Obama's drone war a 'recruitment tool' for ISIS, say US air force whistleblowers [Guardian - 19/11/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria, clarify what a "strike" is
US Department of Defense [18/11/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, fighter, and bomber aircraft conducted 13 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, two strikes struck two ISIL oil and gas separation plants.
-- Near Hasakah, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 13 ISIL buildings, an ISIL bunker, and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Hawl, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and four ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Raqqah, four strikes struck three ISIL headquarters and an ISIL bivouac.
Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, attack, and fighter aircraft conducted 16 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers, two ISIL weapons caches, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL vehicle-borne bombs, 29 ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL vehicles, 16 ISIL machine gun positions, three ISIL tactical vehicles, four ISIL vehicle-borne bomb staging areas, an ISIL bulldozer, five ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL building, an ISIL staging area, and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes suppressed an ISIL rocket position and an ISIL mortar position.
The strike release published on Nov. 16 includes a French strike listed as “Near Ar Raqqah, one strike struck an ISIL storage depot.”
After further coordination with the French Ministry of Defense, CJTF-OIR officials said they have determined that France conducted two separate strikes on two different targets.
The first target was an ISIL storage depot and the second strike against an ISIL command and control node.
Definition of a ‘Strike’
A strike, as defined in the CJTF releases, means one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect for that location.
So, the officials said, having a single aircraft deliver a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike. Multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, with the cumulative effect of making that facility [or facilities] harder or impossible to use is also considered a single strike, task force officials said.
Accordingly, CJTF-OIR does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in each strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.
The Russian Air Force carried out 70 sorties in the past 24 hours targeting 120 terrorist targets in Idleb, Homs, Aleppo, Damascus Countryside, and Lattakia’s northern countryside, a military source told SANA on Wednesday. ... [SANA - 18/11/15]
Putin's UN speech made West reconsider its reaction to developments in Syria — Lavrov [TASS - 19/11/15]
Number of Balkans states limiting migrant passage [RTE - 19/11/15]
The bodies of two suspected migrants have been found in a wooden crate.
Workers at a warehouse called Staffordshire Police after noticing an unpleasant smell coming from the crate.
The bodies of two men, believed to be aged under 30, were found at Ferroli in Lichfield Road, Branston, on Tuesday just before 9.05am.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Giles said the deaths were being treated as "suspicious" and that it was "apparent both men had been dead for some time." ... [Yahoo - 18/11/15]
@MSF_Sea [19/11/15]: The border is now closed at #Idomeni and 1500-2000 very anxious #people are waiting for an explanation
@MSF_Sea [19/11/15]: 111 #people are warming up inside the #Argos's winter container after being rescued by another boat
@pamelacurr [19/11/15]: New arrival on Nauru today
Update on constitutional challenge to Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island being presented by Ben Lomai in PNG Supreme Court via Lynne Murphy [19/11/15]:
... Feedback about yesterday's court appearance by Ben Lomai:
The court yesterday has agreed on the facts for the full hearing.
Ben Lomai now has to write to the PNG Supreme Court to ask them to impanel a full bench to hear the Manus men's case.
The PNG government has made an application to delay the hearing, and that request will be heard by the court on 25 November.
So, we have to wait another week to see how the case is going to proceed.
Australian government hands out crumbs to Manus Islanders for hosting refugee death camp [PNG Loop - 19/11/15]
100,000 Bhutan refugees resettled in Western countries from Nepal [Naharnet - 19/11/15]:
Some 100,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in Western countries from camps in Nepal where they have been living for two decades after being forced out of their homeland, the U.N. said Thursday.
The refugees have been offered new lives in the United States and other nations after the failure of years of negotiations to secure their return to Bhutan, which says they are illegal immigrants.
Less than 18,000 refugees remain in the camps, according to a joint statement from the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration.
All are ethnic Nepalese who fled across the border in the early 1990s, claiming persecution after Bhutan made national dress compulsory and banned the Nepalese language.
"This is one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind and the resettlement of nearly nine out of 10 Bhutanese refugees is an extraordinary achievement," said Craig Sanders, the UNHCR's representative in Nepal.
The program began in 2007 following the failure of years of high-level negotiations to secure their return to Bhutan.
More than 84,000 refugees have left for the U.S., while Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Britain have also taken thousands.
Refugee Devi Maya Thapa Thapa will head to the U.S. with her family next month, becoming the 100,000th Bhutanese to be resettled.
