The Malaysian Insider [19/5/15]:



Padang Besar MP Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin told the Dewan Rakyat today that ASEAN could not allow Myanmar to continue persecuting the Rohingya, and that Malaysia, as the chair of ASEAN, must give up its policy of non-interference.

“If Myanmar doesn’t want to resolve this issue, we have to expel Myanmar from ASEAN. Human lives are more important than Asean’s economy. Otherwise, it is shameful,” said the Umno MP.

“I think our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is respected in ASEAN. So make a stand. Otherwise it is shameful that Thailand has offered help, the Philippines has offered help, but we have done nothing.

“We should be leading ASEAN, and most unfortunately, we are the chair of the ASEAN human rights, yet we aren’t doing anything. If ASEAN does not do anything about this Rohingya issue, Malaysia is just the same as Myanmar.”

He said this while debating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2015.

...

 

 

 

 

 

@astroehlein - Andrew Stroehlein - European Media Director, Human Rights Watch [17/5/15]: Region can spend millions looking for #MH370 but won't help people dying at sea right now

 

 

 

 

 

The Indonesian city where about 1,500 migrants have landed after being abandoned at sea says it urgently needs help to care for them.

The mayor of Langsa, in Aceh province, told the BBC that finances were tight.

"We need some help, immediately, from our national government or any other institution," said Usman Abdullah.  ... [BBC - 18/5/15]

 

 

 

 



Singapore, US Navy agree on mutual submarine rescue support [Channel News Asia – 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

Japan Today [18/5/15]:

 

 

The U.S. Marine Corps is bringing together foreign commanders from amphibious forces deployed mostly in the Asia-Pacific for a conference aimed at taking initial steps to integrate their operations, with China excluded from the event, according to officials and planning documents.

The effort centers on a first-of-its-kind conference between the Marine Corps and military officials from 23 countries that opens in Hawaii on Monday.

More than half the nations attending are from Asia, including some embroiled in territorial disputes with China such as Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

On the agenda will be amphibious assault tactics, including ship-to-shore assaults, and a demonstration of shore landing tactics, said a USMC spokesman in Hawaii.

...

A key goal of the Hawaii meeting would be to lay the groundwork for multilateral amphibious exercises, including drills between participant nations, even without U.S. involvement, the planning document said.

On Tuesday, the visiting military officials will observe a U.S. Marine exercise involving helicopter carriers, landing ships and other vessels that will create an offshore sea base that could be used in combat or to coordinate disaster relief.

Brigadier Richard Spencer, deputy commander of the British Royal Marines, who will attend the conference, said it would be a success if it paved the way for participating nations to run joint disaster relief efforts using marine forces.

...

 

 

 

 

 

Australia's national broadcaster does propaganda for the Myanmar regime as thousands flee persecution and await rescue.

 

 

This is obscene.

 

 

ABC, Media Report [18/5/15]:

 

 

 

After more than half a century of military rule, Myanmar is transitioning to democracy and a free press is slowly emerging from the old system of threats and censorship. Andrew Dodd reports on the media landscape in the South East Asian nation.  ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia shrugs as thousands of migrants float stateless [CBS - 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rohingya crisis is not an isolated tragedy – it’s the shape of things to come, Tahmima Anam [Guardian - 20/5/15]:

 

 

 

… But blaming Bangladesh or Burma, or indeed the countries that are refusing to send rescue vessels, can take us only so far. The only way the Rohingyas’ condition will improve is if there is a concerted international, multilateral pressure on all the countries of the region.

The time has come for us to take a global view on migrants. There are more displaced people in the world today than at any other time since the second world war. People fleeing persecution, poverty and conflict are risking their lives to find refuge. The Rohingya refugees, 25,000 of whom have taken to the seas this year, say they would rather take their chances with people-smugglers than remain in Burma to face certain death.

The truth is, we are entering an age of migrants, and we must adjust our sense of fairness and morality, and even our concept of national borders, accordingly. Climate change is about to force upon us a refugee crisis that is unprecedented in all of human history. Already in Bangladesh 50,000 people migrate to the capital city every month because rising sea levels have made their villages uninhabitable and have destroyed their arable land.

The floating refugees are giving us a glimpse into our collective future. In this future, perhaps it will be the already unfortunate countries, such as Bangladesh, that first fall victim. But soon, even wealthy countries will begin to suffer from extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels. We still don’t know exactly how climate change will affect each of our countries. Given this uncertainty, we need to take a radically new approach to our shared resources.

...

 

 

 

Edward Snowden and Julian Assange help hand-stitch Magna Carta Wikipedia page



TNW News [18/5/15]:



It’s Wikipedia, but not as you know it.

The ‘Magna Carta’, often considered to be one of the most important democratic documents of the Western world, celebrates its 800th birthday next month.

To mark the occasion award-winning artist Cornelia Parker decided to pay tribute to the historic charter with a somewhat modern twist.

Parker, with assistance from some 200 individuals, took to creating a detailed hand-stitched version of the Magna Carta’s Wikipedia page.

Those who helped Parker make the recreation a reality include a range of famous names, such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange and infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Jimmy Wales stitched the phrase ‘user’s manual’, Jarvis Cocker managed a self-referential stitching of ‘Common People’, Julian Assange needled the word ‘freedom’ and Edward Snowden hand-stitched ‘liberty’ onto the work.

The embroidered Wikipedia entry comes in at over 13 meters long, and is a like-for-like copy of the Wikipedia page as it looked when the project started in 2014.

You can view the completed works, Magna Carta (An Embroidery), for free at the British Library in London until July 24, 2015 — of course you can still check out the Magna Carta’s real Wikipedia page too.

 

 

 

 

Fallon urged to act on whistleblower's claims about Trident nuclear subs [Guardian - 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

Evidence in a series of new cables released by NSA whistleblower seem to coincide with journalist Seymour Hersh's account of the raid.

A new series of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released Monday show important gaps in the United States' official account of the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

The new documents show conflicting reports between U.S. intelligence agencies which contradict the official account on the Bin Laden raid. ... [teleSUR - 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

Gold Coast Council allows Jewel developer to dump excavated sand on Surfers Paradise Beach.

 

Pretends it's fighting erosion.

 

 

Gold Coast City Council Media Release [19/5/15]:



Imagine filling Metricon Stadium with sand, to a depth of six metres.

That’s roughly the volume of sand – some 113,000m3 - that will be used to top up Surfers Paradise beach this week, in a huge boost for the city’s coastal defences.

The massive mountain of sand has been excavated from the Jewel development site, where work is now underway on a $1 billion development featuring a five-star hotel and residential apartments.

The sand is being donated by developer the Wanda Ridong Group under an agreement with City of Gold Coast.

Mayor Tom Tate said the arrangement is a major win for Gold Coast residents and visitors.

“This is the largest volume of sand ever received from a development site on the Gold Coast, and the biggest sand deposit placed on Surfers Paradise beach so far this century. As a result, it’s also a major cost saving for ratepayers in the fight against beach erosion,” he said.

“This amount of sand will make a huge difference when this stretch of coastline faces the challenges of nature, and will help to maximise the efforts of our City staff and community groups who work year-round to maintain and protect our beaches.”

Wanda Ridong Group Gold Coast Development Director of Sales and Marketing, Andrew Bampton, said he was thrilled to get involved in helping to protect the city’s coastline.

“The foundations for Jewel’s three towers will plunge tens of metres below the surface which has required significant excavation, so we wanted to be able to do something positive with this incredible resource. The intense cleansing process, and subsequent relocation, provides a major benefit for the coastline,” he said.

“As the first development with direct beach access in around 30 years, Jewel has on-site experts to make sure our control measures are second-to-none, including constant monitoring and frequent inspections.

The excavated sand will be sieved and deposited along the beach directly east of the development site, in an area which has experienced past erosion. Due to the natural northerly movement of sand along the coast, beaches and adjacent properties north of the site will also benefit from added protection.

The Gold Coast is widely considered to be among the world’s best in coastal management, with the City investing almost $20 million in Beaches and Waterways works in 2014-15.

Find out more about our Ocean Beaches Strategy in our Coastal Management pages.

 

 



Gold Coast City Council continues privatising public space [Media Release - 19/5/15]:

 

 

The Broadbeach Boardwalk Events Space will be located on the beachfront at the northern end of Kurrawa Surf Club and provide a premium venue for outdoor dining, public events, live entertainment and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ related events.  ...


 


Minister confirms climate change victim blaming fear campaign to continue


Queensland Parliament Hansard [19/5/15]:



Mr WHITING [ALP - Murrumba]: My question is to the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services. Will the minister outline what government financial support was given to the vitally important ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ community safety campaign over the past three years?

Mrs MILLER: I thank the member for his question and also for his strong representation on behalf of his constituents, because they have gone through a really traumatic time in the last few weeks, and I note that the Premier and I were out there supporting his constituents in relation to the flooding that went through their homes. Across South-East Queensland Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews were kept extremely busy during that time. In fact, the QFES responded to 246 swiftwater incidents and, of those, 58 were actual rescues. As we know, the volume of rain experienced during that time was extraordinary, but it serves as a timely reminder to everybody in the community to heed the message of our emergency services, and that is ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’, and there is an important reason why we say that. Following the 2011 floods, the previous Labor government developed the slogan ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ as a public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of people driving through flooded roads. This campaign was part of a wider $1.8 million Get Ready Queensland package which was designed to encourage residents to be prepared for natural disasters.

