Ferrovial to release bidder's statement for Australian refugee concentration camp operator Broadspectrum aka Transfield [Brisbane Times - 20/12/15]




Did you know that in Queensland it is an offence to drink alcohol or possess an open alcoholic drink in a public place, like the beach and parks?

Gold Coast Police will be patrolling and monitoring this offence over the festive season and you may be fined.

Do you really want to spend your hard earned money on a fine?

Police can issue on the spot fines from $117 for liquor offences. [QPS Media - 19/12/15]






Families of Bowraville victims vow to keep fighting for justice after Wood review [Sydney Morning Herald - 20/12/15]:



The families of three children who were killed in the northern NSW town of Bowraville 25 years ago say they will continue fighting for justice, despite an independent review recommending against legislative changes that might have seen the cases return to court.

Within hours of receiving the review by former judge James Wood, the families of Colleen Walker, 16, Evelyn Greenup, 4, and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, 16, said they would join police in lodging a fourth application for the man they say is responsible for their loved ones' deaths to be re-tried.

"We've been fighting for 25 years and we're not going to stop now," Evelyn's aunt, Michelle Jarrett, told Fairfax Media on Sunday.

"We'll regroup and come back fighting bigger and better than ever."

Colleen, Evelyn and Clinton were killed in similar circumstances in Bowraville between September 1990 and February 1991.

Jay Hart, a white man who lived in the town and was well known to the local Indigenous community, was charged with murder over the deaths of Clinton and Evelyn, but was acquitted following two separate trials more than a decade apart.

The families say the acquittals were the result of a string of injustices, beginning with the initial police investigation that allegedly missed crucial evidence, and the decision to try the accused for each alleged murder separately, meaning the juries in each case were not aware of the similarities between the two deaths.





The son of missing Queensland police officer Mick Isles has vowed to keep trying to find out what happened to his father, despite losing a bid to have the case reopened.

The District Court on Friday dismissed Steven Isles' application to have a coroner's finding of suicide overturned and an inquest reopened.

But Mr Isles does not believe his father took his own life and won't rule out taking the case to the High Court.

"Our concern certainly doesn't stop today," he told reporters.

"This is but a stepping stone in the continued process." Senior Sergeant Isles vanished from Ayr, north Queensland, in 2009 shortly after he was cleared of corruption allegations following a year-long investigation. ... [Yahoo - 18/12/15]


Parminder Singh jailed for 22 years for murdering wife in 'act of vengeance and control' [ABC - 17/12/15]




Mistress jailed for life after hacking lover's wife and grandson to death with garden shears [West Australian - 17/12/15]





A driver accused of murdering a man in a road rage incident south of Brisbane has been granted bail.

Tamate Henry Heke, 36, allegedly punched 50-year-old Shane Merrigan during a brawl on the Gateway Motorway at Eight Mile Plains earlier this month.

It caused Mr Merrigan to fall into the path of an oncoming garbage truck, killing him instantly.

In considering the bail application, Justice Roslyn Atkinson said what occurred "does not appear however to be the whole story".

"While there might be a strong case on manslaughter there may not be a strong case on murder," she said. ... [ABC - 17/12/15]





Grievous bodily harm and torture charges, Thabeban [QPS Media - 20/12/15]:



Detectives have charged three man following their investigations into an incident at Thabeban on December 14.

Police will alleged around 1.40am the three men assaulted and tortured a 24-year-old man and women at a Sunset Drive address before dumping them on Wyllie Street.

The man sustained head injuries and paralysis of the legs while the woman received minor injuries. Both were taken to Bundaberg Hospital for treatment.

The group are believed to be known to each other.

A 25-year-old Branyan man was charged with one count each of grievous bodily harm, common assault, deprivation of liberty and two counts each of torture and extortion with intent to cause detriment. 

He will re-appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on January 8.

A 25-year-old Walkervale man and a 32-year-old Bundaberg North were also charged with one count each of grievous bodily harm, common assault, deprivation of liberty and two counts each of torture and extortion with intent to cause detriment.

