INA strongly denounces UAE’s designation to Iraqi fighters as terrorist groups [20/11/14]:

The Iraqi National Alliance strongly denounced the stance of the United Arab Emirates’ designation to the Iraqi fighters as terrorist groups.

A statement by the INA received by cited “The INA strongly condemns the unjustified interference of the UAE in the Iraqi Affairs and designating the Iraqi fighters who fight the ISIL terrorists as terrorist groups.”

“Despite the legitimacy of such designation, the INA considers such interference as unjust and distort the brighten history of the Iraqi fighters in combating injustice and tyranny,” the statement added, calling UAE to “Consider the crimes committed by the Iraqi foreign regime in killing the Iraqi people and the patriotic fighters.”

Turkish PM: Stability in Iraq related to security situation in Syria [ - 20/11/14]

The Iraqi government transferred $500 million to the autonomous Kurdish region on Wednesday as part of a deal aimed at ending long-running oil and budget disputes, the finance minister said. ... [Naharnet - 20/11/14]

Afghanistan: Rocket attack in Kunar kills school child, injures 5 others

Khaama [20/11/14]:

A school child was killed and five others including a number of school children were injured following a rocket attack in eastern Kunar province on Thursday.

According to local security officials, the incident took place in Asadabad, the capital city of Kunar province.

Provincial police chief, Abdul Habib Syed Khel said the rocket hit a vehicle on Thursday morning, leaving a school child dead and five others injured.

Syed Khel further added that two school children are among those injured following the rocket attack.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Kunar is among the volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts.

Israeli forces storm Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

Maan [20/11/14]:

Israeli forces on Wednesday night broke into the mourners’ tents of the family of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal from Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood who were shot dead after they attacked a synagogue and killed five in west Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Witnesses told Ma’an that the soldiers broke into both the men and women tents as well as the home of Mahmoud Abu al-Jamal and removed all posters of Ghassan and Udayy.

Meanwhile, clashes broke in the Jabal al-Mukabbir, Sur Bahir and al-Tur neighborhoods in protest against Israel’s refusal to deliver the bodies of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal to their families for burial.

Medical sources said 12 young men were injured by rubber-coated bullets including one seriously injured in Sur Bahir after he was hit in the head. Dozens of others were hurt by tear-gas inhalation.

An official in the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service in Jerusalem Dr Amin Abu Ghazala said four out of the 12 injured in Sur Bahir and Jabal al-Mukabbir needed hospitalization because they were hit in the head and face.

Local sources in Sur Bahir told Ma’an that undercover Israeli forces raided the homes of the Nimir and Hammad families and detained three young men after assaulting them and other family members.

Ahmad Khader Nimir said Israeli forces broke into his home with police dogs and attacked all his family members including his blind 52-year-old wife causing bruises in her head and arm. She was evacuated to hospital. The soldiers also attacked a young man who suffers from cancer before they detained Tariq Ahmad Khadir Nimir, 30, and his brother Rashid, 24.

Israeli forces also ransacked the home of Munir Mousa Hamamd, 33, in Zaquqa neighborhood of Sur Bahir and detained him after beating him.

In al-Tur, young Palestinian men hurled four fire bombs at an Israeli military jeep during clashes near al-Maqasid hospital. Witnesses said Israeli troops stationed themselves on rooftops and showered the area with tear gas.

Clashes were also reported in the Silwan and al-Isawiya neighborhoods. Residents of Wadi Qaddum area in Silwan told Ma’an that special Israeli forces carried out a sudden raid in the area firing rubber-coated bullets. As a result, a young man was hit in the abdomen and another in the foot.

Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians during clashes in Nablus [Maan - 20/11/14]

Fairfax thinks Australians need to see some pro-Israeli propaganda for extra judicial killing ---> [How a drone operator feels killing 'objects' on the ground - The Age - 20/11/14]

International Monitors Shot at in East Ukraine, Says OSCE

Naharnet [20/11/14]:

A convoy of international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was shot at by "uniformed personnel" in east Ukraine, the organization said Thursday.