"I am leaving the refugee camp forever after spending more than two decades in Nepal. I am happy that our family will be together in our new country and that my children will have a better future," the 55-year-old said in the statement.
In the opposition’s first post-victory statement on the fate of persecuted Rohingya Muslims, a senior National League for Democracy official has said helping the group will not be a priority when the party takes power next year.
Dismissing the stateless ethnic minority as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Win Htein told the New York Times they should be “returned” there. ... [Coconuts Yangon - 19/11/15]
BG Group and Woodside to start offshore exploration in Rakhine Basin [Myanmar Times - 19/11/15]
A debate on whether the Khmer Rouge committed genocide against Cambodian Muslims during the 1970s continues after a UN war crimes tribunal resumed this week.
A large number of ethnic Cham, mostly Shia Muslims, were killed during the horrific Khmer Rouge rule from 1975-79 with some death toll estimates ranging from 100,000 to as high as 500,000.
In total, at least 1.7 million people were killed or died during the period through execution, starvation, and disease. ... [Al Jazeera - 19/11/15]
More Than 60 homeless people, including 22 women and 10 children, were rounded up by authorities in a predawn sweep of the riverside and parks in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, according to officials, who refused to say if any were sent to the notorious Prey Speu detention center. ... [Cambodia Daily - 19/11/15]
Manila police deploy water cannons, Katy Perry songs to disperse thousands of APEC protesters [Bangkok Post - 19/11/15]
House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto says that gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia has threatened to bring legal action against the Indonesian government if does not immediately extend its mining contract (KK) until 2041.
The lawmaker said the threat emerged during his conversations with a Freeport executive with whom he had three separate meetings. ... [Jakarta Post - 19/11/15]
Snowden leak reveals Obama ordered NSA, CIA to spy on Venezuela oil firm [teleSUR – 18/11/15]
Minnesota officials on Wednesday named two Minneapolis policemen involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man as chanting demonstrators surrounded a nearby police station and, according to officers, threw bottles and rocks. ... [Reuters - 19/11/15]
Reclaim Australia are only dangerous if they're taken seriously.
You could invest your energy in giving the establishment the divided populace they so desperately crave, or you could ignore the minority group of empowered bigots and FIGHT THE CORRUPT, RACIST WARMONGERS WHO CURRENTLY RUN THIS COUNTRY.
Counter protests lend credibility to the idea there are two valid sides. If you want to hit the streets, have a separate peace and harmony rally at a DIFFERENT location.
The Age [19/11/15]:
A man has been arrested after police received intelligence that several people were planning to bring weapons to an anti-immigration rally on Sunday.
Police arrested a 31-year-old Braybrook man on Thursday morning and are still investigating several other people in the lead-up to what is feared could be a violent clash between the anti-Islam group Reclaim Australian and pro-immigration group No Room for Racism.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane would not reveal any further details about the arrested man or what weapons were found but confirmed several other people were in custody.
... For hours I studied faces. Nearly everyone’s – on both sides – were twisted in contempt. And when I considered how tiny the Reclaim Australia numbers were, I wondered if the counter-protesters weren’t indulging their opponents. They were dealing with atrophied imaginations and personality disorders. This spectacle was merely serving as a defibrillator for dull lives.
There is, however unlikely, something impressive about so anti-social a figure. The neo-Nazis were happily absorbing the contempt, and their self grew. So swollen are their disorders that I’m not sure they can be broken. These guys literally danced to the jeers, grinning like children as they swung their arms to the screams of their opponents: “Whose streets? Our streets!” It’s impressive in the same way as watching boxer Floyd Mayweather inspire contempt for himself, then transform his villainy into a fuel for his ego.
So why not ignore them and let their tiny numbers speak for themselves? Let them keep shrinking until they no longer justify coverage – after all, it wasn’t so much the Reclaim rallies themselves that were newsworthy, but the drama of conflict. ... Inside the strange dynamic of Reclaim Australia's rallies, Martin McKenzie-Murray [The Saturday Paper - 25/7/15]
Onepath Network [VIDEO - 18/11/15]: Muslims from across Australia have all come together to say #IStandWithTheMufti
Which protected, unaccountable, anti-refugee propagandist played a key role in re-opening Australia's concentration camp on Nauru, where violence against women is part of the punishment regime - and is endemic?
