Kem Sokha asks Australia to reconsider transfer of refugees to Cambodia
The Cambodia Herald [31/10/14]:
Kem Sokha, first vice president of the National Assembly and vice president of Cambodia National Rescue Party, has asked the Australian government to reconsider the transfer of refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.
The request was made through a recent letter to Mrs. Alison Burrows, the Australian ambassador.
In the letter obtained by The Cambodia Herald Friday, Kem Sokha said he had a meeting on October 21 with several representatives of Buddhist monks, students and Khmer people who staged demonstrations against the transfer of refugees from Nauru Island to Cambodia.
Sokha said at the meeting they expressed a concern of possible negative impact caused by the decision.
"In my capacity as Member of Parliament and First Vice President of the National Assembly, I understand that their concerns are well-founded," he said.
Cambodia signed the refugee deal last month with Australia to have refugees who have sought asylum in Australia transferred to live in Cambodia.
The deal was criticized by national and international civil society organizations, and opposition.
Protest Obama's Wars in Syria & Iraq at Portland Exposition Building.
Image: Bob Klotz [30/10/14]
Protest Obama's wars in Syria & Iraq, Portland [VIDEO - 30/10/14]
Obama energises Democratic voters at Michaud rally in Portland [Press Herald - 30/10/14]
NYPD arrests, brutalizes peace activist McGovern ahead of Petraeus speech [RT - 31/10/14]:
The New York Police Department has detained prominent peace activist and former CIA agent Ray McGovern, with witnesses saying he was yelling in pain during arrest. McGovern was detained ahead of a David Petraeus speech that he planned to attend.
McGovern was detained before the start of a talk between former CIA director David Petraeus, retired US Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, and author Max Boot on American Foreign Policy at the 92nd St Y., an Upper East Side cultural community center.
Anti-war group 'The World Cant Wait' said the activist was arrested at protest of speech. He was reportedly prevented by security from entering, charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, and will not be arraigned until Friday. The group has called for McGoverns release on Twitter and Facebook.
The World Cant Wait alleged on Twitter that McGovern was brutalized by the NYPD and later reported screams coming from backroom where the activist was being held. RT has contacted the NYPD who have yet to respond to allegations.
It appeared that the activist was detained even before entering the venue, despite having a ticket for the event.
Independent journalist and filmmaker Cat Watters was due to film McGovern during the talk, asking a question of Petraeus, but as she arrived she saw McGovern being arrested by police, telling them I have a ticket! Watters told RT that McGovern has a shoulder injury and was apparently yelling in pain during the arrest.
According to Watters, two members of World Cant Wait, which asked her to film, were to hang a banner from balcony written with the words War Criminal Iraq Afghanistan and covered with handprints in red ink - however, McGovern was not going to take part in this action.
He [Ray] doesnt cause a ruckus. He asks questions. He stands up and turns his back, Watters described the protesters' plan.
McGovern is a former CIA officer turned political activist. He worked with the agency for just under three decades, retiring in 1990. He was highly critical and public about President George W. Bushs use of government intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
In 2006, he returned his Intelligence Commendation Medal in protest against the CIAs involvement in torture.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [31/10/14]:
Anbar/Heet: News reported that war planes flew in Heet today
Anbar: News reported that air force has shelled two civilian homes in Albu Jeer area in Ramadi resulted in killing family.......
Anbar: A family was killed and students wounded as a roadside bomb exploded at Heet-Baghdadi road .......
SIGAR queries secrecy around ANSF progress
As foreign combat troops prepare to leave the country, an American federal watchdog on Thursday voiced its deep trouble over the US militarys decision to keep under wraps a report on Afghan security forces progress.
The summary assessment of the readiness of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) had always been made public until this quarter, when it became classified, said the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
In its quarterly report, SIGAR said: It is not clear what security purpose is served by denying the American public even high-level information. It also expressed concern over the high attrition rate in the Afghan National Army.
It added the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) move to classify the executive summary of its report on Afghan forces denied Americans an essential tool to measure the success or failure of the single most costly feature of the Afghanistan reconstruction drive.
About 12,500 international soldiers will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, working mostly as trainers and advisers. Less than 10,000 of them will be American.
The watchdog reported to Congress some US-funded reconstruction projects had perverse outcomes, like expensive irrigation projects that seem to have contributed to an increase in poppy cultivation in three provinces.
Over the past 12 years, the US has spent more than 4 billion on Afghanistans reconstruction, with another 4.5 billion still in the pipeline to be disbursed.
SIGAR chief John F. Sopko faulted the award of US contracts to supporters of the insurgency.
The armys refusal to suspend or debar supporters of the insurgency from receiving government contracts because the information supporting these recommendations is classified is not only legally wrong, but contrary to sound policy and national-security goals.
He urged Secretary of Defense and Congress to change the misguided policy and impose common sense on the armys suspension and debarment programme.
In 2013, one contractor clearly identified as providing explosives to the Afghan insurgency was permitted access to an ISAF-controlled facility.
The Kabul Police has set a deadline for the shops in Kabul to handover all military equipment and uniforms within the next three days.
A statement released by Kabul Police Department said an operation will be launched to collect the military equipment and uniforms in a bid to counter criminal activities in the city.
The statement further added that the equipment and uniforms are frequently used by criminal gangs and individuals to commit crime and disrupt the security of the city.
The shopkeepers and markets have been warned to strictly prevent the sale and purchase of military equipment and uniforms and handover all such items to security forces.
Kabul Police has said an operation will be launched across the city and any individual found in illegal trade of such items would be arrested and their shops would be closed.
Individuals and criminal gangs are normally committing crime by disguising themselves in Afghan security forces uniforms. Major kidnappings, murders and other criminal related activities are done by criminal gangs using the Afghan security forces uniforms.
The perpetrators involved in Kabul gang-rape had also disguised themselves in Afghan police uniform and kidnapped a family while they were returning from a wedding in Qargha district late in the month of August.
Canada: CSEC oversight bill garners support from Good Ol' Boys
A backbench bid to force Canada's electronic intelligence-gathering agency to shed more light on its operations has garnered the support of at least one unlikely ally.
The National Firearms Association not a group that often finds itself aligned with the Liberal Party went public with its endorsement of Liberal MP Joyce Murray's private members' bill earlier this week.
"We are very concerned about the lack of oversight of our intelligence gathering agencies activities and the potential for abuse of metadata collection," noted NFA president Sheldon Clare in a written statement posted to the association website.
"Firearm owners are already very familiar with how this sort of data collection can be abused to target individuals and groups of individuals for dubious purposes."
Murray's bill represents "a reasonable attempt to return the oversight of intelligence gathering activities to the elected representatives of the people," Clare added.
"We believe that this is the best way to go."
Hungarian Prime Minister Orban scraps planned Internet tax
Deutsche Welle [31/10/14]:
The Hungarian prime minister has announced that his government is scrapping a plan to introduce a tax on the use of the Internet.
The move comes in the face of mass street demonstrations against the plan.
Speaking on Hungarian public radio on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his government was withdrawing its draft legislation, which would have imposed a levy on online data transfers. However, he didn't rule out introducing similar legislation at a later date.
"The Internet tax cannot be introduced in its current form," Orban said. "My problem is not that people oppose a tax. Here people question the rationale of the issue. Nothing can be introduced in these circumstances. This debate is derailed," he added.
The decision came after a number of mass street demonstrations in the capital, Budapest, against the planned tax, which Orban's critics claimed was an attempt by the conservative government to curtail political dissent.
The European Union had also criticized the planned tax.
The draft law would have imposed a surcharge on data transfers of 150 forints (0.49 euros, $0.62) per gigabyte, but it also would have capped the charge at 700 forints per month.
Hong Kong activists consider taking protest to Beijing
Hong Kong's democracy protesters are considering travelling to Beijing to directly petition Communist authorities as the Chinese capital hosts U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders at an upcoming summit.
The protesters have held continuous street rallies for a month, demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous city in 2017.
Beijing has refused to back down on its insistence made on August 31 that candidates in the vote must be vetted by a loyalist committee, a decision critics say is designed to ensure the election of a pro-Beijing stooge.
Alex Chow, head of Hong Kong's main student union which has been at the vanguard of the protests, said demonstrators were considering upping the ante by attempting to travel to Beijing and press authorities for direct talks.
"We should tell the world and the government that the decision made on August 31 must be rescinded," Chow told demonstrators at the main protest site late Thursday, urging them to think about "directly approaching Beijing".
Protesters are apparently considering whether to attempt to crash the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing on November 10-11, when Chinese President Xi Jinping will host leaders from the United States, Russia and Japan among others.
But it is not clear whether student leaders, who have become well known through their speeches and media appearances, would be allowed to travel to the capital.