The OSCE said that a uniformed man on the back of a flat-bed cargo truck fired two shots in the direction of their vehicles as they were driving on Wednesday afternoon near the government-held town of Mariinka, some 15 kilometers west of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

"The bullets struck about two meters from the second OSCE vehicle," the statement said.

"Staff traveling in this vehicle heard sharp sounds originating from the road or bullet fragments impacting on their car," the statement said, adding that the convoy then immediately left the area.

The OSCE has teams on the ground in east Ukraine monitoring a nominal ceasefire between government forces and Kremlin-backed rebels that has stopped fighting along much of the frontline but failed to halt bombardments at strategic flashpoints.

Last week, Russia lashed out at the OSCE for alleged bias after monitors reported seeing convoys of unmarked convoys of military hardware heading through rebel-territory to the frontline.

"We get the impression that its efforts are directed at helping and supporting only one side in the conflict, the official authorities in Kiev," the Russian foreign ministry said.

"Such policies from the mission's leadership undermine trust in its work."

Over 4,000 dead, almost 10,000 injured in E. Ukraine fighting since April - UN [RT - 20/11/14]

Kachin rebels say 23 cadets killed by Myanmar army shell

Reuters [19/11/14]:

Twenty three cadets of the ethnic insurgent group the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were killed when they were hit by a single shell fired by Myanmar's army on Wednesday, the KIA said in a statement on Thursday.

The KIA is the last ethnic insurgent group still fighting Myanmar's government after a 17-year ceasefire broke down in 2011 and a peace process to end conflict with ethnic minorities in Myanmar has stalled.

U.S. President Barack Obama called on Myanmar's leaders to push forward with the peace process on a visit to the country last week.

The number of dead in the shelling was the largest made public in the conflict between the KIA and army for many months.

In April, General Gun Maw, deputy commander in chief of the KIA and a member of the insurgents' main political committee, said that the KIA had suffered over 1,000 casualties since hostilities resumed, including 280 killed.

The KIA took up arms in 1961 and is the second largest among the 20 ethnic armed groups in Myanmar.

Queensland: Another internet thought crime by a critic of lawless CSG cowboys

Chronicle [20/11/14]:

A man living on a lifestyle block between Chinchilla and Tara has been charged for posting threatening messages on his personal Facebook account, aimed at QGC.

Chinchilla Police officer in charge Sergeant Gerard Brady said the man, 47, had allegedly threatened to use firearms against QGC employees in a Facebook post.

QGC filed a complaint about the message on November 12, and Sgt Brady said the man came quietly to give a statement at the Chinchilla police station the next day.

He will face Chinchilla Magistrate's Court under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, charged with using a carriage service to threaten or intimidate.

"In this day and age people need to be mindful particularly about Facebook and remember that anything they post is not anonymous; it is a carriage service by definition," Sgt. Brady said.

CFMEU attend BHP AGM to fight against 100 per cent FIFO

Mining Australia [20/11/14]:

Union workers and representatives attended the BHP Billiton annual general meeting in Adelaide today to protest against 100 per cent FIFO hiring practices.

Representatives of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) attended the meeting to bring a petition against the practice to the BHP board members’ attention.

A spokesman for the union said 14 CFMEU members, who are also BHP shareholders, were present at the meeting to represent workers from BHP mines in QLD (Goonyella Riverside, Blackwater No.1, Gregory, Saraji, Peak Downs), NSW (Westcliff Colliery, Mt Arthur) and WA (Nelson Point Port Hedland).

General vice president of the CFMEU’s Mining and Energy division Wayne McAndrew also attended the meeting to seek discussion with the board about the perceived mistreatment of workers and communities as a result of 100 per cent FIFO practices at the new Caval Ridge and Daunia coal mines in Central Queensland.

