More than 2,000 people gathered in central Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening in a raucous nationalist gathering to demonstrate support for an Israeli soldier who controversially killed a wounded Palestinian attacker in the occupied West Bank. ... [PNN - 20/4/16]
Parents relieved at conviction of settler who burned their son alive [Electronic Intifada - 19/4/16]
... "Akai's life doesn't matter," Gurley's aunt, Hertencia Petersen, fumed.
"Another black man has been murdered by the hands of the Police Department. And the officer is not being held accountable."
Outside the courthouse, scores of angry protesters chanted "The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" ... Ex-NYPD cop Peter Liang spared jail in death of Akai Gurley [New York Daily News - 20/4/16]
The boats won't stop until the US stops its war on the planet and its people.
Close The Camps.
Free The Refugees.
... "The whole world watches; a proud country watches," he [Defense Secretary Ash Carter] said.
"We're confident that you're on the path to a lasting defeat of ISIL. We have to do that and we are confident that you will do it." ... [US Department of Defense - 19/4/16]
Iraq speaker suspends parliament until further notice [Middle East Eye - 19/4/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [19/4/16]:
Anbar: Press sources: The government army has shelled separated areas of Fallujah resulted in 3 deaths including two kids and 9 injuries..................
Anbar: Press sources: A truck bomb has targeted a barracks of the government army north of Khalidiya Jazeera east of Ramadi resulted in 8 deaths including an officer and 5 injuries........
Baghdad: News agencies: A roadside bomb exploded near Dhaget Street in Ghazaliya area west of Baghdad today evening killing a person and wounding 8.........
Ta'meem: News agencies: 3 oil tankers blazed near homes in wasiti neighborhood south of Kirkuk killing a person and damaging 5 homes today afternoon.......
A Palestinian refugee which lives in Iraq has been abducted as he has been interviewed at Rafidain Channel to explain the suffering and bad situation of Palestinian refugees in Iraq ,the kidnappers have informed the refugee's family to forget about him and never call them again.......
Military denies allegations about Syrian Air Force targeting residential neighborhoods in Idleb [SANA - 20/4/16]
Russian journalist and Sputnik-Turkey's hub chief, Tural Kerimov, was recently denied entry into Turkey.
His documents were confiscated by Ataturk International Airport's security services without any explanation, a move that might be connected to the Turkish government's decision to block access to Sputnik News Agency's website last Thursday. ... [Sputnik News - 20/4/16]
German ARD correspondent Schwenck held at Istanbul, returns to Cairo [Deutsche Welle - 19/4/16]
A fire broke out in a refugee camp in northern Greece Wednesday, burning more than a dozen tents and sparking a protest by refugees.
Police said at least two people were taken to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. ... [Ekathimerini - 20/4/16]
@taniakaras [20/4/16]: Fire at Diavata refugee camp ... #refugeesGR
@JigginoRuss [20/4/16]: Comunicato di Soli Cafe di #Chios, dopo retata poliziesca e arresti di migranti e solidali effettuati ieri #solicafe
@Refugees_Gr [20/4/16]: #Tsamakia - #Lesvos @noborderkitchen camp destroyed by Greek authorities today at dawn. #refugeesgr #antireport
@Refugees_Gr [20/4/16]: #Tsamakia - #Lesvos Thousands of #refugeesgr who survived war & shipwrecks, found food, shelter & solidarity here.
A 17-year-old Afghan female migrant died on Tuesday at Laiko Hospital in Athens from what appears to be a series of complications.
The teenager was staying with her family at the makeshift migrant camp at former Athens airport at Elliniko. ... [Greek Reporter - 20/4/16]
I'm helping the empire of chaos stop people from seeking asylum, says Greek Prime Minister [Ekathimerini - 20/4/16]
On Tuesday, a UNHCR team interviewed survivors of what could be one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants in the last 12 months.
If confirmed, as many as 500 people may have lost their lives when a large ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea at an unknown location between Libya and Italy.