Hong Kong citizens may travel freely into China as long as they have travel permits issued by mainland authorities, but border officials can deny their entry -- a tactic that has been used to keep critics of Beijing out in the past.
"If we can't go through customs then Beijing is sending a message that they do not care about Hong Kongers' views about the NPC (National People's Congress) decision and the direction of constitutional development," Chow said.
Demonstrators remain encamped on three of Hong Kong's major thoroughfares, but are under pressure to keep up the momentum in their campaign.
The crowds, which numbered in their tens of thousands at the beginning of the month, have sharply dwindled. Hong Kong's authorities appear to be pursuing a strategy of attempting to tire them out, rather than clearing them by force.
Students in harmony for music event
"Music is something everyone has in common", according to Toowoomba North State School Year Six student Milrus Caguimbal.
Milrus was one of half a million students in Australia to raise her voice for yesterday's simultaneous singing event, Music: Count Us In.
An initiative of the Music Council of Australia, Count Us In aims to lift the status of music in schools, and started in response to the 2005 National Review of School Music Education which found many students missed out on music education in schools.
"It's kind of cool when you know all these people are singing the exact same song at the exact same time," Milrus said.
After the impromptu rehearsal the countdown was on and at 11.30am (12.30am daylight saving time) they raised their voices in (near) perfect unison to sing with students across the country.
The song that stopped a nation, Paint You a Song, was penned by a group of high school students from different schools in Australia.
Music teacher Denise Muller said the whole idea of Music: Count Us In was to profile the importance of music to a child's education.
Parents delighted as sons creative dreams die
The Daily Mash [31/10/14]:
The parents of a 25-year-old man are celebrating their sons decision to abandon his band for a job in a bank.
Nathan Muirs mother and father opened a bottle of Cava following a phone call in which their dejected son admitted his dreams of a creative life had been crushed forever.
Yvonne Muir said: It was such fantastic news, especially because we were terrified his demo was going to be on the radio or the band had a great support slot coming up.
When he told me in a shaking, defeated voice that he had to be realistic and think about his financial future I felt such a wave of relief.
The Muirs said they were given another boost when they were able to cross out several gigs they were supposed to be attending off the calendar forever.
Brian Muir said: Lets get the neighbours round.
News Corp papers should publish full page apology to @NovaPeris. They stoop to a new low attacking her & intercepting her emails #yesrupert
"tweeted" by @CliveFPalmer [31/10/14]
Labor senator Nova Peris says the release of explicit emails to News Corp was part of an attempt to blackmail her.
The Northern Territory News published the emails yesterday, saying they were between Senator Peris and Olympic medallist from Trinidad and Tobago, Ato Boldon.
The report alleged that the emails showed Senator Peris - at the time, an ambassador for Athletics Australia - sought funds from the organisation to help pay for Boldon's trip to Australia, so the pair could pursue a personal relationship.
The NT senator has broken her silence on the claims, saying she has "done nothing wrong".
Making a statement to the Senate today, she said the claims were "baseless" and were connected to a family dispute.
"I have done nothing wrong," she said.
"It pains me to have to talk about my private life. But the publication of my emails is part of a very difficult child access and financial estate dispute," she said.
She said the "aggrieved party" in the dispute contacted her by email 10 days before the emails were published to reveal "he had in his possessions a folder of information pertaining to Mr Boldon's visit to Australia".
"I did not realise at the time, he was referring to these emails," she said.
"The release and publication of these emails is an attempt to extract money and embarrass me and my family."
She told the Senate that the NT News was "well aware" the emails were part of a long-running family dispute "ahead of its publication".
Senator Peris has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the matter.
Earlier the Australian Sports Commission said the funding for the athletics program which Boldon took part in had passed an independent audit.
Athletics Australia confirmed it covered the cost of Boldon's flight to Melbourne, his accommodation and some incidentals.
The commission said all sports programs were audited as part of their funding requirements and the independent assessment found the funds were spent for the purposes they were provided.
The emails were allegedly written in February 2010 before Boldon's trip in April.
Senator Peris and her husband Daniel Batman, who had two children together, separated that year after an eight-year marriage.
Batman died in a car crash in 2012.
Senator Peris also has a daughter to her first husband.
Senators Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie call for royal commission into abuse in ADF
Brisbane Times [31/10/14]:
A senate committee has declined to call for a royal commission into abuse in the Australian Defence Force, instead leaving the decision to the Abbott government.
However, two members of the committee, independent senator Nick Xenophon, and Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie dissented, saying a royal commission was needed to deal with the scale of the problem.
In tabling its report on Friday, the committee overseeing the support given to sexual and other abuse victims in the ADF recommended extending the term of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce so it could consider new complaints to the end of June 2015.
The committee decided to leave the decision to the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and the government.
Senator Xenophon, said abuse was a "cancer" in the ADF and only a royal commission could adequately deal with it.
"If we can have a royal commission into the home insulation issue, surely we can have a royal commission into 50 years of abuse in the defence force and it still hasn't been tackled by defence," he said.
"There are a number of men who are serving in our defence forces who are rapists who may have gone on to higher rank, who may be in leadership positions in defence forces, who have not been brought to account."
Senator Lambie called for a royal commission in her dissenting report to the committee.
"Any reasonable person reviewing the evidence presented to the committee would conclude this can be the only way now, given the total lack of confidence by the public in the ADF to properly care for its people," she wrote.
The Senate committee said it was generally impressed by the achievements of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce.
The taskforce was established in late 2011 to examine some 2400 complaints of sexual and physical abuse in the defence force, many dating back decades.
It determined some 2000 were plausible and so far has paid out more than $46 million in reparations to about 1100 complainants.
But the committee concluded the ADF was showing a lack of urgency in undertaking some critical reforms.
It cited a three-year delay in clarifying when administrative or disciplinary action should be taken over sexual assaults.
The committee also recommended that amending legislation be introduced to make it easier for victims of abuse to claim veterans' benefits and entitlements.
US Congress to revisit bombing Iraq and Syria debate after congressional election
When lawmakers return to Washington after Tuesdays congressional elections they will resume a debate they began with some reluctance last month on the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
With the U.S.-led coalition increasing air strikes but no signs the militants have been weakened, Congress appears ready for a broader discussion on the operations than it was prepared to hold during the run-up to the election.
The temporary authorization for President Barack Obamas plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels - one element of the campaign - expires on Dec. 11, so lawmakers will have to take up that issue when they return from recess on Nov. 12.
A handful of lawmakers are also pushing for Congress to consider a broader Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which would set out guidelines for the overall effort to halt the militants.
"We should not be asking servicemembers to go into harms way without ensuring there is a political consensus in support of the mission," said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a leading advocate for an AUMF vote.
Sometime in the busy session between the elections and the start of a new Congress in January, Obama will also have to ask Congress to approve more funds to pay for an extended campaign.
Congress approved a narrowly focused plan to arm and train Syrian rebels in September, but that show of unity appeared unlikely to be repeated in a Congress deeply divided along partisan lines.
When it comes to a broader authorization, the two parties cannot agree on when a vote should take place, let alone on the content. Republicans say a vote should be delayed until the new Congress begins in January, by which time the Senate may have a Republican majority.
Wow! What more evidence do you need than this Murdoch/Republican party propaganda that Australia should keep participating in the US bombing of Iraq and Syria?
Brisbane Times [31/10/14]:
The alleged Islamic State terror plot to kidnap and behead an Australian was partly responsible for the decision to ramp up security at US government buildings, according to a high-ranking congressman.
Mike Rogers, the chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee, told FOX News that 14 Australian IS recruits were "ready to go to Syria" at the time and "further their radicalisation".
But Mr Rogers said the recruits were told to stay in Australia. The senior Republican politician said the note back from IS said: "No, No. What we want you to do, stay in Australia. We want you to randomly kidnap people off the street, behead them, videotape it, send it to us for further propaganda."
Jihadists encouraging attacks on Australian teachers overseas? So what? Rupert Murdoch attacks Australian teachers here! [Canberra Times - 31/10/14]
Not a terrorist: Good ol' boy accused of shooting 2 Pennsylvania state troopers captured by US marshals [France 24 - 31/10/14]:
A survivalist accused of ambushing two Pennsylvania state troopers, leaving one dead and seriously injuring the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt for him, authorities said.
State police confirmed Eric Frein was taken into custody but released no details.
Not terrorism: Yobbo terrorises passengers, crew on a flight from Chile [WA Today - 31/10/14]
Not terrorism: Accused hijacker Matt Lockley was having a panic attack, court told [ABC - 31/10/14]
... Commonwealth prosecutor Peter Richards told the court there was no evidence Lockley was having a panic attack.
He said experienced flight attendants would not have activated hijack procedures without substantial reason.
