We have reached a moment of truth. World stability is falling apart leaving a wake of displacement on an unprecedented scale. Global powers have become either passive observers or distant players in the conflicts driving so many innocent civilians from their homes.



Statement by António Guterres on World Refugee Day 2015 [UNHCR Media Release  - 20/6/15]:

 

 

 

Fifteen years into a millennium that many of us hoped would see an end to war, a spreading global violence has come to threaten the very foundations of our international system.

More people fled last year than at any other time in our records. Around the world, almost 60 million have been displaced by conflict and persecution. Nearly 20 million of them are refugees, and more than half are children. Their numbers are growing and accelerating, every single day, on every continent. In 2014, an average of 42,500 people became refugees, asylum-seekers or internally displaced persons, every single day – that is four times more than just 4 years ago. These people rely on us for their survival and hope. They will remember what we do.

Yet, even as this tragedy unfolds, some of the countries most able to help are shutting their gates to people seeking asylum. Borders are closing, pushbacks are increasing, and hostility is rising. Avenues for legitimate escape are fading away. And humanitarian organizations like mine run on shoestring budgets, unable to meet the spiraling needs of such a massive population of victims.

We have reached a moment of truth. World stability is falling apart leaving a wake of displacement on an unprecedented scale. Global powers have become either passive observers or distant players in the conflicts driving so many innocent civilians from their homes.

In this world at war, where power relations are unclear, and unpredictability and impunity have become the name of the game, it is now urgent for all those with leverage over the parties to these conflicts to put aside their differences and come together to create the conditions for ending the bloodshed.

But in the meantime, the world must either shoulder collectively the burden of helping the victims of war, or risk standing by as less wealthy countries and communities – which host 86% of the world's refugees – become overwhelmed and unstable.

Since the beginnings of civilization, we have treated refugees as deserving of our protection. Whatever our differences, we have recognized a fundamental human obligation to shelter those fleeing from war and persecution.

Yet today, some of the wealthiest among us are challenging this ancient principle, casting refugees as gate crashers, job seekers or terrorists. This is a dangerous course of action, short-sighted, morally wrong, and – in some cases – in breach of international obligations.

It is time to stop hiding behind misleading words. Richer nations must acknowledge refugees for the victims they are, fleeing from wars they were unable to prevent or stop. And then wealthier countries must decide on whether to shoulder their fair share, at home and abroad, or to hide behind walls as a growing anarchy spreads across the world.

For me, the choice is clear: either allow the cancer of forced displacement to spread untreated, or manage the crisis together. We have the solutions and the expertise. It won't be easy or cheap, but it will be worth it.

History has shown that doing the right thing for victims of war and persecution engenders goodwill and prosperity for generations. And it fosters stability in the long run.

The world needs to renew its commitment now to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its principles that made us strong.

To offer safe harbor, both in our own countries and in the epicentres of the crises, and to help refugees restore their lives. We must not fail.


 

 

 

 

Refugees: the crisis of inaction, Martti Ahtisaari [The Elders – 19/6/15]:

 

 

 

Every year, when we mark World Refugee Day, I feel a particular sympathy for the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war and oppression. Their plight resonates strongly with me because I and my family share their fate.

In November 1939 my hometown of Viipuri in the region of Karelia, Finland, was attacked. At the age of two, I was among the 400,000 Karelians who were forced to flee to the rest of Finland to escape the conflict. The town was later ceded to the Soviet Union and is now a part of Russia. It will never be my home again, and to this day I see myself as an ‘eternally displaced person’ within my own country.

Today there are 59.5 million people who have been forced to flee from conflict, persecution and human rights abuses.

In large part due to the Syrian conflict, we now face the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. In response to that devastating conflict more than 70 years ago, the United Nations was established to ensure that it never happened again. Even though we have avoided another war on that scale, much of the world remains mired in conflict and the number of refugees has now exceeded 1940s levels – and continues to grow.

In 1951, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees enshrined their legal right to claim asylum outside their own country. The world’s richer countries can, and should, do more to honour the spirit of this convention. The vast majority of the world’s refugees – more than 80 per cent – live in developing countries that can ill afford the additional economic burden. In contrast, we now see the wealthier nations of the European Union tightening their borders and wrangling over how many refugees they will accept.

As a European, I have to say that the EU response so far has been woefully inadequate. In ever greater numbers, refugees – along with economic migrants – are arriving on Europe’s shores having made the perilous crossing from North Africa. Already this year, over 100,000 have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean, with almost 2,000 perishing at sea.

Instead of pandering to xenophobia, governments need to show true leadership in explaining to their electorates why we have a moral duty to address this crisis.

The inflow of refugees must be managed efficiently and humanely. EU member states can honour their obligations to refugees and still respect the economic concerns of their citizens, if they share the costs and divide the burden.

We know that this can be done. We have seen how the West responded after the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Since 1975, the United States has successfully accommodated a million Vietnamese refugees.

In addition to responding to the immediate refugee crisis, the international community must be more proactive and engaged in seeking solutions to the conflicts that are driving people from their homes. Many protracted conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Somalia and Myanmar continue to keep hundreds of thousands of people in exile.

In March 2014, with my fellow Elder Gro Harlem Brundtland, I visited Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border and met some of the 40,000 people who have found shelter there. They were all uncertain whether they would ever return to their homes, but I was impressed by their resilience and hope. We owe it to people like these to show a little more solidarity, compassion and generosity.

As we mark the 15th World Refugee Day on 20 June, we should call on world leaders to open their minds, open their hearts and open their borders to provide a sanctuary for fellow human beings forced to abandon their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escape to Europe - the migrants' story [VIDEO - BBC Newsnight – 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing numbers of unaccompanied children and young people are living in increasingly squalid conditions in a huge makeshift camp for migrants in Calais.

More than 3,000 people – including children as young as 12 and 13 – who have fled war, poverty and oppression are living in a sprawling camp known locally as Jungle 2.

Aid workers say living conditions for migrants in Calais have worsened in the past few months with a lack of food, blankets and shelter leading to growing tensions. ... [Guardian - 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 



Separating Refugee Facts and Fiction – WagePeaceNZ [Scoop NZ – 19/6/15]:



... If asylum seekers do come by boat someday, won’t locking them up deter others from coming?

Untrue. Research from multiple countries shows that detention simply doesn’t work as a deterrent. The UNHCR concluded that there is no empirical evidence that detention stops arrivals. Just ask Australia. They now spend billions annually to lock up boat arrivals.

Their internationally-derided detention regime has been in place for over twenty years now. Boats arrivals come when they are desperate to flee war and conflict, no matter what awaits them at the end of the voyage.

Indeed, research has shown that these people are so vulnerable in the hands of their traffickers; most don’t even know the detention policy of their arrival countries.

Even so, if you had to choose between certain death or torture at home, and the chance of eventual safety in a dangerous boat, desperate people will choose the possibility of life, every time. ...

 

 

 

 



Dominican Republic urged not to deport stateless Dominicans [UNHCR Media Release – 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria

 

 

 

US Department of Defense [19/6/15]:

 

 

 

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, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Hasakah, one airstrike struck an ISIL weapons manufacturing building.

-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, four airstrikes struck three ISIL crude oil collection points.

-- Near Tal Abyad, five airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL mortar system.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

-- Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes struck land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage, destroying an ISIL weapons cache.

-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL bunkers and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Fallujah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL staging area.

-- Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL rocket firing position and an ISIL structure, destroying an ISIL excavator, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL rocket and an ISIL tank.

-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL heavy machine guns and four ISIL structures.



 

 

 

US drone strike kills 7 in eastern Afghanistan [Press TV - 20/6/15]

 

 

 

 


UN experts deplore South Carolina killings, urge measures against racially motivated crimes in US [UN Media Release – 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has claimed responsibility for a deadly car bombing that hit outside a mosque in Yemen's capital, as coalition warplanes bombarded the southern city of Aden.

Saturday's explosion in Sanaa killed at least two people and wounded 16 others, medical officials told the Agence France Presse news agency.