Both are scheduled to appear (via telephone link) in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court tomorrow (December 21).

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.





Grievous bodily harm charge, Rockhampton [QPS Media - 18/12/15]




Serious assault police, Helensvale [QPS Media - 18/12/15]






Couple charged following dangerous, resource wasting class and race based police pursuit, Ipswich [QPS - 20/12/15]





Robbery and weapon charges, Coopers Plains [QPS Media - 19/12/15]




A man and a woman have been arrested over a number of serious offences on the Gold Coast in the early hours of this morning.

Around 5.15am police were conducting street checks on a man and a woman in a car on the Esplanade at Paradise Point when it was discovered the 43-year-old man was wanted for questioning by police.

At this time the pair became violent with the woman grabbing at a police radio from an officer and attempting to take another officer’s gun.

The couple drove off in the car and struck a tree before reversing and hitting the side of the police vehicle.

The car continued travelling south along Bayview Street.

The car was observed to travel into Huon Avenue at Runaway Bay before the pair ran into a nearby residence.

Police entered the residence and located the couple hiding inside the house where they were arrested.

The occupants of the house did not know the couple.

No one was injured during the incident.

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. [QPS Media - 18/12/15]




Police are investigating after a man, who allegedly stole property from a shop and made threats to harm members of the public, was injured in a traffic crash following a short pursuit on the north side this morning.

Around 11am, police attended a shop on South Pine Road at Everton Park after a 29-year-old Brisbane man, allegedly stealing merchandise, was asked to leave the premises.

It is alleged that the man subsequently made threats to staff and other members of the public, before leaving in a stolen car.

Police commenced a short pursuit of the vehicle, before disengaging after the car was observed driving dangerously.

A short time later, the car crashed into the brick fence of a home at the intersection of Elkhorn and Wallace Streets, before catching alight.

A member of the public was able to remove the man from the burning vehicle. The driver was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Investigations into the incident are continuing.

Ethical Standards Command has been advised.

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. [QPS Media - 18/12/15]




Detectives from Taskforce Maxima have charged a woman following an investigation as part of Operation North Guitar. It follows the arrest of a man earlier this week who was the alleged treasurer of the Finks Gold Coast Chapter.

He was charged with fraud and tainted property offences.

The charges relate to an amount of $118,000 that was seized from her bank account and her prior withdrawal of $32,000 in cash.

 A 24-year-old Sentosa Waters woman has been charged with one count each of tainted property and conducting transactions so as to avoid reporting requirements relating to threshold transactions.

 She was issued with a notice to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 22, 2016. [QPS Media - 18/12/15]



A jury has found the husband of a former Australian ambassador to Spain not guilty on two charges of child sex abuse.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a third charge.

Vytas Kapociunas, 71, faced a two-week trial in the ACT Supreme Court this month on three counts of engaging in sexual activity other than sexual intercourse with a child aged under 16.

Returning for a third day of deliberations on Saturday after a nine-day trial, the jury told Chief Justice Helen Murrell shortly before 3pm that they had reached unanimous decisions on two counts.

The jury was discharged after delivering their verdicts. ... [Canberra Times - 19/12/15]





Two men arrested for online offences against children, Gold Coast [QPS Media - 18/12/15]




Detectives from the Cairns Child Protection Investigation Unit, yesterday charged a 26-year-old Brinsmead man with 14 offences relating to children.

The offences include one count each of grooming a child, carnal knowledge of children under 16-years, procuring young person for carnal knowledge, disobey a lawful order, indecent treatment of a child under 16, two counts of possessing child exploitation material, three counts each of using the internet to procure a child and involving children in making child exploitation material.

It will be alleged that from July to December the man committed the offences against five children.

