider model of service delivery and exchange of non-clinical staff.”













$70 million and counting: cost of LNP’s wrong choices on asset sales revealed [Treasurer Media Release - 30/4/15]





Bligh's ads add up to $76m spend [Brisbane Times - 19/11/10]






United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria

Daily Star [29/4/15]:

U.S.-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Syria with five air strikes from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning and conducted another 16 strikes against the group in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

Most of the Syria strikes, four, hit targets near Kobani, where they destroyed Islamic State fighting positions and a vehicle and damaged tactical units.

The remaining strike was near Al Hasakah, according to a military statement.

In Iraq, five air strikes near Bayji hit tactical units and destroyed vehicles, a fighting position and a warehouse.

Coalition forces also struck near Al Asad, Al Huwayjah, Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and Tal Afar.




@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [29/4/15]:

Anbar: The coalition aircrafts have shelled many targets in Garma ,Jazeera and Hamudhiya..................................

Anbar: Anbar Health department has rehabilitated alternative sites in Ramadi as the government's forces have used the hospital as a headquarter ........

Baghdad: Agencies: A roadside bomb has exploded at Badala Street in Ghazaliya in west of Baghdad.......

Baghdad: Agencies: 9 persons have been killed and wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded in Sha'ab area in north of Baghdad......


Fallujah Hospital received three dead bodies of civilians and 3 wounded persons injured in the random bombing of the government's forces and Hashid militias yesterday........

It is worth mentioning that the rigestered number of killed civilians in Fallujah hospital has been 2637 including 192 women and 347 children since the start of events ......

While, the number of wounded civilians 4414 including 409 women and 513 children .....

The bombing has targeted Fallujah Hospital 39 times including 5 times by the explosive barrels ........................


Iraqi Dinar [29/4/15]:

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the Iraqi government’s rejection of a proposed bill in the US Congress arming the Peshmerga and the Sunni tribes in isolation from Baghdad.

A statement by his office received by all of Iraq [where] a copy of it “at a time when the Iraqi government welcomes the efforts of all countries that stand by Iraq in its war against Daash terrorist gangs and give him military aid, we assure everyone that dealing with the Iraqi government was and still is clear with respect for Iraqi sovereignty, which is set by the government within the maxims and persistent assurances in talks with these countries and there is no deal double with by foreign parties. ”

He stressed that “any arming will not be only by the Iraqi government, according to put the military plans.”

He pointed out that “the Iraqi government confirms that Iraq with all its components and Akulaiath faces terrorist Daash gangs, and facts have proved that all these components continue to fight for the liberation of all Iraqi territory from Daash gangs and restore the displaced to their areas and the restoration of normal life in light of the government jointly by everyone in the remodeled and that there are many victories have been achieved thanks to the cohesion and we are moving Bmarkina fair to liberate every inch of the land of Iraq. ”

He said that “the proposed draft law in the Foreign Relations Committee in the US Congress rejected and lead to further divisions in the region and call not to proceed with it.”






On Wednesday, Iraqi Vice President Osama Najafi received the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq. ... [ - 29/4/15]






Syrian rebel militias battled two small armed groups suspected of links to ISIS in Qunaitra province near the border with Israel, with at least 38 people killed in days of clashes, a spokesman and activists said Wednesday. ... [Daily Star - 30/4/15]



Saudis carry out multiple air raids on Yemen

Press TV [29/4/15]:

Saudi Arabia’s onslaught on Yemen continues unabated as warplanes carry out raids on the capital city of Sana’a and other locations.

According to Yemeni media sources, Saudi jets carried out two raids in the capital’s mountainous Faj Attan region on Wednesday night.

Earlier in the day, a Yemeni soldier was killed as a government building, housing rescue and emergency workers, was targeted in the northern Bayda province.

The Al Saud regime artillery also shelled multiple targets in the Hosamah border region in the northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed by the Saudi air raids so far.

Meanwhile, Ansarullah fighters and allied forces have made gains in the southern city of Aden, capturing parts of the city in fierce combat with al-Qaeda militants.

According to security officials, the Houthi fighters of the Ansarullah movement had reached the Khormaksar neighborhood, gaining control over an area stretching from the Crater business district to the Russian Consulate.




United States, "allies" reinvade Afghanistan [Centcom - 29/4/15]:




Multiple Afghan National Defense and Security Forces units are in the midst of a large-scale operation in the country's southeastern areas in a coordinated attack on anti-government forces' historical safe havens.

The Afghan National Army's 205th Corps and 203rd Corps, the Kandahar province 2nd Mobile Strike Force, the Afghan 3rd Special Operations Kandak (a military unit), and others are pressing forward daily as they conduct operations to clear areas of enemy fighters and secure the local population in Zabul and Ghazni provinces.

The operation hinges on the rapid, close cooperation of disparate elements across Afghanistan's military, police and civil government elements. More than 1,500 Afghan servicemembers are involved.

The 205th Corps is focused on Zabul province. NATO Train, Advise, Assist Command - South, or TAAC-S, a coalition unit, is partnered with the corps.