It happened outside the Kobbat al-Mehdi mosque as Shia Muslims emerged from midday prayers, witnesses and security sources said.  ... [Al Jazeera - 20/6/15]

 

 

 



UN launches new aid appeal as Yemen faces ‘looming humanitarian catastrophe’ [Media Release – 19/6/15]

 

 

 



Palestinian life in West Bank constrained by Israeli policies – UN expert [Media Release – 19/6/15]:

 

 

 

The international community must ensure the promise of universal human rights no longer rings hollow to Palestinian “living under the 48-year-long Israeli occupation,” today said a UN independent expert.

The crisis in war-torn Gaza is deepening. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, there are daily infringements of Palestinian rights as land is increasingly lost to illegal settlements,” warned the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Reporting at the Human Rights Council, Makarim Wibisono said “that occupation policies constrain Palestinian life and push Palestinians to leave their land and homes, especially in area C of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem,” said the expert after his second mission to the region.

From 9 to 12 June, Mr. Wibisono visited Amman, Jordan, where he met with civil society and Palestinian local community representatives, UN agencies, and Palestinian government officials. He was unable to access the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), as the Israeli Government has not granted him access and has not formally responded to his requests.

“Accountability is critical for dealing with past violations as well as preventing future ones,” he explained. “This includes accountability for violations in the context of successive Israeli military operations, including the 2014 hostilities in Gaza. It is the only way to move forward.”

Nine months after the ceasefire, some 12,600 Gaza homes totally destroyed during the 2014 hostilities with Israel, “not a single one has been rebuilt”, stated the UN independent expert, claiming that multiple factors affect the slow reconstruction in Gaza, including unfulfilled donor pledges.

Mr. Wibisono noted that the blockade around the strip, now in its eighth year, imposes severe restrictions on Palestinian movement, imports and exports and has left Gaza dependent on international aid and with soaring unemployment.

“The bottom line remains that, if Gaza is to recover from the damage wrought by multiple rounds of hostility and a shattered economy, the blockade must be lifted. The people deserve help and realisation of their human rights, not collective punishment,” he advocated.

The Special Rapporteur was also briefed on the lack of access to health care in Gaza, where more than 11,000 Palestinians were left injured after last summer’s escalation of hostilities. “Health services too are affected by the blockade. There are prolonged and chronic shortages of drugs and medical supplies,” he said.

In addition, the expert was briefed on how the extensive damage caused to civilian infrastructure has worsened the provision of essential utility services. “One man described how ‘Gazans wake up every day to wash with salt-water and sleep at the end of the day without electricity’ – People are deprived of the means to help themselves and they cannot leave – this is a very dangerous situation,” he warned.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the independent expert noted the “interplay” between Israeli control of natural resources, such as land and water, and advancement of Israeli settlements.

“The impact of untreated sewage and waste from settlements on Palestinian crops and the environment is also concerning,” Mr. Wibisono added, stressing the situation of families that live under the threat of settler violence, home demolitions and forcible transfer.

“Occupation policies and practices go beyond control of land – they impact every aspect of life and wear heavily on the social fabric of communities,” he said.

Concerned by movement restrictions between Gaza and the West Bank, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and within the West Bank, including by the separation wall, the Special Rapporteur highlighted that Palestinians family and social life is “dictated” by the granting or refusal by the Israeli authorities of the right permit.

Finally, he expressed concern over Palestinian deaths and injuries resulting from excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, as well as detention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coca Cola, the beverage giant, which already has three plants in Palestine’s West Bank, is now set to open a fourth one, a $20 million investment in Gaza, the heart of clashes with Israel.  ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 20/6/15]

 

 

 



US doctor sanctioned for 'abhorrent and abnormal' troop training


Reuters [19/6/15]:



A state board revoked the license of a former U.S. Army doctor on Friday, finding that he plied students with hypnotic drugs during battlefield-trauma training and performed dangerous procedures, including intentionally inducing shock.

The doctor, John Henry Hagmann, was cited for training he provided in 2012 and 2013 in Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Great Britain. Students testified on Friday that Hagmann also performed penile nerve blocks and instructed them to insert catheters into one another's genitals.

"The evidence is so overwhelming and so bizarre as to almost shock the conscience of a prosecutor who's been doing this for 26 years," Assistant Attorney General Frank Pedrotty told the Virginia Board of Medicine.

Two students provided the board with pictures of chest scars they received when procedures went awry. Three students testified that others became violently ill or began hallucinating after Hagmann gave them ketamine.

"What we're seeing is way off the charts," said board chair Kevin O'Connor. "Quite honestly, I'm speechless."

Hagmann, who did not appear at Friday's hearing, has told Reuters that he did nothing wrong. Hagmann can appeal but could not be reached for comment afterward.

"This is so abhorrent and abnormal," testified John Prescott, chief academic officer, Association of American Medical Colleges. "In a combat setting, I have a hard time – I mean, there's no indication you would ever need a penile block, ever."

Reuters reported on Wednesday that military officials had long known about Hagmann's methods. A four-star general briefly halted them in 2005, but the doctor resumed his government contracts, earning at least $10.5 million since then.

Two male students testified on Friday about private rectal exams. One said that he gave Hagmann an exam that the doctor filmed. The other described regret that he allowed Hagmann to perform a rectal exam on him.

"I can't imagine a worse violation of trust," said the student, whose name, like other trainees who testified, was shielded from the public. "There's no excuse for the way this course was run."

Colonel Neil Page, who investigated the matter for the Uniformed Service University for the Health Sciences, the military medical school, testified that Hagmann's defense that the students volunteered for procedures is irrelevant because they were intoxicated.

"There was a line that was crossed," Page said.





Cruise ship crashes into lock wall, passengers injured



CNN [19/6/15]:



A cruise ship struck a wall in the Eisenhower Lock in upstate New York on Thursday night, injuring some passengers, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Michael Lecuyer, with St. Lawrence County Emergency Services, told CNN that 17 people suffered very minor injuries.

CNN affiliate WWNY said the injured, accompanied by 13 of their relatives, were taken off the ship, the Saint Laurent, to be checked out at a local hospital. All were treated and discharged before being brought back to the ship early Friday.

There were 274 people, including passengers and crew, aboard the 286-foot cruise ship when it hit the lock wall in the Saint Lawrence Seaway in Massena, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

As of 6 a.m. ET Friday, the cruise ship remained in the lock and all the passengers are still on board, Lecuyer said.

Inspectors will assess the damage during the morning and determine if and when the ship will be able to leave, he said.

A Coast Guard boat was deployed to the scene late Thursday from Alexandria Bay, New York.

The cause of the collision is still being investigated.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway extends more than 2,000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes.

The Eisenhower Lock is one of two U.S. locks on the 10-mile-long Wiley-Dondero Canal, which provides access to Lake St. Lawrence.

 

 



WikiLeaks 'Saudi Cables' reveal secret Saudi government influence in Australia

 

 

Canberra Times [20/6/15]:



WikiLeaks has revealed secret Saudi Arabian influence in Arabic media and Islamic religious groups in Australia as well as covert monitoring of Saudi students studying at Australian universities.

More than 61,000 leaked Saudi diplomatic documents have been released by WikiLeaks in what the international transparency group says will be the first instalment of the publication of more than half a million secret papers in batches over coming weeks.

"The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself," WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement released on Saturday.

The leaked Saudi government documents include extensive correspondence between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kingdom's embassy in Canberra that reveals sustained Saudi efforts to influence political and religious opinion within Australia's Arabic and Islamic communities.

The documents include instructions from the Saudi government to its embassy relating to the payment of large subsidies from the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information to prominent Arabic newspapers and media organisations in Australia, with reference made to cheques to the value of $10,000 and $40,000.

The Saudi embassy is also revealed to pay close attention to the political and religious beliefs of Saudi university students studying in Australia with reports sent to the Mabahith, the General Investigation Directorate of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the Kingdom's brutal secret police that deals with domestic security and counter-intelligence.

The directorate is also revealed to make recommendations in relation to Saudi government funding for building mosques and supporting Islamic community activities in Australia.

The documents show the Sunni kingdom's strong concern about efforts by Shiite Islamic leaders to engage with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and the kingdom's funding of visits to Australia by Sunni Islamic clerics to counter Shiite influence.