Under the former LNP government, the campaign was split up. The responsibility for Get Ready Queensland was removed from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and so was the money. Yes, it took the money away from QFES. What was left was an ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ campaign with no money to run it. That is right: unbelievably, the LNP left the ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’ campaign completely unfunded for three years. But that did not stop the LNP’s emergency services minister mouthing the words at every chance he got, knowing full well that his government was doing nothing to actually fund the campaign. The then minister was all jabber: he was all jabber but no kerching! There was no money at all for the campaign. During that time Queenslanders were battered over and over again. There were the Bundaberg floods, Cyclone Ita and the Brisbane hail storm, and all the time motorists were continuing to be rescued.

I have news for the House: we are going to bring back a campaign in relation to, ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’. The minister’s department for road safety and my department are working together to do that. What did they do with the money that should have been there? It went down the gurgler. Gone, gone down the gurgler!

 

 

 

Bundaberg Council transfers umbrella risk



News Mail [19/5/15]:



Bundaberg Regional Council is amending its policies to address umbrella safety following the death of 9-year-old Karrisa McDonald in a freak accident at ANZAC Pool in 2012.

Community and environment manager Gavin Steele confirmed the link when briefing the councillors before todays Ordinary Meeting.

"This came about with the tragedy we had at ANZAC Pool," Mr Steele told the councillors.

Karrisa died after an umbrella blew over in a gust of wind and struck her in the head on December 13, 2012.

Mr Steele said research by council planning officers revealed there was no Australian standard or engineering certification for securing umbrellas.

"You can buy them on eBay, you can import them - there really is no Australian standard," Mr Steele said.

"What we're seeking to do is include that in a policy.

"It's putting the obligation on those people who chose to put them up."

...

 

 

 

Dead barra found floating in the Botanic Gardens Lagoon, Mackay

 

 

Daily Mercury [19/5/15]:



Dead fish have been discovered floating in the botanic gardens on Sunday.

Mackay Recreational Fisheries Alliance president Lance Murray was anonymously tipped off, to discover six shallow-floating barramundi in the Botanic Gardens lagoon.

"If you caught them and took them home, you'd be pretty proud to take them and they'd make a fantastic brag photo," he said.

Mr Murray said the area smelt heavily of rotting vegetation, and believed the incident could coincide with filtering problems, shallow water and an the cold weather snap.

"I would anticipate that's the tip of the iceberg," he said.

"It's something that needs to be monitored,"

This is not the first time Mr Murray has seen it happen.

Mr Murray said it was unusual other fish species were not affected.

"Boney bream are usually quite susceptible to this sort of fish-kill, but there were no boney bream yesterday," he said.

Mackay Regional Council will investigate the matter to determine why these fish have died.

Council's Parks Environment and Sustainability manager Pete Owen said three large barramundi were fished out of the upper part of the lagoon.

"Run-off into the lagoon after a period of dry weather has impacted on oxygen levels in the past," he said.

"Council is also preparing a catchment management plan for the lagoon's creek catchment.

"This plan will investigate a range of waterway health issues and identify actions we can take to improve the water quality and health of the ecosystem in the lagoon."

Mr Owen said it was possible oxygen levels had been affected after recent heavy rainfall.

The council has advised the State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, which is the lead agency.


 


Sewerage spills into Breakaway Creek, Mt Isa [North West Star - 18/5/15]:



Department of Environment and Heritage protection are working with the Council to stop contamination in Breakaway Creek after a sewage leak on May 17.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Heritage protection said they were informed on May 17 by Mount Isa City Council that a sewage pump station had failed and untreated sewage was released, flowing into Breakaway Creek.

"The department has two compliance officers on the ground in Mount Isa to ensure Council’s actions to clean-up the spill are appropriate and to investigate the cause of the spill," the spokesperson said.

“While the release has the potential to adversely impact water quality and ecosystem health, the Department of Environment and Heritage protection (EHP) is unable to quantify at this point what specific environmental impacts have occurred (save for the fact that sewage was released to the associated land and waterway)."

The spokesperson said water supplies remains unaffected by the sewage leak.

“The Council has constructed earthen bunds within Breakaway Creek to prevent any release material entering the Leichhardt River and clean-up operations are continuing,” said the spokesperson.

EHP will continue to work with the Mount Isa City Council to determine the best plan of action for the future and have recommended that appropriate signage be put in place to warn the public of the extent of the contamination.

...

 

 

 

Mystery deepens after first tests on Chinchilla mum's purple oranges [Nine MSN – 31/3/15]:

 

 

The first scientific tests have been carried out after a Queensland mother-of-five discovered that oranges she sliced were turning a bizarre shade of purple in her home.

Angela Postle, from Chinchilla, noticed the strange phenomenon after buying oranges for her children from a local supermarket.

“I cut some up and they went in my kids’ lunchboxes for school, and I left some out because I was going to give them to my baby. However I ended up making mango and banana puree, so they were left in a bowl overnight, and we noticed the purple colour in the morning,” she told 9news.com.au.

Over the next several days she took photos as the discolouration progressed to encompass the entire fruit, and then contacted health authorities who took the oranges for testing.

A spokesman for the Queensland Environmental Health Branch said the first tests had ruled out common artificial colouring.

“Testing was carried out to determine the presence of commonly used synthetic food colourings….[but] showed no indication of the presence of any artificial colours,” the spokesman said.

“Testing was also undertaken to determine the presence of iodine. No evidence of iodine was found.”

He said the oranges have now been sent to a molecular biology laboratory for “further analysis”.

Mrs Postle, who said the purple growths did not exhibit any texture or odour, took the oranges back to the local Woolworths where she purchased them and was given a refund.

However just as forensic testing returned an inconclusive result, Mrs Postle claims she observed the phenomenon again – this time after slicing oranges purchased from a local market in Chinchilla last week.

The new discovery suggests it is more likely that the contamination is originating within her home rather than the fruit.

“We bought some oranges from the markets here in Chinchilla, as we thought they would be fine. My daughter didn’t eat them, and when I went to pack the lunch boxes the next day, they had started turning purple,” she said.

“It’s just not normal. I am not going to feed my kids something like that. I think it’s terrible they haven’t come up with any answers.”

“The weirdest thing is that it doesn’t happen to every orange - only some of them,” she said.

Experts who have viewed the images Mrs Postle took were baffled by the discolouration.

Dr John Golding from the NSW Department of Primary Industries said he had "never seen anything like this before".

Andrew Harty from Citrus Australia previously said the bizarre incident likely indicated a contamination of the blade used to cut the fruit.

But Mrs Postle said she washed the knives used to cut both lots of oranges beforehand.

“That’s very, very unusual,” Mr Harty said. “I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’ve been in the game a long time.”

“An orange would never do that naturally.”


 

 


Gladstone's community leaders have said the announcement of a $700 million oil refinery project is fantastic news.

Speaking after the announcement on Monday, state MP Glenn Butcher told The Observer the project was the ideal solution now the LNG construction projects were winding down.

"This will mean that our construction workers will be able to stay in the region rather than having to take up FIFO jobs elsewhere," he said. ... [Gladstone Observer - 19/5/15]



 


Flat Creek fence furore finally ends after Supreme Court ruling against miner who ignored orders to take it down



ABC [18/5/15]:



A fence at the centre of a bitter dispute between two rural neighbours, south of Georgetown in far north Queensland, has finally been taken down more than 18 months after a mining company was first ordered to do so.

ERO Gold Georgetown failed in its Supreme Court bid to overturn the directive to remove the locked gate and fence it built across a gazetted road to keep vehicles off its mining lease.

The Queensland Government recently inspected the site and confirmed the gazetted road had been substantially returned to its original state.

In a statement, it said the mining lease holder still had some road repairs to do, to fully comply with the special conditions imposed by the Department of Natural Resources, after earlier directives were ignored.

But for third generation grazier, Peter Henry, on nearby Flat Creek Station, the removal of the fence was a hollow victory.

"It totally shutdown the operation of Flat Creek because we not only have a cattle business, we also have a tourism business," Mr Henry said.

"We're happy the road's open and we can go back to normal but there's no real winners in something like this."

He said more than 400 visitors came onto Flat Creek for camping and bird watching in 2013, but that stopped overnight when the fence went up.

"We were virtually locked in."

"It's been a long 18 months or more and it has affected us immensely, just the stress of the Supreme Court case but not only that, there's a Land Court case yet that still hasn't been handed down."

In the middle of a severe drought, Mr Henry said the fence caused unimaginable hardship, in terms of the day-to-day costs of running a cattle property.

Cattle had to be "walked" more than four hours to a neighbouring property's yards to be transported to market and fodder and supplies were bought in "on the back of a ute" on a rough, bush track instead of larger truck loads using the gazetted road.

"When we realised it was going to be a third year of dry conditions, we didn't receive a wet, you like to sort of unload your property of any excess cattle before the dry really hits, so all of that impacts on your property," he said.

"You're unable to sell the cattle when you want to sell 'em, when they are strong and you're able to take them out, and then also to bring in lick and supplements for your cattle.

"It's hard if you haven't got your main access."

Mr Henry was unable to explain how the relationship with his neighbour had deteriorated to the point a dispute would end up in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

"Where it fell down with the mining? I don't know, I really don't know.

"You'll have to ask them that question I guess."

Calls by ABC Rural to the owner of ERO Mining Georgetown were not returned.

