Nauru:  Third woman "elected" to dictatorship that hosts Australia's concentration camp.  Refugees still imprisoned. [RNZI - 20/1/17]



On this occasion, Manus MP Ronnie Knight is correct. [PNG Loop - 19/1/17]:


Manus MP Ronny Knight is calling on the PNG and Australian governments to announce their exit strategy for the Manus asylum processing Centre.

“This is in relation to the various incidents now becoming more serious in the Manus community. The Regional Processing Centre is already in contempt of Supreme Court instructions and we need to know when compliance will take place to shut down the Centre.” said a frustrated Ronny Knight.

He said the people of Manus have been lied to by the PNG government.


Knight says he is now working with the refugee Refugee Processing Centre leaders to get a working dialogue going so some ground rules can be laid down for the benefit of both locals and refugees.

“Unless our government allows immediate intervention of UNHCR then we will see more problems arising.” said Knight.

A PNG Supreme Court ruling in April 2016, deemed the Manus Regional Processing Centre in breach of the Constitution and illegal.



PNG to criminalise setting up roadblocks [RNZI - 18/1/17]:


... One anonymous landowner said that roadblocks are sometimes the only form of leverage which grassroots communities have with provincial and national governments which fail to deliver promised development packages. ...



Indonesian Military to build naval base in Papua [Jakarta Post - 20/1/17]



Police personnel numbers on Riau Islands will be doubled to anticipate conflict in the South China Sea following the change of leadership in the United States, as the nation has played a role in the disputed waters.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian stated on Friday the number of police would be increased to around 12,000 personnel from the current 5,000 on Riau Islands, the province located closest to the South China Sea, following the upgraded level of Riau Islands Police from type B to type A. ... [Jakarta Post - 20/1/17]



Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday said it is “deeply concerned with the long-drawn judicial process” in the case of a Singaporean boat captain who has been detained in Indonesia for over nine months for illegally entering its waters.

Shoo Chiau Huat, 51, was ferrying 13 Singaporean and Malaysian tourists on a fishing trip on April 16, 2016, when the boat was stopped by Indonesian navy patrol for trespassing into waters off Bintan. ... [Channel News Asia - 20/1/17]



Israel's prime minister has reportedly removed Fiji from his itinerary of next month's Australasia tour.

Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to visit Fiji as part of his country's efforts to bolster Israel's standing in international forums such as the United Nations.

While there, Mr Netanyahu was expected to participate in a summit of leaders of other Pacific island states.

But the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that the visit has been cancelled, with diplomatic officials saying that leg of his trip would be too long and too complicated from a security point of view.

He still intends to visit Singapore and Australia despite political pressure at home as he faces multiple police investigations.

The Israeli embassy in Canberra and the Fiji government have not responded to RNZ International's requests for comment this past week. [RNZI - 19/1/17]



US, South Korea, Japan stage missile-defense drills [Stars and Stripes - 20/1/17]



Japan ratifies TPP despite bleak outlook under Trump [Japan Times - 20/1/17]



Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to “further strengthen” Japan’s military alliance with the United States on Friday, in his key annual policy speech for 2017 kicking off a six-month ordinary Diet session. ... [Japan Times - 20/1/17]



Japan hotelier's Nanjing Massacre denial sparks tourism boycott calls [Reuters – 19/1/17]



Australia, India deals boost French arms sales to record 20 billion euros in 2016 [Reuters - 20/1/17]



What has Catholic church done for war on drugs? Duterte wants to know [GMA News - 19/1/17]:


... Duterte said Catholic leaders had no moral ascendancy to criticize the country's war on drugs that killed thousands suspects if it could not give justice to the children that priests molested. ...



Philippines:  National Youth Commission (NYC) chair and singer Aiza Seguerra slammed Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III over the lawmaker’s opposition to the Department of Health’s (DOH) planned distribution of condoms in schools. ... [GMA News - 19/1/17]



Marshall Islands internet restored [RNZI - 20/1/17]



A full bench of the Federal Court has today handed down a hotly awaited judgment on its interpretation of Australian privacy law, and what qualifies as personal information.