The U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division heads TAAC-S, which is composed of servicemembers from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, the Australian 205th Coalition Advisory Team and multiple coalition units from Bulgaria and Romania.

Afghan Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, commander of the 205th, highlighted the unit's accomplishments in a recent press release, lauding his soldiers' efforts against the enemy and saying the operation would continue to clear the province of enemy fighters. ...






39 militants killed, wounded in Operation Badar in Zabul [Khaama - 29/4/15]




Pajhwok [29/4/15]:



A bomb-rigged motorcycle went off in front of a mosque where a memorial service was being offered in the capital of southern Helmand province on Wednesday, injuring four people, an official said.

A security official, who declined to be identified, told Pajhwok Afghan News the injured persons included a brother of Lashkargah’s 4th district police chief.

Basher, giving an eyewitness account, told Pajhwok Afghan News the explosives had been planted on a motorcycle parked between two cars in front of the mosque.

An official at the Emergency-run hospital said they had been delivered four wounded persons from the scene. Two of them were in critical condition, he said.

There was no immediate word of responsibility for the blast.








Ban calls for immediate end to hostilities in northern Mali amid surge in violence [UN Media Release – 29/4/15]





Hundreds of Malawians leave South Africa after attacks [Al Jazeera – 29/4/15]:




...  The Phoenix camp, north of Durban was closed on Tuesday and officials appear keen on closing the remaining three camps in Pietermaritzburg, Chatsworth, and Isipingo.

But even as a calm descended over Durban and the surrounding areas after a week-long wave of feverish attacks on immigrants, foreign nationals say neither the intimidation nor the sporadic attacks have ended.

Many say that - crucially - the verbal abuse has not ended; that the atmosphere remained toxic.

One Malawian street vendor on Durban's beach promenade said the marches and rallies against xenophobia have ended but the attacks on peoples' homes and properties especially in townships had not.

These complaints resonate throughout the camp.

Mavis Kandulu, 20, said her husband Francois was killed last Sunday when he was returning to camp from work. Some of the displaced still travel to work during the day and return in the afternoon. But Francois' body was found in three parts after it was hit by a train.

According to the police, his death was an accident, but Kandulu believes otherwise.

On Tuesday, his body was laid to rest in a local cemetery with other foreign nationals living in the camp donating to the funeral costs.

Repeated attempts by Al Jazeera to contact police services were unsuccessful. Police officials did, however, tell local media on Tuesday that there were no reports of violence over the weekend.

"All appearances are that the tensions have abated and that the situation has normalised in the province," Thulani Zwane was quoted as having said.



Abe offers 'eternal condolences' for Americans killed in WWII

Japan Today [30/4/15]:

Shinzo Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, offering heartfelt testimony on the need for deeper ties while facing controversy over his views of World War II.

Speaking in English, Abe stressed the tight bonds between two nations that were forged from the embers of brutal battles like Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima, and offered a solemn personal apology for Japan’s actions.

“On behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II,” he said to rousing applause from U.S. lawmakers.

Shortly before arriving on Capitol Hill, Abe symbolically laid a flower wreath at a monument to that conflict, which claimed the lives of an estimated 400,000 Americans.

“The battles engraved at the memorial crossed my mind, and I reflected upon the lost dreams and lost futures of those young Americans. History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone. With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in silent prayers for some time,” Abe said.

But it was Japan’s actions in Asia during that war that threatened to overshadow his historic address.

In Congress, Abe was faced with the presence of 87-year-old Lee Yong-Soo, one of the estimated 200,000 Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery by occupying Japanese troops.

She was invited by Democrat lawmaker Mike Honda who is one of many that accuse Abe of downplaying any official role by the country or its military.

Abe expressed his “deep remorse” over Japan’s actions toward neighboring Asian nations, but stopped short of a full apology demanded by many.







Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference, Rose Garden [28/4/15]







The News [17/3/14]

... However, the leaked US diplomatic cables claim that before sending its first delegation to Hiroshima in August 2010, the Obama administration had discussed with the then Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka the US President’s desire to tender an apology for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings when he visits Japan in November 2009.

US State Department under the direction of the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had sent the Japanese a letter, saying that Obama wanted to apologise in person for the USA’s World War II bombing of Japan.

President Obama wanted to present his apology from the United States in person and he wanted to do that despite opposition by senior officials in his administration who maintained that the Japanese were the ones who had attacked the US at Pearl Harbour.

However, according to the secret cable dated September 3, 2009, in response to the letter written under the direction of Hillary Clinton, the then Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka maintained that both the governments must temper the public expectations on such issues, as the idea of President Barack Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologise for the atomic bombing during World War II was a non-starter.

 “While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such programme in the November 2009 US presidential visit”, the Wiki Leaks reported.

The Japanese had actually feared that the American apology could be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and those opposed to the defensive alliance between Japan and the US who are now on friendly terms both politically and socially. It may be recalled that George Bush, while campaigning for the office of the president, had promised that he will never apologise for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

“I don’t care what the facts are. But you heard that right. I will never apologise”, he had added in the same breath.