Sarah Ferguson compartmentalises domestic violence in her latest "documentary" [ABC - 29/10/15]:
... With unprecedented access to courts and safe rooms, domestic abuse programs in prison, forensic doctors and specialised police units, Sarah also moves into a women’s refuge in search of answers.
How does domestic violence begin?
How does it escalate from control to physical violence and even death? ...
... It’s unusual that they [Connect Consortium - who run "settlement" services for refugees exiled on Nauru] haven’t encountered any allegations of rape or sexual assault, because there are many. Such as the story of Beth, a young Ethiopian refugee who was released into the Nauruan community in May. Allegedly Beth, whose name I have changed, was sitting on the beach with some other Ethiopian women when local men gave her a drink. Beth began to feel woozy, before being dragged into bushes by two or three men and raped. They then poured fuel on her and set her alight. I have seen photographs of her after the assault. Her left breast is so badly burnt that the skin has blackened and lifted from the flesh.
As a result of the rape, Beth became pregnant. A solemn Christian, the thought of abortion appalled her but she decided to go through with it. Beth was flown to Brisbane for the termination where, not long after, she attempted to hang herself with a bed sheet. She is now back on Nauru.
These are not isolated incidents. I have another letter, also written by a Somali woman, who recounts a similar story. Sarah, whose name I have also changed, was offered a lift by a man at the supermarket’s bus stop. “In car, man said I have to get something from my home first. When we got there dogs came out barking. Man said get out of car, dogs won’t hurt you. Dogs came close to attacking me. I asked him to call dogs away. He said get inside the house – they don’t know you – if you go inside they think you are part of family.
“I went inside. Dogs came in too. Man took off all his clothes and showed me his private parts. I wet my pants and soiled my pants. This is reason I left Somalia – this fear of rape – I see it happen to many. Then he said I don’t care and hit my face very hard. He said dogs will kill you if you don’t suck my private part. Then I have no choice.” ... [The Saturday Paper - 22/8/15]
Sydney man who blamed boy’s death on pogo stick fall found guilty of murder [Nine MSN - 19/11/15]
Logan man sentenced to life for murder of girlfriend [MYGC - 19/11/15]
A man who allegedly sprayed a woman with petrol and threatened to set her alight at a home north of Brisbane will face court.
Police say the 44-year-old threatened the woman before hitting her on the head with a glass bottle during a fight at Caboolture on Tuesday.
It is alleged he also assaulted the woman earlier in the year and broke a man's rib at the same address in September.
The man will face charges including torture and serious assault at Caboolture Magistrates Court on Thursday. [Yahoo - 19/11/15]
Former Brisbane Lions player Albert Proud bashed his girlfriend so severely that she lost a litre of blood, a court has heard.
Proud is accused of the attempted murder of 35-year-old Richelle Kadadi at a Sunnybank home earlier this month.
The 27-year-old ex-AFL player's case was briefly mentioned in the Holland Park Magistrates Court on Thursday where prosecutors said the woman suffered a subdural haematoma and an excessive amount of blood loss due to the attack.
Proud's lawyer, Kris Jahnke, told the court his client may apply for bail next month but gave no indication how he would plead. ...[Yahoo - 19/11/15]
A man has appeared in court accused of bashing a woman he knows with a stick and a rock on a Queensland island.
Farren Karyuka, 25, allegedly inflicted serious wounds and possible face and arm fractures on the 23-year-old woman during a laneway attack on Mornington Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, on Tuesday afternoon.
He has been remanded in custody until January 19, when his one count of grievous bodily harm is due to be mentioned in the Mornington Island Magistrates Court. [Yahoo - 18/11/15]
A Gold Coast man has been sentenced to 12 months behind bars less than a year after he was acquitted of murder.
Christopher Cairns appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court this morning, where he pleaded guilty to charges of assault occasioning bodily harm and going armed to cause fear after punching a man at a Helensvale tavern in March.
The 27-year-old was acquitted of the 2012 murder of nightclub promoter Tumara Cousins in a Supreme Court trial in February.
Cousins plunged to his death from his unit at the Beachcomber Resort in Surfers Paradise on May 11, 2012.
Cairns was today sentenced to 12 months jail for the tavern assault, however will be eligible for parole on February 18 next year. [MYGC - 19/11/15]
Murder charge, Charters Towers [QPS Media - 19/11/15]
Appeal for public assistance: Armed robbery, Enoggera [QPS Media 19/11/15]
Five-month-old baby found dead at Brisbane family day care home [Yahoo - 19/11/15]:
A baby less than a year old has been found dead and others behind locked doors in a day care home in Brisbane's south.