“Compulsory 100% FIFO discriminates against local workers who can’t apply for jobs in mines near their communities, and it also denies FIFO workers any choice about their lifestyle and where they live,” said McAndrew.

“In the Central Queensland mining town of Moranbah local workers who want a job at these new mines would have to first fly to Cairns or Brisbane and then fly back to work, where they can’t stay with their family but instead have to live in camps.

“This is an absurd situation which shows the lack of respect BHP has for workers and the communities near its mines.”

McAndrew said the policy removed choice from FIFO workers about where they liveed, in the event workers wished to move closer to the mines rather than near Brisbane or Cairns.

“BHP is at serious risk of tarnishing its reputation if it continues to alienate its workers and the communities near its mines.”


#SAR Nave Vega #MarinaMilitare ieri ha soccorso mercantile alla deriva con ca.600 migranti rimorchiandolo ad #Augusta

Image: @ItalianNavy [20/11/14]

#UltimOra evento #Sar del pattugliatore Borsini #MarinaMilitare a sud di #Lampedusa soccorsi 347 #migranti @ItalianNavy [19/11/14]

Turkey: Border abuses and destitution aggravating plight of Syria refugees

The reluctance of wealthy countries to take greater financial responsibility for the refugee crisis as a whole and the paltry offers of resettlement are deplorable.

Amnesty Media Release [20/11/14]:

The international community’s failure to deal with the growing number of Syrian refugees fleeing into Turkey has led to a crisis of unprecedented proportions with refugees facing push-backs and live fire at the border and hundreds of thousands living in destitution, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

Struggling to Survive: Refugees from Syria in Turkey, documents serious human rights risks faced by the 1.6 million people who have sought refuge in the country over the last three and a half years.

It also highlights the deplorable reluctance of the international community to take meaningful financial responsibility for the refugee crisis.

“Turkey is clearly struggling to meet even the most basic needs of hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees.

The result is that many of those who have made it across the border have been abandoned to a life of destitution. The humanitarian assistance offered by the international community has been pitifully low, but Turkey also needs to do more to request and facilitate it,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Turkey.

“While Turkey has officially opened its border crossings to Syrian refugees, the reality for many of those trying to escape the ravages of war is a different story. Many are pushed back into the war zone with some even facing live fire.”

Turkey is host to half of the 3.2million women, men and children who have fled violence, persecution and other human rights violations in Syria. So far Turkey says it has spent $4billion on the refugee crisis.

Meanwhile up until the end of October 2014, only 28 per cent of the $497million earmarked for Turkey in the UN’s 2014 regional funding appeal for Syrians has been committed by international donors.

Turkey, along with the other neighbouring countries– Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt – host 97 per cent of Syria’s refugees.

“Turkey has shouldered a significant part of the financial burden on its own. The reluctance of wealthy countries to take greater financial responsibility for the refugee crisis as a whole and the paltry offers of resettlement are deplorable,” said Andrew Gardner.

While Turkey maintains an open-border policy for Syrian refugees at official crossing points, there are only two fully open points along a 900km stretch of the border. Even at these, those without passports are routinely turned away unless they have urgent medical or humanitarian needs.

Added to this, the border crossings are perilously far for the majority of refugees to travel. Many have no option but resort to difficult and often dangerous irregular crossing points in conflict zones – often relying on smugglers. Here they are often met with force.

Amnesty International has recorded that at least 17 people have been killed by border guards using live ammunition at unofficial crossing points between December 2013 and August 2014. Many have been beaten or otherwise ill-treated and pushed back to war torn Syria.

Ali Özdemir, aged 14, was shot in the head on the night of 18 to 19 May 2014 when approaching the Turkish border. His father told Amnesty International that Ali was with nine other refugees. About 10 metres before the Turkish border, they heard people speaking Turkish. Ali was afraid. Just as he decided to turn back from the border, he was shot in the side of the head. There was no verbal warning and there were no warning shots in the air. Ali was blinded in both eyes.