WikiLeaks said that the leaked reports of communications between the Saudi government and its embassies across the globe "provide key insights into the kingdom's operations and how it has managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower, including through bribing and co-opting key individuals and institutions."

The documents reveal extensive Saudi efforts to influence and neutralise critical opinion in foreign media, including widespread use of monetary contributions and subsidies.

"Most world governments engage in PR campaigns to fend off criticism and build relations in influential places. Saudi Arabia controls its image by monitoring media and buying loyalties from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between," WikiLeaks said in a written statement.

WikiLeaks noted that the Saudi Foreign Ministry admitted to a breach of its computer networks last month. The security breach was attributed a group calling itself the Yemeni Cyber Army. Saudi Arabia is currently engaged in military intervention in the Yemeni civil war.

According to WikiLeaks the leaked material comprises hundreds of thousands of pages of scanned images of Arabic text, tens of thousands of text files, spreadsheets and emails which have been placed a searchable database.

The embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not available for comment.



 

Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media:



...The initial reaction to any negative coverage in the regional media is to "neutralise" it. The term is used frequently in the cables and it pertains to individual journalists and media institutions whose silence and co-operation has been bought. "Neutralised" journalists and media institutions are not expected to praise and defend the Kingdom, only to refrain from publishing news that reflects negatively on the Kingdom, or any criticism of its policies. The "containment" approach is used when a more active propaganda effort is required. Journalists and media institutions relied upon for "containment" are expected not only to sing the Kingdom's praises, but to lead attacks on any party that dares to air criticisms of the powerful Gulf state.

One of the ways "neutralisation" and "containment" are ensured is by purchasing hundreds or thousands of subscriptions in targeted publications. These publications are then expected to return the favour by becoming an "asset" in the Kingdom's propaganda strategy. A document listing the subscriptions that needed renewal by 1 January 2010 details a series of contributory sums meant for two dozen publications in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait, Amman and Nouakchott. The sums range from $500 to 9,750 Kuwaiti Dinars ($33,000). The Kingdom effectively buys reverse "shares" in the media outlets, where the cash "dividends" flow the opposite way, from the shareholder to the media outlet. In return Saudi Arabia gets political "dividends" – an obliging press. …

 

 

 

 

 

A Noosa businessman has questioned the new council's eagerness to shut down helicopter practice flights without any apparent analysis of the wider business impacts.

Ian Pratt, who owns the national business Lexis English, said the closure of the Teewah airstrip, effectively stopping Becker Helicopters from training students, would rob him of about $1 million in income annually.  ... [Noosa News - 11/2/14]

 

 

 

Elmes says time for council to end helicopter buzzing [Sunshine Coast Daily -23/3/13]

 

 

 

 

Mayor defends Saudis in training [Sunshine Coast Daily - 25/9/12]

 

 

 

Airship, Surfers Paradise

 

Selling "Appliances Online" [20/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Indonesia still waiting for an explanation  re Australia's payment to repel refugee boat.

 

Coalition parties in Warringah.

 

"Opposition" splits hairs.

 

Greens and crossbenchers curiously pointless.

 

 

 

… Climbing up the cliffs.

You can see for miles far,

The boat that ran adrift,

Is sitting on the sandbar …



'Down By The Sea', Men At Work [1981]

 

 

 

ANTARA [20/6/15]:

 

 

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said Australia provided unclear clarification on the information received by the government that they had paid bribery to people smugglers to turn back their boat to the Indonesian territory.

Nasir stated here on Friday that Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi had received a letter from her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, which was passed on by Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson, in order to clarify the bribery issue.

"The letter is well-received, and Minister Marsudi has read it. But, there is no clarification in the letter, which has been asked by the minister to the Australian ambassador," he noted.

Thus, Nasir added that Indonesia could not be blamed for suspecting Australia of bribing the people smugglers since their government did not provide a new and clear confirmation.

"Indonesia cannot be blamed if we assume there is a bribery, despite the Australian commitment to combat people smugglers, but the fact in the field is not like that," he said.

Previously, the Indonesian authority had investigated six people, including ship crews and its captain, whose ship was caught in the Indonesian waters for carrying illegal migrants.

The result of the investigation revealed that they had received each AUD 5,000 from the Australian authority as a bribe to turn back their ship to the Indonesian territory.

The Indonesian government had asked for a clarification from the Australian government about the information through Ambassador Grigson, but the answer was very disappointing.

In fact, Nasir explained that the request for clarification was aimed at letting Australia off from the assumption and accusation.

"Hence, we do not need to wait for the answer from Australia to process the case of those six people. Let the court prove and decide whether it (the bribery) happened or not," he noted.

In regard with the issue, Prime Minister Tony Abbott neither denied nor confirmed the bribery, as reported by the Australian media.

Instead of providing a clear message, Abbott accused the Indonesian government of failing to secure its water territory, which caused the smugglers' boat carrying illegal migrants to go all the way to Australia.

Nasir emphasized that the Indonesian government was very committed to combating the people smuggling and trafficking.

However, to tackle the matter effectively, it needs a comprehensive international cooperation with all sides, including the origin, transit and destination country.

 

 

 

Daily Mail [20/6/15]:

 

… On Saturday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised his government's success in turning back illegal boats during a speech in Sydney despite lingering questions over the allegations.

Mr Abbott addressed the Liberal Party faithful at the party's state council.

The member for Warringah paid tribute to fellow Sydney frontbench colleagues Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey, singling out former immigration minister Scott Morrison for special praise.

'He did what everyone said couldn't be done - he stopped the boats,' Mr Abbott said, to shouts of 'hear, hear' from the audience at the Four Seasons ballroom.

'I can say that under this government, as far as we know, there have been no deaths at sea, and for more than 12 months there have been no boats whatsoever,' he said later.

'We will keep this country safe.

'Keeping this country safe starts with keeping our borders secure.' …

 

 



Guardian [20/6/15]:



… Labor says the government must come clean on payments to people smugglers to restore relations with Indonesia.

Indonesia’s foreign affairs ministry claims to have evidence Australian officials paid $30,000 to five crew members to turn their boat around, but says it is yet to receive any clarification about this.

The opposition’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said the prime minister, Tony Abbott, owed a full explanation to Indonesia and the Australian people.

 

 

 

 

Riau has no room for refugees

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jakarta Post [19/6/15]:

 

 

 

Riau province says it is unable to comply with the central government’s request to prepare an islet for 1,000 to 2,000 Rohingya refugees currently in temporary shelters in North Sumatra and Aceh.

“We have no islands with the capacity to accommodate that number. The province’s islets are very small,” Riau Border Management Agency head Ramli Wahid said on Friday.

The government, Ramli said, needed an island of 500 hectares to accommodate up to 2,000 refugees, while the largest islets in the province were between 15 and 20 ha.

He had previously allocated the islet of Jemur in Rokan Hilir regency, he said, but a study had found that the islet’s rocky terrain made it unsuitable for human habitation.

Ramli stressed, however, that Riau’s administration and populace did not wish to reject the Rohingya refugees, but simply had no suitable islet on which to house them.

 




Japan unveils US$3.5m aid for Rohingya.

 

Australia keeps pretending they don't exist.

 


Bangkok Post [20/6/15]:


Japan announced Saturday it will provide US$3.5 million (432 million yen) in emergency grant aid to support mainly Rohingya migrants from Myanmar left adrift at sea, as the plight of the thousands of "boat people" draws international attention.

"With regard to nonregular immigrants, including women and children trying to cross the Indian Ocean, Japan has decided to extend 3.5 million United States dollars through the IOM and UNHCR," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a keynote speech during a one-day seminar at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

IOM is the acronym for the International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR refers to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

It is Japan's first financial assistance in connection with the humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, who have been fleeing from discrimination and persecution at home.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said the aid will be used partly to address the shelter and health needs of people stranded in the Indian Ocean or waters off several Southeast Asian countries.

Japan has been actively engaged in providing humanitarian assistance to Southeast Asian countries when needed and helping promote peace in the region, Japanese officials said.

Speaking in front of government officials and academics at the ministry-sponsored High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation and Democratisation in Asia, Kishida said Japan will continue to play a role in peace-building efforts in conflict areas in other parts of Asia.