 

 

 

Mining trades assistant dies in Capricorn Highway crash



Morning Bulletin [19/5/15]:


A Biloela man who was killed in a crash near Duaringa on Sunday had overtaken a B-double truck when his left-hand wheels hit loose gravel, authorities said.

The man, who Duaringa Police Station boss Sergeant Paul James confirmed was 43-year-old mining trades assistant Jonathan Hill, was travelling west on the Capricorn Hwy on Sunday afternoon.

Forensic Crash Unit's Sergeant Michael Hollet said about 3km from the Woorabinda turnoff, Mr Hill overtook a B-double that was travelling at 90kmh.

Sgt Hollet said when Mr Hill merged back into his lane, he veered his Ford Laser too far onto the left-hand-side of the road.

The vehicle hit loose gravel and slid into a tree.

Sgt Hollet said Mr Hill was not speeding but he was travelling at a speed where he could not regain control of his vehicle.

His car was towed to a holding yard in Duaringa.

A post mortem on Mr Hill will be carried out in the coming days.



 

 

Car accident: Ex-Noiseworks singer Jon Stevens allegedly hit Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar [Sydney Morning Herald – 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

Man arrested after crashing car into Mudgeeraba home [MYGC – 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 

An out-of-control car has mounted a footpath and crashed into a shop front on the Gold Coast after its driver reportedly blacked out behind the wheel.

The accident happened about 11.40am when the vehicle crashed into a butcher’s shop on Slatyer Avenue in Benowa. ... [MYGC - 19/5/15]





Armed robbery, Kallangur



QPS Media [19/5/15]:



Police are investigating after a man was robbed at Kallangur this morning.

Around 12.20am the man was leaving a chemist on Anzac Avenue when he was approached by a man armed with what appeared to be a hand gun demanding money.

The victim has handed over money and a briefcase.

The man ran off along Brewer Street towards Anzac Avenue.

The victim, a 37-year-old man, was not physically harmed during the incident.

The man is described as 190cm tall, skinny and was wearing jeans and a long sleeved dark shirt.

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.

 



Attempted armed robbery, North Lakes



QPS Media [19/5/15]:



Police are investigating after a man attempted to rob a service station at North Lakes last night.

Around 11pm a man armed with a knife attended the Flinders Parade business but was not able to gain entry as the door was locked.

The man banged on the door and showed the male attendant the knife but was not permitted entry.

The man ran off empty handed.

The man is described as Caucasian, 190cm tall and of average build. He was wearing a white jacket, blue trousers, a blue shirt, a balaclava and was carrying a black bag.

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


 


Armed robbery, Stretton



QPS Media [19/5/15]:

 

 

Police are investigating after a man armed with a knife stole a car at Stretton last night.

Around 10.50pm a man and a woman leaving a gym on Compton Road were confronted by a man armed with a knife who demanded car keys.

After taking the keys the man got into the vehicle and drove away. He was last seen driving west along Compton Road.

Neither the man nor the woman received any physical injuries.

The armed man is described as having a fair complexion, 186cm tall, of slim build and aged around 20.

The stolen car was located in Fortitude Valley around 2am.

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.

 

 



Police charge three teenagers for Harlaxton armed robbery

 

 

Chronicle [18/5/15]:

 

 

Toowoomba police have charged three teenagers with the armed robbery of the Foodworks store in Harlaxton.

Toowoomba Criminal Investigation Branch officer-in-charge Paul McCusker said a man, 18, a juvenile male, 16, and a juvenile girl aged 15 were each charged with entering a premises with intent and armed robbery in company arising from the alleged incident at the Harlaxton Foodworks store about 4pm Monday.

Each of the trio is expected to appear before Toowoomba Children's and Magistrates Courts respectively tomorrow.

...

 

 

 

Woman located, Arundel



QPS Media [19/5/15]:



A 28-year-old woman who police were seeking in connection to a pursuit on the Gold Coast on Sunday night has been located this morning.

The woman was located by police at a Byth Street address at Arundel around 9.35am today.

She was taken into police custody without incident and is presently assisting police with a number of investigations.

Police 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.

 

 

 

Man quizzed over suspicious Sydney death



Yahoo [19/5/15]:



A 77-year-old man is being questioned over the suspicious death of a woman in Sydney's north.

The body of a 68-year-old woman, who was discovered by paramedics at a townhouse in Forestville before midday on Tuesday, died at the scene.

Police said she had a wound to her neck.

A man was arrested at the scene and taken to Dee Why police station for questioning.

A crime scene has been established.

 

 

 

Family apologises for Rockhampton ANZAC day brawl



Morning Bulletin [19/5/15]:

 

 

Sera Tiaaleaiga has panic attacks every time she leaves her family home. That's why she normally stays in and looks after the babies.

But on this particular day she decided to get out to watch her three sons Dylan, William and Anittelea play A-grade Rockhampton rugby together for the first time.

It was supposed to be a proud moment for her and the family.

But little did she know the day she chose to leave the house was the dreadful day that tore her family apart.

She wasn't going to leave.

"But Dylan stood at the door and said to me, 'Mum, it's our first game ever playing together in one team… you have to come'," Sera said.

This week, The Morning Bulletin spoke to the Tiaaleaiga family about the Rockhampton ANZAC Day brawl.

The family said the brawl started after a player from the other team allegedly made comments referring to Dylan's past in jail.

William and Anittelea said these alleged comments were hurtful and personal. As a result of his alleged involvement in the fight, Dylan was sent back to jail to serve a previous sentence handed down to him three years ago.

The two other brothers have been hit with suspensions from the game for their alleged involvement.

Father Loui said the fight may not have transpired if things had been handled differently.

A tearful Sera, who described her family as a tight-knit unit, said the incident had been blown out of proportion and her family had been overwhelmed.

She said the family depended on each other emotionally, mentally and financially. She and her husband Loui are pensioners; and Sera takes medication for her health.

"Dylan and William are the only ones working in our house, and now with Dylan gone, Will is the only one who has an income for the family."

William and 17-year-old Anittelea, who is a Year 12 student, said the incident was the first fight they had been involved in.

They described their older brother as "a gentle and humble guy once you get to know him".

Dylan is expecting a child with his girlfriend in September. Mum Sera said she was hurt that her boy would miss the birth.

The Tiaaleaigas wanted to apologise to the community for the incident.

"We are sorry to all the players and the families affected by this… we did not intend to go to the rugby game to fight.

"We realise we aren't the only ones who have been hurt by this and we are sorry."

Yesterday William faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm.

His matter was adjourned to Monday, June 1.

Dylan was banned from the Colts club for his alleged involvement in the brawl and will face court at a later date.

William was stood down for 10 weeks and Anittelea was suspended for 12 weeks by Central Queensland Rugby Union.

 

 

 


Victorian teenager to remain in custody on weapons charges



Yahoo [18/5/15]:



The accused weapons supplier for an alleged Islamic State-inspired plot in Melbourne will remain in custody at least until late July after his matter was adjourned.

Narre Warren teenager Mehran Azami's case was mentioned briefly but he was not required to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

The 19-year-old has been charged with importing more than 200 weapons, including AK-47 flick knives and tasers designed to look like iPhones, after pre-dawn raids on April 18 which targeted an alleged plan to attack police at Anzac Day services.

The Operation Rising raids also collected 18-year-old Sevdet Ramdan Besim, of Hallam, and Harun Causevic, 18, of Hampton Park, who have been charged with conspiring to commit an act of terror

Police allege Azami was importing weapons for the pair "as part of their pursuits prior to and up to Anzac day".

Customs and police seized knuckle dusters, tasers and flick knives they allege Azami ordered from a Chinese website.

But many items also ordered remain unaccounted for, a court heard a couple of weeks ago when Azami applied for bail.

Azami, who was denied bail, will reappear on July 27 charged with a string of weapons offences.

Besim and Causevic also remain in custody.

Police say the men were linked to Numan Haider, a Melbourne teenager shot dead during a knife attack on police last year.



 

 

Freshly made dumplings the first of their kind in Bundaberg



News Mail [19/5/15]:



In A first for Bundaberg, lovers of freshly made Chinese dumplings no longer have to travel to a big city in order to enjoy the tasty morsels.

And according to Bundy Sushi's Kameron Chan, the bite-size delights have been so popular that about one in two customers are snapping them up.

"Ever since I put out this menu with this new, exciting niche, people are starting to support us again even though there's a bad economic climate," he said.

It's all part of Mr Chan's passion for food and plan to introduce a Chinese and Japanese tapas menu at the restaurant which opened in 2008.

"My family has been in the cooking business for about 30 years," he said.

"We all love cooking."

Mr Chan said he was constantly researching and creating to make sure customers were never bored.

"You've got to move with the times and understand what customers want," he said.

"I have to make sure each one is a dumpling no one has done before."

He said Japanese tapas (izakaya) and Chinese tapas (dim sum and dumplings) had been flying off plates since being brought in about two months ago.

"Izakayas were doing well in Brisbane and Melbourne so we thought 'how could we do that in Bundaberg'," he said.

...





Sugar Industry (Real Choice In Marketing) Amendment Bill

 

 

Queensland Parliament Hansard [19/5/15]:

 

 

Mr KNUTH (Dalrymple—KAP) (11.34 am):  I present a bill for an act to amend the Sugar Industry Act 1999 for particular purposes. I table the bill and explanatory notes and I nominate the Agriculture and Environment Committee to consider the bill.

Tabled paper: Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Bill 2015.

Tabled paper: Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Bill 2015, explanatory notes.

The Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Bill 2015 will provide canegrowers with the right to have real choice over who sells and prices grower economic interest sugar or GEI sugar. The bill addresses the imbalance in the market powers that currently exists between mill owners and growers. The imbalance and the power of the regional monopolies enjoyed by each mill in the market for sugarcane was first recognised in Australia in the early years of the 20th century, when sugar industry regulations were introduced to prevent mills from exercising their ability to squeeze the primary producers. Those regulations recognised the interdependence of the growers and the millers, to ensure growers and mills shared the market rewards and the risks from the sale of sugar. Although not described as such, the concept of grower economic interest sugar, GEI sugar, was given effect.

The sugar industry regulations were replaced by voluntary structures in 2005. In April 2014, Wilmar issued a public statement and indicated its intentions to exit the current sugar marketing arrangements from the end of the 2016 season. Shortly afterwards, two other milling groups, MSF Sugar, which is owned by Thailand’s Mitr Phol Group, and Tully Sugar, which is owned by China’s COFCO, also announced their intentions to exit the current marketing structure from the end of 2016, giving uncertainty to sugar marketing. That decision of the unilateral mills will deny growers any choice in how their share of production, their GEI sugar, is marketed in the future. Unless addressed, those anticompetitive actions will restore the monopoly position of mills in the market for sugarcane, with ramifications across the whole industry. All milling companies and their supplying growers will be affected, including those that have elected not to withdraw from the marketing structures.

The Sugar Industry (Real Choice and Marketing) Amendment Act 2015 acknowledges the need for an amendment to the existing legislation that will provide growers with the ability to proactively be involved in the marketing of their own sugar. The bill recognises that both millers and growers have an economic interest in the sugar produced. It requires millers to provide a transparent platform for sugar marketing that provides growers a choice in who markets their GEI sugar and provides mills with symmetric rights in relation to mill economic interest sugar, or MEI sugar.

This bill is a collaborative effort of the farmers and industry bodies that are the sugarcane industry. I have consulted extensively with representatives and the KAP has initiated public meetings at Innisfail and Ingham to hear about the concerns of sugar towns and farmers, and the bill addresses those concerns. The bill will result in a stronger, fairer and more stable industry, and also gives confidence and security to Queensland communities that stretch north of Mossman and right through to the Sunshine Coast, which rely on the flow-on support that the sugar industry provides. I commend the bill to the House.

 

 

 

Ralph Nader on Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Bid and His Unanswered Letters to the White House [Democracy Now - 18/5/15]:



... RALPH NADER: Bernie Sanders does not answer my calls. Fifteen years, he’s never answered a telephone call, never replied to a letter, never replied to a meeting that I wanted to go down and see him. I even had to write an article on this, called "Bernie, We Thought We Knew Ye!"

One of the problems he’s going to face, other than his good graces in Vermont, is that he doesn’t have good political antennae. He doesn’t have political social graces. And he’s going to have to change that. A lot of his friends have told me that that’s a problem.

But most progressive senators don’t really respond to any progressive group that tries to push him to do more than they want to do.

I wrote nine letters to nine progressive senators, like Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and saying, "Look, you’re all lone rangers doing good things, but you’re going nowhere. So why don’t you get together into a caucus of nine, 10, 12 senators in the Senate and push a unified agenda on poverty, on labor, on the environment, on trade, on military policy? You might really get somewhere. At the least, you’ll raise these issues more prominently."

Not a single response.

Called up, said, "Would they respond?" Not a single response.

I did finally have to go down and meet with the general counsel for Senator Warren. But by and large, that’s the problem with the left.

That’s the problem of progressives. They don’t link with one another. You never see Heritage Foundation or Cato or all these right-wing groups tolerate members of Congress treating them that way who are supposed to be on their side.  ...



Greece says can pay wages and pensions, needs deal by end of May

 

 

Reuters [18/5/15]:

 

Greece's government will pay public-sector wages and pensions in May but needs an agreement with creditors by the end of the month, its spokesman said on Monday, amid growing fears the country is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Without aid or access to debt markets, Athens is close to running out of money - it had to empty an International Monetary Fund reserves account to make a debt payment to the IMF last week. Investors dumped Greek stocks and bonds on Monday over worries Athens could miss a payment due next month.

Asked about an IMF payment falling due on June 5, spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis reiterated the government's position that it aims to service all its obligations. Asked if the government would pay wages and pensions this month, he said: "Yes".

But he said the government expected to make a deal with the European Union and IMF creditors this month, with an agreement on a technical level struck by May 19. Talks at this week's EU summit in Riga would follow, then a possible emergency meeting of euro zone ministers before the end of May.

"We can say that the timetable is such where you have May or the end of May for concluding such a deal," Sakellaridis told a news conference. "There should be a solution in May so we can resolve our liquidity issues."

He ruled out a levy on bank deposits to raise cash and said the government would not sign a third bailout program. He denied any plans to raise the retirement age as a concession.

Athens and its creditors have been negotiating for months without any breakthrough, with talks hung up over the government's so-called "red lines" on labor and pension reform.

Sakellaridis said Athens would insist on avoiding wage and pension cuts, having a strong economic growth plan, a low primary surplus target and debt restructuring as elements of a comprehensive deal with lenders.

"We are not putting red lines because we have a fetish about these red lines," he said. "We think they are necessary elements of a deal so that we don't once again have the problems of the past."



 

 

 

 

‏@lovemakesaway [19/5/15]:   We shall not be moved Still praying and singing in Malcolm Turnbull's office ... #LoveMakesAWay #WhyAreKidsInDetention 

 

 

 

‏@lovemakesaway [19/5/15]:  Our prayer is that every child is safe and free of detention, to experience dreams not nightmares.  ...  

 

 



Man escapes Yongah Hill immigration concentration camp

 



West Australian [19/5/15]:

 

 

A man who escaped from Western Australia's Yongah Hill immigration detention centre while en route to a medical appointment remains on the run.

Police have been searching for the detainee, who is believed to be Chinese, for the past week.

The Department of Immigration confirmed to AAP that the man absconded on his way to a scheduled appointment at Royal Perth Hospital.

"Western Australia Police and the AFP were informed immediately and are working with the department to locate the individual," the department said.

"Searches of the area were conducted immediately after the incident occurred."

 

 

 

 

Protected unaccountable Immigration Minister lauds committee that whitewashes Australia's abusive, secretive refugee policies [Media Release - 19/5/15]

 


 

 

Nine MSN [19/5/15]:

 

 

Women and children at the Nauru detention centre choose to wet the bed at night rather than risk being attacked on visits to the bathroom.

The disturbing claim was aired during a Senate inquiry hearing in Canberra on Tuesday in which centre operator Transfield Services, Wilson Security and welfare provider Save the Children gave evidence about how abuse complaints are handled.

A female asylum seeker at the centre told visiting Sydney pediatrician David Isaacs last year of the harrowing night she was raped on the way to the bathroom.

The woman had wept uncontrollably for 10 minutes as she detailed the ordeal, but had chosen not to report it to police because of fears of repercussions.

"Many children and some mothers had nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting at night) rather than run the gauntlet of a night-time toilet visit," Professor Isaacs said in a written submission.

Wilson Security told the hearing it was unaware of the incident and declined to speculate on why women were so terrified.

The only CCTV cameras cover the administration, recreation and medical centre areas, though some security guards wore GoPro cameras in emergency situations but the footage was routinely deleted, the hearing was told.

Wilson general manager John Rogers said he did not believe allegations male staff watched female asylum seekers and children in bathrooms, with some said to have urged women to expose themselves for extra shower time.

Male guards had to wait outside the family facility while female guards entered bathroom areas, he said. ...

 

 



 

Nauru Inquiry: Immigration Minister personally told of serious incidents [Guardian - 19/5/15]:



… The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked about the alleged sexual assault of a young asylum seeker by a cleaner in November 2013, and how that would be handled.

“That’s a critical incident and it would be verbally reported to control,” Ronalds said. “The Save the Children employee would then follow up with a written report. That would normally be co-signed by a Save the Children manager to ensure it was of an appropriate standard.

“In the example you have provided, because it involves a child, Save the Children would take the lead in conducting an assessment. We would talk to the alleged victim … We would start liaising with the Nauru police.”

Gordon and Ronalds were also asked about the circumstances of the dismissal of a number of Save the Children staff from Nauru in October. The workers were removed by the department with minimal consultation with Save the Children.

Ronalds said Save the Children became aware of the allegations through a report in the Daily Telegraph that referred to an unknown Wilson Security “intelligence report”.

He said the process was at odds with a previous investigation, where five staff were stood down while an investigation occurred, and were then reinstated in consultation with Save the Children. …

 

 

 

 

A unique resource, German Holocaust archive reaches out [Reuters - 3/4/13]:

 

... The archive is housed in an inconspicuous white building containing clues to the fates of 17.5 million people.

The 25 kilometers of yellowing papers include typed lists of Jews, homosexuals and other persecuted groups, files on children born in the Nazi Lebensborn program to breed a master race, and registers of arrivals and departures from concentration camps.

It even has a carbon copy of Schindler's List, the 1,000 Jewish workers saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler.

The Nazis' meticulous record-keeping stopped only when Jews and other victims were herded into gas chambers. ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross has released World War II documents showing the organization knew about the persecution of Jews in Nazi death camps but felt powerless to speak out.  ... [JWeekly.com - 3/1/97]

 

 



Vicious assault on asylum seeker puts pall of fear over Nauru – protest demands Australian Immigration tells the truth

 

 

 

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [19/5/15]:



The savage physical attack on a 23 year-old female Iranian asylum seeker has cast a pall of fear over Nauru.