"Experienced flight attendants would jump at the chance if someone was looking for the toilet and say 'certainly sir, there it is' and not activate (hijack) procedures..." Mr Richards said.
"It defies common sense that a pilot would give instructions to crew that they could use handcuffs and use able-bodied passengers, unless there was reason."
Magistrate Judith Daley reserved her decision until December 12.
Perth family shocked after family pet cat shot dead [WA Today - 31/10/14]:
... Freya's death is one of about 6100 reports of animal cruelty which came from more than 20,000 calls made to RSPCA WA during 2013-14.
US sailor Hugh Patrick Malone found not guilty of raping Darwin woman [ABC - 31/10/14]
United States continue bombing Iraq and Syria producing more terror, refugees
US Department of Defense [30/10/14]:
U.S. military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria yesterday and today, using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct 12 airstrikes, U.S. Central Command officials reported.
Separately, officials said, U.S. and partner-nation military forces conducted two airstrikes in Iraq yesterday and today, using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
In Syria, 10 airstrikes near Kobani struck two small ISIL units and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions and five ISIL-occupied buildings. Additionally, an ISIL headquarters building was damaged near Dayr Az Zawr, and an ISIL security building was damaged near Raqqah.
In Iraq, an airstrike near Bayji struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, and an airstrike west of Ramadi struck an ISIL checkpoint.
All aircraft left the strike areas safely, Centcom officials said, noting that airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.
The strikes were conducted as part of Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.
The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist groups ability to project power and conduct operations, officials said.
Among the coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq are the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain.
Today Human Rights Watch reported that gunmen from the so-called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria carried out the systematic execution of about 600 male inmates from a prison on the outskirts of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq on June 10 according to accounts of the survivors.
The overwhelming majority of the dead were Shiites.
After seizing Badush prison near Mosul, the militants ISIS separated the Sunnis inmates from the Shiites, and then forced the latter to kneel at the edge of a valley and shot them from assault rifles and automatic weapons, according to what 15 Shiites prisoners, who survived the massacre, said to Human Rights Watch.
The survivors added that the gunmen had also killed a number of Kurdish and Yazidi inmates.
Strangers in paradise
Why can Al Jazeera humanise the situation on Manus, but the ABC can't?
Al Jazeera, 101 East [VIDEO - 24/10/14]:
We travel to remote Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to investigate Australia's refugee detention programme.
Where is the Minister for Immigration Minister's response to this? Manus Island asylum seeker writes to UN in bid to access healthcare [Guardian - 27/10/14]
Still no response from Australia's Minister for Immigration or Nauru police
on threats to refugees ----> Unaccompanied
child refugees on Nauru report beatings, death threats [Guardian - 28/10/14]
No Australian media outlet has the resources to send a journalist to Nauru and Manus Island?
Sydney Morning Herald [31/10/14]:
Resources and media billionaire Kerry Stokes says he's not talking with the government about media ownership laws, but he'll be pleased when a complete package is presented.
"I don't think there's anything to discuss," the Seven West Media chairman said at the launch of the biography, Kerry Stokes: The Boy from Nowhere [published by Murdoch's Harper Collins]. ...
Pirates board Kerry Stokes' yacht in PNG [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/10/14]
No "rival" media outlet has the stomach for counteracting Murdoch/Ray Hadley anti refugee propaganda?
Today's anti refugee propaganda from the Murdoch Press, Ray Hadley and immigration
detention supporting prison workers' union. [Nine
MSN - 31/10/14]:
An asylum seeker who had escaped detention in Brisbane was arrested yesterday at the home of a detention centre guard who had just given birth to his baby.
A whistleblower from Serco, who runs the Brisbane Immigration Transit Centre and employs the prison guard, told 2GB radio immigration officials raided her Greenacre home and arrested Aziz Ali Abdulkader.
The whistleblower said the guard had only just returned from hospital after giving birth to Abdulkader's baby.
Abdulkader had allegedly fled custody on January 21 while being transported to hospital and has been unaccounted for since.
2GB presenter Ray Hadley said the whistleblower had told him woman's sister was also a guard with Serco and that an investigation was underway into alleged rorts involving government funds "claimed illegitimately".
Prison officers' union representative Steve McMahon said the issue was one of the things "we were concerned about when private operators were allowed to run facilities that should be run by the government", the Daily Telegraph reports.
"The entry requirements to be employed by these private firms are nowhere near as high and the scrutiny levels are not as thorough," Mr McMahon was quoted as saying.
Serco is a British contractor that the Australian government pays $1.8 billion for work such as security at detention centres.
A spokesman for the company said no comment could be made as an investigation was underway, while the office of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says a request for a formal investigation has been made.
won't reveal Ebola refugee ban advice because of 'national security' [Guardian
Myanmar may change some parts of Rakhine State Action Plan
Channel News Asia [30/10/14]:
The Myanmar government will hold national level talks to reconsider building camps to house internally displaced Bengalis or Rohingyas in Rakhine in the country's west. The Rakhine State Action Plan includes measures to assess citizenship and resettle Rohingyas who are considered illegal immigrants. But it has been heavily criticised by non-government organisations (NGOs).
Rakhine Chief Minister Maung Maung Ohn told Channel NewsAsia that the government may now be considering altering some of the components within the plan and also on the timing in which they plan to roll this out. One of the components the government may consider reworking is that of building camps to relocate and resettle Rohingyas or those whom they deem illegal immigrants.
Maung Maung Ohn said: "There will be changes. In the old action plan we put all the people in the camps. Later, we'll change the plan of the camps. The government will build villages in accordance to international law. That's a draft plan but there will be a few changes.
"What I can say is that instead of camps, we will not use the word 'camps'. That will be changed in the action plan. The international community says we cannot force them without their wish. That's why there's no plan yet. We will not do anything against their wish."
UN rights expert urges reversal of UK decision to halt Mediterranean migrant rescues
UN Media Release [30/10/14]:
The United Nations human rights expert on migrants today urged British authorities to reconsider a decision not to support search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, saying allowing people to die at Europes borders just because of their administrative status is appalling.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said in a press release issued in Geneva today that governments that do not support the search and rescue efforts have reduced themselves to the same level as the smugglers.
They are preying on the precariousness of the migrants and asylum seekers, robbing them of their dignity and playing with their lives, Mr. Crépeau said.
The United Kingdom this week announced that it will not support any future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants and refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, stating that such operations can encourage more people to attempt the dangerous crossing to enter Europe.
Migrants are human beings and just like the rest of us they too have rights. They too have the right to live and thrive, Mr. Crépeau said. To bank on the rise in the number of dead migrants to act as deterrence for future migrants and asylum seekers is appalling.
Its like saying, let them die because this is a good deterrence, said.
More than 130,000 migrants and asylum seekers are estimated to have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, compared with 80,000 last year. More than 800 people have died in the Mediterranean so far this year.
Despite good initiatives like the increase in search and rescue operations which have saved many lives, the emphasis remains on restricting the entry of migrants rather than on creating new legal channels for migration, the press release said.
Sealing international borders is impossible, and migrants will continue arriving despite all efforts to stop them, at a terrible cost in lives and suffering, the Special Rapporteur said repeating his message on border management in an open letter he sent to the European Union last month.
He cautioned that the absence of regulated open migration channels for much-needed low-wage migrants drives migration further underground, increases the precariousness of their situation, and entrenches smuggling mafias and exploitative employers, resulting in more deaths at sea and more human rights violations.
It is paradoxical that, in the name of securing borders, European States are actually losing control over their borders, as mafias will often be ahead of that game. Moreover, the increasing number of persons fleeing from conflict, violence and oppression requires a new and concerted strategic approach by European States towards asylum seekers, he said.
He also said that search and rescue programmes cannot be the sole responsibility of the frontline countries and appealed for more concerted efforts by EU Member States to assist frontline countries such as Italy, Malta, Greece and Spain.
Mr. Crépeau was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government or organization and serves in his individual capacity.
He has undertaken a one-year study to examine the rights of migrants in the Euro-Mediterranean region, focusing in particular on the management of the external borders of the European Union.
MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has since assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe.
I was fortunate enough to be taken on by the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) as their official photographer for one of its recent missions.
Usually they have a full-time filmmaker on board, but the NGOs directors understood the need of having high quality still images as well, and that those images could help save lives. Though Id witnessed several rescue operations out at sea before, I had never managed to get up close until this day.
Libyan rebel free to sue UK over 'torture'
Al Jazeera [30/10/14]:
A former Libyan rebel commander has won the legal right to sue the UK for damages over years of torture he says he endured at the hands of Muammar Gaddafi's henchmen after being illegally handed to Libya by British and US authorities.
The UK's Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who helped topple Gaddafi in 2011, could sue the government over his claim that Britain conspired with the CIA in his "rendition" to Libya.