"Japan should not be the only nation accustomed to peace. Only after the benefits of peaceful and friendly relations accrue to the region and the entire world, can we establish a true and long-lasting peace," he said.

Noting the importance of upholding democracy, freedom, human rights and diversity, Kishida said, "We must prevent the spread of extremist views in Asia that groups like ISIL seek to promulgate," referring to Islamic State militants by one of the group's acronyms, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Attendees at the conference discussed efforts so far made and future challenges in Asia in terms of peace-building and national reconciliation processes, such as in the Philippines' southern island of Mindanao, as well as Myanmar and Cambodia.

 

 

 

 

Reuters [19/6/15]:

 

Thirty-seven Bangladeshi migrants rescued from a boat at sea by Myanmar authorities were handed over to Bangladesh authorities on Friday.

"Bangladesh verified 37 Bangladeshi citizens and confirmed that they are the Bangladeshi nationals," said Lieutenant Colonel Saiful Alam Khandakar, the commanding officer of Border Guard Bangladesh at the port of Cox’s Bazar.

Thousands of people, many of them Bangladeshi or Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar, have taken to the sea in recent months in dangerously crowded boats run by people-traffickers, heading south toward other southeast Asian countries.

The 37 were among 208 migrants whom the Myanmar navy said it rescued from a boat in the Bay of Bengal on May 21.

Myanmar announced at the time that nearly all the people found aboard were Bangladeshis seeking better economic prospects, rather than Rohingya, a group who complain of severe discrimination and mistreatment in Myanmar.

But people aboard the boat told Reuters last month many of the migrants had been Rohingya.

On June 8, Bangladesh received another 150 Bangladeshis, rescued from the same boat, from Myanmar.

Myanmar said this month persecution of Rohingya was not the cause of the Southeast Asian migrant crisis, a day after the United States called on the country to give full rights to the minority to help end the exodus.

 

 

 

Oslo Conference on Rohingyas - An International Call to End the Genocide [VIDEO - Burma Task Force USA]:

 

 

Nobel Peace laureates, former heads of state, and international leaders in peace and human rights issues send their messages of support for the Rohingya cause.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace laureate), Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace laureate), George Soros (Open Society Foundation), Tun Mahathir Mohamad (former Prime Minister of Malaysia), and Jose Ramos-Horta (former Primer Minister of East Timor), send these messages condemning the systematic persecution of Rohingyas by the Burmese government.

George Soros states that it reminds him of the Nazi-occupied Hungary from his childhood; Archbishop Desmond Tutu agrees with Amartya Sen that the situation is a slow genocide; Jose Ramos-Horta insists that the rights of the Rohingya cannot be left out of Burma's transition to democracy.

Watch these and other profound statements in this video, which was presented before the The Oslo Conference to End the Systematic Persecution of Rohingyas (May 26-28, 2015).

 

 

 

Australian Embassy in Myanmar [19/6/15]:

 

 

... The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the University of New England are helping build research, development and extension capacity in key Myanmar institutions.

 

 



Guards at Nauru paid for and taped sex with refugees – former case manager [Guardian – 20/6/15]:



Guards at the Nauru detention centre may have paid for sex with refugees in the community and circulated sex tapes of their encounters, a former case manager on the island has alleged.

The shocking allegations are contained in a submission by Charlotte Wilson, a former Save the Children case manager at the Nauru detention centre from January 2014 to February 2015.

A Senate inquiry is investigating conditions and serious allegations at the Australian-run facility on the island.

Wilson alleged that both Australian and Nauruan guards on the island – who work for the company Wilson Security, subcontracted by Transfield Services – “frequently abused their positions of power” at the centre. She said it was “common knowledge” there was “bartering and trading, including of sexual favours, within the camp”.

Some of the allegations about trading sexual favours for showers and drugs were substantiated in a report by the former integrity commissioner Philip Moss.

But in an allegation not previously disclosed in Moss’s report, Wilson also said she had been told there were sex tapes which had been circulated of some of these sexual encounters.

...

 

 

 

 

 

Accused from Pinochet's Chile still in Australia  [The Saturday Paper - 20/6/15]:

 

 

... We don’t know precisely how many war criminals are living in Australia. Largely because it has rarely been a political priority. Journalist Mark Aarons has worked in the area for decades. He tells me “my estimate would be that there are several hundred war criminals residing in Australia”. Aarons inspired a federal inquiry into the matter in the 1980s, following a series of reports for ABC Radio. In 2001 he released a book called War Criminals Welcome: Australia, a Sanctuary for Fugitive War Criminals Since 1945. “That estimate is based upon what I’ve been told by the Afghan community, amongst others. Bosnians, Chileans. Who knows regarding DINA – I’ve spoken to Chileans who claim there are several dozen former agents here. But if you don’t have a standing war crimes unit, which we don’t in this country, it’s impossible to say what the numbers are.”

...

In a rare interview given to SBS last year, Rivas, who has not been tried for her alleged crimes, spoke supportively of Contreras and the function of torture, but denied involvement in kidnapping and murder. It was an extraordinary exchange, notable for its lack of contrition and lingering ideological hatred. “Well, in Chile torture existed from as long as I can remember,” Rivas said. “It always existed. Everyone knew they had to do that to somehow break people’s silence. Because communists are close-minded. They have a much better military training than the military. Let’s talk about the things the way they were. It was necessary. I mean … the same as what the Nazis used, do you understand? It was necessary. And do you think that the US does not do the same? The whole world does it.”

Some of the documented torture methods used by DINA included the beating of victims, electrocution, and mutilation with saws and other instruments. Women were raped with dogs and blunt instruments. The barbarism, and easy conscription of civilians to administer it, would later inspire social psychological experiments. ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

... “As I have said, I have no tolerance for foreign nationals who are involved in serious criminal activity or are associated with criminal gangs,” Mr Dutton said.  

 “I have instructed my Department to refer cases of serious criminality to me for consideration under the character provisions of the Migration Act.  

“This includes foreign nationals associated with, or members of, outlaw motorcycle gangs. I have cancelled this man’s visa and he will remain in immigration custody.”  ... [Minister for Immigration Media Release - 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrested Nauru opposition MPs to appear in court.

 

Australia maintains "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"

 

RNZI [20/6/15]:


Two opposition MPs on Nauru are expected to appear in court this afternoon after they were arrested last night.

Squire Jeremiah and former president Sprent Dabwido are the latest MPs to be arrested in a government crackdown following anti-government protests this week.

Their arrest follows that of another MP, Mathew Batsiua, on Tuesday and the confiscation of MP Roland Kun's passport.

The MPs are some of five opposition MPs who have been suspended from parliament since May last year.

A Nauru businessman, Lockley Denuga, was with Mr Jeremiah and Mr Dabwido when police turned up to Mr Jeremiah's house to arrest them last night.

"We were just sitting around talking and then the police turned up and they issued the warrant and then the boys got themselves ready and everybody went outside and they just quietly went with the police to take them to the station where they stayed for the night."

In a statement, the government has accused the opposition MPs of trying to destabilise the government and says it has deployed extra police to prevent further protests.

 




PNG:  Vaki sentence submission next week

 

 

PNG Loop [19/6/15]:

 

 

Sentence submissions for penalty for convicted former Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki will be done on June 25.

Vaki was found guilty of contempt by the National Court yesterday for willfully refusing to execute a warrant of arrest against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last year.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia allowed the release on Vaki on his own recognizance.

This means no bail money needs to be paid to the court.

 It is an obligation of record; entered into before a court whereby the party bound acknowledges (recognizes) that they owe a personal debt to the state.

Vaki’s submissions for sentence will be done by John Griffin from Queen’s Council next Thursday.

 

 

Iran dismisses Australian media reports of deal to accept forced return of asylum seekers



Tasnim [19/6/15]:


An Iranian source on Friday denied as “untrue” a recent media report on an alleged agreement between Tehran and Canberra over the return of Iranian asylum-seekers from Australia.

Earlier today, a report by The West Australian claimed that Iranians held in Australia could be returned under a deal being negotiated between the two countries.

A source close to an Iranian consular delegation rejected the report, and said, “This is not true and no deal has been made in this regard.”

The source went on to say that the Iranian citizens are free to choose their place of residence and job.