On Saturday, 16 May, the young woman had been on day-release from the detention centre, visiting refugees in the community. She was expected to return to the detention centre by 5pm. Around 4.30pm, she left the house she was visiting to get a bus back to the detention centre.

When she didn’t return, her brother accompanied by security guards went to the house around 6.30pm, to inquire about her. They then went to the Nauru hospital, but she was not there.

Around 8.00pm, a refugee came across Nauruan police, wrapping the woman in a blanket and trying to place her in a police car. She had been found naked, distressed and disoriented.

Police and Nauruan officials obstructed attempts by refugees to talk to her and kept insisting that ‘nothing happened.’

The woman was taken to the police station where police contacted some of her friends to bring clothes for her. She was later taken and admitted to the medical centre at the detention centre.

A sexual assault has not been confirmed by any of the authorities, but it is widely believed she has been the victim of a sexual attack. She has extensive bruising to her body and she had a serious head injury that left her drifting in and out of consciousness on the Saturday night.

In the early hours of Sunday morning (17 May), Nauruan police returned to the vicinity of the house she was visiting to search for her clothes, mobile phone and other belongings.

The assault has left other refugees terrified of being out after dark. Saturday’s attack is the latest in what seems to be an escalating series of physical and sexual assaults on refugees.

Shamefully, but typically, it seems the Nauruan police are attempting to cover-up the crime. The cover-up is just the latest indication of a pattern of police inaction and unwillingness of Nauruan authorities to protect refugees or to investigate or take seriously the attacks on refugees.

The denial of the attack by police and Nauruan immigration authorities has outraged refugees.

The cover-up of Saturday’s assault is just the latest example of the authorities inability and unwillingness to ensure the safety of refugees in the Nauruan community.

A protest of around 50 refugee women has been held this afternoon (Tues 19 May) at Beach House, the office of Australian immigration and Connect service providers.

The protest is demanding that the Australian Immigration Department end the cover-up and reveal the truth about the attack.

“Day by day, the stark reality that Nauru is unsafe for asylum seekers or refugees becomes clearer. Neither Transfield, nor the Immigration Department, nor the Nauruan government or police is able to protect asylum seekers in or out of detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The cover up of this horrific assault is exactly the same attitude that covered up the sexual and physical abuse of woman and children in detention. The Immigration Department can’t be trusted with the care of asylum seekers and refugees. Nauru should be closed.”

 

 



Why are Australian politicians silent on Rohingya deaths at sea?



Refugee Council of Australia Media Release [18/5/15]:



Tony Abbott’s relentless stop the boats mantra risks a tragic outcome for the thousands of Rohingya who are floating in a literal legal limbo, forced from their homeland where they are persecuted and not recognised as citizens, says the Refugee Council of Australia.

Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power said “Pushing back boats should never be an option because it involves one country foisting its international and humanitarian obligations directly onto another. If all countries take this approach, there would be nowhere to seek safety.

“Australia has shifted our obligations to provide asylum onto a reluctant Indonesia. If Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia now follow the Australian precedent and continue to push Rohingyas back into the sea, these people will die as there will be no country that offers them asylum”.

“This is what the irrational and inhumane policy of ‘stopping the boats’ has resulted in,” said Mr Power.

“Of course, every effort must be taken to stop people smugglers and criminal rings that prey on vulnerable asylum seekers but Australia has humanitarian, moral and legal obligations to ensure that these very vulnerable people do not disappear into the ocean while Australia sits idly by.

“I am listening closely but I cannot hear those many politicians who were so desperate to stop deaths at sea speaking out and taking action to stop the deaths of the thousands of Rohingyas who are in such great danger of dying at sea right now.

“Rohingya’s have endured persecution in Burma for decades. They have been deprived of citizenship by their own Government, denied freedom of movement, suffer violence and discrimination, face restrictions on marriage and family size and lack access to adequate health services, food, clean water, shelter and education.

“Australia may have turned its back on offering asylum seekers but we must not harden out hearts to people on our doorstep who are in desperate need. The Rohingya are one of the most persecuted groups in the entire world and Australia can and must offer urgent assistance”, concluded Mr Power.

 



Fears grow for Rohingya migrants on missing boat [The Nation – 19/5/15]:



Fears grew Tuesday for the welfare of hundreds of Rohingya migrants on a boat bounced between waters off Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia that has not been heard from in more than 60 hours.

Around 300 men, women and children were found pleading for help Thursday on the drifting trawler which has become emblematic of Southeast Asia’s growing migrant crisis and the region’s reluctance to offer sanctuary to the passengers.

The Thai navy said it had repaired the engine and provided visibly thin passengers with food, water and medicine on both Thursday and Saturday before "escorting" the vessel into international waters.

But its location is now unknown.

Thai authorities insist the passengers wanted to travel southwards onto Malaysia and say they have had no news of the vessel since around 9 pm Saturday.

"We don’t have any information on that boat," Thai navy official Veerapong Nakprasit told AFP Tuesday morning.

Indonesian and Malaysian officials have declined to comment on the status of a vessel which has been subject to what one rights group has coined "maritime ping-pong".

Chris Lewa of The Arakan Project, a Rohingya rights group that monitors boat crossings, said her team were last in contact with the ship by telephone on Saturday evening.

Since then the phones have gone unanswered.

"It’s very worrying," she told AFP.

"They had told us that the men were taking all the food and that the women could not get the food. They were only getting little bits left over. That was the last we heard from them."

...

 

 



Philippines open to sheltering 3,000 Rohingya refugees [Rappler - 19/5/15]:



The Philippines on Monday, May 18, said it is open to sheltering up to 3,000 "boat people" from Myanmar and Bangladesh as other Southeast Asian countries rejected these refugees.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr also denied a newspaper report that said the Philippines "will push back to sea" these boat people, in a humanitarian crisis that has alarmed the United Nations (UN).

In a statement, Coloma pointed out that the Philippines signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

The UN describes this as "the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights, and the legal obligations of states."

Coloma said that by signing the 1951 convention, the Philippines "manifested its solidarity with the UN in providing succor and relief to persons involuntarily displaced from their homelands as a consequence of political conflict."

"We shall continue to do our share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the convention," Coloma said.

He also noted that the Philippines "has extended humanitarian assistance to 'boat people' and had even established a processing center for Vietnamese travelers in the seventies."

Coloma was referring to around 2,700 Vietnamese boat people who sought refuge in Philippines in the 1970s. These boat people, who fled their country after the Vietnam War, temporarily stayed in Palawan in the Philippines and later got resettled in other countries.

The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs, for its part, has not issued an official statement on the current refugee crisis.

...

 

 

 

 

Why is Amnesty Australia only calling on the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to rescue Rohingya refugees?

 

 

 

 

Which country on this map of  South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?

 

 



Rohingyas say quake-ravaged Nepal is better than life at home or death at sea [TIME – 18/5/15]:

 

 

... Hassan is an ethnic Rohingya Muslim from western Burma, officially now known as Myanmar. Along with tens of thousands of his ilk, the 22-year-old fled recent pogroms initiated by his homeland’s Buddhist majority in search of a better life elsewhere.

But while most Rohingya escape on rickety boats, facing possible extortion or execution in Thai trafficking camps en route, Hassan instead trundled overland more than 100 km into the snow-capped Himalayas.

And despite the wanton devastation, half-million homes flattened and 8,500 lives lost, the recent twin quakes and numerous aftershocks have not stopped Hassan from counting his blessings.

“I am lucky,” he tells TIME.

“If I had gone to Thailand, maybe I also would’ve died.” ...

 

 

 

 

 

A spokesman for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called on the Myanmar government to confer citizenship on the stateless Rohingya people, who are fleeing in boats to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.  ... [Channel News Asia - 18/5/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Brisbane MAY 22 PROTEST - Rescue the Rohingyan refugees - End Boat Turn Backs:


Hosted by Refugee Action Collective Queensland

5:00pm King George Square, Brisbane

- Rescue the Rohingyan refugees

- End Boat Turn Backs

- Australia must resettle refugees from Indonesia

Speakers include:

 

* Sujauddin Karimuddin from the Queensland Rohingya Community will be speaking and others

...

The lives of the Rohingyan asylum seekers rest in the hands of regional governments of Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Every hour that passes without assistance puts more lives in danger.See you on Friday!

In the meantime, sign Senator Sarah Hanson Young's petition for immediate action.

 

 



Love Makes A Way conduct sit in at Malcolm Turnbull's Sydney office



Love Makes A Way Media Release [19/5/15]:



A group of Christians are currently engaged in a prayerful sit-in in the Edgecliff office of Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The group is part of the ‘Love Makes a Way’ movement calling for all children to be released from immigration detention, and for the detention centre on Nauru to be shut down.

The prayer vigil group is committed to remaining in prayer at Turnbull’s office, appealing to the Minister to make a public commitment to support a moratorium on the transfers of children to Nauru.

The group who identify with a variety of Christian traditions have extended an invitation to Mr Turnbull’s staff to join the group in prayer and reflection.

“As Christians we stand in a tradition that teaches care for the vulnerable and love for the stranger. We are here today to appeal to Mr Turnbull as a fellow Christian, and as a leader in our nation’s government, to protect children from the abuse they suffer in immigration detention,” said Fr. Claude Mostowik, a Catholic priest involved in the sit-in.