However, as far as President Obama is concerned, he had bowed to the Japanese Emperor during his 2009 visit to Japan, something no American president had ever done. ...




'Why So Much Anger?': If you don’t know, Washington Post won’t tell you [Common Dreams – 29/4/15]:




... First of all, a series of deaths are not “tensions”—they’re actual violence, with real lives lost. Nor is “strained” the appropriate word to use for relations between police and residents where police have repeatedly killed those residents.

An ACLU of Maryland report found 109 people killed in police encounters in the state in a five-year period from 2010-14. Sixty-nine percent of those killed were black. (Maryland is 29 percent black.) Forty-five were not armed in any way; 80 percent of these victims were black. ...




‏@JennaBPope [29/4/15]:  Just took the streets. No cops in sight. #NYC2Baltimore #FreddieGrey




@JennaBPope [29/4/15]:  Multiple arrests just now, including two photojournalists. #NYC2Baltimore #FreddieGray






Nepal quake survivors clash with riot police, UN seeks US$415m

Channel News Asia [30/4/15]:

Desperate survivors of an earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people clashed with riot police in Nepal's capital on Wednesday, as the United Nations appealed for US$415 million for the devastated Himalayan nation.

Supplies of food and water are running thin and aftershocks have strained nerves in ruined Kathmandu, home to some 2.5 million before it was shattered by Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake.

Desperate to leave, thousands of people gathered outside the main bus station after the government promised to lay on special services to far-flung rural areas. But when the buses failed to materialise, anger surged and scuffles broke out between the crowds and riot police who were sent to try to contain the situation near parliament.

Some protesters forced a truck carrying drinking water off the road and climbed on top of it, throwing the bottles to the crowd.

"We've been left starving in the cold and the best this government can give us is this queue. Why are they so slow?" demanded Rajana as she lined up along with thousands of others for a bus to her home village.

"I keep hearing on the news that all governments and aid agencies are here, but where are they? Our government is totally absent. Forget shelter, they couldn't even give us water," said Rajana, who goes by one name.

Columns of riot police stood behind rolls of barbed wire as rioters armed with sticks surged into the street, attacking buses and other vehicles. At one point a young woman was pulled from her scooter and assaulted by an angry protester. Onlookers screamed at him to stop before riot police pulled him away.

Israel advised its nationals to leave Nepal for "health and security reasons".

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country settled down for a fifth night under tents. Their homes were either wrecked or were feared to be on the verge of collapse.

But with the number and scale of the aftershocks subsiding, some residents returned to salvage possessions from the ruins of their homes, grabbing everything from fridges to family chickens.

"There have been some weaknesses in managing the relief operation," Communications Minister Minendra Rijal told Nepal's Kantipur Television, acknowledging the government had been overwhelmed by the devastation from the deadliest quake in Nepal since 1934.

"The disaster has been so huge and unprecedented that we have not been in a position to meet the expectations of the needy people," he added.

There was also desperation in devastated rural areas. People have been pleading to be airlifted out when the occasional helicopter has reached their villages with relief supplies.

In Dolakha angry residents smashed windows of a local administrative building, said Chief District Officer Prem Lal Lamichhane. "Over 200,000 people are homeless. We've been told that materials are on their way, but we haven't received them yet," the official pleaded.

A total of 5,057 people are known to have died in Nepal and around 100 more in neighbouring India and China. Around 8,000 were injured while the United Nations estimates that eight million people have been affected.

On Wednesday, the world body appealed for US$415 million for Nepal, saying that around 70,000 houses had been destroyed and another 530,000 damaged. One estimate has put the cost of reconstruction at US$5 billion.

"Although I am heartened and encouraged by the progress of the response to date, efforts need to be maintained and stepped up to ensure vital assistance reaches all the affected, especially those in the remote areas," said UN resident coordinator for Nepal, Jamie McGoldrick.

Earlier McGoldrick said that the Nepalese government had told organisers of the relief effort there was no need for further outside help, with teams from many countries on the ground.










More concerns in Fiji over police brutality [RNZI - 30/4/15]:

A citizens' group has expressed concern over allegations of police brutality in Fiji.

The police have confirmed there are six ongoing investigations, and there are reports that one includes a senior officer.

Most of the complaints centre on a drug bust in the northern division earlier this year, where taxidrivers and farmers were allegedly beaten.

A school counsellor for that division confirmed he has counselled children who witnessed another man being beaten by police.

A Programme Manager for the Citizens Constitutional Forum, Ken Cokanasiga, says authorities need to take action.

"Do they really know what they are doing, because if we continue down this trend there's a high risk of change, where the citizens will go look ok we don't trust the police anymore so we won't report such cases, because we know when they come through they will do what they like, give us brute force, assault us."

Ken Cokanasiga says he commends the work of the Police Commissioner, Ben Groenewald, who has vowed to hold officers to account.





30 April 2015