3 words for ACTU President Ged Kearney: FUCK. THE. ALP.
The ALP locked up children to be abused in offshore concentration camps, but its key supporter says she cares about refugees?
The ALP is not going to change its refugee policy, but the party is most surely threatened by an independent refugee liberation movement.
Ged Kearney isn't going to leave the ALP.
The ALP and the LNP are the enemy.
As Malcolm Fraser said, "the major parties are beyond reform" - probably the reason why he left the Liberal Party - thus becoming a powerful (and authentic) advocate.
Along with bipartisan stitchups on war, austerity and draconian legislation, the ALP and LNP are responsible for policies that incarcerate, torture and deport refugees.
Kearney's presence at today's rally was a stunt - an extraordinarily arrogant manoeuver which makes it clear the ALP has no qualms whatsoever about co-opting the refugee movement for PR purposes, and if possible, rendering it useless.
These are not nice people.
Trust them at your peril.
Sydney Morning Herald [19/4/15]:
Australia's refugee policy is a national shame, the country's top union official has told a rally in Sydney.
About 2000 people attended the "welcome refugees" rally in inner Sydney on Sunday, demanding the closure of offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
"Just think about those three small words – stop the boats – never before can I think of three small words that have left such a permanent and dreadful scar on our national psyche," Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said.
Andrew Gavin Marshall [13/10/11]:
... Thus, I feel it is important to differentiate between solidarity and co-optation. Solidarity implies a type of social empathy, in seeing how the cause or struggles of one movement or people is the cause and struggle of your own movement or people.
Solidarity is an incredibly important and necessary development, especially in the context of today’s globalized world.
Solidarity allows for people the world over to understand and believe that the struggle of one person is the struggle of all people in all places, and indeed it is. Thus, solidarity, no matter with whom, should not be shunned.
There is, however, a fine line between solidarity and co-optation.
Co-optation emerges when those who declare solidarity then begin to speak “for” the movement, assume leadership positions within the movement, promote their particular agendas as the agendas of the entire movement, and effectively steer it into directions which they desire.
This process must be guarded against. ...
If Ged Kearney and the ACTU were serious about closing Manus and Nauru, they would withdraw all support from the ALP and use their vote on the HESTA board to push divestment.
HESTA invests in mandatory detention:
HESTA, the health and community services industry superannuation fund, holds shares in Transfield Services, the company that runs the Australian detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
HESTA has effectively loaned Transfield millions of dollars, in addition to the A$1 billion+ in government contracts that the company already has, to help run Australia’s mandatory detention system.
Why is HESTA willing to use the retirement savings of health and community services workers to help Transfield profit from the mandatory detention of asylum seekers? ...
Pope Francis urges more international support for refugees [BBC – 18/4/15]:
Pope Francis has called on Europe and the international community to do more to tackle the rising number of migrants making desperate and often deadly journeys across the Mediterranean.
The Pope thanked Italy, which has borne the brunt of the rescue efforts, and urged a "broader involvement".
Some 10,000 migrants have been rescued in the past week by Italy's coastguard, but 400 were feared drowned on Monday.
Last year, a record 170,000 people made the crossing to Italy.
Most were fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.
Earlier this week, an EU spokeswoman said there was no "silver bullet" for the situation.
The Pope was speaking at his first official meeting with Italy's new president, Sergio Mattarella.
He thanked Italy for welcoming migrants seeking refuge at the risk of their lives, but added that it was "evident that the proportions of the phenomenon demand much greater involvement".
"We must not tire in our attempts to solicit a more extensive response at the European and international level," he said.
Mr Mattarella reiterated Italy's call on the European Union for a "decisive intervention to stop this continuous loss of human life in the Mediterranean".
He added: "These broken lives compromise the dignity of the international community and we are in danger of losing our humanity."
South African President Jacob Zuma has visited a refugee camp in the port city of Durban after a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence.
Mr Zuma told those who had fled the violence that it went against South African values and that he would bring it to an end. ... [BBC - 18/4/15]
Malta helps in latest refugee emergency as another tragedy unfolds in the Mediterranean
Times of Malta [19/4/15]:
Twenty-eight migrants have been rescued but hundreds are feared dead after a boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized last night.
The incident happened in an area just off Libyan waters, 120 miles south of Lampedusa.
The emergency was declared at about midnight when the migrants are believed to have moved to one side of the boat, capsizing it, when a merchant ship approached.
The incident bears similarities to another case last week when some 400 migrants are believed to have perished. Only some 150 were rescued.
A number of bodies were washed ashore in Libya.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat referred to the tragedy this morning when he spoke at a Pl meeting in Marsa.
He said he was informed at 1am that the AFM had been requested to help the Italian forces after the incident took place 'in Libyan waters'.
He said a Maltese patrol boat was helping in the rescue efforts along with Italian naval ships and cargo vessels.
"They are literally trying to find people alive among the dead floating in the water."
If confirmed, he said, this would be the biggest tragedy to have ever taken place in the Mediterranean.
The enormity of what was taking place was far more important than other matters, he said.
Malta had problems over migration, he said, but no one should be allowed to die.
He said that despite the talk, Malta and Italy were still alone in this crisis. True, Europe appeared to be showing more understanding, but the bottom line was that this was political talk. What he got on his phone was pleas for help as people fought for their lives.
Malta, he said, should not shirk its responsibilities simply because the migrants were not being brought here.
A tragedy is unfolding in the Mediterranean and if the EUand the world continue to close their eyes, they will be judged int he harshest terms as it was judged in the past when it closed its eyes to genocides when the comfortable did nothing," Dr Muscat said.
Malta, he said, would do everything possible to save as many lives as it could. He asked all present to observe a minute's silence.
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, speaking in Siggiewi also expressed his concern and urged the government to offer whatever the country could do to help people's lives. He also called on the government to seek an urgent EU meeting to address this issue and said the Opposition would back government efforts in this regard.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna used the opportunity of the Feast of St Publius this morning to call for greater respect and tolerance towards irregular migrants.