It has served a rebuff to Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim, who has been fighting to secure a broad definition of personal information in the courts, to ensure that everything that could reasonably be used to identify an individual will fall under the protection of the Privacy Act.

But federal court judges today dismissed the commissioner's appeal, siding with Telstra and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal over whether the telco needs to hand a full suite of telecommunications metadata over to Telstra customer and former Fairfax journalist Ben Grubb, under the personal information access provisions of the Act. ... [IT News - 19/1/17]



... Melbourne is hosting the Australian Open tennis grand slam and is packed with thousands of tourists, only a few blocks from where the incident occurred. Police said the tennis tournament continued as normal. ... [Reuters - 20/1/17]



Melbourne:  Fourth person dies after car hits pedestrians during police pursuit [SBS - 20/1/17]:


... Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the suspect was well known to police.

"We have mental health and drug-related issues in the background of this particular person."

He had come to their attention regarding family violence-related assaults in recent days. ...



Migrants who commit violent crimes should "expect to be shipped back to their own country", Victoria's police chief says.


In another Melbourne shakedown, the city's Lord Mayor has promised to fight for a new bylaw that bans homeless people sleeping on CBD streets.

Robert Doyle says he will take a proposal to the next council meeting, following the large group of homeless people that have set up camp at Flinders Street Station. ... [Yahoo - 20/1/17]



Victoria's Premier has thrown his support behind proposals for a new bylaw to move on rough sleepers in the CBD. ... [SBS - 20/1/17]



Victoria police and media say police pursuit ending in deaths and injuries not "terrorism related" So what is it? [The Age - 20/1/17]



Three deceased following Bourke Street Mall incident in Melbourne [Victoria Police - 20/1/17]:


Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident that took place in the Melbourne CBD this afternoon.

It is believed police were in pursuit of a vehicle in the CBD when the vehicle deliberately struck a number of pedestrians in the vicinity of Bourke and Queens Streets at approximately 1.30pm.

Police shot the man who was the sole occupant of the vehicle and he received bullet wounds.

He was taken into custody where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The incident is not terrorism related. [WHY?]

Police understand the incident is linked to a stabbing that took place in Windsor early this morning (20 January) involving parties known to one another.

Following this incident, it is alleged the same man took a woman, who is known to him, hostage in his car.

She managed to escape from the car on the Bolte Bridge earlier today.

Three people have been confirmed deceased with more than 20 people injured.

The deceased are yet to be formally identified however police can confirm one of the deceased is a young child.

Police and emergency services remain on the scene and request that people avoid the area.

Police have blocked the Bourke Street between William Street and Swanston Streets including the Bourke Street Mall.

The Homicide Squad will be investigating with the assistance of the Major Collision Investigation Unit. ...



And these dogwhistling, fearmongering dickheads want us to take them seriously. ---> Police have disrupted a terrorist plot to detonate improvised explosive devices at locations in central Melbourne, possibly on Christmas Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the plot as an "act of evil", while Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police had seized "the makings of an improvised explosive device". ... [ABC - 23/12/16]



Fourth man appears in court over alleged Melbourne Christmas Day plot [Nine MSN - 24/12/16]:


A fourth man has faced court charged with allegedly planning a terror attack in Melbourne's CBD on Christmas Day.

Ibrahim Abbas, 22, was charged at an out-of-sessions hearing last night with one count of preparing for or planning a terrorist attack. 

Mr Abbas appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today with a black eye and flanked by two guards in the dock.

His lawyer requested her client see a doctor to treat possible head injuries sustained in his arrest. 

"Sometimes clients get injuries during the arrest, so I've mentioned in court that he will need to be seen by a doctor because of the head injuries and eye injuries," lawyer Therese Wattis told 9NEWS.

Mr Abbas, who requested a prayer mat and a Koran during the hearing, was remanded in custody until his next court appearance in April.