The case could pave the way for similar legal action against the British government in similar torture or rendition cases.
"The allegations in this case, although they are only allegations, are of particularly grave violations of human rights," the court ruling said.
"The stark reality is that unless the English courts are able to exercise jurisdiction in this case, these very grave allegations against the executive will never be subjected to judicial investigation."
A spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office declined to comment on the court ruling.
Belhaj, who is now leader of the Libyan al-Watan Party, says he and his pregnant wife were abducted by CIA agents in Thailand in 2004 and then transferred to Tripoli with the help of British security officials.
After the fall of Gaddafi, documents were discovered indicating British officials had been in contact with Libya's former spy chief Moussa Koussa over Belhadj.
Belhadj says he was originally detained in China, before being transferred to Malaysia and then moved to a CIA "black site" in Thailand.
He says he was then flown via the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Tripoli.
As a long-standing enemy of Gaddafi, he was imprisoned and tortured for six years while his wife was also mistreated during her four-month incarceration.
The files unearthed from Gaddafi's archives after his fall suggest Belhadj was captured due to a British tip-off after he initially made an attempt to seek asylum in the UK.
Not newsworthy, or are journalists not allowed to report that 1,800 refugee supporters filled Melbourne's Town Hall last night? ---> ASRC Information Evening [VIDEO - 30/10/14]
This right now Melbourne is #StandUpToProtect #refugees at Melbourne Town Hall for @ASRC1 [Asylum Seeker Resource Centre]
Image: @Kon__K [30/10/14]
... 1800+ people in Melbourne Town Hall for the ASRC meeting - pretty spectacular @jamesfahy [30/10/14]
@MalcolmFraser12 telling how past refugees arrived here to find toys and clothes waiting. Heartbreaking where we are now. ... @Debbie_or_not [30/10/14]
There's a new political movement coming says @MalcolmFraser12 ... @FallMary [30/10/14]
@MalcolmFraser12 pushing for a new political party to bring real change. Says ALP and Libs are beyond reform. ... @LindaEmmerton [30/10/14]
These Machines Cut Razor Wire [30/10/14]:
Via Alex Bathal: This is happening in Nauru right now: This morning a 16 year old boy from Nauru rang. He said I am not safe. I am in danger here. Please help us.
He is a UAM that is he has no parents or family.
He has been released from detention as a refugee along with 29 other boys under 18 without families.
He is living in a house with 15 other boys and there are two other households with the 14 boys.
They live about 30 minutes walk from each other.
They are too scared to go to school or leave their rooms because of the attack a few nights back when 4 boys were assaulted by a group of Nauruan men.
The boys hid in the jungle and on the beach until they made contact with Immigration and Save the Children who took them to hospital.
They say that the locals hate all the refugees. From the children to the old men , whenever the boys or refugee families go to the market, they are given "the middle finger" and sworn at.
The police are not interested and have not charged anyone
The Nauruan Community Liaison person told them that the locals would not kill them only hit them. He said that they must not hit back becasue the people are all related and then the boys would make enemies if they retaliated and the Nauruan families would come after them.
The situation is untenable. Over 200 refugees have been released and the Nauruan community are not happy. In any case the visas issued are only for 5 years.
On the Road: One family's exhausting journey from Kobani to northern Iraq
UNHCR Media Release:
QUSHTAPA REFUGEE CAMP, Iraq, October 29 (UNHCR) Tarifa shepherds her hungry and tired family after they arrive by minibus at this refugee camp in northern Iraq more than two weeks after fleeing their home in the Syrian city of Kobani.
More than 190,000 Syrians from Kobani have escaped to neighbouring Turkey since the ISIS group launched an offensive to capture the border city in September.
Of these, close to 14,000 refugees, including 40-year-old Tarifa and nine relatives aged three months to 60 years, have continued on to Iraq's Kurdistan region. They join some 215,000 others who have arrived there since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011.
Tarifa is on one of 11 minibuses, packed with Syrian Kurds, that arrive two hours after nightfall at the Qushtapa Refugee Camp in Erbil governorate. Many of the new arrivals appear dazed and confused as they follow directions amplified through a megaphone. Children cry in their mothers' arms.
Staff from the Danish Refugee Council, which manages the camp for UNHCR, are there to greet them along with UNHCR protection staff. The new arrivals register to receive blankets, mattresses, pillows, soap, toothbrushes and paste, and plastic sheeting. They are then directed to a large communal tent, where most will spend the night.
Tarifa and her family cram everything into four sacks. They are wearing mostly donated clothes because they had only had time to grab their ID documents and a few small belongings in their rush to leave Kobani.
"We didn't even have time to lock the front door," says Tarifa's sister-in-law Nawroz. "We are exhausted, but we are more fortunate than most. Our entire family is safe."
The oldest member of the family, 60-year-old Luqman, had to be carried across the Syria-Turkey border because he was ill. Like so many others who chose to move on to Iraq rather than staying in Turkey, the family has relatives in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region, and there's the added attraction of legally being allowed to work in Iraq.
It is one reason why many of those arriving in Iraq from Kobani are not staying in refugee camps. They frequently spend one night on arrival, then depart the next morning to stay with family or friends, or to move to a city where work is available.
Less than an hour after arriving at Qushtapa, Tarifa and her family are settling into their family tent for the night. A motor tricycle pulls up with two immense pots filled with steaming rice and tomato stew. The family members sit on plastic sheeting and tuck into their second hot meal in Iraq since their arrival at the border this morning. A doctor and nurse enter the tent and check on Tarifa, who complains of a cough.
"It's going as well as we can hope," says Whycliffe Songwa, a senior UNHCR field coordinator. "We have enough space for the current arrivals, but we are concerned that if their numbers should increase dramatically, shelter could become an issue."
In addition to the population movements from Syria, conflict has left some 1.8 million Iraqis displaced by internal conflict since January. More than half have come to the Kurdistan region. With this new influx from Syria, contingency plans for refugee arrivals include the possible expansion of two refugee camps.
Like almost half of the new arrivals, Tarifa and her family haven't planned on staying in a camp.
"I'm still in shock from all that has happened," she says. "I can't yet think about making decisions. God willing, we will go back to Syria."
But by midnight, just as another nine buses arrive from the border, a decision is made. They pack up their meagre belongings, and drive off with relatives to find temporary shelter in a nearby city.
By Bathoul Ahmed and Ned Colt in Qushtapa Refugee Camp, Iraq
How rich governments use compassion as an excuse to let thousands of migrants die, Dara Lind [Vox - 29/10/14]
Special Iraqi forces deploy in Baghdad before Ashura holiday
While Iraqi Security Forces battle ISIS across a number of Iraqi territories, additional special units are being deployed in tactical formations to secure the capital Baghdad.
The special units from the Army and the police will hide among civilians, and others will be dressed in military uniforms, observing and securing the areas of Baghdad just before Ashuraa holiday next week.
One of the leaders of the units said, We have fought in many battles in Tikrit, Anbar and Jurf Al-Shakr, and now were here to protect the Iraqi people in the capital Baghdad.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Centre [30/10/14]:
Anbar/agencies : 150 dead bodies of Albu Nimir tribe have been found in Jazeera area ......
Fallujah has been shelled resulted in killing and wounding of 16 -two children and women included -during last 24 hours......
Alliance planes have shelled Rutba district casualties unknown
US drone strike kills five in Pakistan
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed at least five militants in a Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Thursday, with local villagers saying the dead included of a senior Arab commander.
U.S. drone strikes have escalated this month, hitting targets in tribal areas several times a week, but the latest strike comes just days after U.S. and British combat troops in neighboring Afghanistan officially ended their operations.
"The bodies were taken to an unknown location after the attack. We heard from local militants that there was a senior Arab commander but they didn't mention his name," said one villager in South Waziristan.
Another villager, who also spoke anonymously, said a number of "foreign guests" were staying in the targeted house after fleeing a major military offensive in the tribal region of North Waziristan.
Drone strikes stopped while the Pakistani government pursued ultimately fruitless peace talks with the Taliban insurgency but resumed four days before the military announced an anti-Taliban offensive in North Waziristan in June.
Death tolls from drone strikes are often disputed and North Waziristan, a mountainous region along the Afghan border, is currently off limits to journalists. The Taliban also seal the sites of many strikes.
Foreign militants including al Qaeda-linked Arabs and Uzbeks are holed up in the remote mountains on the Afghan border alongside their Pashtun Taliban hosts, planning and staging attacks together.
Iran foils sabotage attempt on heavy water tanks
Daily Star [30/10/14]:
Iranian authorities have foiled a sabotage attempt involving tanks used for the transportation of heavy water, a key component in nuclear reactors, an Iranian newspaper reported Thursday.