It's the second child to die in an Australian day care centre this month.
The five-month-old boy was one of several children being looked after at the day care.
He was dropped off to the Moorooka family day care centre on Wednesday morning.
Just before 11.30am, an ambulance was called.
An ambulance spokesman said paramedics spent 35 desperate minutes trying to save the boy.
A police officer comforted the new parents after they were told their baby boy had died.
"At this stage we are not dealing with suspicious circumstances of the death," Inspector Steve Flori said.
"There's certainly enough for me to say it warrants our further investigations to find out exactly how these kids are being cared for."
Investigators were shocked to find six children behind locked doors at the facility.
"All seemed healthy some seemed distressed," Inspector Flori said.
Other parents rushed to collect their children as they heard of the tragedy.
Andy Chien only heard from police late this afternoon because the centre didn't have records of who his son - or other children - belonged to.
"I have lots of question marks," Mr Chien said.
"I still can't believe what's going on here."
The Child protection and investigation unit will work with other government organisations to determine exactly how this centre was operating, and if it will be shut down.
"That's a big concern and police just told me not to send my kids here anymore," Mr Chien said.
Man hospitalised following another resource wasting, class and race based police pursuit, Gold Coast [MYGC - 19/11/15]
Money laundering charges after Taskforce Maxima Criminal Economy Unit operation [QPS Media - 19/11/15]
Disturbance and assault police, Annerley [QPS Media - 18/11/15]
A 43 year old male Senior Constable from the Southern Region has today been suspended from duty regarding allegations of domestic violence and inappropriately accessing and disclosing Queensland Police Service information for a purpose not related to the performance of his duties. ... [QPS Media - 17/11/15]
Community service for man who posted selfie with stolen echidna [MYGC - 17/11/15]
Chemical spill causes evacuation in Cairns [Brisbane Times - 19/11/15]
A young man has suffered burns to his chest and arms after a 44-gallon drum exploded in central Queensland.
The 22-year-old was near the drum, which was filled with a flammable liquid, when it blew up in the town of Emerald on Tuesday.
He's been taken to the Emerald Hospital, the ambulance service said. [Yahoo -18/11/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Clermont [QPS Media - 18/11/15]
Fatal motorcycle crash, Cooroibah [QPS Media - 18/11/15]
A man has died following a two vehicle crash at Vale View this afternoon.
Around 12.30pm, a car and truck collided at the intersection of Newman Road and Drayton Connection Road.
The driver and sole occupant of the car, a man believed to be in his thirties, died at the scene.
The occupants of the truck were not seriously injured.
Newman Road was closed for a number our hours, but has since reopened to traffic.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating. [QPS Media - 18/11/15]
Two men and a woman died this morning when their vehicle collided with a cattle truck on the Gore Highway at Brookstead. ... [QPS Media - 17/11/15]
Inquest into driver's fatal plunge off Daintree ferry hears boat lacked safety barriers [ABC - 18/11/15]
Turnbull backs Mal Brough after AFP search frontbencher's home over Peter Slipper's diary [ABC - 19/11/15]
Fraser Coast councillor Darren Everard admits fabricating emails to local newspaper [ABC - 19/11/15]
Federal MP Clive Palmer has won a court case brought against him by a former employee claiming he reneged on a $5 million job agreement.
Former Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Bill Schoch sued the mining magnate and two of his companies, Mineralogy and Queensland Nickel, for $4.6 million in damages and lost wages after he was sacked in December 2013 having been paid just $365,000.
Justice John Byrne dismissed Mr Schoch's claim in Brisbane's Supreme Court on Thursday, indicating he rejected Mr Schoch's version of events that Mr Palmer made an oral offer to pay him $1 million a year for five years. ... [Yahoo - 19/11/15]
The Brisbane headquarters of construction union CFMEU has been raided by federal police amid a royal commission into union corruption. ... [Yahoo - 19/11/15]
Queensland Rail workers are set to strike over poor job security and a prolonged pay freeze.
Unions say Queensland Rail has failed to address insecure employment after contracting, labour hire and casual employment became a "free-for-all" under the work environment created by the previous LNP government.