The man is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court today. [QPS Media - 17/12/15]




Seven homes destroyed in Victorian bushfires as blazes continues to rage across the state [Nine MSN - 20/12/15]:



... Yesterday, a separate grass fire forced the closure of the Hume Freeway at Epping, tearing through sheds and farming equipment, with unconfirmed reports of burnt cars as well.

A 34-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested in Vearings Road at about 12.50pm yesterday over the deliberately-lit blaze.

Glen Boland faced the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today, where he argued he did not start the blaze and was in fact attempting to extinguish it.

Police allege the fire was started by cigarette butts found metres from his camp site. Mr Boland has been remanded in custody.




Residents on alert near Newcastle as fires breach containment lines [Sydney Morning Herald - 20/12/15]




Arson investigation, Eagleby [QPS Media - 17/12/15]




Police are investigating two incidents at Browns Plains overnight, the arson of a car and the injury of a teenage boy.

Around 2.10am police were called to Trebeck Street where they located a car that had been destroyed by fire.

The vehicle has been identified as a car stolen from Eucalypt Place at Heritage Park on December 14.

Whilst at the scene of the car fire police received a report of a teenager with burn injuries at a nearby address on Savoy Court.

Upon police arrival emergency services were on scene treating a 16-year-old boy for burn injuries to his face.

The boy has been taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The cause of his injuries is yet to be determined but was initially reported as due to the explosion of a home made device.  

However no evidence of any device has been located at this time.

Investigations are continuing into both incidents, including whether the two matters are linked.

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. [QPS Media - 17/12/15]




Arson investigation, Mermaid Waters [QPS Media - 17/12/15]





A man has been killed in Queensland following a collision between a car and a tanker.

Police say the vehicles, travelling in opposite directions, crashed on the Bruce Highway at Chatsworth, near Gympie, about 1.30pm on Saturday.

The 52-year-old driver of the car was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital but died a few hours later.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating. [Yahoo - 19/12/15]




A man has died following a single vehicle traffic crash on the Leichardt Highway near Goovigen yesterday afternoon.

Initial investigations suggest at around 3:00pm a utility was travelling north, when it rolled and came to a stop on the opposite side of the road.

The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. [QPS Media - 19/12/15]




Serious injury, Kiamba [QPS Media - 18/12/15]:



Police are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist was seriously injured in Kiamba (Nambour) this afternoon.

Initial investigations suggest at around 5:15pm a member of the public located a male cyclist lying unconscious on English Road.

A man in his 50s was air lifted to the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital with life threatening head and chest injuries.

Preliminary investigations have not yet determined if another vehicle was involved in the incident.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have been in the area around English Road at around 5:15pm or earlier to contact police.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

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




One person died when a road train and a car crashed in the Pilbara yesterday. ... [West Australian - 17/12/15]




Serious traffic crash, Witheren [QPS Media - 17/12/15]





A man has suffered significant burns in a car fire on the Gold Coast this afternoon.

Paramedics rushed to the scene on Simpson Street in Coolangatta around 1.00pm after receiving reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames.

A 29-year-old male has been transported to Gold Coast University Hospital with burns to his face and body.   [MYGC - 17/12/15]




Grievous bodily harm charge, Gatton [QPS Media - 20/12/15]




Three 15-year-olds charged with armed robbery, Wellington Point [QPS Media - 20/12/15]




Armed robbery, Durack [QPS Media - 20/12/15]




Armed robbery, Highgate Hill [QPS Media - 19/12/15]






Stealing, Arana Hills [QPS Media - 18/12/15]





Armed robbery, Currumbin Waters [QPS Media - 17/12/15]




Robbery with violence, Surfers Paradise [QPS Media - 17/12/15]






Police are investigating an incident last night where a woman was threatened and property taken from residence in North Ward.

Initial investigations indicate that just before 9.30pm, two men entered a residence on Cook Street and threatened the woman who was inside at the time.

After making further threats, one of the men produced a knife before removing a television and a gaming console.

Both men left the scene on foot.

Nobody was physically injured as a result of this incident.