"As long time advocates for the rights of asylum seekers we understand that we risk arrest by praying here today. All formal channels of advocacy have failed to free the children from immigration detention and so we come here today with this act of peaceful civil disobedience, it being the strongest expression of love and resistance we have available to us,” said Fr Mostowik.

The prayer vigil sit-in coincides with the commencement of a Senate Inquiry into immigration detention on Nauru following the release in March of the ‘Moss Review’. The review found evidence of sexual abuse of asylum seekers detained on Nauru.

“The federal government says it accepts the recommendations of the Moss Review which told of shocking allegations of sexual abuse at the immigration detention centre on Nauru. We are calling on the Australian government to take immediate action to remove all children from this unsafe environment,” said Reverend Mary Hurst, pastoral worker for the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand and participant in today's sit-in.

“We know that children are being abused in our immigration detention centres and we know that if any other child in Australia were living in an abusive home we’d act without hesitation to protect that child,” she said.

“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the sexual abuse of children is not something we would accept in Australia, but that is precisely what we are accepting as long as we keep children locked up in detention where we know sexual abuse has happened,” said Reverend Hurst.

“Last year Mr Turnbull acknowledged that the Coalition’s asylum seeker policy is ‘cruel’ and ‘harsh’. He also said that ‘one child in detention is one child too many’. We encourage him in this spirit to take a stand for the freedom of children in detention,” said Matt Anslow, spokesperson for Love Makes a Way.

“We will not rest until all children are free to have a safe childhood and until love makes a way for all people seeking asylum in Australia,” said Mr Anslow.


 

 

 

Unaccountable and protected Transfield unwilling to answer basic questions about its operations on Nauru [Guardian - 19/5/15]:



… In one extraordinary exchange, Hanson-Young questioned Osborn on the number of allegations of sexual assault or exploitation that had been reported personally to him. Osborn was unable to provide an answer and took the questions on notice.

Munnings said: “You’ve asked for a lot of detail and information and we will provide it on notice. We’re not willing to provide inaccurate information.”

Osborn said in his opening statement that Transfield was “committed to ensuring our staff and contractors understand and comply with our core values”.

Osborn did confirm Transfield was aware of an “incident” that occurred at the centre on Saturday. A woman was found naked in the middle of the main road in Nauru, but the local police say she has not made an allegation of assault.

The inquiry also heard evidence from three executives from Wilson Security, which is subcontracted by Transfield Services to manage security. South Pacific general manager John Rogers, security contract manager Brett McDonald and human resources manager Lara Donnini appeared before the inquiry.

McDonald told the inquiry that locally contracted staff do not have to undergo a working-with-children check, but said they had “specific behavioural questions” and were required to sign a statutory declaration about any criminal background.

...


 

 



New Matilda [19/5/15]:



… Senior staff from Transfield Services, which has a $1.2 billion contract with the Commonwealth to oversee the running and upkeep of the detention centre, deferred their answers to a range of questions including the frequency of blackouts in the centre, the gender breakdown of their staff, and the reporting of alleged sexual assaults.

The inquiry is being held in the wake of the Moss Review, which found evidence of serious sexual assaults in the detention centre.

The treatment of asylum seekers by guards has come into particular focus since the review, with multiple allegations that staff have acted inappropriately towards women and children in ablution and shower blocs.

Derek Osborne, Executive General Manager for Logistics & Facilities Management, told the senate committee male staff are not permitted in the children’s and women’s showering areas.

However, evidence from asylum seekers and submissions to the inquiry suggest the practice has taken place.

The Moss Review also found credible evidence that guards had traded drugs in the centre in return for sexual favours from asylum seekers.

...

 

 

 

 

 

... “Child victims of rape are not like adult victims of rape,” says Sarnat.

“They think it must be a punishment for what they have done.”  ...  [Holocaust film reveals long-hushed child sex abuse - Times Of Israel - 15/4/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

... A former employee for Transfield subcontractor Wilson Security told Guardian Australia the guards’ online posts provided a glimpse of the mindset of ex-defence force personnel who “frequently referred to asylum seekers in their care as ‘the enemy’ ”.  ... [Guardian - 14/4/15]

 

 

 



Suicide attack in Kandahar city leaves 7 people wounded



Khaama [18/5/15]:



A suicide bomber targeted the vehicles of the Afghan security forces in southern Kandahar city leaving at least seven people injured.

The provincial governor spokesman confirmed the incident and said least two policemen and five civilians were injured in the attack.

In the meantime, another security official said the target of the explosion was the commander of the border protection police forces.

The official further added that the commander of the border protection police forces Ismat Afghan escaped the attack unhurt.

Officials in provincial hospital also confirmed that seven people injured in the attack including policemen were brought to the hospital for treatment.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Kandahar is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating in a number of its districts and often carry out insurency activities.

 


 


Helmand’s Nawa district chief shot dead by Taliban militants [Khaama – 18/5/15]

 

 

 



BBC crew detained while reporting in Qatar [Al Jazeera – 18/5/15]:

 

 

A journalist and crew from the British broadcaster BBC were detained in Qatar earlier this month while gathering information for a report on migrant workers.

Mark Lobel, the BBC journalist, has said that he and a cameraman, a translator and a driver were arrested in Doha while gathering additional material for a report on accommodation for low-paid migrant workers.

They spent two nights in jail and their equipment was confiscated.

Qatar has said the group was detained because they trespassed on private property, "which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries."

The BBC crew had been invited to Doha by the Qatar government to see new accommodation provided for migrant workers, in a tour arranged by the Qatar World Cup organising committee, which answers to FIFA, the international body responsible for the organisation of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup.

The Qatar government says "the press tour for reporters from the UK, Europe and the region ... was designed to provide a better understanding of the challenges Qatar is facing - and the progress it is making - on the issue of migrant labour".

Rights groups have criticised the working and housing conditions of labourers constructing new buildings in Qatar in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA has said it will investigate the incident.

"Any instance relating to an apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern to FIFA and will be looked into with the seriousness it deserves," FIFA said in a statement on Monday.

For his part, Lobel said in a story published by the BBC News website, the BBC team was en route to film a group of migrant workers on a quiet stretch of road in Doha when, "suddenly, eight white cars surrounded our vehicle and directed us on to a side road at speed".

Lobel said he and his crew were frisked by security officers and taken to headquarters for questioning, before being transferred to a prison, where they spent two nights.

They were later allowed to join the organised press trip to which they had been invited.

...

 

 

 

 



Dozens dead in massive Colombia landslide [Al Jazeera – 19/5/15]

 

 

 

 



30,000 rally for Macedonia's PM after huge rival demo [Press TV – 19/5/15]

 

 



 

Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews Protest in Israel



Naharnet [18/5/15]:



Hundreds of Israeli Ethiopian Jews and activists held a rally on Monday evening in Tel Aviv to protest against alleged racism, an AFP journalist said.

The march passed off without incident under the watch of dozens of security officers, a police spokesman said.

Demonstrators chanted slogans demanding "social justice" and "the arrest of racist police."

Ethiopian Jews in Israel have staged several rallies against alleged police brutality and racism in recent weeks, and some gatherings have turned violent as they clashed with security forces.

Israel has some 135,500 Jewish Israelis of Ethiopian descent, including more than 50,000 born inside the country.

The community has been at the center of storms over alleged institutionalized racism in recent years.






Expert warns of 'disastrous' impact of closing remote communities

 

 

NIRS [19/5/15]:

 

 

The Western Australian Government is being warned shutting down 'unsustainable' remote communities won't solve social problems among residents.

The state Government is moving closer to defunding some communities and has cited substance abuse, child abuse and unemployment as justification.

Professor Jon Altman is a Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and says shutting down remote communities would be a disaster.


 

 



Civilian killed in intense Ukrainian army shelling of Donetsk despite ceasefire



RT [19/5/15]:



At least one civilian has been killed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk after an army shell hit an apartment building amid intense fire on rebel positions. An RT correspondent says the city has seen one of its worst shellings in months.

“There was fire, shelling for about two hours and it was almost non-stop…blast after blast, you could feel the vibrations from the explosions, kilometers away from the frontline,” RT’s Murad Gazdiev said over the phone from Donetsk.

According to Gazdiev, the attack centered on northern Donetsk, where the previously contested airport is located, but at least one shell landed on a civilian building. RT’s crew rushed to the area to find out if the report was true.

“We found the residents who survived sitting outside, obviously in shock, covered in dust. One elderly man who lived on the top floor…the shell landed in his apartment. The place was almost torn apart, the walls were blasted out,” Gazdiev said, describing the scene.

Rescue workers were still trying to find the man’s remains in the rubble, he added.

The rise in violence in eastern Ukraine comes just days after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed to “fight to the last drop of blood” against what he called “Russian aggressors” and called the internationally-recognized Minsk peace roadmap a “pseudo-peace” deal in an interview with the German TV channel ZDF. Earlier, Poroshenko’s official website quoted him as saying: “I have no doubt – we will free the [Donetsk] airport, because it is our land. And we will rebuild the airport.”

The Donetsk Airport had been the last strategic spot occupied by Ukrainian troops in the rebel-held city before anti-government forces overran the area after eight months of siege.

Poroshenko’s statement prompted reaction from both Moscow and Washington. While the Kremlin said it “clearly violated the Minsk agreements,” US Secretary of State John Kerry advised Poroshenko to “think twice” before reigniting the conflict.