The 41 survivors (37 men, three women and a three-year-old child) were rescued by a merchant ship and taken to Kalamata, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece on 16 April.
Those rescued include 23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, 6 Egyptians and a Sudanese. ... [UNHCR Media Release - 20/4/16]
Day 32, Nauru refugee protests [20/4/16]
Image: @InsurrectNews [20/4/16]
Nauru solidarity vigil - Office of DIBP Melbourne, 18 April, 2016 via FFFAD
Adnan Shirwani, 36, with his 6-months-pregnant wife Maryam, 33, from the Kurdistan region of Iran. They spent one year in the detention centre and were given refugee status and released to the community based camp in June 2014. ... [Photographed by Vlad Sokhin, October 2014]
The silence of Australia's human rights and medical establishment is
emboldening this deliberate destruction of human life
[Refugee Action Coalition Sydney - 20/4/16]:
Refugee advocates are concerned that another refugee will charged with attempted suicide after Nauru police arrested a 38-year-old Iranian refugee on Tuesday afternoon.
The Iranian refugee had splashed himself with petrol and set himself alight before neighbours intervened with a fire extinguisher to prevent a catastrophe.
Fire-fighters and police attended the incident, with police arresting the man and taking him to the police station.
The Iranian man, Adnan, lives with his wife and two children (a boy, 13 and a daughter, one) in the Anuijo camp, across the road from the main gate of the family camp.
The couple and their son were sent to Nauru in 2013, but their one-year-old daughter was born in Darwin a year ago.
His daughter has extreme behavioural problems, and injures herself, but her condition has gone untreated on Nauru.
The couple fears that their daughter has a congenital mental disorder as a result of medicine prescribed during pregnancy as Adnan’s wife also suffered extreme depression during the pregnancy.
Desperate to draw attention to his family’s agony, Adnan attempted self-immolation. Fortunately, Adnan does not appear to have suffered severe burns.
But fellow refugees and advocates are extremely concerned that Adnan will be charged with “attempted suicide” as a result of the incident.
The threat of an attempted suicide charge follows the conviction of another Iranian man, Sam Nemati, for that charge, in April.
Nemati’s conviction arose out of an incident with Connect (the refugee service provider) and Nauru police in January.
“It would be worse than absurd, if Nauruan police charge Adnan with attempted suicide”, said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Adnan and his family need urgent help. It is obvious that there is no help forthcoming on Nauru. The family should be brought to Australia.
“Police action like this against refugees can only make things worse. The police are using criminal charges to cover-up the abuse that is the reality of incarceration on Nauru.”
The incident comes as protests on Nauru continue.
Today will be the 32nd day of protest at the family camp.
For the last four days, those protests by asylum seekers in the family camp have been joined by protests inside the Anuijo refugee camp.
The refugees have been warned by police that they must stay inside the camp or they will be arrested.
“Adnan’s arrest is one more reason the protests will continue. There is no justice on Nauru,” said Rintoul.
Nauru: Dream turned nightmare for boat refugees seeking asylum in Australia [RIA Novosti - 2/11/14]
... The Refugee Action Coalition has named one of the women as Maryam, who they say was on the bus with her husband Adnan and 10-year-old son Amir. ... [ABC - 1/12/14]
A pregnant woman has been spotted walking beside a bus near Darwin's Wickham Point Detention Centre, where a stand-off has been underway between between guards and two Iranian families protesting against being housed in the facility.
There has been no confirmation as to whether the woman spotted in the video - taken from a helicopter - was one of the heavily pregnant women who has been in the bus since Saturday.
It is understood that while in immigration detention in Nauru, authorities already determined that the women and their husbands were refugees, and the Australian Government told the women they would be taken to Australia to give birth.
They have been refusing to go to the immigration detention centre since they arrived by bus late on Saturday night, according to the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network. ...
Today was 35 degrees at Wickham Point where the 38 weeks pregnant women and husbands and one child are sitting on a bus. ... [30/11/14]
If the UNHCR Australia branch won't say what their representatives were up to on Manus Island, we can only assume their visit was to legitimise this sham exile/disappearance process [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 20/4/16]:
... [Behrouz] Boochani and others were sent a demand letter last October, which went unanswered.