If anyone saw any suspicious behaviour around the Cook Street area last night, they are urged to contact Crime Stoppers. 

Likewise for anyone who may have any other information which could assist police with their investigations.

Investigations are continuing. 

There is no further information available at this stage.

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. [QPS Media - 19/12/15]




A 22-year-old man has been charged over an alleged assault yesterday at an Indooroopilly shopping centre.

It will be alleged that just after 5.00pm, two security guards were assaulted after they confronted a man allegedly acting suspiciously in a carpark area of the shopping centre.

The male security guards received minor injuries.

The 22-year-old Logan Central man has been charged with four counts of serious assault person performing lawful duty.

He is scheduled to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow. 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. [QPS Media - 20/12/15]




No charges will be laid after a toddler was found wandering alone near a busy road on the Gold Coast on Friday.

The unaccompanied one-year-old girl was found wearing only a nappy by a member of the public on Pines Lane near a church at Elanora late on Friday afternoon.

The girl's mother was located nearby and police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Police said the girl was taken to hospital suffering from dehydration. [ABC - 19/12/15]





Olympian Nathan Baggaley jailed over drug manufacture offences [ABC - 18/12/15]





A successful Queensland real estate agent who supplied ice to friends while maintaining his own drug habit has avoided jail but may lose his career.

Patrick Ryan McCann escaped with a suspended 18-month sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to 24 charges of supplying methylamphetamine.

District Court Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien opted to record a conviction against the 37-year-old, jeopardising his chances of regaining his real estate agent's licence.

McCann's lawyer, Bill Potts, said the former LJ Hooker agent hoped to continue with his profession but it was now up to the real estate agent's board. ... [Brisbane Times - 18/12/15]










Two fishermen have been treated for hypothermia after their trawler sunk near a jetty north of Brisbane.

The trawler slammed into a rock wall at the Redcliffe jetty and submerged about 3.20am Friday. ... [Yahoo - 18/12/15]










The Mornington Island airstrip, in north-west Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria, has been closed until further notice.

Frank Mills from the Mornington Shire Council said airport staff found areas of broken bitumen on the runway yesterday.

He said all commercial flights had been put on hold. ... [ABC - 17/12/15]












More young Queenslanders taking their own lives, report warns [Brisbane Times - 18/12/15]










The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre has avoided prosecution over a salmonella outbreak that saw more than 250 fall ill earlier this year.

And an investigation found no evidence the eggs that had been identified as a possible source of the outbreak were, in fact, responsible.

Most of those who fell ill were school principals, who attended a conference at the centre in February.

A Brisbane City Council investigation has found there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution against the BCEC.

Brisbane lifestyle division chairman Krista Adams said a review of the investigation had found the prospect of a successful prosecution against the BCEC, which would cost ratepayers about $400,000, was "poor".

On that basis, Cr Adams said, the council would not proceed. ... [Brisbane Times - 18/12/15]





Okinawa to sue government early next year to stop US base transfer [Japan Today -20/12/15]




Anti-Christmas protesters calling themselves “Losers with Women” marched through Tokyo’s streets Saturday, bashing the upcoming holiday as a capitalist ploy that also discriminates against singletons.

The group of about 20 people — part of the communist-inspired group that routinely protests Western holidays — marched under angry banners that read “Smash Christmas!” in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, where couples and families were engaged in holiday shopping. ... [Japan Times - 19/12/15]





An Indonesian Air Force trainer jet has crashed while performing an aerobatic maneuver at an air show in Yogyakarta on Sunday, killing two pilots.

The South Korean-made T-50 Golden Eagle jet crashed near the air force's flight academy base near the Adi Sutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Agus Supriatna said.

Lt. Col. Marda Sarjono and Flight Capt. Dwi Cahyadi were both killed in the incident, Tempo.co reported. ... [Jakarta Globe - 20/12/15]


39 rescued, scores missing as waves sink Indonesian boat [Yahoo – 20/12/15]





The Khmer Rouge tribunal an­nounced on Friday that the judicial investigation into the slew of crimes allegedly committed by former Khmer Rouge district chief Im Chaem had concluded, bringing the possibility of an indictment one step closer. ... [Cambodia Daily - 19/12/15]



Don't like the policies?