“To shoot at people who are fleeing conflict and are desperately seeking safe haven is despicable. This is a clear violation of international law which must not be left unpunished,” said Andrew Gardner.

“The most basic obligation of states is to open their doors to refugees fleeing persecution or war. The Turkish authorities must take comprehensive measures to ensure maximum safety and access for refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.”

Out of the 1.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey only 220,000 are living in the 22 well-resourced camps which are currently operating at full capacity. More than 1.3million refugees are left to fend for themselves.

According to Turkish government sources, only 15 per cent of Syrian refugees outside official camps receive assistance from humanitarian agencies and organizations.

The need to provide basic food and shelter means that families resort to desperate measures to try and make ends meet – even putting their children to work.

Ten-year old “Ibrahim” and his family fled Aleppo two years ago and moved to the Turkish border town of Kilis, where they live in a cement bunker. To survive, father and son collect plastic from garbage bins, earning 1 TL (50 cents) for each ½ kg of plastic. Young Ibrahim told Amnesty International that he wakes up each day at 6 am and finishes work at around 4 pm. On some days he has time to learn reading and writing from the local Imam. None of the other nine children in the family goes to school.

“The reality that most Syrian refugees face once they have escaped the ravages of war is grim and hopeless. They are abandoned by the international community. The world’s wealthiest nations are dragging their feet when it comes to offering financial support and resettlement,” said Andrew Gardner.

“Turkey only clarified the legal status, rights and entitlements of Syrian refugees in October, when Parliament adopted a Temporary Protection Directive. This directive must be fully implemented and clearly communicated to both Syrian refugees and public officials.”


Manifesto for a pogrom: hostility to exiled refugees grows on Nauru

Refugees settled on Nauru woke on Monday to find an ominous letter, signed “Youth of Republic of Nauru”, had been delivered overnight. Copies had been left at shops, homes, workplaces employing refugees… [The Conversation - 20/11/14]


Sick Syrian father to be sent back to Darwin/Nauru @ 6.30am Surgery Nauru Hosp massive infection Sent to melb without sons Now back to hell

"tweeted" by @pamelacurr - Refugee Rights Detention Rights Advocate [20/11/14]

Refugee children released on #Nauru have go to school in the detention centre, @pamelacurr told protesters today.

Snap rally: Stop the threats and attacks against Nauru refugees, Melbourne

Image: @VanessaJDodd [20/11/14]

... We are living in a camp in the jungle. This is where they ‘re-settled’ us. This is no place to live. If we are refugees why are we not living in community? We have no neighbours here. Our ‘neighbours’, our ‘relatives’ are mosquitoes and flies and dogs. Please listen to our issues. We want to tell you that we are here like animals.


... We ask you, why the media did not come to see our living conditions? Why the media did not come and speak to us and show the truth? ... We were given refugee status and the government of Australia says that we are local members of the NAURU community, but we are confused, if we are local member of NAURU then why are we told we are not allowed to have job with government of Nauru? ...

[Statement and Questions from the more then fifty refugees - given ‘temporary protection visas’ to ‘re-settle’ on Nauru - 4/8/14]


#FreeTheChildren kicks off in #Melbourne #CRC25 [25 years of UN Convention of the Rights of the Child]

St Paul's Cathedral

Image: @childdetention [20/11/14]

Australia's political and media establishment won't say whether AFP and ASIS anti refugee operations in Indonesia will still be necessary. [Indonesian says Australia has created a burden after decision to cut resettlement intake of asylum seekers - ABC - 20/11/14]

Australia reviewing its global humanitarian resettlement program: United Nations [Brisbane Times - 19/11/14]

United States Continue bombing Syria, Iraq

Centcom [19/11/14]:

U.S. and partner nation military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria Nov. 17-19 using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct six airstrikes against ISIL and one U.S. airstrike against a network of veteran Al Qaeda operatives, sometimes called the "Khorasan Group."