Boochani is angry at the refugee decision and says he regards it as “illegal”. He has demanded an explanation of his positive decision given that he has made no application.
His complaint letter says that he had already said, “…that I do not want to give my case to PNG and I do not want to PNG immigration to investigate my case.”
Lawyers in PNG are seeking to raise the issue at the next directions hearing in regard to the Supreme Court challenge in Port Moresby tomorrow, Thursday, 21 April.
To highlight the arbitrary nature of the processing and the lack of transparency, three asylum seekers who made applications and had been given positive assessments a year ago, have now been advised they are negative.
They are seeking to appeal the negative decision.
Meanwhile the separation of those found to be refugees from those with initial negative decisions has resulted in serious over-crowding in several compounds.
Delta now has over 244 people with more scheduled to come.
There are already four people in each room; with no improvement in showers or toilets despite the increase in numbers. ...
... Representatives from the UNHCR visited the Manus Island detention centre last week and met the men detained there.
The UNHCR in Australia has been approached for comment. ... [Guardian - 18/4/16]
Former worker at Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island tells forum claim rejected because refugee "too educated" to be a Rohingya [Brisbane Times - 9/4/16]
UNHCR "welcomes" Australia's lies about releasing refugees on Nauru [5/10/15]
Why haven't Fairfax followed up on their 28 December 2015 "It's time to set the refugees free" editorial with journalism that directly challenges the "deterrence" myth?
... We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped.
We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people.
But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative. ...
Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]
Senator Hanson-Young goes for the soft targets, lets biggest culprits off [Bendigo Bank Media Release - 20/4/16]:
Bendigo Bank opened its first customer service agency for the 10,000 citizens of Nauruan June 2015.
This important initiative saw banking services returned to the Nauruan community after a 15-year absence and recognises banking is essential in creating a more prosperous community for the future.
Our motivation is to give the people of Nauru a hand up through financial inclusion.
Bendigo Bank has monitoring strategies in place to prevent, detect and react to suspicious activity, including money laundering.
Naturally, we will view any new customer with the amount of diligence that is required of us by law, as we would in any circumstance.
Our relationship with the Nauruan Government has remained the same since opening the customer service agency.
Our Bank is focussed on supporting the Nauruan people with banking facilities and financial education.
We look forward to meeting with Sarah Hanson-Young to explain how providing banking support for the citizens of Nauru is making a difference in their community.
There is no immigration journalism in Australia - just a relentless drum beat of victim blaming, anti-refugee propaganda.
Escalating brutality in Australia's immigration gulag archipelago made possible by a complicit "opposition" and media [Julian Burnside - 19/4/16]:
MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accomodation) is increasing the pressure on detainees. They are making it increasingly difficult for people to visit detainees, even though the detainees have committed no offence and are held in conditions which are slowly driving them mad. And now this – I got this report today:
Today Border Force operatives are “Messaging” people in detention at the MITA – Broadmeadows about the changed “operating model” to be implemented.
They are cutting the camp into high security locked zones where people will be separated according to gender and composition only able to see each other under supervision at set times in a set place.
SAMS= single adult men
SAFS= single adult females
Todays action is to draft the SAMS into a high security area where they will be locked off from the others. There they will live and eat alone. If they wish to visit a friend in another area they must apply in writing to SERCO who may or may not approve a request and arrange a visit in the visits centre.
Now that the children are gone the prisonification of detention grows more extreme.
The only ones exempt from this treatment are the ASIO guys who are recognised as having special needs by virtue of their long detention.
Tomorrow the separation begins.
Although there are more than 100 people in the MIDC Maribyrnong camp which has a capacity of 70, so far none are being moved. MITA is well under capacity.
The men in MIDC are already “zoned” and separated. However even though they have the capacity they are still putting vulnerable IMA’s in the same rooms and Zones with angry 501,s. We have repeatedly requested that the IMA’s be transferred to the MITA to no avail.