 Leave the party.



Yahoo [20/12/15]:



A European lawmaker for Denmark's ruling right-wing party said Saturday he was leaving the party over its controversial asylum policies, which include plans for police to search asylum seekers' luggage for valuables.

"Denmark is currently experiencing a norm and value shift that I find deeply worrying," Jens Rohde of the Venstre party wrote on the website of daily Politiken, where he announced he was joining the centrist Danish Social Liberal Party.

The EU parliamentarian said he had based his decision on Venstre's increasingly draconian policies to limit the number of asylum seekers, and growing EU scepticism within the party.

"Now it has also become acceptable to ... instruct the police to arbitrarily take people's last valuables and their last bit of dignity away from them," Rohde said.

The minority Venstre government relies on the backing in parliament of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party.

On Friday the Danish government defended a bill that would allow police to search asylum-seekers' luggage for valuables and cash to help pay for their stay, plans that have prompted international outrage and drawn comparisons to Nazi Germany.

Items of personal significance, such as wedding rings, as well as mobile phones will be exempt while cash amounts over 3,000 kroner ($437, 402 euros) will be confiscated under the proposal.

It is the latest in a string of moves by Copenhagen to avoid the kind of refugee influx seen in neighbouring Sweden, where around 150,000 people had applied for asylum this year by the end of November compared to just 18,000 in Denmark.

Other measures have included shortening residence permits, delaying family reunifications and placing adverts in Lebanese newspapers to deter migrants.

Earlier this month, Danes voted in a referendum to reject a government proposal on adopting the EU's justice rules, amid concerns over handing more power to Brussels.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen campaigned for the 'Yes' side but has since struck a slightly more critical tone on some aspects of Denmark's EU membership.






... Voters should only vote in people they believe in. ...  that's the only thing that counts because if you are a tactical voter you're going to fall into a trap of least worst. ... The minute you do that you lose your bargaining power because the corporations are pulling on both parties 24/7. ...  And once you become a least worst voter there's no rope on the other side.  You're not pulling.  Ralph Nader and Abby Martin on the Corporate Elections [VIDEO - teleSUR - 19/12/15]




Brazil dam collapse: Judge blocks BHP Billiton and Vale assets [BBC - 19/12/15]




Coal mine owner in police custody after explosion in NE China [Xinhua – 18/12/15]






Beijing has issued its most severe air pollution warning for only the second time ever as unhealthy levels of smog in the city are expected to persist through Tuesday. ... [TIME - 18/12/15]


China and Russia signed more than 30 cooperation documents in energy, investment, finance, high technology and other areas during the 20th China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting on Thursday.

Energy giants Sinopec and Rosneft signed an MOU on oil and gas projects in eastern Siberia while CNPC and Gazprom inked an agreement on the design and construction of the cross-border section of China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.

China Development Bank and Russia's state corporation Vnesheconombank (VEB) also signed an agreement on a 10 billion yuan (1.56 billion U.S. dollars) loan. ... [Xinhua - 17/12/15]




San Bernardino: Shooters' neighbor charged with conspiring to commit terrorism [Guardian – 18/12/15]:


... Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, died in a shootout with police after the initial attack. Hours later, Marquez posted a brief, misspelled message on Facebook: “I’m. Very sorry sguys. It was a pleasure.” He then checked himself into a UCLA psychiatric facility, and four days later was released into FBI custody.

Marquez is said to have planned attacks with Farook in 2011 and 2012. He is also charged with unlawfully purchasing two of the assault rifles used in the shooting, but there is no evidence to show that he participated in that attack. A third charge is for defrauding immigration authorities by “entering into a sham marriage” with a member of Farook’s family.