The independent Arman daily quoted Asghar Zarean, deputy head of Iran's nuclear department, as saying that Iranian nuclear experts thwarted the sabotage attempt "in recent weeks" but did not provide a more specific timing.
"Thanks to the full alertness of our colleagues, we were able to detect and defuse the sabotage attempt," said Zarean, who is also in charge of security at Iran's nuclear agency.
An unidentified foreign country was behind the attempt, Zarean added without elaborating. He did not indicate what kind of result the sabotage meant to achieve.
Heavy water is not radioactive but it is essential in both reactors that generate power and in those used in manufacturing nuclear weapons. Iran has only one known heavy water reactor, in the central city of Arak, which is still under construction.
Tehran has long accused the West of working to sabotage its nuclear program, which the international community suspects is geared for nuclear arms manufacturing. Iran denies the charges, saying the program is meant for peaceful purposes such as power generation and medical research.
In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet computer virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of centrifuges used in nuclear fuel production at Iran's uranium enrichment facility in the central city of Natanz.
Iran says Stuxnet and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the United States and their allies to undermine Tehran's nuclear program through covert operations.
"The enemy should know that it cannot take any action against Iran's nuclear activities," said Zarean. "In fact, Iran is able to find and defuse any sabotage in both hardware and software fields."
In September, authorities arrested a Ukrainian national suspected of sabotage at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. At the time, Iran's Hamshahri daily said the "Ukrainian expert" was affiliated with a Russian contractor that works at Bushehr, which went online in 2011 with Russian aid.
International sanctions force Iran to buy Western-made parts for its nuclear program from third parties.
There have been veiled suggestions that such parties are involved in sabotaging parts before they arrive in Iran.
Iran is in talks with the six world powers - the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany - on reaching a comprehensive agreement on Tehran's uranium enrichment program, which can make both reactor fuel and the fissile core of nuclear arms.
The deal would curb Iran's nuclear activities enough to prevent it from making nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from international sanctions imposed on the country over the controversial program. The two sides have a Nov. 24 deadline to seal the deal.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspect in Jerusalem shooting
Undercover Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem early Thursday suspected of shooting a prominent Israeli extremist hours earlier.
Special forces raided the al-Thuri neighborhood near Silwan at 2:30 a.m. and began searching rooftops before shooting dead Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, 32, after exchanging fire.
Witnesses said that Hijazi was shot and unable to move or fire back, at which point Israeli forces broke into his home and went to the rooftop.
The special units then threw a water tank on him as he bled to death.
Chairman of a local sports club, Hani Gheith, told Ma'an that Israeli forces only broke into Hijazi's house after they were sure he was critically wounded.
Dozens of locals tried to access the home after the shootout to take Hijazi to hospital but Israeli forces fired at them, injuring 15.
Four were taken to hospital for treatment.
Hijazi had served 11 years in Israeli jails and was freed on June 5, 2012.
He was first detained in 2000 on charges of participating in al-Aqsa Intifada. He was sentenced to seven years , but attacked an Israeli warden while in jail and so was given four more years.
Israeli forces claim Hijazi shot and critically wounded far-right Jewish activist Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening.
Glick regularly leads right-wing Jewish groups on tours in the Al-Aqsa compound and works for the Temple Mount Faithful, a group dedicated to building a Jewish temple in the Al-Aqsa compound and the "liberation of the Temple Mount from Arab/Islamic occupation," according to its website.
Israel shuts down Al Aqsa Mosque after shooting [Albawaba - 30/10/14]
Sweden officially recognises state of Palestine [Guardian - 30/10/14]
Nobel winner Malala to donate $50,000 to Gaza schools [France 24 - 29/10/14]
Tunisias secular Nidaa Tounes sweeps parliament
Al Arabiya [30/10/14]:
The secular Nidaa Tounes party came top in Tunisia's weekend legislative polls defeating Islamist party Ennahda, according to official provisional results released early Thursday.
Nidaa Tounes won 85 of the 217 parliamentary seats in Sunday's election, while Ennahda came second with 69, the ISIE election body told a press conference.
Tunisians voted in a parliamentary ballot that was one of the last steps in the North African country's transition to democracy after the 2011 uprising against Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Ennahda, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the "Arab Spring" revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in the election that was only the second free vote since Ben Ali's autocratic rule ended.
One of the most secular Arab countries, Tunisia has been hailed as an example of political compromise after overcoming a crisis between secular and Islamist movements and approving a new constitution this year that allowed the elections.
With no outright majority, Nidaa Tounes will seek to form a coalition with partners in negotiations that will likely last weeks before a new government is set up. Ennahda has called for a national unity government including its Islamist movement.
Electoral authorities said the secular UNL party won 16 seats, the left-leaning Popular Front movement secured 15 and the liberal Afek Tounes party won 8.
Protesters Storm Burkina Parliament ahead of Key Vote
Hundreds of angry demonstrators in Burkina Faso stormed parliament on Thursday in protest at plans to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year rule.
Police had fired tear gas on protesters to try to prevent them from moving in on the National Assembly building in the capital Ouagadougou ahead of a vote on the controversial legislation.
But about 1,500 people managed to break through the security cordon and were ransacking parliament, according to Agence France Presse correspondents.
Protesters ransacked offices, setting fire to documents and stealing computer equipment, and set fire to cars outside.
The country has been tense for days in the run-up to Thursday's vote over the changes, which the European Union has warned could jeopardise stability in the west African nation.
Police and soldiers were out in force around the parliament after mass rallies called by the opposition earlier this week.
The European Union has urged the government to scrap the legislation, warning that it could "jeopardise stability, equitable development and democratic progress", and called for all sides to refrain from violence.
Several thousand protesters had marched through the capital on Wednesday, the day after street battles erupted during a mass rally by hundreds of thousands of people against what they see as a constitutional coup by supporters of Compaore.
The legislature is due to examine a proposed amendment that would allow Compaore, now in the 27th year of his presidency, to run for re-election in November next year for another five years.
"October 30 is Burkina Faso's Black Spring, like the Arab Spring," said Emile Pargui Pare, an official from the Movement of People for Progress (MPP), a young and influential opposition party.
Government spokesman Alain Edouard Traore issued a statement Wednesday hailing the "vitality" of Burkina Faso's democracy despite what he termed anti-government "misbehaviour".
Saudi Arabia Beheads Man for Murder
Saudi Arabia beheaded a man Thursday for murdering a fellow tribesman, the interior ministry said, the latest in dozens of executions this year that have alarmed rights campaigners.
Hadi bin Rashid al-Dosari, a Saudi national, was convicted of stabbing to death a fellow tribesman following a dispute, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
The beheading in the eastern town of Al-Ihsa raises to 62 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year, despite international concern.
A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
Christof Heyns, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials "are by all accounts grossly unfair" and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer.
He said confessions were obtained under torture.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic sharia law.
Maine nurse fights Ebola quarantine, says will not be bullied
Saying she will not be bullied by politicians, a Maine nurse is giving the state an ultimatum: Lift her Ebola quarantine by Thursday or she will disregard the restrictions and go to court.
The saga of nurse Kaci Hickox illustrates how U.S. states are struggling to protect against the virus without resorting to overzealous and useless precautions or violating civil rights.
Hickox, 33, tested negative for Ebola after returning from treating patients in West Africa. She previously blasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after she was taken from Newark's airport and put in quarantine in a tent before being driven to Maine to spend the rest of her 21-day quarantine at her home.
"I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I am not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," Hickox, speaking from her home in the small Maine town of Fort Kent along the Canadian border, told NBC's "Today" program.
"If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom," Hickox added.
Hickox's defiance did not sit well with Republican Governor Paul LePage, who said he would seek legal authority to keep her isolated at home until Nov. 10.
"While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state," LePage said in a statement.
At a White House event, President Barack Obama scolded politicians who have sought quarantines or strict travel bans for caving into fears, although he did not mention anyone by name.
"When I hear people talking about American leadership, and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated," Obama said.
As quarantines are debated by politicians, U.S. Ebola czar Ron Klain will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta on Thursday.
Even people who did not treat Ebola patients but traveled to West Africa are facing restrictions.
A Connecticut school superintendent defended the decision to keep a 7-year-old girl out of class for three weeks over concerns the girl might have contracted Ebola while at a wedding in Nigeria. The World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free days after the girl's trip.
Hickox worked with the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone, one of the three nations at the heart of an outbreak that has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa. Liberia, the country worst-hit by the epidemic, may be seeing a decline in the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
In several media interviews, Hickox said she was in good health and had not had any symptoms of the virus that would indicate she had become contagious. Hickox said she had been monitoring her condition and taking her temperature twice a day.