Celebrating Mass at the Floriana Parish Church, Archbishop Scicluna said the feast day should remind the faithful of the plight of “our brothers ‘shipwrecked’ on the Mediterranean today”.
“We cannot celebrate this feast here today and then turn round and use words of hate towards migrants on social media,” he said.
“Publius took Paul into his home, not knowing who he was. He didn’t ‘send him back’, and he received a great blessing for himself and his country as a result.”
John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia said: "What we are witnessing in the Mediterranean is a man-made tragedy of appalling proportions. These latest deaths at sea come as a shock, but not a surprise.
“Whilst merchant vessels and their crews have bravely attempted to fill the gap left by the chronic shortfall in specialist search and rescue teams, they are not designed, equipped or trained for maritime rescue. It is time for European governments to face their responsibilities and urgently set up a multi-country concerted humanitarian operation to save lives at sea.”
UNSMIL condemns Tripoli fighting endangering civilian lives, calls for immediate end to hostilities [Media Release - 18/4/15]:
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Leon has strongly condemned the renewed outbreak of violence in different neighbourhoods of the Libyan capital that caused many casualties and endangered the lives of civilians.
Initial reports indicate that three civilians were killed, including a young girl, since the outbreak of the fighting in Fashloum. There have also been reports of abductions of civilians and burning of houses in the context of the fighting.
Leon stressed that at a time when all relevant Libyan political stakeholders were gathered in Morocco as part of on-going efforts to find a mediated settlement to the political and military conflict in Libya, there could be no justification whatsoever for the clashes taking place in Tripoli, nor for the continuing armed hostilities taking place in different parts of the country.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General renewed his call on all parties in Libya to exert all possible efforts to bring an immediate end to the fighting in Tripoli and elsewhere, and to undertake all necessary measures to create a more conducive environment for the on-going dialogue talks.
Leon urged the parties to ensure that civilians and civilian objects are not targeted in the fighting and that international human rights and humanitarian law are respected. All civilians abducted should be released immediately, and the wounded given access to medical treatment.
@narrabyee - Yemeni journalist [18/4/15]: US drones killed 2 Qaeda operatives in Saeed of Shabwa south this morning. 2nd drone attack since US ground forces left Yemen coz of war
Fighting in Iraq's Ramadi displaces thousands [Al Jazeera – 19/4/15]:
... More than 90,000 people in total have fled the city of Ramadi and surrounded areas since the beginning of clashes in Anbar province, according to the UN.
The UN also confirmed on Wednesday deaths among those trying to flee - including newborn babies - due to the lack of proper necessities and harsh conditions. Families have left their homes with little or nothing on their backs. ...
Afghanistan: Four wounded in explosion in Khost city [Khaama – 19/4/15]
10 soldiers embraced martyrdom and 18 militants were killed during separate military operations in past 24 hours across the country, officials said Sunday. … [Khaama – 19/4/15]
Explosion outside UN Refugee Agency HQ in Gaza [Naharnet – 19/4/15]:
An explosive device was detonated outside the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City overnight, without causing any injuries, U.N. and Palestinian security sources said late Saturday.
"A bomb exploded near the outer wall of UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza, some 10 metres (yards) from the gate, without causing any injuries or damage," agency spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna told Agence France Presse.
The Hamas-run security forces also confirmed the blast, saying they had opened an inquiry after "two homemade bombs" exploded, one outside UNRWA and a second elsewhere in the city, causing slight damage but no injuries.
The incidents took place just hours before members of the Ramallah-based Palestinian cabinet were to visit Gaza.
Such explosions take place on a regular basis in Gaza, often targeting political officials, whether representatives of president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party or the rival Hamas movement which is still the de facto power in Gaza.
They have also targeted both public buildings and private homes and cars.
In December, an explosive device went off by the French Cultural Centre in Gaza City, the most visible foreign presence in the tiny enclave, which is home to 1.8 million people.
Such incidents, which have increased since last summer's deadly conflict with Israel which left some 2,200 Palestinians dead, are never claimed.
But experts say they point to a deterioration of security in the Gaza Strip which has lived through three wars in six years.
Thousands of farmers rally against Prime Minister Modi in Indian capital
Channel News Asia [19/4/15]:
India's beleaguered opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday led thousands of angry farmers in a protest in the capital against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial overhaul of laws on land-buying.
Congress leader Gandhi accused Modi of being beholden to big business at the expense of struggling farmers during the protest in New Delhi against the government's contentious land bill.
"The Modi government wants to weaken farmers to such an extent that they are rendered helpless and forced to sell their land," Gandhi told the crowd.
Dressed in all white and waving Congress party flags, thousands of farmers poured into Delhi for the rally against the bill, which makes it easier for businesses to purchase farmland.
Shortly before the protest was set to start, Modi launched a staunch defence of his government's initiatives to help India's tens of millions of poor, including lowering high inflation.
"This is a government for the poor. We are dedicated to the poor," he told a meeting of lawmakers from his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) without referring to the land bill. "Instead, anything we say is ripped and twisted by the opposition. Can't we speak? Is this a crime (that) we are doing?"
After sweeping to power at last year's elections promising to reform the economy, Modi says the bill is needed to improve the efficiency of land purchases for factories, industrial corridors and other development projects.
But anger has been mounting in rural areas over the move, seen as favouring big business and compounding the misery of debt-laden farmers, who flocked to Modi's BJP at the national election. Many have already suffered extensive unseasonal rain damage to winter crops.
Congress mobilised thousands of supporters for the nationally televised protest, seen as a chance for the 44-year-old Gandhi to relaunch himself as a strong head of the party and eventually replace his mother. The rally comes on the eve of parliament's reopening on Monday when the government is expected to push ahead with efforts to pass the bill despite lacking the numbers in the upper house.