One young man with a girlfriend is very distressed at the proposed separation.
US refugee policy = Australian refugee policy i.e. stay where you are and die
... And everyday the tides are higher, the coral's whiter, the water's coming to our knees.
It's hard not to blame those honky b*stards burning all the fossils in their SUVs ...
'The SUV Song', Dan Kelly and the Ukeladies 
Displaced persons out on a day trip? WHAT A CROCK OF STINKING DAMAGE CONTROL. Days after MOAS abandons its South-East Asia mission, Rohingya refugees perish - a direct result of Australia's policies [Reliefweb - 20/4/16]:
Statement attributable to Ms Janet Jackson, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (A.I.) in Myanmar
I was deeply saddened by the tragedy which unfolded on 19 April when a boat locally reported to be transporting more than 60 people capsized in rough waters near Thae Chaung in Sittwe Township.
The toll is now estimated to be 21 dead, including 9 children, is expected to rise as there are still a number of people unaccounted for. At least 6 injured people received treatment at Sittwe General Hospital and Thet Kae Pyin health clinic. UN and NGO staff on the ground have provided support in the transport of injured people and have been providing extra medical capacity to the Thet Kae Pyin health clinic.
The UN has been in contact with local authorities to follow up on this incident and to confirm the number of fatalities and casualties.
From the information we have, the majority of the passengers on the boat were internally displaced people (IDPs) from the Sin Tet Maw camp in Pauktaw Township who were on an authorized day trip to rural Sittwe to make purchases at the market.
This accident serves as a tragic reminder of the vulnerability that many communities and families face in this area of Rakhine where their only option is to use this mode of travel in order to access markets, livelihoods, and other basic services that are essential for a dignified life.
On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to express my sympathy and offer condolences to the families and communities of the victims of this tragic accident. The United Nations will continue its efforts in support of the Government and local authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of all people in Rakhine State, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and citizenship.
MOAS ends sea mission in South-East Asia, will continue using their ground network and advocacy in the region - apparently [Media Release - 15/4/16]
Have you ever seen a genocide unfold? ---> ... Most of the passengers were inhabitants of Sin Tet Maw, in Paukaw township, a camp for Rohingya Muslim minority members forced from their homes by bouts of communal violence.
"It (the boat accident) happened because of unsafe transport... we cannot use direct transport (overland) to Sittwe to buy goods or medicine," Rohingya activist, Kyaw Hla Aung, told AFP from Sittwe. ... [Bangkok Post - 20/4/16]
Rohingya boat sinking: NLD must lift all aid restrictions in Arakan State [Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK - 19/4/16]
... The boats were the only escape ... Rohingya: Exile in the Rakhine [AUDIO - RNZI - 3/4/16]
Rohingya kids in the rain during the rainy season in Sittwe's Muslim Quarter, now effectively a sealed ghetto.
Image: @andreapitzer [16/7/15]
Trapped in Sittwe ghetto or rounded up and imprisoned while registering at a UNHCR office in Malaysia [Myanmar Now - 19/2/16]
Australia's protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister mumbles "concern" about the detention of Thai politician [ABC - 19/4/16]
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a supposedly a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, but hasn't accepted refugees since July 2014?
Rights groups demand end to indefinite detention of 1,000s of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [Bangkok Post - 12/3/16]
... Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia told BROUK and Fortify Rights that police routinely used the threat of arrest to extort money and property from them, particularly if they were unable to produce proper documentation or a card demonstrating they were a registered asylum seeker with the UNHCR.
Changes in the UNHCR's registration practices in Malaysia have considerably narrowed access to asylum procedures for Rohingya refugees, the [Everywhere Is Trouble] report said, leaving many without any documents and at risk of serious security abuses, including the possibility of indefinite detention.
Rohingya refugees in Malaysia said the lack of access to UNHCR registration was the single most important issue they faced, followed by a lack of access to affordable healthcare and livelihoods.