“If any of our citizens intends to return to Iran, the return should be voluntarily,” the source added.

The remarks came as an Iranian delegation led by Foreign Ministry’s Director-General for Consular Affairs Ali Chegeni held a meeting with Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in Canberra this week.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a consular meeting between Iran and Australia in Canberra.

 


 

Brisbane welcomes refugees ...

 

 

 

 

Image:  @DonSinnamon [20/6/15]

 

 

 

@AdeleGoldie:  Rohingyas Refugees speak out about plight. We floated in the sea for weeks without food and water. ...

 

 

 

 

‏@AdeleGoldie:  Nauru: Whistle blower from phosphate company on Nauru is speaking at refugee rally in brisbane  ...

 

 

 ‏@dylanjakemorris: #realaustralianssaywelcome @ Queen Street Mall, Brisbane

 

 

Queensland Greens use World Refugee Day protest in Brisbane to perpetuate anti refugee "people smuggler" terminology --->   Senator Larissa Waters:  "not only are we turning back the boats, we're paying the people smugglers"

 

 

 

Australia for UNHCR [20/6/15]:

 

 

Today is World Refugee Day, when we celebrate the courage and resilience of refugees around the world. Yesterday it was reported that there are now 59.5 million displaced people around the world - the largest at any point in history. Here are just a few faces of the displaced.  [No indication of where these refugees are from, but it doesn't look like Rakhine State, Nauru or Manus Island.]

 

 

 

 

World Refugee Day 2015: Australian health groups call for Border Force Act to be amended.

 

 

 

And if it isn't?

 

 

 

RACP unites health groups to fight gag on doctors [Media Release - 20/6/15]:

 

 

 

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is one of thirteen peak health organisations who have released a joint statement calling for urgent amendments to the Australian Border Force Act.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians President, Laureate Professor Nick Talley said the legislation gags healthcare professionals by threatening up to two years jail for sharing information about the health conditions of immigration detention centres.

“A doctor’s work is defined by examining evidence and recommending the best solution regardless of where this work takes place,” Professor Talley said.

“Threatening doctors with imprisonment is a direct attack on our ability to work for the health and protection of our patients.”

The health organisations are demanding the Federal Government amend the Act to ensure health professionals and contractors are free to speak in support of best practice care, and against harmful conditions or practices impacting detainees.

“Doctors must be free to advocate for aspects that prevent the well-documented and devastating harms immigration detention centres have on the health of children and adults seeking protection,” Professor Talley said.

“Refugees and asylum seekers have complex and unique needs as patients and yet this law stops health care professionals from fulfilling their duty of care.”

Professor Talley said reports and evidence from those working in detention centres has provided first-hand insight into the appalling conditions and health issues faced by detainees including skin conditions, vector-borne diseases, sepsis and mental health issues.

“It is inconceivable that the Government is trying to gag our ability to advocate for our patients’ healthcare - it is crucial these changes are passed immediately,” Professor Talley said.

“There is an expectation from the public that doctors will speak up about any conditions that are causing harm to their patients or denying them access to care,” Professor Talley said.

Today is National Refugee Day, a time to remember that each year, millions of people are forced to flee their home country to seek asylum for fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, social background or their political opinions.

 The joint statement is co-signed by:

 

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians

 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists



 


 … The Australian Border Force Act, supported by the ALP and opposed only by the Greens, effectively turns the Department of Immigration into a secret security organisation with police powers. Although the Act seems to be directed at Customs operations, it also seeks to regulate and control access to information about asylum seekers in immigration detention. … [ABC – 28/6/15]


 

 


And where are Australian health groups on THIS legislation?  Waiting for it to be passed before they say anything? [
Guardian - 16/4/15]:

 

A former Victorian supreme court judge says new powers proposed for guards in immigration detention centres would in effect authorise them “to beat asylum seekers to death”.

In extraordinary evidence to a Senate hearing on Thursday, Stephen Charles SC said the migration amendment (maintaining the good order of immigration detention facilities) bill 2015 would substantially expand the powers granted to guards in detention centres in a way that would “inevitably encourage violence by guards against asylum seekers”.

The new powers would allow immigration officers – which may include private contractors – to use “reasonable force against any person” if the officer believes it is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of people in detention or to maintain the good order, peace or security of a detention centre.

Such powers potentially give staff with a low level of training a greater level of immunity than that granted to state and federal police forces.

Charles, who sat on the Victorian court of appeal until 2006, said the standard proposed in the bill would introduce a similar test to those that have been considered in the US, and drew parallels with the recent shooting of Walter Scott by the police officer Michael Slager.

“Time and again police in the United States have been acquitted in circumstances such as these,” Charles said.

“These amendments to the Migration Act will in effect authorise guards to beat asylum seekers to death on the basis they reasonably believe it is necessary … to do so.”

...


 

No trust in a health system that puts profits before patient care and ethics.



HESTAdivest!



#HESTA, divest from Transfield & the detention industry | #Manus #Nauru [xborderops – 23/1/15]



 

Stalling the lawyers who aid asylum seekers, Mike Seccombe [The Saturday Paper – 20/6/15]:

 

... Says de Kretser [Hugh de Kretser, executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre]: “We see this as a disturbing trend, not isolated to the rule of law as it applies to refugees, but across a whole range of democratic and human rights safeguards.”

The power, for example, for ministers to decide citizenship without any court review.

The attempts to make migration decisions unreviewable by courts.

Laws limiting the capacity to protest. Laws restricting access to information.

The trend to greater secrecy.

“We want people to draw the threads together,” de Kretser says.

“Whatever their views about asylum-seeker policy or environmental law or counterterrorism, people should be very concerned about what’s happening to these vital democratic and human rights safeguards built up over decades and centuries.”

 

 

 

 

 

... But what I also don’t want is for non-Muslims to rest in their privileged nest, satisfied that the term and its accompanying abuses is only for that marginalized group. And what I especially don’t want is to have this glaring, damaging mythology persist that the term “terrorism” is some sort of objectively discernible, consistently applied designation of a particularly hideous kind of violence. I’m eager to have the term recognized for what it is: a completely malleable, manipulated, vapid term of propaganda that has no consistent application whatsoever. Recognition of that reality is vital to draining the term of its potency.

The examples proving the utter malleability of the term “terrorism” are far too numerous to chronicle here. But over the past decade alone, it’s been used by Western political and media figures to condemn Muslims who used violence against an invading and occupying force in Afghanistan, against others who raised funds to help Iraqis fight against an invading and occupying military in their country, and for others who attack soldiers in an army that is fighting many wars. In other words, any violence by Muslims against the West is inherently “terrorism,” even if targeted only at soldiers at war and/or designed to resist invasion and occupation. ...



Refusal to call Charleston shootings “terrorism” again shows it’s a meaningless propaganda term, Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept - 19/6/15]

 

 

Terror attacks, deaths up sharply in 2014: US State Department [Reuters - 19/6/15]:


Terrorist attacks worldwide surged by more than a third and fatalities soared by 81 percent in 2014, a year that also saw Islamic State eclipse al Qaeda as the leading jihadist militant group, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

In its annual report on terrorism, the department also charts an unprecedented flow of foreign fighters to Syria, often lured by Islamic State's use of social media and drawn from diverse social backgrounds.

Taken together, the trends point to a sobering challenge from militant groups worldwide to the United States and its allies despite severe blows inflicted on al Qaeda, author of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in Washington and New York.

Al Qaeda's leaders "appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of ISIL's rapid expansion and proclamation of a Caliphate," the report said, using an alternate acronym for Islamic State.

Last June, Islamic State attacked from its base in Syria and seized vast swaths of Iraq, much of which it still controls.

"The ongoing civil war in Syria has been a spur to the worldwide terrorism events," the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, Tina Kaidanow, told a news conference.

She said that while the United States still worried about al Qaeda, the growing concern was the number of groups aligning themselves with Islamic State across the globe.

"There is an appeal of ISIS globally," Kaidanow added, using another acronym for the group.

U.S. President Barack Obama responded with air strikes in Iraq and Syria, and a program to train Iraqi security forces. He has also continued air strikes against militant suspects worldwide, included one this week that killed al Qaeda's deputy chief.