The ailing Congress is hoping to harness anger against the bill after a series of electoral defeats that followed its humiliating loss in last year's national polls.
Gandhi's speech came just days after his return from a two-month sabbatical to "reflect" on his party's defeats, which had led to ridicule of his leadership skills. Gandhi is often seen as a reluctant and reclusive scion of his famous family, even though his father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers.
A 12-year-old boy, Mahendra Ahirwar, from Madhya Pradesh in central India, suffers from a rare condition that his head hangs at a 180-degree angle.
The parents of the young boy have admitted they would rather he died than continue to suffer as Mahendra’s neck is constantly bent and he is restricted to a sitting position, unable to stand or walk, because of his weak backbone. … [Khaama – 18/4/15]
The Vanuatu government has banned the importation of genetically modified seeds as relief supplies arrive after Cyclone Pam.
Director of Biosecurity Timothy Tumukon said the country had traditionally imported normal and hybrid seeds but his ministry draws the line when it comes to genetically modified material.
"We will not allow any seeds that are, that have genetically modified material in them into the country. Just for the purpose of being on the precautionary side of things. Making sure that we are protecting the environment as well as the livelihood of the people who have been affected by the cyclone." ... [RNZI - 15/4/15]
Tony Abbott arrives in New Zealand
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives in Wellington this evening, his second official tour to New Zealand.
Mr Abbott will be taking part in Anzac centenary commemorations in Wellington tomorrow.
In the morning, Mr Abbott will participate in the dedication ceremony of the Australian Memorial in the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, together with Prime Minister John Key.
The memorial park was officially opened at the weekend to acknowledge the centenary of the First World War.
The two leaders will also visit the national museum Te Papa to view the Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibition.
Northampton fire sparks toxic fume emergency
West Australian [19/4/15]:
A fire at a farming supplies and hardware store is generating toxic fumes in Northampton.
Police have declared a Level 2 emergency and are evacuating residents near the fire.
The fire at the store on Hampton Street was reported around 1.41pm.
People situated to the west of the intersection at Stephens Road and North West Coastal Highway are requested to evacuate their location.
They are to attend the evacuation point situated at the Northampton Football Club on Stephens Road to the east of North West Coastal Highway.
People in an area bounded by Stephen Street, West Street, Bateman Street and Robinson Street in Northampton may be affected by smoke or fumes.
Fire and emergency services crews are at the scene.
Your safest option may be to visit family or friends who live away from the area.
Some roads may be closed.
Motorists are asked to avoid the area, reduce speed and be aware of emergency services personnel.
People with medical concerns should contact their local doctor or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
The mayor of Haifa, Israel's third largest city, ordered Sunday the closure of five petrochemical plants following a health ministry warning linking high cancer rates to air pollution. ... [Daily Star - 19/4/15]
Nigeria mystery deaths: Pesticides suspected, says WHO [BBC - 19/4/15]
Operation Elveden: Andy Coulson and eight other cases dropped by DPP
The director of public prosecutions is abandoning future prosecutions of Andy Coulson and eight other journalists who were facing trial over leaks from public officials.
In a devastating blow to Operation Elveden, the £20m investigation into journalists and their sources that began three years ago, Alison Saunders, the DPP, is throwing in the towel on nine future cases against reporters.
The Crown Prosecution Service will now be offering no evidence in the case of nine journalists, who include Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, and the paper’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman, who were awaiting trial.
The prosecution of a further three journalists will continue. These are Chris Pharo, head of news at the Sun, and district reporter Jamie Pyatt, both of whom face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this year, and Anthony France, the paper’s crime correspondent.
The decision came after a review forced on the CPS by an appeal court ruling last month that questioned prosecutors’ use of the charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office – an ancient common-law offence – to pursue journalists. ...
Operation Elveden: CPS drops cases as more journalists acquitted [Hacking Inquiry – 18/4/15]
Six people arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Britain after Turkish authorities stopped a group crossing the border to Syria have been released without charge, police said Saturday. ... [Al Arabiya - 19/4/15]
Jordan hosts international competition of anti-terror squads [Daily Star – 19/4/15]:
Jordan is hosting a competition of elite anti-terrorism squads from 18 countries, including fellow members of the military coalitions fighting rebels in Yemen and Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria.
Spokesman Col. Khaled Abu Hamad says the 7th Annual Warrior Competition offers a chance for team leaders to "meet and to know each other, as the terrorists have become international."
The competition opened Sunday with a drill by Jordanian special forces rescuing hostages from a plane and rappelling from a helicopter. Teams compete in 10 events. China won the 2014 competition.
Among those participating are the U.S., Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
Jordan is a member of a U.S.-led military coalition against ISIS militants. It also supports a Saudi-led campaign against rebels in Yemen.
Lebanese man killed in 'execution-stye' murder in Australia [Daily Star - 19/4/15]:
A Lebanese father of six was killed in an "execution-style" shooting in the Australian city of Melbourne overnight, Lebanese state media reported.
The National News Agency said that Khaled Yehya Abu Hasna, from the northern district of Akkar, was shot dead when he was heading back to his home around 2 a.m. in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, The Age, an Australian newspaper based in the southeastern city, reported that a “father of six from Middle Eastern descent” was shot dead at 1.50 a.m. in the town of Altona Meadows.
The 39-year-old man was inside his car in the driveway of his mother’s house when the murder happened, the report said.
The mayor of Meshmesh, from which Abou Hasna hailed, confirmed in a phone call with The Daily Star that Abou Hasna had 6 children from two wives.
He said the victim had been living in Australia since birth and only came on occasional visits to Lebanon.
“His father took a plane to Australia last night after receiving the news,” Mayor Abdel-Rahman Ali al-Hajj said.
Local police, who have yet to publish the man’s identity, described the shooting as “execution style killing” and "targeted attack,” The Age said. They said the man was shot “multiple times.”