"We hoped the international attention on the boat crisis last year would have resulted in durable solutions and greater protections for Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia, but that's not what we've found," said Tun Khin.
"ASEAN can and should do better. ... [The Nation - 12/3/16]
"Everywhere is Trouble" An update on the situation of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [March 2016]:
... BROUK [Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK] and Fortify Rights note with concern the disappearance of hundreds of Rohingya refugees from the camps in Aceh.
When Fortify Rights first visited Rohingya refugees in Aceh less than two weeks after fishers rescued them from boats abandoned by human traffickers in May 2015, more than 1,000 Rohingya men, women and children were living in several makeshift camps.
BROUK and Fortify Rights noted that there are now only 300 Rohingya refugees in the camps in Aceh. ...
Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees sheltering in Aceh progressively deported by the IOM [TRIBUNnews.com - 27/9/15]
Some 100 refugees from Bangladesh being accommodated at Blang Mangat immigration office in Lhokseumawe city, Aceh province, have been repatriated, according to local immigration spokesman Albert Djalius.
"We hope that all the Bangladeshi refugees can be repatriated in mid-August 2015," Djalius stated here on Wednesday.
He remarked that some 100 refugees who were stranded in Aceh in early May, this year, had complete immigration documents, and therefore, they were flown back to their country of origin from Kuala Namu Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, on Tuesday.
However, he noted that 71 other refugees are still being accommodated in shelters, awaiting a clear demographic data from the Embassy of Bangladesh to Indonesia in Jakarta.
According to Djalius, the repatriation was managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has been making all the necessary arrangements for providing accommodations.
Climate refugees ask for Australia’s help [New Matilda – 20/4/16]:
... At the nearby Carteret Islands, the situation is similar — and it has provoked an extraordinary response.
“The science predictions on Carteret say between 2040 and 2050 the islands will be totally submerged,” according to Ursula Rakova.
“On Carteret, we have lost nearly all our food gardens. The sea washes over them, and we have lost a lot crops. We can no longer grow them. Forty years ago we grew a lot of our own food, we didn’t depend on the government to supply us with food.
“Today, as I’m talking, the schools on [the]Carterets have closed due to lack of nutritional diet for the children.” ...
... Australia’s $5 million contribution will provide financial support and technical assistance to seedbanks in developing countries and support a fail-safe backup of food crop seeds in the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway.
We are assisting Afghanistan to unlock the genetic make-up of different types of wheat stored in their national seed bank, using technology developed in Australia.
This will help secure their agricultural future and provide the means to develop their rich genetic resources.
Australia was a founding member of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer is Vice-Chair of the Crop Trust’s Executive Board. [Foreign Minister Media Release - 20/4/16]
The man who would be the first climate change refugee [BBC - 5/11/15]:
With waves breaking at his feet, Ioane Teitiota holds his hand more than a metre above his sea wall to demonstrate how high the water gets during a king tide.
The wall seems hopelessly inadequate even when it's not full of holes. When he returned to Kiribati from New Zealand, he had to fix it in three places. And he expects to trudge out after almost every high tide to patch it up again.
The threat of sea-level rise was the basis of his four year battle to become the world's first recognised climate refugee.
But courts in New Zealand rejected his claim, and he was deported in September for overstaying his visa.
He says that decision has put him in danger.
"I'm the same as people who are fleeing war. Those who are afraid of dying, it's the same as me," he says.
He [President Anote Tong] just hosted a conference which considered questions such as, what happens to a country's fishing rights if it ceases to be a country? Do people retain citizenship if a country no longer exists? ...
NATO Commander brings the anti-refugee hate and hysteria [Deutsche Welle - 2/3/16]:
NATO's top general accused Russia and Syria of fomenting a mass exodus of refugees as a "weapon" against the West.
Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander in Europe for the 28-member military alliance, told US lawmakers on Tuesday that the mass bombing of civilian targets appeared to serve no other purpose than to weaken Europe by creating a massive, and continuous, wave of people desperate for food, shelter and safety.
"Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve," Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee....