Following an appearance at Riverside federal court on Thursday, Marquez had deputy federal public defender Young Kim appointed as his lawyer. He was not asked to enter a plea. That will happen at a hearing on 6 January, a court source said. ...



… So send in the clowns to entertain us ...

'Bread & Circus', Marc Almond [2010]


Image:  ‏@LayaliAwwad  [18/12/15]





'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Box Office: $120.5M Friday, $250M worldwide thus far [Forbes - 19/12/15]





Medical sources have reported, Friday, that ten Palestinians were injured, and many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, near the northern entrance of Bethlehem city.

The Palestinians were marching in the "Papa Noel" procession, as part of Christmas celebrations in the city of Nativity. ... [IMEMC - 18/12/15]




Palestinian dies after being shot in chest during Friday clashes [Maan - 19/12/15]




3 injured in stabbing attack north of Tel Aviv, suspect detained [Maan - 19/12/15]




Israeli forces on Friday killed one Palestinian and shot 40 others during clashes in the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health said.

A spokesperson for Gaza’s Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma’an that 20-year-old Mahmoud Muhammad Saed al-Agha was shot dead by Israeli forces when clashes broke out near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Al-Qidra said 31 others were shot and injured by live fire, 9 by rubber-coated steel bullets, and 14 suffered from severe tear gas inhalation. ... [Maan - 18/12/15]






Indonesia asserted on Friday that the prolonged dispute between Palestine and Israel was not a result of religious tension, but simply about Israel’s illegal establishment of human settlements.

Indonesian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Desra Percaya said the dispute resulted from the fact that Israel refused to accept the UN’s recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and Israel therefore continued to expand its territory. ... [Jakarta Post - 18/12/15]


The occupation cannot hold back the Palestinians forever, Vijay Prashad [al-Araby - 17/12/15]:


... Israeli occupation is a failure.

The arrogance and anxiety of the IDF at the checkpoints shows their tenuous hold on power.

The exhausted swagger of the occupying police in Jerusalem marks the futility of their project.

One policeman tells me he is fed up. He finds his job hopeless.

The most messianic zealots are the settlers.

They are armed and violent. For them the Arab is vermin.

They have descended into inhumanity.

Their hold on Israeli politics is firm. ...




The provincial governor for northern Faryab province of Afghanistan Syed Anwar Sadat escaped unhurt from a Taliban ambush earlier this evening.

The incident took place around 4:45 pm local time after Mr. Sadat was returning to the provincial capital following the inauguration of housing projects in Andkhoy district. ... [Khaama - 19/12/15]




8 Afghan Air Force pilots graduate from training in United States [Khaama - 19/12/15]





Five policemen were injured on Saturday when a suicide bomber on foot targeted a police convoy in the bazaar of Greshk district of southern Helmand province, an official said. ... [Pajhwok - 19/12/15]





At least six people, including three civilians, have been killed during separate clashes in northwestern Jawzjan province, an official said Saturday. ... [Pajhwok - 19/12/15]





Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Saturday that a staggering 1.2 million Afghans were displaced this year alone - noting that a volatile security situation in the country was the main reason for the crisis. ... [TOLO News - 19/12/15]




$5.3m contract awarded to Health Minister’s firm [Pajhwok - 19/12/15]



US Special Ops kicked out of Libya [Antiwar - 17/12/15]:

A US military ground operation began and ended without much fanfare earlier this week in Libya, the Pentagon admitted today, in a shockingly bungling effort to secretly establish a presence of US special forces in the country.

A group of about 20 US soldiers, armed with assault rifles and bulletproof vests, but conspicuously not wearing uniforms, showed up in the Wattiya airbase, just south of Tripoli Monday. Pictures of the US troops were published by the Libyan Air Force on their Facebook page.

The Air Force pointed out the troops arrived with no coordination and apparently no approval, though the Pentagon claims to have gotten an okay from some government faction or other, but apparently not the right ones, as local commanders quickly demanded that the US troops leave, and the Pentagon says they did to “avoid conflict.”