Although no eyewitnesses were at the scene at the time of the shooting, neighbors heard screeching tires as the getaway car sped away, Homicide Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon said.
"At this stage, we have no suspects we've identified and the investigation will continue on throughout the day," he told The Age.
Flash grenades, smashing things up, Melbourne households terrorised in a spectacle of state fascism.
Feel safe Australia?
He said he had a gun held to his head and was forced to lie on the floor for 30 minutes.
Mr Causevic said police told him: "One more word I kill you. Doesn't matter for your kids."
An 18-year-old man arrested as part of a counterterrorism operation on Saturday changed for the better after attending the Al Furqan Islamic study centre in South Dandenong, the man's father says.
Harun Causevic was one of five men arrested in the anti-terror raids, who were allegedly involved in plotting an attack on police involving edged weapons in Melbourne during Anzac Day activities.
Sevdet Besim, 18, of Hallam, was also arrested and remanded in custody after being charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act.
One man will be charged with weapons offences and two others have been released without charge.
Police entered into Causevic's home at 3:30am on Saturday morning and stayed there for more than 12 hours, seizing a knife, phones and a USB from the accused man's bedroom.
His father, Vehid Causevic, said the family was traumatised when police broke into their home in the early morning hours.
He said he had a gun held to his head and was forced to lie on the floor for 30 minutes.
Mr Causevic said police told him: "One more word I kill you. Doesn't matter for your kids."
"My wife she starts screaming. Police call ambulance to come and help her," Mr Causevic said.
"I notice everything in the house is broken, the door, everything."
Mr Causevic said his son was interviewed by the authorities after the police shooting of Abdul Numan Haidar in September last year.
Haidar attended the Al Furqan Islamic study centre and Harun Causevic started going there in July last year.
Mr Causevic said the changes in his son were all positive.
"Before he started to pray, Harun was in the house aggressive, he broke [things], like a child. But after when he started to pray he really changed behaviour, 100 per cent," he said.
"Now he was very good, always. Never, never yells, never, never do bad in house.
"He's always nice talking when I see him, but I [do] not see him very much.
"I told you I can't see nothing that Harun would do bad.
"When he goes outside, I can't tell you nothing because his life is one, my life is one.
"I can't tell you nothing about what he's doing with his friends outside."
Police said three of the arrested men were injured in the raids and Mr Causevic said his son's arm was broken.
"I was in shock yesterday. I just cry all day because when I remember his face ... when I came into his bedroom. It's very hard," he said.
The family of one of the other men arrested and released without charge has made a complaint about the conduct of police in the raid on his home.
The man, Eathen, said he did not resist arrest and was covered in blood after being attacked.
"After my hands were cuffed, laying on my stomach, I got kicked in the head," he said.
"Then he [one of the police officers] grabbed me, slams me into the fridge, as you can see there'll be blood on the fridge.
"Then slammed me on the ground and then hit me with his gun and I think I passed out then."
Police say one of the five men arrested is the subject of a preventative detention order.
Under that act, a person may be detained for up to 14 days.
Victoria Police said it was the first time the provision had been used.
Neighbours say they woke to screams as Melbourne terror raids started [The Age – 19/4/15]
Suspicious fire, North Rockhampton [QPS Media - 19/4/15]
Update: Serious traffic crash, Desaily [QPS Media - 19/4/15]:
A 52-year-old man has died following a serious traffic crash earlier this morning near Desaily.
Around 1am, a motorist driving through the Desaily Range on the Mulligan Highway observed a vehicle that had suffered front end damage with a man stuck inside.
The injured driver was transported to Cairns Base Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later. Investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Fatal traffic crash, Beechmont [QPS Media - 18/4/15]
Serious traffic crash, Glen Eden [QPS Media - 18/4/15]
Suspicious death investigation, Bungalow [QPS Media - 18/4/15]
Toowoomba Range reopens after truck crash [Chronicle - 18/4/15]:
The Toowoomba Range has opened after a truck crash blocked eastbound lanes of the Warrego Hwy yesterday afternoon.
The truck was carrying an excavator when it rolled across the highway about half-way down the Range about 3pm. ...
A 73-year-old Westcourt woman has died following a single vehicle traffic crash at Laura on Monday.
Initial information indicated the woman was a passenger in a truck which rolled on Peninsular Development Road around 2pm. ... [QPS Media - 17/4/15]
A 20-year-old woman has suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a car in New Farm. ... [Brisbane Times – 16/4/15]
Serious traffic crash, Daisy Hill [QPS Media - 16/4/15]:
Police are investigating a traffic crash that occurred yesterday evening at Daisy Hill.
Around 6.30pm, a truck and a bicycle have collided [a truck hit a bicycle] at the intersection of Daisy Hill Road and Allamander Street.
The rider of the bike, a man in his 20s, suffered severe head injuries as a result and has been transported to hospital in a critical condition.
The male driver of the truck wasn’t physically injured as a result of the crash.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after a horror crash near Doomadgee. … [North West Star – 16/4/15]
Electrical Safety Office intends to inspect housing estate where worker died
Queensland's Electrical Safety Office (ESO) says it is yet to inspect all properties in an estate where a construction worker was electrocuted.
Labourer Jason Garrels, 20, died after a switchboard came into contact with a live wire on a Clermont construction site, west of Rockhampton, in February 2012.
He died after carrying the switchboard which had come into contact with live wires during construction of the apartments.
A coronial inquest investigating his death last month heard the site's sole electrical contractor stayed on after the death to complete the 80 townhouse development, despite serious concerns about electrical safety on site.
The ABC can reveal the ESO will be arranging with home owners to inspect the 80 houses in the estate, more than three years after Mr Garrels' death.
In a statement, it said it had inspected a "sample" of the houses, but said the actual number of houses looked at "cannot be provided".
"The ESO conducted inspections on 13 of the 44 townhouses completed at the site. During these inspections, any defects identified were conveyed to the on-site electrical contractor for remediation to ensure the correct installation of any remaining and future townhouses," the statement said.