... "Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel writes in the report's introduction.
"Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe," he adds.
The report asserts that climate change will affect the Pentagon's ability to "defend the nation" and "poses immediate risks to U.S. national security," which is why the department is factoring impacts into everything from "war games" to "defense planning scenarios." ... [The Hill - 13/10/14]
Winter is never
Surfers Paradise [22/4/16]
... The prolonged ocean warming has hit the Great Barrier Reef hard.
Only 7% of the reef system has avoided coral bleaching entirely, according to a statement released today by Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Taskforce.
Up to 80% of coral reefs on the western coast of Australia are now also bleached, according to the taskforce. [Science Mag - 19/4/16]
... The voracious capitalism we face cannot continue as is, with its accelerated and extractionist logic that is finishing off our planet.
I think our great challenge is to realize that other worlds are possible. ...
An interview with Gustavo Castro, sole witness to assassination of Berta Cáceres [Intercept - 19/4/16]:
... They said, we need just one more thing. So I asked for more protection for the ride back: a bulletproof vest and more bodyguards. What they originally said they needed was more testimony, but what it ended up being was more cross-examination. At the end of the night they produced a document saying it was necessary for me to stay 30 days more. That was also illegal — the judge used arguments based on international human rights laws regarding suspects.
When my lawyer argued they were violating my rights, the judge not only removed her from the case but furthermore suspended her ability to practice law for 15 days.
In Latin America almost every country has free trade agreements with the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and many also with Asia. This means changing your constitution, your environmental legislation that concerns water, energy and foreign investment, in order to adopt and facilitate these free trade agreements.
If you don’t, companies sue. For governments, it’s easier to repress people than to pay damages and compensation to corporations.
A good example is the case of the gold mine in El Salvador. El Salvador has had to pay millions to defend itself against a mining company before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. And we are talking about one mine. But imagine 10,000 or 15,000 — we are talking about thousands of mining concessions in the region. And to this if you add dams, and to that you add highways, ports, airports, mines, fracking, petroleum, huge shopping malls, tax-free zones, charter cities, huge elite tourist resorts — there are so many concessions.
Does the National Children's Commissioner know a Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT was blocked by Senator Claire Moore? [Australian Human Rights Commission Media Release - 19/4/16]:
National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell is holding the first of a series of roundtables in Sydney today to explore how the special needs and interests of children and young people under the age of 18 in youth justice detention centres could be monitored under the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
The project will include a stock-take of current oversight, complaints and reporting arrangements across all jurisdictions, and the identification of opportunities for improvements nationally over time.
“We are seeking expert advice and first-hand accounts from legislative, policy and administrative authorities, as well as children and young people held in custody, to gain a clearer picture of how the rights of children can be safeguarded,” Commissioner Mitchell said.
“This work comes at an important time, as Australia is considering ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture of which Australia is a signatory.
“My national consultation will provide valuable insights about the benefits of oversight measures for children held in youth justice detention in Australia.”
As part of the Commissioner’s consultations, a submission process is also underway. The findings will be included in her annual report to Parliament, due at the end of 2016.
In August 2015, a Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT [Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected.
Senate Hansard [11/8/15]:
Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.
The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?
Senator Moore: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.
Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia's own good standing is at stake.
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright's motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.
Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.
No matter your view on asylum seekers and offshore detention, a prohibition on torture is something we can all support, writes Greens Senator Penny Wright, who will present a motion to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to Parliament today. ... [Lawyers Weekly - 11/8/15]
Man arrested after gunman reportedly left 4WD with suspicious items on Sunshine Coast [Nine MSN - 20/4/16]:
A man has been arrested after a gunman reportedly threatened a woman at a Coolum property and then left a four-wheel-drive containing suspicious items in Peregian Beach last night, sparking an ongoing emergency situation.
The man was arrested at the Coolum property about 9.20am today, police said, after an emergency situation was declared due to the suspicious items.
The emergency situation remains in place, with a small exclusion zone affecting the area around a Gweneth Road property as specialist officers continue to examine the four-wheel-drive.