The State Department report, which covers calendar year 2014, said there were 13,463 terrorist attacks, a 35 percent jump from 2013, resulting in more than 32,700 deaths, an 81 percent rise. More than 9,400 people were kidnapped or taken hostage by militants, triple the rate of the previous year, it said.

There was some good news: Militant activity decreased in some countries, including Pakistan, the Philippines, Nepal and Russia.

The report said the global increase in terrorist attacks was mostly due to events in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Kaidanow said weak or failed governments allowed terrorist groups to thrive in places such as Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and Iraq.

Islamic State was particularly lethal. A June 2014 attack on a prison in Mosul, Iraq, in which the group killed 670 Shi'ite Muslim prisoners "was the deadliest attack worldwide since September 11, 2001," it said.

As of late December, more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters had traveled to Syria, exceeding the rate of those who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia "at any point in the last 20 years," the report said.

Last month, a senior State Department official said the army of foreign fighters who traveled to Syria had grown further, to 22,000.

 

 


 

Country Reports on Terrorism 2014

 

 

 

International Terrorism and Security Research:



… The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.”

Within this definition, there are three key elements—violence, fear, and intimidation—and each element produces terror in its victims.

The FBI uses this definition: "Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." The U.S. Department of State defines terrorism to be "premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience". …

 

 

 

Investigation after sudden death of Mackay woman last night

 

 

 

Daily Mercury [20/6/15]:

 

 

Detectives are investigating following the sudden death of a 39-year-old woman in Mackay last night.

Initial investigations suggest around 10.15pm police and emergency services attended a residence in Ellul Court, Beaconsfield where a woman was found with serious injuries to her neck.

The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene and police established a crime scene.

A man is currently assisting police with their enquiries.

There is no further information available at this time.

 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.

 


 

Woman allegedly doused in petrol and set alight by partner in Hobart

 

 

 

ABC [20/6/15]:

 

 

 

A Hobart woman allegedly doused in petrol and set her alight by her partner has been hospitalised with serious burns.

In what Tasmania Police referred to as a "violent domestic dispute", a 45-year-old Austin's Ferry man allegedly splashed petrol on the woman shortly before 10:00pm Friday night before setting her alight.

The woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body and was rushed to the Royal Hobart Hospital, where she remains in a critical but stable condition.

The man was arrested and has been charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He will appear in the Hobart Magistrates Court this morning.

Police have urged anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation to call them or to contact Crime Stoppers.

 

 

 

 

Car allegedly rams unmarked Queensland Police car, turns into oncoming traffic while being pursued

 

 

 

ABC [20/6/15]:

 

 

 

A motorist allegedly rammed a Queensland Police car and another vehicle, and drove into oncoming traffic to evade arrest in Brisbane overnight.

Officers concerned for the safety of late-night revellers in Brisbane's inner-city party district of Fortitude Valley last night said they had to had to "wedge" the vehicle in to prevent further damage during the incident.

Police said an unmarked patrol car followed a black sedan through Fortitude Valley for about a kilometre at 11:30pm on Friday before trying to pull it over.

The 22-year-old driver then allegedly turned into oncoming traffic to get away.

Inspector Daniel Bragg said the man rammed a police car and another vehicle a number of times on the corner of Wickham and Brunswick streets before he was eventually stopped.

"Clearly the driver in this instance has driven the vehicle in a very dangerous manner," he said.

"The vehicle was driven at a police vehicle and rammed a police vehicle after driving away from police, rammed a second vehicle and then back in to the police vehicle.

"The vehicle was blocked by another vehicle and the police were able to wedge in behind it and prevent it from causing any further damage." Inspector Bragg said the police had serious concerns for the safety of the many pedestrians in the area.

"This is arguably the busiest intersection in Brisbane on a Friday night," he said.

The alleged offender was being questioned, police said.

He is yet to be charged.

 

 

Mackay police officer allegedly did a favour for hit and run driver [Daily Mercury - 20/6/15]



 

Fatal traffic crash, Fortitude Valley


QPS Media [19/6/15]:


The Forensic Crash Unit are investigating after fatal single vehicle traffic crash at Fortitude Valley this morning.

Initial investigations indicate the vehicle was travelling along Bowen Terrace around 1.30am when it left the roadway.

Police located the vehicle at the base of the cliff at the Howard Smith Wharves.

The driver and sole occupant, a man, was deceased in the vehicle.

Investigators are appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash, or has information that could assist with their investigations, to contact Crime Stoppers.

There is no further information available at this time.

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.



 

Serious assault, Ipswich

 

 

QPS Media [20/6/15]:

 

 

A 60-year-old woman has sustained a suspected broken nose, facial injuries and a bite to her arm after she was allegedly assaulted in an Ipswich adult store on Brisbane Street overnight.

It will be alleged at 6.15pm, she approached a woman regarding an earlier shop stealing incident at a separate business.

A physical altercation allegedly occurred in which the 60-year-old was punched and kicked, and was bitten on her left arm before the offender left the store.

She was stopped outside the business by two men until police arrived.

The 60-year-old woman was transported to Ipswich General Hospital for treatment.

A 33-year-old Brassall woman is scheduled to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court today charged with one count each of stealing and serious assault.

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.

 

 

 

 

Serious traffic crash, Caboolture


QPS Media [19/6/15]:


Police are appealing for witnesses following a serious traffic crash at Caboolture this morning.

Initial investigations indicate a woman was struck by a car on George Street, between King and Hasking streets, shortly before 6am.

The Morayfield woman, aged 20, was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the car, a 47-year-Morayfield man, stopped and rendered assistance. He was not injured.

Investigators from the Forensic Crash Unit are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who may have seen a pedestrian or a red car on George Street between 5.45 and 6am to contact Crimestoppers.

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.

 



 

 

Serious traffic crash, Bardon


QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

 

Police are investigating a single vehicle traffic crash at Bardon yesterday.

Initial inquiries indicate that at about 8:15pm a motorcycle was travelling south on Jubilee Terrace when the rider has lost control of the motorcycle and came off.

The rider has subsequently been transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Police are appealing for witness who may have seen the motor cycle travelling on Jubilee Terrace before the crash to contact Crime Stoppers.

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.



 

Girl, 3, hit by car at Morayfield Shopping Centre

 

Brisbane Times [19/6/15]:

 

A three-year-old girl has been run over at a shopping centre car park in southeast Queensland.

The girl was struck by a vehicle at the Morayfield Shopping Centre, north of Brisbane, about 10.50am.

She has been assessed by paramedics.

The three-year-old girl suffered minor leg injuries and was taken to the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

 

 



Fatal traffic crash, Bunburra

 

QPS Media [18/6/15]:



A 53-year-old motorcycle rider died today after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a 4WD at Bunburra.

Preliminary information indicates the vehicles collided on Bunburra Road around 11.50am.

The motorcycle rider, a man from Acacia Ridge, died at the scene.

Investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit 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.


 


Serious traffic crash, Wynnum


QPS Media [17/6/15]:

 

Police are investigating a single vehicle traffic crash at Wynnum this evening.

Initial inquiries indicate that at about 8:30pm the vehicle was travelling north on Whites Road when it has left the road and collided with a power pole.

The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and subsequently transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Police are appealing for witness who may have seen the maroon Holden Commodore sedan travelling on Whites Road before the crash to contact Crime Stoppers.

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.



 

 

 

Bundaberg court finds truck driver not guilty over fatal 2012 Bruce Highway crash [ABC - 19/6/15]:

 

 

 

"The family is relieved, they are very grateful for the verdict but their deepest sympathies are with Mr Wanrooys family," she [solicitor Edwina Rowan] said.

She said Mr Rice had not worked as a truck driver since the crash and could not comment on whether he would be taking up any legal matters will his former company, Lindsay Transport.

 

 

 

Man crushed in workplace accident



West Australian [19/6/15]:



A truck driver has died despite desperate attempts to free him from under a loading ramp which collapsed onto him in Henderson this morning.

It is believed the 30-year-old man was killed instantly when he became trapped under the ramp at the rear of his trailer in a light industrial area on Possner Way at about 8am.