"Inspectors then sampled the remaining 31 townhouses [from the original 44 built]. The number of samples cannot be provided.
"During the second stage of the build, a sample was taken of the remaining 36 townhouses to ensure the identified defects had been repaired and not repeated in the new townhouses. The number of samples in this second inspection cannot be provided.
"The ESO will be arranging with homeowners to inspect the 80 townhouses in addition to considering any findings, recommendations or comments by the coroner."
Officer dismissed, Central Region
QPS Media [18/4/15]:
On Wednesday 15 April 2015, a police officer from the Central Region was dismissed from the Queensland Police Service.
The dismissal relates to official misconduct following a lengthy internal investigation.
In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we undertake to inform the public when an officer faces disciplinary processes involving stand down, suspension or dismissal.
Police investigated after missing Ballina man found dead [Tweed Shire Echo - 16/4/15]:
Police have launched a critical-incident investigation after the death of a man in Ballina yesterday.
It is the second such investigation launched into the Richmond Local Area Command this year.
About 11pm on Tuesday 14 April 2015, Richmond LAC officers attended a home on Norton Street, Ballina to locate a man after reports of a concern for his welfare.
Police attempted to make contact with the 45-year-old man, however he was not sighted.
About 9am yesterday (Wednesday 15 April 2015), the man’s mother found him unresponsive.
Emergency services were called to the home, and found the body of a man.
Initial investigations suggest there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
An independent critical-incident team will investigate all circumstances surrounding the incident.
That investigation will be overseen by the Professional Standards Command.
All information will be provided to the Coroner.
In February a similar investigation was set up after police failed to find a man reported to be lying on the ground in nearby Norton Street. They returned some hours later to find the man dead.
Update 4 – missing man, Mount Mee
QPS Media [15/4/15]:
A man reported missing in the Mount Mee area last week has today been found at Beerburrum.
He has been taken to hospital for medical assessment.
Police would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Police have been attacked during a drunken brawl involving more than 30 people, half of them reportedly women, on North Stradbroke Island off Brisbane.
Police retreated when bottles were pelted at them during a disturbance behind shops at Dunwich at 1:30am (AEST).
Officers called for back-up from the mainland but the fighting settled soon after.
Paramedics said they were initially unable to help an injured woman because of the brawling.
The brawl is believed to have erupted after a wake on the island yesterday.
A 21-year-old man from Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is in police custody.
No charges have been laid at this stage.
Three people have been treated at Dunwich Hospital for minor injuries, with one woman having a dislocated knee.
Six people have been charged and police expect more arrests to follow after they were forced to shut down the out-of-control party at Cheetham Court in Bundaberg North on Wednesday night. ... [Yahoo - 16/4/15]
Brisbane Times [15/4/15]:
Police shut down an out-of-control birthday party in Brisbane's south after they had to break up a brawl between about 70 people on Tuesday night.
An estimated 200 people, largely teenagers, attended the birthday celebration at the Serbian Community Centre in Willawong.
Police were called to break up the brawl about 10pm.
They declared the Camden Road event out of control and shut it down. ...
A Queensland man who was shot by police after drunkenly rushing at officers with a sword has escaped having a conviction recorded.
Andrew Neville Black, 41, was shot five times in December after police attended his Ashgrove property, in Brisbane's inner north-west, to investigate suspected domestic violence.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
The court heard Black grabbed a hunting knife and threatened two officers, forcing them to retreat to the street.
He emerged with both the knife and a large sword, twice yelling "I'm going to die tonight" and was shot after he failed to drop the weapons, the court heard.
But his barrister Tony Glynn said Black meant the officers no harm and was suffering a depressive episode at the time.
Magistrate Stuart Shearer chose not to record a conviction but imposed a three-year supervision period.
Black must report to parole officers regularly, not drink alcohol and submit to random testing and psychiatric treatment as required.
... The court heard his former wife visited a police station on the morning of December 11 last year to complain she had received threatening text messages. ... [Yahoo - 16/4/15]
Anti-bikie law prosecutions set to continue in Queensland under Labor Government [ABC – 15/4/15]
Hey Queensland! Take some personal responsibility for the violence associated with race and class based policing.
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective
Services Media Release [19/4/15]:
The Palaszczuk Government is partnering with former NRL star Petero Civoniceva to reduce violent assaults across Queensland as part of a campaign developed by Moreton District police and set to be rolled out statewide.
Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller and Commissioner Ian Stewart joined Mr Civoniceva at the Dolphins – Redcliffe Leagues Club today to launch the Oi – it’s your choice campaign which has been previewed across QPS social media over the last few weeks.
Minister Miller said three new community service announcements would be seen on television screens across Queensland and posted on social media.
“Each community service announcement is a short video that puts you in the shoes of someone confronted by an escalating violent situation,” Minister Miller said.
“The videos show three scenarios tailored to a different perspective – a perpetrator of violence, a victim of violence and a bystander to violence.
“We’re hoping that each clip will highlight to Queenslanders that they face an important choice every time they’re confronted with violence. You can choose to continue down a destructive path, or you can take every possible step to deescalate the situation.”
Consultation with schools, patrons of pubs and clubs and the general community was a key factor in shaping the focus of the campaign.
NRL Ambassador Petero Civoniceva is the face of the campaign and supports the ‘Oi – it’s your choice’ message.
“In November I visited a school as part of a focus group with the project team and I was impressed at how rational and switched on the kids were about violence and how it could affect them,” Mr Civoniceva said.
“I believe the Community Service Announcements incorporate the sentiment that was expressed in the groups and I am proud to be part of this campaign and I believe in the message.”
Commissioner Ian Stewart said under certain circumstances, assaults could be prevented.