West Africans 'abused' in New York over Ebola [Al Jazeera - 30/10/14]
Luke Batty feared his father would kill him, inquest into his death hears
Murdered schoolboy Luke Batty had been afraid his father would kill him, a child protection worker has told the coronial inquest into his death.
Victoria's Department of Human Services (DHS) has defended its handling of the case of the 11-year-old, killed in February at the Tyabb cricket ground by his father, Greg Anderson.
Senior DHS child protection worker Tracie Portelli told an inquest that she was called in to meet Luke last year, after he told his mother that Anderson had threatened him with a knife when they were alone.
She said Luke was clearly worried about his father, and told her that he thought in that moment Anderson would kill him.
But she told the inquest that she closed the file six months before Luke was killed because she believed his fear stemmed from having recently watched a horror movie.
"I don't feel it was a threat," Ms Portelli said.
"I feel it was just a comment he made, with a knife, in the car."
When pressed by lawyers for Luke's mother, Rosie Batty, on whether she believed Luke was at risk from his father, Ms Portelli said that it was not up to her to pass judgement.
"It's gathering information for an assessment," she said.
"It's not about my personal opinion."
Ms Portelli told the inquest that the DHS offered no training on the phenomenon of parents who kill their children.
At one point, she told Rosie Batty's lawyer that the questions were unfair.
She said Rosie Batty had also told her that she believed Anderson would not harm Luke.
Under cross examination Ms Portelli accepted Luke may have been in fear for his life.
Feel the fear: National Propaganda Team at your ABC weaves a story out of nothing to dogwhistle more anti-muslim bigotry ---> Islamic preacher Junaid Thorne says slain Melbourne man Numan Haider was his follower [ABC - 30/10/14]
Police search for man who allegedly threatened teens on Sydney bus
Nine MSN [30/10/14]:
Police have released an image of a man they want to talk to after six teens were threatened and abused on a bus at Claymore, in Sydneys south-west.
About 3:20pm yesterday, three boys and three girls got on a bus at Campbelltown Railway Station after finishing school.
Police believe a man sat down near the teens and allegedly made offensive and threatening comments towards them.
One of the boys began to call police when the bus stopped at Eagle Vale and the man walked off.
Police believe that Ben Jeffreys, 23, may be able to assist with inquiries and are appealing for information from the public in an attempt to locate him.
He is known to frequent Campbelltown and surrounding suburbs.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with a shaved head, a tanned complexion and stocky build.
Mr Jeffreys was last seen wearing a bum bag around his waist and has distinctive tattoos on his forearms and face.
If members of the public see Mr Jeffreys, they are urged not to approach him but to contact Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Buddhist monk and caretaker shot by nail gun at temple, Sydney
Two men are in a critical condition after being shot in the head by a nail gun at a Buddhist temple in Sydney.
One victim is believed to be a Buddhist monk and the other a caretaker who lives at the temple.
Both men underwent surgery on Wednesday and were in a critical condition on Thursday morning.
Police are investigating but do not believe a third person was involved in the incident.
Man arrested after three-hour siege west of Brisbane
Nine MSN [30/10/14]:
Tactical police have arrested a man after a three-hour siege at Collingwood Park, west of Brisbane.
A member of the Westpac bank came with a bailiff to the man's home on McCormack Court earlier today to issue a repossession warrant for the home.
The 39-year-old man refused to answer the door and police were called.
When they arrived the man allegedly swung a machete at an officer.
The officer drew his firearm but then retreated and called in tactical police and negotiators.
Heavily-armed police were on the scene from around 11am with a police dog wearing body armour.
Residents were asked to stay indoors and surrounding streets were closed.
The man allegedly then lit a fire in the front bedroom, but was forced to stick his head out the window to escape the smoke.
Tactical police then moved in and arrested him.
He is expected to be charged with several offences.
Mandatory data retention will be fought
Greens Media Release [30/10/14]:
The Governments mandatory data retention legislation is an outrageous attack on Australians fundamental right to privacy and does not represent a proportionate response to the needs of law enforcement authorities.
The bill contains no description of the metadata it is seeking to access, and no details about the cost of this unwelcome new surveillance tax.
Since the idea was first floated in 2009, mandatory data retention has been dissected and rejected by almost every major stakeholder group affected by the idea, including the telecommunications industry, civil liberties groups, media organisations, journalists, political parties and thinktanks across the political spectrum.
Data retention will impose a surveillance tax on the entire Australian population and turn the telecommunications industry into unwilling appendages to enforcement agencies, tracking and storing material on every device held by every man, woman and child in Australia.
Data retention was rolled back by the European Court of Justice because it was found to violate human rights and because it did not affect authorities ability to do their job.
Data retention will also make a mockery of the ability of journalists to protect their sources. When the Government has access to a log of every phone call made in Australia and every email sent, the practice of whistleblowing will cease to exist.
Malcolm Turnbull got it right in 2012 when he said he had very grave misgivings about data retention, because it was heading in precisely the wrong direction and would create a chilling effect on free speech as well as invade privacy.
Turnbull said at the time:
The German Federal Constitutional Court has recently struck down a similar data retention law noting that metadata may be used to draw conclusions about not simply the content of the messages, but the social and political affiliations, personal preferences, inclinations and weaknesses of the individual concerned.
Turnbull also noted in 2012 that the criminals of greatest concern to Australia would be able to use numerous means to anonymise their communications to evade their data being retained, meaning the scheme would be easy to evade.
The Greens and a wide range of other groups across the political spectrum will step up the fight against data retention to ensure it is blocked in the Senate.
Today we call on the Labor Party to declare they will vote against Mandatory Data Retention, and not wait until after it has passed to express their regrets and concerns.
Australian Journalism 101: Mention worst aspects of legislation after its passed
Deceitful "opposition" and "journalists" bleating about the jailing of journalists have been silent until today.
They were silent when the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 was in committee stage on 25 September.
The Press Gallery was empty and the number of "advisers" in Senate almost outnumbered the Senators.
Senate Hansard [25/10/14]:
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (19:44): Now we get to one of the most serious parts of this debate and one of the areas where I struggle to understand how a governmentthat 18 or so months ago, when there were proposals to reform some elements of the architecture of media regulation in this country, shouted to the rooftops about curtailment of press freedomwould seek to bring provisions as draconian as what we see before us tonight and that have been condemned from one end of the country to the other.
Effectivelyand I will read a few quotes in shortlyit is proposed to criminalise the reporting of one of these special intelligence operations, the transmission about it, so this would relate not necessarily to journalists, because obviously they are not named in the bill, but people sharing Facebook information about one of these operations may well find themselves falling foul of the law.
By leaveI move Australian Green amendments (3) to (5) together:
(3) Schedule 3, item 3, page 69 (lines 19 to 23), omit subsection 35P(1).
(4) Schedule 3, item 3, page 70 (line 6), omit "Subsections (1) and (2) do", substitute "Subsection (2) does".
(5) Schedule 3, item 3, page 70 (line 20), omit "(1) or".
It effectively relates to the criminalisation of the reporting of national security issues. We will do this in two tranches and I will speak at more length on the first. There is a later batch of amendments that relate to similar matters, and I will reserve my comments on those now. These ones relate specifically to reporting of SIOs and even their mere existence.
Schedule 3 creates new offences relating to disclosing information on special intelligence operations or SIOs with a penalty of five years imprisonment. Schedule 6 creates new offence provisions and updates existing offences relating to the unauthorised disclosure of intelligence information, and we will come to those a little later in the debate.
Under the proposed subsection 35P(1):
a person will commit an offence if he or she:
* discloses information and
* the information relates to an SIO.
The maximum penalty for the offence will be imprisonment for five years.
These offences are by far the most controversial of the proposed schemeand, I would argue, of the proposed legislation. Two major concerns have been raised: the offences do not contain exceptions for public interest disclosures, which I think Senator Xenophon will try and address in a forthcoming amendment; or whistleblowing by ASIO employees. They apply to any person and would thereby capture disclosures by, for example, journalists. Many submitters made that point to the PJCIS.
I go back to earlier stages of the debate yesterday where we were discussing the document that the Scrutiny of Bills Committee had prepares when evaluating this bill. They identified 19 areas over which they had grave concerns. One of them was this very issue, subsection 35Pthe committee sought a fuller justification from the Attorney as to why a penalty of imprisonment for five years is considered appropriate, given the breadth of application of the offence provision.
What this means in practice, which was stated very bluntly by a number of the submittersand the first contribution that I would like to read is submission no. 17 by combined media organisations and signed by the following: AAP, ABC, APN, Astra, Bauer Media, Commercial Radio Australia, Fairfax Media, FreeTV, the MEAA, News Corp Australia, SBS and the West Australian.