Jake Corkery, of paint and blasting business Acacia Corrosion Control, said workers from a site nearby tried to use a forklift to free the man.

"I had just finished blasting and a guy walked over looking worried, saying 'the truck driver, the ramp has fallen and crushed him'," he said.

"I walked out the front and saw he was underneath the ramp and his leg was hanging out.

"Some workers came over and got a forklift and tried to get the ramp off him, but it is very heavy. There was nothing they could do.

"I ran inside and told my boss to call the ambulance."

Saint John Ambulance called firefighters to the scene, but they were not able to save the man.

A group of visibly distraught people, believed to be the truck driver's loved ones, raced to the scene at about 10am were consoled by police and others on site.

Police cordoned off the area around the truck while officers and Worksafe investigators assessed the area.

Mr Corkery believed the hydraulics on the truck's loading ramp may have failed and the truck driver was crushed under the weight of the ramp.

"I'm not sure what's happened but he's taken the chains off and the ramp has broken and he has fallen," he said.

He described the incident extremely upsetting and a "freak accident".

"To think someone has lost their life, it really upsets you," he said.

It is believed the Lee's Transport driver intended to pick up materials from Acacia Corrosion Control.

Another worker there said he suspected something was wrong when the truck was idling outside for a prolonged period.

"One of the guys next door came to see if the driver was coming into our yard," he said.

"The truck had been sitting out the front for a while and everyone was thinking 'why hasn't he come in yet'."

Lee's Transport declined to comment. Worksafe is investigating.


 



Man airlifted after falling down well in Bungendore [Canberra Times – 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 


Woman charged with alleged theft of $1.1 million



QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

Detectives from the Gold Coast CIB at Nerang yesterday charged a woman over the alleged theft of $1.1 million dollars from a job placement business at Nerang.

It is alleged the theft occurred over a four year period when the woman was employed as an administrator for the business.

A 35-year-old Ormeau woman has been charged with 99 offences of stealing as a servant.

She is due to face Southport Magistrates Court today.

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.

 

 



An investigation is being held into whether Relationships Aotearoa fudged the number of clients it had to get more Government funding.

The country's oldest counselling service was forced to close earlier this month, after funding negotiations with the Government broke down. ... [RNZI - 17/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Robbery, Marsden

 

 

 

QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

 

 

Police are investigating the robbery of a Marsden bottle shop this afternoon. Initial inquiries indicate a man entered the Macarthy Street store with a metal bar and threatened a female employee, demanding money at about 2.30pm.

The man fled the store with a sum of cash and was last seen heading west on Macarthy Road.

The employee was not physically injured.

The man is described as being about 18 years old, Caucasian, and of thin build. 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.

 

 



Stolen ATM, Alligator Creek



QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

Sarina police are investigating after an automatic teller machine (ATM) was stolen from an Alligator Creek general store earlier this week.

Initial investigations indicate that the Hay Point Road business was broken into sometime between 8.35pm on Wednesday June 17 and 3.50am on Thursday June 18.

As well as stealing the ATM thieves stole recording equipment and cigarettes.

Investigations are continuing.

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





Man disturbs burglars, Greenbank


QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

A 32-year-old Greenbank man disturbed thieves who had broken into a Greenbank residence yesterday.

Around 10.15am on June 18 the man attended a Farm Street home where he noticed a car parked in the driveway and the door to the garage open.

The man parked his vehicle close to the sedan in an attempt to restrict its movements and approached the car when the driver starting beeping the horn to alert three men who were inside the property.

A scuffle broke out when the men returned to their vehicle resulting in the 32-year-old being thrown to the ground.

Whilst he was on the ground the men entered their vehicle and managed to drive past the victim’s truck, colliding with and damaging a fence before they managed to flee.

The victim was not physically injured and it is believed a mobile phone and computer were stolen during the robbery.

Two of the men are described Caucasian with thin builds. One was approximately 180cms tall with short brown hair and blue eyes, and the other had blonde hair.

The men fled the scene in a purple XR8 Ford Falcon sedan which had been stolen during a break-in of a Bellenden Close, Munruben house on June 17. The vehicle was located by police abandoned in Adam Street, Browns Plains around 4.05pm yesterday.

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



Armed robbery, Labrador


QPS Media [18/6/15]:



Detectives investigating the armed robbery of a service station at Labrador early this morning have released CCTV footage of the incident.

Around 2.40am a man entered the Frank Street business before taking bottles of softdrink to the counter.

As the attendant was processing the sale, the man produced a large knife, threatening the

25-year-old male store attendant while attempting to steal the cash drawer.

The man then stole the till drawer before fleeing the scene.

The store attendant sustained a minor cut to his hand during the incident.

The man is described as being Caucasian in appearance, aged in his late 30s, about 183cm tall and appearing to have an injury to his left knee.

He was wearing a New South Wales Blues Origin cap, a dark jumper, khaki three-quarter length pants and a knee brace.

Anyone who may recognise the man depicted in the footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.






Boys charged with robbery, Woodridge



QPS Media [18/6/15]:


Police have charged two boys with robbery following a incident at Woodridge yesterday afternoon.

It will be alleged that about 5.15pm a vehicle was stationary in Muller Road Woodridge with a man and a woman sitting in the vehicle.

The two boys have approached the vehicle and threatened the occupants with a knife demanding money.

The man complied and gave them a sum of cash before the boys headed toward Railway Parade.

Police located the two boys a short time later at Woodridge Train Station.

A 12-year-old Woodridge boy and 15-year-old Goodna boy have been charged with armed robbery and will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

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.

 

 



WA man fined for flying under false name


West Australian [19/6/15]:



A man has been fined $2000 for boarding two Virgin Australia flights under a false name while he was on bail for serious drug charges.

Giles William Green pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrate's Court on Friday to flying from the West Australian capital to NSW and back again to attend a close friend's funeral in May.

The court heard the 24-year-old Green was on bail at the time for allegedly possessing drugs with intent to supply or sell as well as $70,000 that he claims he was holding for a friend.

 



Brett Cowan files application to High Court over conviction


ABC [18/6/15]:


Lawyers for Brett Peter Cowan have filed a special leave application with the High Court over his conviction for the murder of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

In 2014, Cowan was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 20 years for killing 13-year-old Daniel in 2003.

Cowan abducted Daniel while he waited for a bus on the Sunshine Coast.

His lawyers launched an appeal on six grounds including potential prejudicial media during the trial and that police improperly obtained a confession.

Queensland's former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie lodged a separate appeal to increase Cowan's non-parole period, which he said was manifestly inadequate and would fail to deter others.

Court of Appeal president Justice Margaret McMurdo delivered a judgment dismissing Cowan's appeal, and also that of the former attorney-general's to increase his sentence.

Cowan's lawyer Tim Meehan said in May, the heart of an appeal in the High Court would be the undercover police operation, which garnered a confession from Cowan.

It is unclear when or if the High Court challenge will be heard.

...

 



Girls abused, filmed by stepfather


West Australian [19/6/15]:


A man who systematically sexually abused his defacto partner's two young daughters and recorded his crimes on his phone has been jailed for 12 years.

The 23 year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the abuse of the girls, aged four and seven at the time, after police were informed by his defacto partner.

But WA's District Court was told that her call to police was only made months after the she had discovered the abuse, and was in part motivated by finding out that the man had cheated on her with a 15-year old neighbour.

He was also convicted of one count of sexually abusing the teenager.

The offences happened at an Armadale house between November 2011 and November 2012, when the man had been made unemployed and began heavily abusing alcohol and ice.

The court was told depression, boredom and heightened sexual urges made him turn to child pornography, which then developed into sexual abuse of the sisters.

Police discovered 34 recordings on the man's phone, both videos and photographs, cataloguing the abuse of the younger girl, which all took place at home.

The court was told that in mid-to-late 2013, the man's partner discovered the recordings, which had been uploaded to his laptop and other electronic devices.

But Judge Troy Sweeney said the woman lacked "the emotional strength to end the relationship" and so did not make an immediate report to the police.

In January or February 2014, the woman's two daughters gave her a letter outlining the abuse - but still she did not end the relationship.