The Ukrainian president later backpedaled on his remarks about the airport, accusing the Russian press of overblowing the quote.

The latest attack comes despite US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is currently in Moscow with a Ukraine-centered visit, saying that “there is no indication from our own information or from my consultations in Kiev that anybody on the Ukrainian side, anybody in leadership…has any intention of launching new hostilities.”

 

 



US drone strike kills four in Pakistan



Naharnet [18/5/15]:


A U.S. drone strike Monday killed at least four militants in Pakistan's restive tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said.

The strike took place in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, where the Pakistani military has since June been battling militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida.

"A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a militant compound killing four militants," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The identities of those killed in the strike were not immediately known, he added.

Another security official confirmed the strike and details of the casualties.

...

 

 

 

 

 

Death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in anti-execution state brings complications, not closure [Democracy Now - 18/5/15]:

 

... AMY GOODMAN: Denny LeBoeuf, can you talk more about the significance of this, instructing the jury what happens if they vote for the death penalty, what happens if they vote for life in prison, and what it means if there is a holdout?

DENNY LEBOEUF [ACLU]: [inaudible] typically tell the jury, look, the United States Supreme Court has said that the decision and the penalty of a capital case is a reasoned, moral judgment. It calls on an individual juror to examine the whole life—short though it’s been—of the offender, as well as the circumstances of the crime, and to make a moral judgment based on their own morality, on their own perception of what is the appropriate punishment. Is this person, as young as he is, the worst of the worst? And what the instruction that Professor Freedman is talking about tells the jury is just simply the state of affairs. That is that if one juror, for reasons that are good to her, good, important to her, meaningful to her, says, "No, life in prison without probation, without parole, without release," that is the appropriate punishment, and if I simply tell, respectfully, my other jurors, "Fellow jurors, I disagree," that will be the sentence. And that is a matter of law, and jury instructions are supposed to tell the jury here’s the law.

AMY GOODMAN: Was that raised with the judge? And explain how much of this trial was public and how much of it was sidebar. How much do you know what happened?

DENNY LEBOEUF: I really can’t comment on that. I don’t [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Eric Freedman, can you comment on that?

ERIC FREEDMAN [Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra Law School] : Yes. This particular issue was so important that defense lawyer David Bruck went out of his way in open court to repeat to the judge this instruction—said, "Your Honor, we reiterate our demand for this instruction," and he read it, in a vain effort to catch the attention of the mainstream press, which failed to pick up on this point. And the judge said, "I’ve already ruled on that, in chambers." We had long arguments about that, as we now know, away from the press and out of the public eye, in which he refused to give the instruction. And—but we do know, from the transcript, that—and from what was said in court—that the defense explicitly asked for this, and it was explicitly refused by the judge, on the basis of considerations which he didn’t tell us. He just said, "What I told you in chambers."

AMY GOODMAN: Is this grounds for appeal?

ERIC FREEDMAN: Oh, there’s no question that the failure to give that instruction, in a situation where it has been given 71 times in federal death penalty cases, including the only two others ever tried in Massachusetts, will certainly be made prominent in the appeal.

AMY GOODMAN: And that appeal would be of the sentence, not of the verdict?

ERIC FREEDMAN: Well, that particular aspect of the appeal will go to the sentence.

...

 

 

 

 



Saudi rocket attack claims two in Yemen’s Hajjah [Press TV - 18/5/15]:



At least two people have been killed in Saudi Arabia’s latest wave of air raids on the war-torn Arab country of Yemen.

A child was killed and a woman was injured after Saudi warplanes targeted a house in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa'ada, and a civilian died during a Saudi military rocket attack on Yemen's eastern province of Hajjah, late on Monday.

Saudi airstrikes also hit the presidential palace in Sa'ada and the Anad military airbase in the southern province of Lahij.

The southwestern province of Ad Dali' was also the target of six Saudi raids.

Earlier in the day, warplanes fired five rockets at the districts of Attawahi, Khormaksar, the Political Security Bureau in Fath, as well as the Ras Marmot barracks belonging to the Yemeni naval forces in the southern port city of Aden.

The Aden airport and the al-Sawlaban military barracks in the city were also hit with three rockets.

Rockets also landed in the Sahar, Zahir and Ghamr districts of Sa’ada, while the Saudi artillery targeted Dalih and Ghawr mountains in the northern Yemeni border areas.

Also on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides of the conflict to avoid any actions that diminish the safety and security of the country’s airports, seaports and transportation infrastructure.

“Yemenis have faced tragic levels of suffering and violence in recent months. The humanitarian pause is important to give them time to seek medical assistance and for much-needed basic goods to flow into the country. This pause must now become a permanent ceasefire and mark an end to all hostilities,” he stated.

A five-day humanitarian ceasefire went into effect on May 12 and ended on Sunday at 2000 GMT.

“I call on all sides to renew their commitment to the humanitarian pause for another 5-day period,” Ban added.

According to Yemen's Freedom House Foundation, the Saudi airstrikes have claimed the lives of about 4,000 Yemeni people so far while more than 6,887 others have been wounded.

About 16 million of Yemen’s population of 25 million need assistance and water supplies, and health services are on the verge of collapse, aid organizations have warned.

Saudi Arabia started military aggression against Yemen on March 26 - without a UN mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls the capital, Sana’a, and other major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

 

 

 

 

 

United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria



Centcom [18/5/15]:



Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., May 17, and 8 a.m., May 18, local time.

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted six airstrikes using bomber and attack aircraft.

Separately in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted 19 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

"Coalition airstrikes continued across Iraq including eight strikes in Ramadi,” said Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR chief of public affairs.

“We’re continuing to monitor reports of the fluid and contested situation in and around Ramadi. We have always known the fight would be long and difficult, particularly in Anbar. The Coalition continues to coordinate with GOI forces and provide requested support to their ongoing operations.”

The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:

Syria

Near Al Hasakah, six airstrikes struck one large and three small ISIL tactical units, destroying 14 ISIL vehicles, five ISIL fighting positions and three ISIL armored vehicles.

Iraq

Near Al Huwayjah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL staging area.

Near Bayji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL armored personnel carriers and two ISIL armored vehicles.

Near Ramadi, eight airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and three ISIL buildings, destroying four ISIL fighting positions, five ISIL buildings, two ISIL armored vehicles, two ISIL mortar positions, an ISIL armored personnel carrier, an ISIL ammunition structure, and an ISIL command and control facility.

Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL sniper position, destroying six ISIL buildings and six ISIL heavy machine guns.

Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL excavator, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL VBIED.

Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.

...

 

 

 

Two bomb blasts kill 5 civilians, wound 2 in southern Baghdad [IraqiNews.com – 18/5/15]

 

 



Civilians in Yarmouk facing vulnerability of ‘highest severity,’ says UN agency [Media Release – 18/5/15]

 



UN provides assistance as diarrhoea outbreak leaves seven Burundi refugees dead at Tanzania camp [Media Release – 18/5/15]

 

 

 

 

… the people from Eritrea, Somalia, the North of Nigeria are refugees, not economic migrants and Europe should make opportunities to receive this group of people.

It is incredible that in the 21st century people die crossing the borders. ...

 

 

Africa: My 15-Year Experience On Reporting Migrant Tragedies On Mediterranean Sea – Castellano [All Africa - 17/5/15]:

 

 

Sunday Trust caught up with Mr. Nicolas Castellano, a Spanish reporter, who has covered migration and asylum for over 15 years for Spain's biggest radio station, Cadenaser, in Abuja, where he attended a regional conference on Information and Migration, which was organized by Institute for Media and Society, Lagos, and Panos Institute West Africa with the support from the European Union.

In this exclusive interview, he said Europe is committing genocide against African migrants by building a 'fortress' and also called for political commitment from African governments to end the 'massacre' on the Mediterranean Sea.

You have reported migrant issues, asylum seekers and humanitarian crises for over 15 years for Cadenaser, one of the biggest Spanish radio. Can you please share your experience with us?

I was in Sicily, Italy, when the last tragedy in which about 800 people died. The majority of the people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers' boats to Europe come from Africa-from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Guinea and others. In the last tragedy, only about 250 persons were from Asia. I was also in Lampedusa in October 2013 when the biggest tragedy that year occurred, with 358 deaths of migrants. In my opinion we are seeing genocide, European countries have waged war against migrants. The law in Europe says yes to migrants. It is a problem, the people from Eritrea, Somalia, the North of Nigeria are refugees, not economic migrants and Europe should make opportunities to receive this group of people. It is incredible that in the 21st century people die crossing the borders.

In the last three months we have 1700 migrants' deaths in the Mediterranean Sea. This is the worst figures in history. For example, I was born on Canary Island in Spain, near Africa. It is a trans-Atlantic route for migrants-all the Senegalese, Malians, Guineans, Mauritanians and even Nigerian people-last year went in a small boat through Canary Island. In 21 years, through the Canary Island route on the Atlantic Ocean, we have had about 98, 000 migrants losing their lives in these desperate and dangerous journeys. In the last three months in the Mediterranean Sea, we have had more than 1700 deaths , so you see the magnitude of the problem. In the last 15 months, about 200, 000 migrants have tried crossing over to Europe, mostly Spain and Italy.

It is incredible. We have seen the worst humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean Sea in the history of migrants crossing to Europe.