“We spend a significant amount of time and resources every year investigating assault complaints across Queensland, so anything we can do to reduce the number of times police are called as a result of a fight or altercation has my support,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“I want to thank the officers of the Moreton District for their hard work in developing this campaign. I think the message is spot on, and it goes to show the kind of proactive work our local officers are doing to keep their communities safe.”
Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath said this campaign was about personal responsibility.
“This isn’t about the police lecturing the community. This is about individuals recognising that we all have a choice,” Ms D’Ath said.
“It’s up to every Queenslander to realise they have a choice to stop anti-social behaviour before it gets to the critical point where someone gets hurt. If they don’t, they’ll have to deal with the consequences.”
During his rugby league career, Petero Civoniceva learnt the importance of good mentors.
Now he's fighting for Queensland kids to get the support they need to help tackle challenges in life.
Petero was guest speaker last Friday at the Frontline CQ Chaplaincy Dinner, which celebrated the work of school chaplains. ... [Morning Bulletin - 2/6/14]
... Mr Abbott’s day began with a guard of honour at parliament house.
This is the first trip for Mr Abbott to PNG as Australian Prime Minister. But Mr Abbott is not new to the country.
He visited PNG twice before, as a student in 1980, and later as a journalist in 1988.
He met Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio, at government house, before returning to parliament, to continue bilateral talks with counterpart Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
A large Australian business contingent was part of the delegation, included the likes of Rugby League icon, Petero Civoniceva. ...
"We were surrounded by very desperate men ... some in there since last July ... some almost crying."
"They were saying 'help me, help me' and 'give us freedom'"
- ABC journalist Liam Fox describing his visit to Manus Island with Judge Cannings' Inquiry on Radio Australia 'Pacific Beat' [21/3/14]
Inside of Manus centre described as "desperate" [Radio Australia - Pacific Beat - 21/3/14]
As part of an inquiry into the human rights of asylum seekers, a handful of journalists including the ABC's Liam Fox were allowed to join Justice David Cannings on his second visit to the detention centre. ... [ABC - 21/3/14]
Image: @SBSNews [21/3/14]
Delta compound was the worst. Like a slum. Men crammed into rusting shipping containers.
Even the view to the ocean was covered with mesh.
"tweeted" by @liamfoxpng - ABC journalist [21/3/14]
A hoffman knife has a curved blade and is used to cut down asylum seekers who've tried to hang themselves. ...
Image: @liamfoxpng - ABC journalist [21/3/14]
Sudden bipartisan rush to legalise medicinal cannabis in Australia.
cui bono ?
Premier and Minister for Health Media Release [19/4/15]:
Queensland will launch its own medicinal cannabis trial in conjunction with New South Wales and Victoria, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The Premier said she had spoken with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews about Queensland’s commitment during meetings in Canberra.
The Health Ministry is expected to publish a tender later this month that will allow additional farmers to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes in Israel.
At least 10 farmers are expected to bid, three of them from the Gaza border area.
There are currently eight approved medical cannabis growers in Israel.
Doctors call for disclosure of all clinical trial results as governments spend millions on pharmaceuticals
International governments, including Australia, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an influenza drug that did not have credible clinical trial results, according to a British doctor and science writer.
When Tamiflu was released in 2006, it generated considerable hype within the scientific community.
"When Tamiflu first became available, it looked like it was great. I mean, I took the view that 'Hey, this is like a new antibiotic equivalent - we've got a bacterial infection, we can kill that with an antibiotic'," Professor Peter Collignon from ANU medical school told the ABC's Catalyst program last month.
But Dr Ben Goldacre, co-founder of AllTrials, a global coalition of doctors and public health experts calling for open-science results that are not withheld from doctors, researchers and patients, said the countries that rushed to buy large amounts of Tamiflu may have reconsidered if they had all the relevant clinical trial data on the drug.
"... I can say for definite that we would have been much less likely to buy Tamiflu," Dr Goldacre told Lateline.
The Australian Federal Government has spent nearly $200 million stockpiling Tamiflu while the UK has spent close to $800 million on the drug, marketed as an insurance policy against a serious flu pandemic.
However, a recent study from the Cochrane Library, a reputable centre for epidemiology and public health data, found Tamiflu and other "neuraminidase inhibitors" like Relenza, shortened symptoms of a seven-day flu, by only half a day.
The study also found "there was no evidence of a reduction in hospitalisations or serious influenza complications (confirmed pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinusitis or ear infection) in either adults or children".
"But there was an increased risk of nausea and vomiting in adults by around four per cent and in children by five per cent," it said.
Dr Goldacre co-founded AllTrials in response to the lack of clear and concise data available from clinical trials.
"We know that the results of clinical trials are routinely, but also legally, withheld from doctors, researchers and patients. And this is a problem that's been going on for decades and decades now," he said.
Earlier this week the World Health Organisation announced it was strengthening guidelines regarding the disclosure of clinical trials, including deadlines for reporting results.
Researchers must now report clinical trial results to a primary clinical registry within 12 months, and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal within 24 months of the completion of a study.
"The registration of all interventional trials is a scientific and moral responsibility," the report said.
But it is not just major pharmaceutical companies who are failing to register clinical trial results, Dr Goldacre said.
"I think there's actually one extra crucial problem which I think is often missed — this isn't just about drug companies," he said.
"Academic researchers, people receiving government funding for clinical trials, those academic researchers are often just as bad as drug companies. And in some studies they're worse than drug companies for failing to make the results of their trials available.
"This is a problem that cuts right across the board whether it's industry or non-industry. It's a huge cultural failing in medicine."
You would trust a government which is continually corporatising and dismantling universal health care and ignores the health and wellbeing of certain groups of citizens - particularly those impacted by mining?
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged vulnerable Queenslanders to take up the offer of a free influenza vaccination. ... [Premier and Minister for Health Media Release - 19/4/15]
@JHH Newell Highway LOCKS THE GATE TO coal seam gas frack
@LockTheGate Plenty of cars see #csgfreehwy message. 20 vehicles a min on Pacific Hwy. Toot if you agree. #csg #cancellicences
@LocktheTweed #csgfreehwy At Sleepy Hollow today.