But in late May 2014, the mother of the two children became suspicious that the man was having a relationship with her teenage neighbour, and only then approached police about the abuse.

The court was told the mother has been charged and pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure the safety of the children, and will be sentenced later this year.

Judge Sweeney described the environment in the house as "toxic", and that the man's sexual offending against the girls was close to the worst category.

"It will be miraculous if (the girls) are not affected in the long term," the judge said.

The man was jailed for a total of 12 years, but will be eligible for parole after ten years.


 

 

 

A Marist Brother has been sentenced to at least eight years in prison for sexually assaulting 19 schoolboys in NSW over a 15-year period.

Francis William Cable, known as Brother Romuald, was found guilty over four counts of buggery and 21 counts of indecent assault at Catholic schools where he taught in the Hunter region and Sydney between 1960 and 1974. ... [West Australian - 18/6/15]


 



WA ice taskforce launched as Waroona Police tweet about breakdancing meth user [WA Today – 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Louts and petty shoplifters have been slapped with more than 250 on-the-spot $500 fines in less than three months during a test of new laws in the Perth CBD.

WA Police statistics reveal that since the start of the trial at the Perth police station at the end of March, officers have issued 176 infringements for disorderly offences, 80 for stealing and three for being disorderly in a police station or lock-up. ... [West Australian - 18/6/15]

 

 

 


Drug charges, Warwick

 

 

QPS Media [19/6/15]:

 

Police have charged a man with drug offences after a vehicle was intercepted by the Warwick Road Policing Unit earlier this evening.

At 7pm, it will be alleged officers searched the vehicle and discovered 10 kilograms of cannabis in a second fuel tank.

A 56-year-old Palm Beach man is scheduled to appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court tomorrow charged with one count each of possessing dangerous drugs, supplying dangerous drugs, possessing anything used in the commission of a crime, and an unrelated charge of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst in company.

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.

 

 

 

 

Jetstar axes Mackay to Gold Coast flights

 

 

ABC [19/6/15]:

 

 

Discount airline Jetstar has announced it is suspending its Gold Coast to Mackay flights.

 Jetstar said continuing to operate the Gold Coast to Mackay route, which flies four time a week, was unsustainable.

The airliner said it did not take the decision to axe the service lightly but the flights did not perform in line with expectations.

The flights will stop operating from September 1. Jetstar said it would be contacting passenger with tickets booked after that date to arrange alternative flights to Brisbane or a full refund.

It said it had worked hard to stimulate Gold Coast and Mackay markets, with heavily discounted fares, but passenger loads on the flights had been consistently up 10 per cent below its domestic average.

Jetstar said it regularly reviewed its network to match customer demand.

 

 


Waltzing Matilda landmark lost in Winton fire



West Australian [18/6/15]:


An outback Queensland community is rallying to restore its main tourist attraction and more than a century of history after fire gutted a landmark dedicated to Australia's most famous song.

The Waltzing Matilda Centre at Winton, in the state's west, went up in flames just before 2am on Thursday.

The fire destroyed almost everything in its path, including artefacts showcasing the community's historic links to the famous bush ballad and Qantas.

"It's just devastating," the centre's manager Neil McGilp told AAP.

"We're hopeful some of the museum displays can be salvaged."

The Winton community has already vowed to rebuild the centre, which has been a vital cog in the town's tourism industry.

Outback Queensland Tourism general manager Peter Homan was confident visitor numbers would remain strong as assistance flowed in from around the country.

"There's been so much support coming from everywhere - there are collections being sourced from other museums," he told AAP.

Within hours of the blaze, a vacant shop in the township had been secured to house the visitor information centre that was lost.

A cafe, art gallery and history museum were also destroyed in the fire, which took more than four hours to extinguish.

A room dedicated to Banjo Patterson, the bush poet who wrote Waltzing Matilda, was lost in the inferno as were an exhibition honouring the district's 620 Anzac soldiers and various other artefacts.

Winton, about 170 kilometres northwest of Longreach, was the birthplace of Qantas and where Waltzing Matilda was first publicly performed.

About 20 people worked at the Waltzing Matilda Centre and employee Susan Eliott said many would probably have to leave the town to find jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would talk to Tourism Minister Kate Jones about what could be done to assist the community.

"It's absolutely devastating, I was just out there a couple of weeks ago, we know how much that building means to the people of Winton and the people of Queensland," she said.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg had only toured the centre a day before it burnt down and said his thoughts were with the community.

The Winton Shire Council will meet on Friday to develop a strategy to determine how to recover.

The town's Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is expected to go ahead as planned in early July.

 


 

 

At least three dead as tropical depression lashes central US


Reuters [19/6/15]:


Tropical Depression Bill pelted the central United States with heavy rain on Thursday after causing at least three deaths in the region, including a toddler in Oklahoma who was swept out of his father's arms by raging waters, officials said.

In the southern Oklahoma city of Ardmore, emergency workers on Thursday found the body of the 2-year-old boy who died in flooding the day before after he and his father were swept into a creek, said Ardmore Police Captain Eric Hamblin.

One person in neighboring Missouri was killed this week by flooding caused by rains from the storm hitting the region and a woman died in central Texas when she lost control of her car while driving through the storm, officials said.

Broadcaster KOTV, citing police, reported on Thursday the body of an 80-year-old woman also was discovered in a submerged vehicle near Tecumseh, Oklahoma, about 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Oklahoma City.

Reuters could not independently confirm the report as local officials could not be reached for comment.

Bill, the second named tropical storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, was on a path to the northeast, through Arkansas and Missouri into West Virginia.

Some areas could see as much as 12 inches (30 cm), the National Weather Service said.

By Friday, the center of the storm is expected to be over southern Missouri and weaken over the next few days, the National Weather Service said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, due to floods.

"With more heavy rain in the forecast, we will continue to remain in direct contact with law enforcement and local officials as we work to protect lives and property," Nixon said in a statement.

The storm, which came ashore in Texas on Tuesday, lashed an area from Houston to Dallas with heavy rain.

In late May, severe weather killed nearly 40 people in Texas and Oklahoma with storms causing flooding that damaged thousands of structures.

Tropical Depression Bill could cause rivers already swollen by those torrential rains to spill over their banks again, the National Weather Service warned.


 

 

Soccer-loving, wedge-tailed eagle escapes from Armadale wildlife park

 

 

WA Today [19/6/15]:


A soccer-loving, wedge-tailed eagle has escaped from a wildlife enclosure in Armadale.

Armadale Reptile and Wildlife Centre supervisor Kristy Gaikhorst said Onslow was last seen on June 10 after a couple of wild wedge-tailed eagles tore the netting on his aviary.

"The [other] eagles were harassing him because he was in their territory," she told Fairfax Media.

"It was breeding season, so they swooped down and tore the netting. I actually saw him in the car park and thought it was strange for a wedged- tail eagle to behave like that."

Ms Gaikhorst said Onslow came to the wildlife centre 16 years ago as an injured chick.

She was worried as the eagle had a bung foot, it would not be able to find food and could starve to death.

"I just hope his instincts cut in and he can get his own food," she said.

"Wildlife experts have told us he could go two weeks without food, but it has already been nine days, so we are getting a bit desperate."

Ms Gaikhorst said Onslow loved people and was more than likely hanging around the south-eastern suburbs or laying low in the bush.

"He's probably hanging around the base of trees, so he's not getting pushed around by other wedge-tailed eagles," she said.

"He's a bubbly little fellow and he loves people and he loves playing with his ball."

Anyone who spots Onslow is asked to call the Armadale Wildlife and Reptile Centre on 9399 6927.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Board of Australia ought  to clarify what this means

 

 

 

 

... The Medical Board of Australia says it expects all registered medical practitioners to meet its standards, but on the other hand, it says the law must take precedence over the Code of Conduct. ...

 

 

 

Doctors warn Border Force Act clashes with Medical Board of Australia Code of Conduct [ABC - 19/6/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... Indeed, despite the lurid name, doctors, human-rights workers and intelligence experts consulted by the Guardian said the agency’s human-experimentation rules were consistent with responsible medical practices. The CIA, however, redacted one of the four subsections on human experimentation. ... [Guardian - 15/6/15]

 

 

  

 

20 June 2015

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