Another important thing is that not all migrants are refugees, those exiting wars and insecurity in Africa, for example here in the North of Nigeria. In Libya, one of the biggest transit corridors, one of the main nationalities are Syria, second Eritrea, third Somalia and the first in West Africa is Nigeria. About 35, 000 people of Nigeria crossed last year from Libya to Italy because there are problems in this country.

You talked about European governments not taking the issue of migrants' deaths seriously; what do you expect them to do?

In Europe, governments speak about migrants as a problem of borders. The governments do not speak about migrants as people that need clothes, food and safety. The governments only make political decisions to create the migrants. In the worst tragedy in the Mediterranean, the only decision European governments could take was to push more boats and ships to control the borders, not to save the people. This in my opinion is the worst decision because the first thing should be to save the migrants' lives. If the people need to exit Africa because of war or famine, then they should be provided safe passage to Europe.

Some people do feel that the media in Europe also shares this blame because they are only interested in reporting migrants' tragedies, they don't task governments or the European Union to make policies that will save the lives of these migrants. What is your take on this?

The problem is the mentality that Europe is a 'fortress' and the governments want to control access to the 'fortress'. There are racists and xenophobic political parties in most of European governments and this group of people ensures that they control the number of Africans who cross over to Europe seeking humanitarian asylum. So their policies are deliberate. For example, the head of the interior ministry in Italy is a racist.

So what is the media in Europe doing to change the situation?

It is difficult to explain that because in Europe we have many media with different sensibilities. We have a large section of the media reporting migration issues from the official source, what the government says and the police says. On the other hand, there are media that explain the migration crises as a question of security and political issues etc. And a small group of media see the migration issue as a humanitarian crisis really.

How can the civil society in Europe understand migration issue without good information? If the media make simple reports only with figures and words of politicians, it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the problem. It is necessary for the European media to explain what is happening in Nigeria, why the people are exiting the country. And we should also go to Eritrea, Senegal, Mali and other African countries to understand the realities.

If you don't speak with the people, you don't understand the main situation in their countries of origin; you can't explain very well the reality of the migrants' issues. The biggest cemetery in the world is the Mediterranean Sea. Only last year there were 5200 deaths of migrants and the majorities were in the Mediterranean Sea. Why is Europe incapable of making good asylum policies? My message is a little hard because I have worked in this area in the last 15 years and I have seen many, many deaths. I have seen deaths in Senegal, in Mauritania, in Morocco, in Nigeria, in Tunisia, in Libya, in Lampedusa, in Sicily. In the future, our daughters and our sons will ask why Europe cannot stop this massacre.

Do you think Africa also shares the blame for allowing this tragedy to continue happening year in year out without any serious attempt to arrest the situation?

In my opinion, Africa too is responsible for these tragedies because of the instabilities on the continent. In Somalia, war has raged on for 22 years and I think the people have the right to flee the violence. Eritrea, we don't know what has happened there but there is a dictator there. In Democratic Republic of Congo, there have been about five million people who have died in the war there. Northern Mali is a disaster. Really, the African governments have a responsibility in this problems but they have different responsibilities-Africa, Europe and the international community-the United Nations. Why is the UN not doing or saying anything? The main thing is political priority; if leaders can see it as a priority, they can end this massacre.

What should be the role of the media in Africa in fighting this cause?

With good information, with good reports about the reality of the African countries people can understand what is happening in the borders. For example, do the people here in Nigeria know the magnitude of the tragedy in Libya, in Sicily or in the Mediterranean Sea? I think if the young people know that those desperate journeys end up in death, maybe they will not attempt crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The media can speak with the migrants and know what conditions necessitated their exit. The media should also press African governments to stabilize their nations and provide jobs for the youth. The media should also explain what is happening in Europe.



 

 

 

EU agrees Mediterranean naval mission to tackle people smugglers [Reuters - 18/5/15]

 

 



UN anti-crime chief opens Crime Commission urging action to prevent migrant smuggling [Media Release – 18/5/15]

 




Shell reopens Nigeria’s oil export pipeline [The News – 18/5/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like Palestine: Pictures of Australia's refugee concentration camp on Nauru [Guardian - 19/5/15]:

 

 

New pictures from the Nauru immigration detention centre offer a rare glimpse inside the Australian-run facility.

The photos show children being searched on the way to and from school, the state of the hospital and the conditions in which asylum seekers live. ...



 

 

Facebook blackout enters 19th day.

 

 

Transfield, Wilson, Save the Children  and DIPB will give evidence at another Nauru Senate Inquiry today.

 

 

 

Were the refugees even asked to give evidence?

 

 

 

Australia's political, media and human rights establishment continue pretending Australia is quarantined from the world

 

 

 

South East Asia

 

 

 

After long ordeal at sea, Rohingya find humanity in Indonesia [UNHCR Media Release – 18/5/15]:



As governments in the region deliberate over what to do with boatloads of vulnerable people stranded at sea, the people of Indonesia have spoken.

In the last week, Indonesian fishermen have rescued more than 1,300 Bangladeshis and Rohingya from Myanmar after they drifted or swam to shore in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra. Local communities have mobilized donations of food, water as well as moral support – all desperately needed after the terrible ordeal the boat people have been through.

Fatimah*, aged 18 years, barely survived the journey. She decided to leave a camp housing displaced people in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state in Myanmar, after her fisherman husband was killed under mysterious circumstances over a year ago and she could no longer fend for herself and her two young daughters.

Hoping to join her sister in Malaysia, she gave everything she had – 200,000 kyats (US$180) – to board a smuggler's boat some three months ago. The boat made stops to transfer and take on more passengers, resulting in severe overcrowding. They were given food twice a day, sometimes rice, porridge, dried fish or potatoes. More than a week ago, the crew left on a speedboat and abandoned them in the open seas.

"The boat was then controlled by some of the passengers who knew how to steer one. We sailed until we ran out of gasoline," recalled Fatimah, noting that some people swam to get help. On May 10, the boat carrying 584 men, women and children from Myanmar and Bangladesh was rescued by local fishermen in Indonesia's Aceh.

"The fishermen and the local people are extremely helpful and kind to us," said Fatimah. "They took us to the closest mosque and allowed us to rest while providing us with food, water and snacks."

Her elder daughter, three-year-old Anwara, was sick from dehydration in the initial days. A local woman, Rusmawati, invited them home to clean up, and was worried to see that the little girl was still weak the next day.

"We speak a different language, it's very difficult to understand what they are saying, but I know that we have the same religion and we feel that they need to be helped," said Rusmawati, tearing up as she wished Anwara a quick recovery.

In the initial days the boat arrivals were housed in a sports hall in Lhoksukon under the coordination of Dinas Sosial, the district social and welfare office. As UNHCR worked to register the Rohingya among the group, food and clothes donated by the local people and government agencies kept flowing in. Three times a day local staff took turns to prepare meals for the group.

Ani, a second grade high school teacher who works an hour away, came with all her students and brought boxes of instant noodles and snacks. She later requested UNHCR staff to give a short sensitization session to explain why the refugees came and why people need to help them.

When it came time to move to another site last Wednesday, hundreds of locals gathered outside the sports hall, hoping to say goodbye to the people they'd cared so intensely for. The women shed tears of empathy and concern. Many of their unwitting guests shook their hands, trying to express gratitude for their generosity and affection.

"Anwara is better today," said Fatimah as she prepared to board the bus with her girls. "Only Allah can return their kindness to us."

More than 1,300 Rohingya and Bangladeshis have arrived in Indonesia's Aceh and North Sumatra provinces in the last week.

*Names changed for protection reasons

By Mitra Salima Suryono in Lhoksukon, Indonesia





Thailand plans 'transit area' for Rohingya migrants [Bangkok Post - 18/5/15]

 

 



… The foreign ministers of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will meet in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to discuss how to tackle trafficking, after the clampdown led criminals to abandon boats crammed with thousands of migrants rather than risk landing on Thai shores. … [Jakarta Globe - 19/5/15]

 

 

 



Latin America and Caribbean to assist stranded refugees in Asia [teleSUR – 17/5/15]:



The Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa urged the entire international community to examine discriminatory immigration policies.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced Saturday that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will provide assistance to the thousands of Asian immigrants stranded off the coast of Thailand.

“This world is crazy, it shows a total disregard for human life to have people stranded on a boat, dying of starvation without being allowed to get off the boat,” President Correa stated during his weekly presidential address.

Correa also noted, “If the problem continues then we will provide our total support including food supplies as well as CELAC welcoming those impacted by the crisis in order to alleviate the tragedy that is taking place.”

The Ecuadorean leader later urged the entire international community to ban discriminatory immigration policies.

In recent weeks, several South East Asian countries including, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have turned away boats carrying thousands of Muslim Rohingya migrants fleeing the intense persecution against their community in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

 

 

 



Urgent Protest (PERTH): Rescue the Rohingya- end the turning back of refugee boats:




Hosted by Refugee Rights Action Network WA

Friday, May 22 at 4:00pm

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Wellington Central/836 Wellington Street, West Perth WA 6005


- Rescue the Rohingyan refugees

- End Boat Turn Backs

- Australia must resettle refugees from Indonesia

...

The stateless Rohingyans are victims of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Indonesia has offered support to around 600 Rohingyan asylum seekers who have landed in Aceh. Australia must immediately lift its ban on accepting UNHCR refugees from Indonesia and offer Rohingyan refugees safe passage to Australia.

The lives of the Rohingyan asylum seekers rest in the hands of regional governments of Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Every hour that passes without assistance puts more lives in danger.

 

 

 

 

 

19 May 2015

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