Under a section of their submission, which they have entitled ' Jailing journalists for doing their jobs,' they say:
The insertion of proposed section 35P could potentially see journalists jailed for undertaking and discharging their legitimate role in a modern democratic societyreporting in the public interest. Such an approach is untenable, and must not be included in the legislation.
I can say to our colleagues in the press gallery tonight that this is included in the legislation and that we may be about to legislate away your extremely important role in our democracy.
They go on to say:
This alone is more than adequate reason to abandon the proposal as the proposed provision significantly curtails freedom of speech and reporting in the public interest.
This is particularly so as the proposed section 35P prohibits any disclosure of information relating to an SIO, not just reporting in the public interest.
It is a blanket prohibition. The trick is: how would you know if you had done that, because the very existence of SIOs would be suppressed?
These entities make up by far the largest fraction of those working in the parliamentary press galleryI am not sure where they all are tonight but, nonetheless, their submission speaks for itself. They go on to say:
In addition, SIOs by their very nature will be undisclosed. This uncertainty will expose journalists to an unacceptable level of risk and consequentially have a chilling effect on the reportage of all intelligence and national security material. A journalist or editor will simply have no way of knowing whether the matter they are reporting may or may not be related to an SIO. We express this as information that may or may not be related to an SIO because:
* It may or may not be known if the information is related to intelligence operations, and whether or not that intelligence operation is an SIO;
* relates to is not defined and therefore the breadth of relevance is unknowable;
* It is unclear whether SIO status can be conferred on an operation retrospectivelyi.e. if information has been disclosed, whether any operation that it may be associated with or related to can be retrospectively allocated SIO status; and
* It is likely that clarity about any of these aspects would only come to light after information is Disclosedparticularly in the case of reporting in the public interest.
This submission is damning. I cannot for the life of me understand why the opposition is lining up and supporting this uncritically. Perhaps Senator Collins can inform us, but I would like Senator Brandis to tell us how those in this press gallery and working journalists around the country will know in advance whether what they are deciding to report in tomorrow's paper may or may not be related to an SIO. How will they know without simply publishing and hoping for the best?
Social experiment in wake of Ottawa attack proves Canadians have no tolerance for racism
... A group of Ontario university students trying to prove that not all Canadians were Islamophobic following the shooting death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo appear to have made their point, after one of them was attacked while pretending to harass a friend who was dressed in a traditional Muslim gown.
In a video shot in downtown Hamilton, Ont., the student approached the Muslim man and told him he couldnt get on a bus dressed like a terrorist. In four separate instances, bystanders stepped in and defended the victim.
The social experiment was recorded on video and posted to YouTube on Monday. It has already been viewed more than 410,000 times.
Future Suspended (2014)
How does a global financial crisis permeate the spaces of everyday life in a city?
From the streets of Athens, Greece, Future Suspended is divided in three sections. Privatised explores the legacy of mass privatisation projects that preceded the 2004 Olympics, placing them in the context of present day privatisation schemes. Devalued gazes at the ever-shrinking spaces of migrants in the city and the devaluation of their lives that comes as a result. Militarised shows how, in face of the crisis, this devaluation turns into a generalised condition.
Through its cinematic traversal of today's Athens, Future Suspended traces the rise of the authoritarian-financial complex and how this shrinks public space in the city, fuelling social despair and anger in return.
Future Suspended is part of the research project at crisis-scape.net. The research team consists of Christos Filippidis, Antonis Vradis, Dimitris Dalakoglou, Ross Domoney and Jaya Klara Brekke.
All music for Future Suspended was composed by Giorgos Triantafyllou.
Walkout at Royal Perth Hospital over job cuts [West Australian - 30/10/14]
Team Australia: Mind the tyranny and focus
on yet another convenient media beatup about kids play acting at a Mosque
The Foreign Minister says Australians have a right to be shocked and outraged over chilling footage of radicalised children, aired on 7News.
A Muslim youth group is under investigation after a disturbing video of children as young as six years old calling for an end to Australian democracy was unearthed by 7News. ... [Yahoo - 30/10/14]
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has introduced the Federal Government's Data Retention Bill to Parliament.
The legislation would require telecommunications companies to store information about calls and internet use for a longer period, so that it could be accessed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
The information to be stored is referred to as online metadata, and includes IP addresses of websites visited but not necessarily the exact content of web browsing.
Mr Turnbull introduced the legislation this morning, arguing the current laws are out of date.
"Modern communication technologies have revolutionised the abilities of people to communicate, collaborate and express themselves," he said.
"Sadly though, these same technologies are routinely misused and exploited by criminals - including those who threaten our national security."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott had previously defended the legislation as an essential part of the Government's new counter-terrorism plans.
The Greens had strongly campaigned against the move, citing privacy concerns.
Not terrorism: New York police investigate woman's beheading, son's train death as a murder-suicide [KFOR - 28/10/14]
Not terrorism: Good ol' boy who terrorised a Brisbane to Bali flight to face court [Yahoo - 30/10/14]
Comment From Dr. Michael McKinley: Rationality Of Terror [Woroni - 28/10/14]:
... Expressed differently, is it now the case that, should Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, or Henry Kissinger be invited to the ANU by Woroni (always assuming that it could pay the exorbitant speaking fees they charge and the Australian Government could guarantee in Kissingers case, that he would not be arrested and / or extradited to Chile), they also would be ostracised in the manner accorded to Mr. Doureihi?
I expect that, to the contrary, their presence would be heralded as a benediction upon the ANU in general and Woroni in particular.
Woman attacked by three men with a machete in Broadbeach
Two men have reportedly been arrested following a terrifying machete attack in Broadbeach early on Thursday morning.
The woman was allegeldy sitting in her car when the trio, one armed with the weapon, approached her vehicle.
The group are said to have attacked her car before setting upon her, slashing her wrist and knocking out some of her teeth.
They apparently grabbed her bag before fleeing on foot.
The woman ran to the 7/11 service station at the corner of Hooker Boulevard and Sunhine Boulevard just after 6am to make the call for help.
She has been taken to Hospital and is said to be in a stable condition.
Coast police busy arbitrarily applying anti rights laws [QPS Media - 30/10/14]:
Taskforce Maxima detectives investigating an alleged Criminal Motorcycle Gang (CMG) meeting house where drugs and cash were seized on the Gold Coast last week have issued a man with a Notice to Appear.
Police say death of woman at Caboolture was not suspicious
Sunshine Coast Daily [30/10/14]:
Police have confirmed that the death of a woman who's body was located at Centenary Lakes yesterday is non suspicious.
The body was discovered near the toilet block at Centenary Lakes park early in the morning.
A police cordon was been set up at the Riverview St end of Stringfellow Rd, near the Shirley Tinney Netball Complex as investigations were underway.
Constable Matt Smith said police had been at the scene since 8am yesterday and the area.
Anyone seeking help should call Lifeline's 24hr crisis telephone line on 13 11 14.
Man jailed after swinging on hotel chandelier, Gladstone
Gladstone Observer [30/10/14]:
A man has been sent to prison for seven days after swinging on a chandelier at the Grand Hotel and smashing it.
Magistrate Penelope Hay said Liam Eilola had already received the benefit of fines and suspended sentences, and enough was enough.
Eilola was also ordered to serve a one-year banning order and a two month sentence suspended over two years on his release.
Australia's warmongering media are lying.
There is no agreement.
The Iraqi government said NO to Australia's dirty diggers.
Bring them - and the fighter jets - home.
Canberra Times [30/10/14]:
... About 200 commandos are in the Middle East waiting to join the fight against Islamic State, but they have been told they cannot enter Iraq without valid visas.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, was asked on Wednesday whether the troops were yet in Iraq and she declined to answer because of operational secrecy: "One doesn't flag what we intend to do to the enemy."
However, an informed source said the obstacle was not the enemy but the Iraqi government's excruciating inefficiency. Australian officials have been told it will take another week or two for visas to be granted.
Ms Bishop struck an agreement with Iraq on a legal framework for the deployment 10 days ago.
The troops have been waiting for at least a month and some have been waiting for two months. "We are just going through the administration to comply with the legal framework," a government source said.
A person knowledgeable about the matter said the Iraqi government's slowness was explained by political caution in allowing foreign troops to be seen on the ground.
... U.S. fighter jets and bombers on Tuesday and Wednesday carried out eight air raids near Kobane, targeting six vehicles, a building and several IS fighting positions over the past 24 hours, said the military's Central Command, which oversees the air war in Iraq and Syria. ... [Naharnet - 29/10/14]
deploys depleted uranium aircraft to Middle East [Al Jazeera - 29/10/14]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [VIDEO - 29/10/14]:
Salah-il-Deen: The civilian homes in Dhelo'iyah were shown after random and intended bombing of government's...
Syrian refugee camp bombed
A Syrian army helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on a displaced persons camp in the northern province of Idlib, camp residents said on Wednesday, and video footage appeared to show charred and dismembered bodies.