@coonavass Families gather in safe spot near Coona on #csgfreehwy 2 protect their children's health & future say #nocsg
@coonavass Horse floats, trucks & cars we come in all sorts to the #csgfreehwy to say #nocsg in our farmland & forests #pilliga
This Sunday hundreds of people will oppose the coal seam gas industry in Australia’s longest protest stretching across 500 kms of the Newell Highway, through the heart of Santos CSG exploration license area. Stationed with their vehicles approximately every 5km, diverse community members will display protest signs to the passing traffic. … [Stop Pilliga CSG]
A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. ... [Reuters - 18/4/15]
Mexico oil spill leaves 200,000 without water [BBC – 15/4/15]
Residents from a second Mid West shire have declared their desire to be "gas-field free" in the face of renewed oil and gas exploration in the region.
About 40 residents of Carnamah Shire handed shire president Merle Isbister a formal declaration of their desire to be "gas-field free" at a community event at the local oval on Sunday. ... [Farm Weekly - 18/4/15]
Kimberley traditional owners reject fracking as part of oil production deal [Guardian – 17/4/15]
City dwellers tour Queensland country regions impacted by mining
Lock The Gate [17/4/15]
City folk depart Brisbane today to see for themselves the dreadful conditions country people are suffering because of mining developments in the Darling and Western Downs.
Tour organiser, Annette Hutchins from the Bridging the Divide group said landholders and communities were suffering “intolerable impositions” on their lives because of the industrialisation of their regions.
Ms Hutchins said people living on the Downs were at the “front-line of massive coal and coal seam gas expansion” of residential and farming lands.
“City dwellers need to see for themselves what has been thrust upon those in the country who have had no or little say in the serious impacts on their lifestyles, health and well-being,” she said.
“We want to show people living with the noise, dust and disruption day and night that we care about what they’re going through and will support them in their battle against the mining companies.”
Bridging the Divide is a Brisbane-based nonprofit group promoting grass-roots urban and rural communications and support.
Eleven people have joined the bus tour that starts today and ends on Monday. People can still join the tour at various points.
The tour will include Cecil Plains, Miles, Wandoan, Hopelands and Acland where residents and community groups are trying to stop the expansion of New Hope’s Acland coal mine.
Shay Dougall, spokesperson for the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group said people in the Western Downs were living in the middle of a gasfield.
"People are so stressed and concerned for their health because of csg mining here that they are walking off their properties,” Mrs Dougall said. “The government has no proof this industry is safe and all developments should stop until we have such proof.”
“We’ve been the guinea pigs. We signed up seven years ago for the first well, and then they just invaded. They haven’t stopped invading us.” ... [Faces from the Gas Fields: Narelle Nothdurft, Chinchilla - VIDEO – 24/2/15]
Water regulations and low prices sees acres of table grapes bulldozed in south-west Queensland [ABC – 16/4/15]
Regardless of whether or not the Gold Coast Light Rail is extended PLEASE FIX THE SCREECHING NOISE POLLUTION.
A few weeks ago we spoke to an employee of the Gold Coast Light Rail project.
She assured us that the ongoing screeching noise was being addressed temporarily with greasing and would be permanently fixed by May.
If you want to experience this noise pollution stand anywhere along the track - particularly at the entrance to the Centrepoint Arcade or outside Max Brenners (Surfers Paradise Boulevard).
Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister Media Release [16/4/15]:
The following can be attributed to a spokesperson from the Deputy Premier’s office:
“The media report on Channel 9 News tonight regarding the light rail extension on the Gold Coast being imminent is factually incorrect. This project is yet to be finalised, approved or funded but as stated previously, we have provided in-principle support for the light-rail extension and are continuing to lobby the Local and Federal Governments for funding to enable the project to proceed.”
Only two Queensland politicians spoke out against this week's arson attack on the Toowoomba mosque - and they were largely ignored by the SEQ media.
Silence = approval.
Get your taste buds ready for some tantalising food.
The Toowoomba International Food Festival is on again at the Garden City Mosque this Sunday.
It will feature exotic foods from across Europe, the Pacific, Asia and the Middle East.
Biryani, goat and lamb curries, pulao, satay, kebabs, tandoori, sweets such as baklava and Turkish delight, rasgulla, along with fried appetisers will be some of the mouth-watering offerings.
The Islamic Society of Toowoomba is organising the event, which will include a number of prominent guest speakers.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio will speak along with USQ Vice-Chancellor Prof Jan Thomas and Toowoomba bishops.
MP Jim Madden will represent Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk at the event.
The event is tying in with an open day and tour through the Garden City Mosque.
Mosque spokesman Professor Shahjahan Khan said the tour would give the community an experience in the mosque.
"There will be tours through the mosque during prayers so that people can witness how people pray in mosques."
He said some people might have questions about Islam and Muslims.
"If they have any questions we are happy to engage and talk to those people," he said.
"It's also a way of giving community groups an opportunity to express their solidarity, and to get together to show that we stand together in this city of peace and harmony.
"We want to show that the arson attack on the mosque was uncharacteristic of the community."
Queensland's Premier too busy opening Di Farmer's electorate office to show solidarity with the Toowoomba community? [19/4/15]
Australian government takes irrational and unprecedented action to solve its non existent refugee crisis
A former Victorian Supreme Court judge says proposed new powers for security guards at detention centres would allow them "to beat asylum seekers in detention to death" with impunity. ... [ABC - 17/4/15]
6 families (including babies) and 3 single men deported from Wickham Point to Nauru via [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 18/4/15]:
More than 20, comprising six families and three single men have been transported to Nauru after being seized and handcuffed around 4am Saturday 18 April from Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre.
Among the families are three with new babies - two Iranian families with a three month old baby and a Nepalese family, whose baby is also three months old.