They also say most workers have not had a pay rise since early to mid 2013 due to a pay freeze.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and other rail unions are campaigning the Fair Work Commission to authorise members' ballots to approve industrial action, which is anticipated to begin in December. [Yahoo - 18/11/15]
Industrial chemicals, explosives and fertiliser giant Incitec Pivot a big winner in Northern Territory gas pipeline decision [ABC - 18/11/15]
Indigenous protesters peacefully demonstrate against court's power [Canberra Times [18/11/15]:
Activists peacefully demonstrated against the jurisdiction of the ACT courts over Indigenous Australians in support of an Aboriginal woman challenging its power to hear minor traffic charges against her.
The group of protesters sang and moved through the ACT Magistrates Court precinct, to decry what they saw as an illegitimate prosecution.
Their anger was focussed on the case of Aunty Lee-Anne Lacey, who is facing five charges, including driving an unregistered or suspended vehicle, and failing to stop at a stop sign
Aunty Lacey has challenged the court's authority to hear the case against her.
She argues the ACT has no legal jurisdiction over the sovereign Indigenous people.
The case has been pushed back to next year.
One of the activists Dylan Wood said the protest was designed to show support for Aunty Lacey, with the ultimate aim of proving the courts have no power over the Indigenous peoples of Australia.
"She has called out the fact that the government and therefore the court have no sovereignty and therefore no jurisdiction in this land," he said.
"Today the court has refused to hear the evidence."
"The sovereignty, jurisdiction and domain of this land does belong to the original people of this land, who were here before the colonisation."
Aunty Lacey's case will appear again in March.
Police search for 'motorised picnic table' drivers seen travelling through Perth's Scarborough Beach area [ABC - 17/11/15]
... With two days to go before this year's event, Gold Coast Schoolies advisory group chairman Mark Reaburn delivered a blunt assessment for anyone with security concerns, saying: "You don't have to come to schoolies." ... [ABC - 19/11/15]
2015 Schoolies to experience new freedom Australian style
Wristband centre, Surfers Paradise [19/11/15]
Extra police will protect Schoolies revellers on the Gold Coast this year, with security boosted in the wake of the weekend terror attacks in Paris.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement yesterday, but was quick to point out there is no known terror threat in Queensland.
"I have this morning spoken with the police Commissioner and he has advised me very clearly that there is no known threat in Queensland," Ms Palaszcuk said.
"Let me repeat that, there is no known threat in Queensland." ... [Nine MSN - 17/11/15]
... "The issue is for our people to be able to identify that there is no point in waiting to try and negotiate when lives are being lost right at the time when the police respond," Mr Stewart said. ... Queensland police to get extra terrorism training - Yahoo - 18/11/15]
Queensland Crime and Corruption chair says public outrage over police brutality 'well-founded' [ABC - 18/11/15]
Thomas Logan's response to a police officer who apologised for shooting his dad dead showed a level of acceptance nearly immediately after the incident.
He and partner Teegan Gordon were questioned during yesterday's Coroner's inquest into the shooting of Edward Wayne Logan.
Thomas said his father had shown during his visit he was worried about a potential prison sentence for an assault in his home state of Victoria.
"He just didn't want to go to jail."
Thomas said an officer approached him after he came out from a neighbour's house to see his father mortally wounded in front of their Tewantin home.
"He said 'sorry I had to shoot your dad'.
"I said 'yeah, no, that's all right, do what you had to do'.
He said his father should have been taking bi-polar medication, but wasn't.
"The man had his demons but he wasn't that bad." [Sunshine Coast Daily - 19/11/15]
Red Frogs volunteer loses faith in God after one night on the Gold Coast [Betoota Advocate - 23/11/14]
Man caught carrying sub-machine gun in Marrickville not terrorism related, NSW police say
A sub-machine gun has been seized from a man caught carrying the weapon in a bag in Sydney's inner west yesterday, police say.
NSW Police said they had been waiting for the man before his arrest in Marrickville.
Police have not revealed how they knew the man was carrying the older-style fully automatic weapon or where to find him.
However, they have confirmed the man was known to police.
"Officers were waiting in Murray Street, Marrickville, when a 41-year-old man arrived by taxi about 12.30pm," a NSW Police statement said.
"The man was arrested without incident.
"He was carrying a bag, which police searched and allegedly located a Thompson-brand fully automatic sub-machine gun, a clip and 15 shotgun shells."
Newtown crime manager Detective Sergeant Damien Goodfellow said police did not believe the incident was terrorism-related.