Mr Abbas' court appearance comes after Abdullah Chaarani, 26, Hamza Abbas, 21 and Ahmed Mohamed, 24, were all charged with one count of preparing for or planning a terrorist attack yesterday.

The men made no application for bail in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday and were remanded in custody until their next appearance on April 28, 2017.

Jessie Smith, the lawyer acting for Hamza Abbas, told Magistrate Timothy Burke her client sustained injuries to his face, back, hip and left shoulder during the raids. 

Ms Smith asked that the 21-year-old be seen by a doctor and that the court note he is vulnerable due to his age and the nature of the charge.

"He does have soft tissue injuries from the arrest," Ms Smith said, adding he had a pre-existing back injury that requires treatment.

Four women were in court to support Mr Abbas and Mr Mohamed.

One of them began to cry as Mr Mohamed was brought into the dock.

The men were arrested as part of a series of raids conducted by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police on Thursday night and yesterday morning.

A 21-year-old Gladstone Park man was released without charge.

A 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both from Meadow Heights, were also released without charge. ...



Off-duty Victorian police officer allegedly blows .224 while driving [Nine MSN - 31/12/16]



Final communiqué extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar [19/1/17]:


... The Meeting further urged the Government of Myanmar to eliminate the root causes affecting the Rohingya Muslim Minority.

In this regard, the Meeting renewed its call upon the Government of Myanmar to restore the citizenship of the Rohingya Muslims which was revoked in the Citizenship Act of 1982. ...



An Iranian top diplomat has called on Myanmar’s government to put an end to the ongoing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

“We will not tolerate victimization of Muslims in anywhere and we call on Myanmar’s government to control the situation and prevent the crimes against Muslims,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday.

He made the remarks in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to discuss the plight of Rohingya Muslims. ... [Press TV - 19/1/17]



Malaysia to Myanmar: Stop killing Rohingya [Bangkok Post - 19/1/17]



The Voice of America is to close its broadcasting station in Puttulam and transfer the land back to the Sri Lankan government.  ... [Tamil Guardian - 19/1/17]



The Sri Lankan government has dropped its own proposal to decriminalise homosexuality, which was included in its national human rights plan put forward to help regain the European Union’s GSP+ concession, reported the Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Homosexuality is currently a criminal offence under Sri Lankan law. ... [Tamil Guardian - 19/1/17]



A human rights lawyer and activist was questioned by the Sri Lankan army after speaking to refugees at a Jaffna camp. ... [Tamil Guardian - 19/1/17]



Assange ‘stands by’ US extradition offer, promises ‘big publishing year ahead’ [RT - 19/1/17]:


WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has said he’ll stand by his promise to be extradited to the US following Chelsea Manning’s commutation, while promising a “big publishing year ahead.”

In a press conference broadcast on Periscope on Thursday, Assange said he “stands by everything I said including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted.”

"We look forward to having a conversation with the DoJ [Department of Justice] about what the correct way forward is,” Assange said.

"I've always been willing to go to the United States provided my rights are respected because this is a case that should never have occurred,” he added.

Assange’s comments echo that of his lawyer, Melinda Taylor who told RT,  "Mr. Assange stands by everything what he has said," Taylor told RT on Wednesday, although adding that Obama's decision "certainly falls far short of what Miss Manning deserves.”

Assange did however criticize those who have been pushing for him to deliver on his promise, describing the “frankly disturbing glee” that members of the establishment are showing though “trying to re-contextualise my comments, hoping, lusting for my extradition to the US.”

“Come on guys, what are you doing?” he asked, “jumping after every ball the establishment throws.” ...



‏@wikileaks [19/1/17]:  Remembering the inhuman and degrading treatment of Chelsea Manning



‏@wikileaks [19/1/17]:  Why WikiLeaks spent so much effort keeping @snowden out of prison  



@wikileaks [19/1/17]:  Reward for the killers of Seth Rich is now $130,000




20 January 2017