There were distressing scenes in, and out of, detention on Nauru as news of the returns spread.
Asylum seekers and refugees are concerned for the welfare of the
babies who will be expected to survive in the same tents as their families, in
the heat, humidity and water shortages of detention centre.
“The transfer of the families breaks an understanding brokered with the Immigration department, after protests on Thursday night that no families would be transferred to Darwin this week,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The AMA already regard the mandatory detention of children as child abuse. Given the appalling conditions on Nauru and the recently confirmed reports of sexual and physical assaults on women and children on Nauru, Peter Dutton is twice guilty.”
“The three babies returned are three more reasons to protest for an end to offshore processing,” Rintoul said.
UNICEF urges Australia, Cambodia to protect rights of child refugees in
Nauru [Media Release – 17/4/15]:
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) raised concerns today regarding reported decisions by the Governments of Australia and Cambodia to start transferring refugees currently in an Australian-funded processing centre in Nauru to Cambodia for settlement.
“According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia and Cambodia are both parties, the rights of children are paramount and must be guaranteed in every situation,” said Daniel Toole, UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Director in a statement released today.
“Article 3 of the [Convention] obliges States to ensure that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child are a primary consideration.”
The statement recalled that all Governments have a responsibility to protect children’s rights in every circumstance.
“The special needs and rights of children and the additional risks they face must be assessed and properly addressed in any action governments take, as an essential part of the planning and the implementation of that action,” Mr. Toole said.
“Governments that take actions that can reasonably be expected to increase the risks children face must accept a special responsibility for the safeguarding of their rights. No government policy or action should knowingly put children’s lives or their wellbeing at increased risk.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in all its work. It works with partners in 190 countries and territories to translate the commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of children all over the world.
Statement on the protection of the rights of children who may be transferred from Nauru to Cambodia [17/4/15]
Suskind : During WWII, a member of the Jewish Council of Amsterdam finds a way to spare children from deportation to the death camps.
Holocaust descendants file US lawsuit against French rail [France 24 – 18/4/15]:
Descendants of Holocaust victims this week filed a class-action US lawsuit against French state railway company the SNCF, accusing it of seizing property owned by tens of thousands of Jews, and others, sent to Nazi concentration camps.
Plaintiffs claim that during WWII the SNCF confiscated and sold personal property belonging to deportees, including cash, securities, silver, gold, jewellery, works of art, musical instruments, clothing and equipment.
They also claim that the SNCF profited from the deportations by charging the German authorities for third-class train tickets for most of the 76,000 people – mostly Jews as well as other “undesirables” – who were packed into cattle trucks with no room to sit for days on end.
Many of the deportees did not survive the journey, and of those sent to the camps only 3 percent were still alive at the end of the war.
The suit was filed on Thursday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in a US federal court in Chicago.
The primary plaintiff is Chicago resident Karen Scalin, whose grandparents were deported from France to Auschwitz in Poland, where they died in 1942.
Two other plaintiffs, Josiane Piquard and Roland Cherrier, are both French citizens living in France, whose relatives were also deported to Auschwitz where they were killed as part of Nazi Germany’s “final solution”.
"SNCF committed, conspired to commit and aided and abetted others who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity," the court document alleged. "Acting with full knowledge, SNCF was complicit in the commission of genocide."
The goods were "illegally, improperly and coercively taken from the ownership or control of an individual during the deportations," according to the suit.
In a landmark deal signed in December, France agreed to pay $60 million to the United States to be shared among American and foreign nationals deported to Nazi death camps on French trains during World War II.
“This deal was a good first step but too many people are excluded from it and its scope is too limited,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs told reporters. “But it doesn’t directly concern the SNCF, which we want to see held to account for its actions and to give adequate compensation.”
The plaintiffs claim that the US federal court has jurisdiction under international law, and that the statute of limitations (which restricts the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings may be initiated) does not apply because the SNCF only opened the relevant archives in 2012.
If successful, the case could open the door to "thousands more claims", the lawyer said.
45 killed in US backed Saudi airstrikes on Yemen’s Sa'ada [Press TV - 18/4/15]
Heavy clashes in central district, suburb of Tripoli [Reuters - 18/4/15]
Deadly attack on UN convoy in Mali [Al Jazeera – 18/4/15]
Three die in gunfights following arrest of cartel leader and three of his comrades in city of Reynosa near US border. … [Al Jazeera – 18/4/15]
A "mysterious" disease that kills patients within 24 hours has claimed at least 17 lives in a southeastern Nigerian town, the government said Saturday. ... [Ahram - 18/4/15]
At least four people have been killed in a US drone strike in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia. ... [Press TV - 17/4/15]
A 23-year-old African-American man who barricaded himself in his mother's house in a St. Louis suburb was shot and killed by police when he rushed at them with a knife in one hand and a Bible in the other, authorities said on Saturday. ... [Yahoo - 18/4/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
The United States and its allies have launched 20 air strikes targeting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria since early on Friday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operations said on Saturday.
There were seven air strikes in Syria using attack and bomber aircraft near Kobani and Al Hasakah and 13 in Iraq using fighter and attack aircraft as well as drones near Bayji, Ramadi, Al Asad, Fallujah, Sinjar, Hit and Tal Afar, it said in a statement.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media [18/4/15]:
Government troops disperse protestors with live bullets, Baghdad [VIDEO]
A large number of displaced persons have gathered in front of government's departments in Mansour area in Baghdad after the Government promised aid.... [VIDEO]
Baghdad: Persons have been killed and wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded in Kifah area in the middle of Baghdad.................
Baghdad: Agencies/security source: Two persons were killed and 9 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near Sooq Shallal(Shallal markets) in northern east of Baghdad today noon.....
Baghdad: Agencies/security source: A policeman has been killed and 5 wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded targeting their patrol in Arab Jbour Village.......
19 April 2015