Footage posted on YouTube showed corpses of women, children and burning tents while people scrambled to save the wounded. "Its a massacre of refugees," a voice off camera said.
"Let the whole world see this, they are displaced people. Look at them, they are civilians, displaced civilians. They fled the bombardment," the man's voice said.
A man in another video of the Abedin camp, which houses people who had escaped fighting in neighboring Hama province, said as many as 75 people had died.
Syrian state media did not mention the bombing. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the civil war, said 10 civilians died.
Reuters could not independently confirm the attack. Barrel bombs are crudely-made containers filled with nails, metal shrapnel and explosive that are dropped from helicopters.
Rights groups say they have been dropped by the army on densely populated neighborhoods in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the indiscriminate explosives.
One video shows a man arriving at the scene on a motorbike. He runs into the camp and screams at others to pick up the bodies, trying to convince them that the people on the ground with limbs missing might still survive if taken to hospital.
"This one's good! This one's good!" he shouts, telling two men to carry a limp body with one leg hanging from strips of flesh to a nearby pick up truck. "Pick him up from the stomach not the leg," he screams.
Nearly 10 million people have been displaced by Syria's civil war, which started with pro-democracy protests but grew into an armed revolt when security forces cracked down on the demonstrations. More than 3 million refugees have fled the country and the conflict has killed close to 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.
Both the Syrian government and insurgent groups are accused by rights groups of killing civilians and destroying homes.
AFP to investigate Murdoch Press hacking of Peris email
West Australian [30/10/14]:
Labor senator Nova Peris has asked federal police to investigate
leaked[hacked] private emails used in media reports of an extra-marital affair with fellow Olympian Ato Boldon.
Explicit emails published by News Corp newspapers suggest she approached Athletics Australia and other sources for money to pay for Boldon's trip to Australia in 2010 - well before she became a Labor senator.
An Australian Federal Police spokesman confirmed Senator Peris made a referral to them on October 29.
"The AFP is continuing to evaluate this referral as per usual process," he said.
Horrible old phone hacking fascist farts out another decree [Guardian - 30/10/14]:
The media industry needs its own competitor to online streaming giants Amazon and Netflix, Rupert Murdoch told a technology conference on Wednesday.
Serious traffic crash, Oxley
QPS Media [30/10/14]:
Police are investigating an incident which occurred in Oxley last night.
Around 8.10pm, a car believed to be stolen from Cornubia on October 28, collided with a second vehicle at the intersection of Blunder and Freeman Roads.
The five occupants of the stolen vehicle were seen to abandon the car at the intersection and run into the grounds of a nearby golf course.
The 36-year-old female driver of the second car and her teenaged passenger were transported to the PA Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Anyone who may have witnessed the event is asked to contact Policelink or Crime Stoppers.
Man who borrowed boss' vehicle to drive to grandmother's funeral placed on good behaviour bond for stealing
North West Star [29/10/14]:
A 19-year-old man "stole" his employers vehicle in Quilpie to attend his grandmothers funeral in Lake Nash, the Mount Isa Magistrates Court heard.
Darius Webb also "stole" the vehicle to attend the Boulia Rodeo on April 26, 2013.
He was in the dock when he pleaded guilty to the charge.
Webb was placed on a good behaviour bond lasting six months.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paige Barrow said Webb was a stock hand for a cattle company.
Three weeks into the job Webb asked his employer for time off to attend the funeral, Senior Constable Barrow said.
The employer asked for details of the funeral, but was not given them, so refused the time off.
At 1am on April 26 Webb and a friend "stole" a Toyota Landcruiser and two motorcycles on the back of it, the court heard.
The vehicle ran out of fuel and was found in scrubland by the side of the road about 11 hours later.
There was no damage to the vehicle, it was in the same condition other than having no fuel, Senior Constable Barrow said.
Solicitor of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, Bob Quilliam, said the main reason his client "stole" the vehicle was to get to the grandmothers funeral and the Boulia Rodeo was a minor reason.
Webb had no previous criminal history.
The conviction was not recorded.
Political and media establishment pretend "toilet dispute" - not racist campaign - is why Brisbane City Council closed first nations' cafe on Mt Gravatt. [Brisbane Times - 30/10/14]:
... The Aboriginal organisation First Contact has run the Echidna Magic cafe since 2010, under a 20-year lease.
Respected former Brisbane City councillor Robbie Williams the same name, but a far different calling to the internationally-recognised entertainer was the founder of First Contact Development Corporation.
Cr Williams Brisbane's first Aboriginal councillor died in December 2007 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 45.
Robbie Williams had been an ATSIC commissioner for nine years before becoming a Brisbane City councillor for the ALP. He counted former police commissioner Bob Atkinson and former police minister Judy Spence as friends.
First Contact received $437,000 from the federal government's Indigenous Business Australia in 2010 to build the Echidna Magic Cafe, which has been run by Robbie Williams' wife, Trisha.
Outside the Echidna Magic Cafe is a small plaque to Cr Williams which reads, "Dream, Believe, Create, Succeed."
A report at Tuesday's Brisbane City Council meeting showed "an escalation of issues relating to the management of Echidna Magic Cafe for over 12 months".
Brisbane City Council terminated First Contact's 20-year lease on Tuesday night.
The toilet dispute at the cafe was part of the problem.
"This is a requirement of the lease conditions and Council has received a series of complaints from members of the public in this regard," the report to Tuesday's council meeting said.
In August 2013, First Nation also allegedly did not provide financial records to Council as required.
Other issues include failing to open for a minimum number of trading hours (May 2014), being behind in their rates and failing a food safety audit in July 2014.
Fairfax Media emailed Trisha Williams and visited the Echidna Magic Cafe to talk to her, but was unable to contact her.
More bacteria-infected mosquitoes released in north Queensland "to fight dengue fever" [ABC - 30/10/14]
More than 100 believed killed in Sri Lanka landslide: minister
A landslide in hilly south-central Sri Lanka is believed to have killed more than 100 people on Wednesday as it buried scores of houses, a government minister said, and the toll is likely to rise.
The landslide hit a village in the tea-growing area of Sri Lanka after days of heavy monsoon rain, with more than 300 people listed as missing.
"More than 100 people are believed to have died," Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Reuters from the disaster site in the village of Haldummulla, 190 km (120 miles) inland from the capital, Colombo.
"We have suspended the rescue operations because of darkness and inclement weather. There is also a threat of further landslides."
Children who left for school in the morning returned to find their clay and cement houses had been buried.
Nearly 300 children were gathered at a nearby school as night fell amid further landslide threats.
The Disaster Management Center said 10 bodies had been found so far, at least 300 people were missing and 150 houses buried in the village, which lies south of a popular national park.
Amaraweera said the landslide was at least 3 km (2 miles) long. Villagers had been advised in 2005 and 2012 to move away because of the threat of landslides, but many did not heed the warning, he said.
"I was under the rubble and some people took me out my mother and aunt have died," a woman who was being treated for injuries told media.
There have been a number of landslides since the start of heavy rains in mid-September resulting in damage to roads, but there had been no casualties until Wednesday.
Some roads in the central districts of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Badulla were blocked on Wednesday due to landslides, limiting public transport.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa tweeted that military heavy machinery had been deployed to speed up search and rescue operations.
The people living in the affected hilly area are mostly of Indian Tamil origin, descendants of workers brought to Sri Lanka from South India under British rule as cheap labor to work on tea, rubber and coffee plantations.
UN condemns Israeli settlement expansion
Al Jazeera [29/10/14]:
A UN official has warned that Israel's plans for further settlements in East Jerusalem could ignite more violence and threaten the viability of the future Palestinian state.
UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman called on Israel on Wednesday "to rescind" its plan to build 1,000 new homes, which he said was in violation of the international law, and contrary to the two-state solution.
Feltman called on Israel to "abide by its commitment to the international law", while calling on Palestinian protesters to stop incitment of violence.
He urged both sides to commit to "meaningful negotiations."
He was speaking at a UN Security Council emergency session convened at the request of council member Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians.
Tensions have soared between Arabs and Jews over Israel's plans to build about 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, the part of the city the Palestinians demand for their future state.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government said that it was advancing plans to build about 600 additional houses in Ramat Shlomo and 400 in Har Homa districts of East Jerusalem.
Israel has said all of Jerusalem will forever be its capital, citing historical, religious and security reasons.
But the international community, including the US, does not recognise Israel's annexation of the eastern sector of the contested city.
Egypt demolishes Sinai homes for Gaza border buffer [BBC - 29/10/14]
Palestinian activists have hailed a decision by SodaStream International, an Israeli-owned soft drink company, to close its controversial factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, calling the decision a victory for the campaign for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions.
31 October 2014