Pentagon officials further claimed the deployment was a “training mission” aimed at enhancing ties with the Libyan National Army, but didn’t explain why they sent the troops in wholly unannounced, nor why the troops were clearly combat-ready but out of uniform.

Recent conferences on Libya among NATO members, including one earlier this month in Rome, have had several nations talking up the idea of sending troops. It is surprising to learn, then, that the US went first, bungling their way into Libya and almost immediately getting chased out.




Nigerian troops, Boko Haram clash in army chief's village [Naharnet - 19/12/15]




Nigerian military has commuted the death sentences handed to 66 soldiers for mutiny over claims they refused to fight Boko Haram Islamists, a spokesman said on Saturday. ... [Naharnet - 19/12/15]




Several people were killed or wounded on Saturday when gunmen opened fire then detonated a car bomb on a busy road in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said.

"There was a drive-by shooting attack... then a car loaded with explosives was detonated after police reinforcements arrived," police official Ahmed Abdiweli told AFP.

"Most of the casualties are civilians." ... [Naharnet - 19/12/15]




Fierce fighting and airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition pounded northern Yemen on Saturday, as the two main parties in the country's conflict continued to violate a ceasefire agreement and undermine already tenuous peace talks in Switzerland.

The clashes in Hajjah Province near the Saudi border between rebel-allied units and pro-government Yemeni forces have killed more than 75 over the past three days, Yemeni security officials and witnesses said. The dead included more than 40 rebels and 35 government troops, with 50 wounded on the rebel side and dozens wounded on the government side. Dozens of tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed, according to the witnesses and security officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has splintered the Arab world's poorest country. ... [Yahoo - 19/12/15]




Ceasefire in Yemen faces collapse as US continues weapons sales to Saudi Arabia [Democracy Now - 18/12/15]:


United Nations-brokered peace talks in Yemen’s nine-month-old civil war are faltering, amid disputes between rival factions over the release of prisoners. Meanwhile, local officials have reported intensifying clashes and renewed airstrikes despite an ongoing ceasefire.

Over the weekend, U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrikes killed 19 Yemeni civilians in their homes and at a market. About half of the nearly 6,000 people killed in Yemen’s conflict are civilians, including more than 600 children. Rima Kamal of the International Committee for the Red Cross in Yemen warned of a deepening humanitarian crisis.

The United States has bolstered the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes in Yemen through arms sales and direct military support. Saudi Arabia is one of the U.S. arms industry’s biggest customers. Last month, the State Department approved a billion-dollar deal to restock Saudi Arabia’s air force arsenal, which was depleted by its bombing campaign in Yemen.

The sale included thousands of air-to-ground munitions and "general purpose" bombs. The United States and other countries have also reportedly sold internationally banned cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia that are now being used in Yemen. We speak with reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who has just returned from Yemen. His recent piece for GlobalPost is "With US help, Saudi Arabia is obliterating Yemen." ...




China calls US flight near islands 'military provocation' [Anadolu Agency - 19/12/15]




It started in Chicago and maybe that will be where it ends.  Time for the 1% to face the consequences of their actions:  A sacrificial Rahm? Mayor 1%, racist policing, and metropolitan disorder [Counterpunch - 18/12/15]




... There is a presumption running through Paul’s and Theopi’s documentary that is never properly stated or interrogated. It is the view that, in the final analysis, we (and other Eurozone member-states) face only two options: Capitulation to the troika or exit from the Eurozone.

While this was always the Troika (and Dr Schäuble) line, with which to scare governments into submission, it should not be taken for granted.

It has always been my view that, had we remained steadfast, Mrs Merkel and Mr Draghi would step in and avert Grexit at all cost. An honourable agreement would have transpired, instead of the document of surrender also known as the 3rd Greek bailout. ... #THIS IS A COUP – Yanis Varoufakis' comments on Paul Mason’s documentary [19/12/15]



20 December 2015