Residents have been asked to stay indoors, and drivers have been advised to avoid the area.
About 10.30pm last night, a man attended the Centenary Heights Road, Coolum, property and used a firearm to threaten the woman before fleeing in the four-wheel-drive.
Police later found the four-wheel-drive and launched a search, which revealed suspicious items inside the vehicle.
Three people were safely removed from the home, but the gunman was not there, police said in a statement.
Investigations are ongoing.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Jury finds former Gold Coast prostitute guilty of murdering her fiancé [MYGC - 20/4/16]
A Gold Coast Police Officer will face court next month over a car chase in Pacific Pines, during which a number of shots were fired.
It’s understood the charges relate to an incident last May, when Police allegedly spotted a ‘person of interest’ in violent robberies in Surfers Paradise.
The driver of the vehicle failed to pull over and is accused of speeding off, ramming several police cars and driving erratically down the street.
The driver’s then accused of mounting the curb, slamming into a fence at Pacific Pines and running off.
He was later tracked down by Polair and the Dog Squad.
A woman, also in the car, was allegedly arrested a couple of days later.
One Police Officer faces a charge of dangerous conduct with a weapon.
He was charged at the end of an investigation led by the Ethical Standards Command and overviewed by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
The Officer will appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on May 10. [MYGC - 20/4/16]
... Senior Constable Wellington will face the Southport Magistrates Court next month, while investigations continue into Senior Sergeant Hurley. ... [ABC - 20/4/16]
Chris Hurley stood down over Gold Coast police pursuit [Nine MSN - 21/5/15]
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Egypt's capital to protest after an Egyptian police officer shot dead a street vendor and injured two others, state media said, in what was the latest in a series of incidents that have triggered public outrage over police abuses. ... [Al Jazeera - 19/4/16]
A truck has rolled at Mermaid Waters. ... [MYGC - 20/4/16]
A man has died after slamming his 4WD into a tree in the Robina Town Centre carpark. ... [MYGC - 18/4/16]
There are calls for more midwives to be employed after mums-to-be are being told there aren’t enough to go around.
Additionally, the new Byron Central Hospital appears to be unable to cope with the predicted demand even before it has opened. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 20/4/16]
Closed New York primary helps Democratic Party maintain status quo [Shadowproof - 19/4/16]
Democracy Spring branching out after DC protests [USA Today - 19/4/16]
Did you hear they locked up Lady Liberty, and made her an enemy of state? ... via @BruceSkarin [19/4/16]
Visa granted for Iranian filmaker Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami to attend Documentary Edge International Film Festival in New Zealand [Media Release - 20/4/16]
28 dead, hundreds wounded in Kabul suicide attack [Pajhwok - 19/4/16]
Afghanistan: UNHCR seeks to "eradicate displacement" as the US escalates its war [Media Release - 19/4/16]
... Following the memorial ceremony in 2015, CIA Director John Brennan, along with his deputies, privately met with the Chapmans on the agency’s seventh floor.
He apologized for the long wait but gave no explanation for why it took more than 13 years for Chapman to get his place on the wall, the father said. ... [Washington Post - 17/4/16]
Russian Defense Ministry reports increased Jabhat al-Nusra activities in Syria [TASS - 29/4/16]
3 children were killed and 5 others were injured in terrorist attacks by mortars targeted Kefraya town in the countryside of Idleb province last night, in a new breach of the cessation of hostilities agreement, local sources said.
The sources inside the town told SANA Tuesday that armed groups besieging the town fired a number of rocket shells and mortar rounds on residential houses of Kefraya town.
The attacks resulted in killing 3 children from one family and injuring 5 others.
Earlier Sunday, one civilian was killed and 4 others were injured in terrorist organizations’ rocket shells attacks against the two besieged towns of Kefraya and al-Foua’a in the countryside of Idleb Province. [SANA - 19/4/16]
Red Army liberated us from the Nazis, that is a fact: Polish city refuses to demolish Communist-era monument [RT - 19/4/16]
20 April 2016