The man has been charged with several firearms offences.
He was refused bail to appear at Newtown Local Court today.
Police are investigating how the man sourced the gun.
Deported New Zealanders arrive in Auckland [RNZI - 19/11/15]
Meanwhile, would this man be of "good character" Dutton? [MYGC - 19/11/15]:
A French-born Melbourne man, who allegedly told two Muslims “we’re going to bomb you all” at a Gold Coast hotel, is due to appear in court this morning.
Franky Guise was charged with two counts of common assault and one count of making threats after the alleged attack at the Q1 hotel in Surfers Paradise on Monday.
The 37-year-old is accused of grabbing the breast of a 25-year-old woman in Muslim attire before making reference to her being an animal.
He is then accused of approaching a 17-year-old man in the hotel foyer and spitting in his face.
Guise is also alleged to have shouted “we are going to bomb you, we are going to bomb you all” to the group.
ACCC clears Shell's $70B takeover of BG Group [CNBC - 18/11/15]
Chevron says $1.7b Gorgon profit not taxable [Australian Financial Review – 18/11/15]
West Australian [18/11/15]:
The Turnbull Government has vetoed the sale of Australia’s largest private land holding to Chinese bidders amid fears it could have compromised security at a weapons training range.
In a shock decision, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Foreign Investment Review Board had knocked back the sale of the huge Kidman cattle estate – a property accounting for 1.3 per cent of Australia’s total land area.
The mammoth property sprawls across WA, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland totalling 101,411 square kilometres.
At least two Chinese bidders were thought to be vying for the property.
But in a press release this morning, Mr Morrison pointed out that part of the Kidman property was located within the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia – a secretive weapons testing range in the heart of Australia.
“Given the size and significance of the total portfolio of Kidman properties along with the national security issues around access to the WPA, I have determined, after taking advice from FIRB, that it would be contrary to Australia’s national interest for a foreign person to acquire S. Kidman and Co. in its current form,” Mr Morrison said.
It had been reported the Chinese bidders were willing to pay as much as $400 million for the property.
The FIRB decision comes amid fierce debate about the recent sale of Darwin Port to a Chinese company, with senior Defence Department officials understood to be furious the sale was allowed to proceed.
The US Government is also thought to have flagged concerns about the sale, with the port now a major hub for the US Marine presence in northern Australia.
In rejecting the Kidman sale, Mr Morrison used almost the exact same form of words that former Treasurer Wayne Swan used in rejecting an investment proposal by China Minmetals which had sought to buy OZ Minerals in 2009.
OZ Mineral’s Prominent Hill operations were in the Woomera Prohibited Area.
“The Woomera Prohibited Area weapons testing range makes a unique and sensitive contribution to Australia's national defence,” he said at the time.
The Woomera range is where the British Government tested nuclear bombs and is now used to trial the latest missiles and drones.
A BHP Billiton and Vale joint venture in Brazil is facing its first civil lawsuit over the dam collapse at its iron ore mine on November 5 that buried a town and contaminated the region's main river.
Pedro Eduardo Pinheiro Silva, a lawyer who represents a community association in another state, filed the case on Monday, according to the Minas Gerais court website. He's demanding the mining giants's joint venture Samarco Mineração pay 10 billion reais ($3.69 billion) as compensation for environmental damages, he said in a telephone interview.
Tailings dams run by Samarco burst and unleashed a torrent into a valley below, killing at least 11 people and halting fresh water supplies for at least 260,000 people.
The wave of mud that destroyed homes in Minas Gerais state contaminated the Rio Doce river with a mix of ground rock and water left over from mining activity, and threatens drinking water and wildlife in neighbouring Espirito Santo state. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/11/15]
The Energy and Mineral Resources Minister announced on Wednesday that Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd. (IMFA) had filed a Rp 7.7 trillion (US$581 million) claim against the Indonesian government in an international court over a mining operating dispute.
Heriyanto, the director general of minerals and coal at the ministry, said the lawsuit had been filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, with IMFA claiming that overlapping mining permits in Kalimantan had disrupted their operations. ... [Jakarta Post - 18/11/15]
Greece to legislate new measures to receive €2 Bln in financial aid by Monday [Greek Reporter - 18/11/15]
Police teargas protesting farmers outside the Greek Parliament [Keep Talking Greece - 18/11/15]
In the international industry that has sprung up around border control and migrant detention, Australia has played a leading role.
But anti-border activists there have also kept pace with its innovations, mounting effective boycott and divestment campaigns that disrupt the risk management strategies of contractors who attempt to profit from the industry.
Angela Mitropoulos is a Sydney-based academic and theorist who has written extensively on the political-economy and financial systems of migration controls and borders.
Since the early 2000s Mitropoulos has also been involved in organising and supporting activists projects through the xBorder network both in Australia and overseas.
In the last two years Mitropoulos has been working on Cross Border Operational Matters (xBorderOps), a project that was launched in late 2013 following a sharp escalation in the state’s efforts to militarise the Australian border.
XBorderOps campaigns for the abolition of the Australian immigration detention system, but its analysis encompasses a view of borders as an international industry for which Australia continues to function as something of a laboratory. ... [The New Inquiry - 18/11/15]
Divest From Detention
Uptick in number of children fleeing across the Texas border [Houston Chronicle - 18/11/15]
A wave of violence has struck Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero, suggesting that the security situation has changed little since 43 teacher trainees were kidnapped and presumably killed in the region one year ago. ... [Guardian - 17/11/15]
The migrants crossed the Mexican border the same way thousands of others will this year, exhausted and desperate for relief. But when they encountered US immigration authorities, they spoke not of fleeing drug-war violence in Latin America but of seeking to escape political persecution on the other side of the world.
They were refugees of a transnational migration crisis, representing the latest wave of social upheaval in Bangladesh now reverberating around the world.
A wave of hunger strikes has spread across the immigration detention system in recent months. Earlier this month, hundreds of other detainees in Texas and California facilities have also launched hunger strikes, both to protest inhumane conditions, such as inadequate medical care and solitary confinement, and demand immediate release.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, ACLU of Southern California, and other legal advocates, have issued a memorandum to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other officials criticizing the government’s “pattern and practice of improperly denying parole to Bangladeshi asylum seekers in immigration detention.” ... [The Nation - 16/11/15]
As asylum seekers swap prison beds for ankle bracelets, same firm profits [NPR - 13/11/15]
Citing internment of Japanese following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers Wednesday called for area governments and nongovernmental agencies to suspend help in relocating Syrian refugees to the area.
Bowers invocation of the World War II-era camps in which thousands of Japanese and Japanese-Americans were imprisoned triggered stern rebukes from fellow council members, fellow Democrats and other groups.
By Wednesday afternoon it had been blasted across news and social media, picked up by the Washington Post, Fox News and George Takei, the Japanese-American actor famous as “Mr. Sulu” on the original "Star Trek," who has more than 9 million followers on Facebook. ... [The Roanoke Times - 18/11/15]
Amnesty queries $1.3bn US bombs deal with Saudi Arabia [Al Jazeera - 17/11/15]
This is a dark time, a time of great turmoil in the international—in the world of international relations. Paris bleeds. So too does Beirut and Aleppo and Sanaa, and countless other cities. And it seems that the defenses against chaos and bloodshed that states erected at the close of the Second World War, the laws they wrote and swore to abide by, the agreements and treaties they signed, are giving way to increasing the unilateral action bound by no principle or any foresight.
My office, with years of experience in preventing and responding to violations, has much to offer in this colossal struggle. And meanwhile, the world’s states, singly and together, must reform their systems of migration governance to place the interests of those suffering women, men, and children at the forefront. They’ve already endured great harm, but all too often they flee only to find not comfort and safety but fences, detention, push-back, xenophobia, and violence, and yet they have exactly the same fundamental human rights as I do, as you do, as do we all. Their lives are just as valuable, just as important as our own.
Now the trumpet summons us again, wrote Ted Sorensen, for a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Let us go forth to lead the land we love, to lead the land we love and the world we love, the world in which every human being is born free and equal in dignity and rights, the world that is the only legacy that we will leave for our children. Let us lead it well. I thank you very much.
Sorensen Distinguished Lecture on the United Nations with Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [Council on Foreign Relations - 16/11/15]
Chinese security forces in the restive far western region of Xinjiang have killed 17 people, including women and children, accused of involvement in an attack at a coal mine that left at least 50 dead, US-based Radio Free Asia said today.
Hundreds of people have died in unrest in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people, and other parts of China over the past three years or so. China blames the violence on Islamist terrorists. ... [NDTV - 18/11/15]
19 November 2015