Separately, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted 24 airstrikes in Iraq Nov. 17-19 using attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

In Syria, five airstrikes near Kobani destroyed one ISIL fighting position, an ISIL staging area, three ISIL occupied buildings, suppressed two ISIL fighting positions and struck two tactical and one large ISIL unit.

One airstrike southeast of Al-Hasakah damaged a crude oil collection point operated by ISIL.

Finally, in northwest Syria near Haram, a U.S. airstrike struck and destroyed a storage facility associated with a network of veteran Al Qaeda operatives, sometimes called the "Khorasan Group," whose members are plotting external attacks against the United States and its allies.

In Iraq, thirteen airstrikes near Kirkuk destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, seven ISIL staging areas, one ISIL mortar position, an ISIL bulldozer and front-loader.

Seven airstrikes near Mosul struck five ISIL tactical units, damaged an IED factory and destroyed an ISIL mortar position, three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL occupied building, an ISIL artillery piece and ISIL artillery mover.

Three airstrikes near Bayji struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL occupied building and an ISIL vehicle. One airstrike near Fallujah struck an ISIL tactical unit.

All aircraft returned to base safely. Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.


France will send six Mirage fighter jets to Jordan to strike the Islamic State militant group in Iraq, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday. ... [France 24 - 19/11/14]

Australia's political and media establishment keep pretending Iraq hasn't said no to troops on the ground. [West Australian - 20/11/14]

Neither Iraq nor America have asked Australia to send more troops to Iraq to fight Islamic State extremists.

While US President Barack Obama has signalled he wants coalition countries like Australia to "supplement" their commitments to the conflict, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says there has been no official request for extra troops.

Mr Obama's comments came after he announced earlier this month the US would send an extra 1500 troops.

Ms Bishop says Australia's contribution of 200 special forces soldiers and six fighter jets has been recognised by the US, Iraq and other countries.

"We have not been asked by the Iraqi government to do more than we are already doing," she told reporters in New York, where she is attending United Nations meetings.

Nor had the Americans made any specific request for increased support.

But the foreign minister isn't ruling out doing more: "We would consider any request that included the consent of the Iraqi government."

@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [19/11/14]:

Omar, a young man ,has been burnt by militias for sectarian reasons in the presence of people in Muqdadiya ..........

Diyala: 4 members of one family have been killed and 14 wounded in aerial shelling in Tabaj village near Qara Tappa north of Jalawla'a.....

Anbar: 6 civilians have been killed and 7 wounded in shelling of government's army in Ta'ameem hay in Qadisiya Thaniya and 8 Shubat in Ramadi........

Anbar: 3 civilians have been killed and 5 wounded in tanks bombing of government's army in 5 Kilo area.....

Baghdad center for human rights: Ali Kawan Ajanabi , a teacher , was died due to the torture in division 17 prison north of Babel......

Afghanistan: Car bomb target Kabul Green Village International Zone

Khaama [19/11/14]:

A group of suicide bombers attacked an international zone housing foreign organizations and expatriates in capital Kabul late on Wednesday night.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai confirmed that the blast has taken place near Kabul custom house in Kabul-Jalalabad road.

Stanikzai said the attack initially launched with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which was detonated by a suicide bomber near the gate of the international zone.

He said the remaining three suicide bombers were shot dead after they were trying to enter the compound.

Deputy interior minister for security Gen. Ayub Salangi also confirmed that the attack was carried out by a group of four suicide bombers.

Gen. Salangi further added that the bombers targeted the Green Village International Zone and all four suicide bombers were killed following the attack.

He said the attack did not incur any casualties to the civilians and members of the security forces.

The Taliban militants group claimed responsibility behind the attack.

UN announces 12-hour truce in Benghazi

Daily Star [20/11/14]:

The United Nations said pro-government forces and Islamist militias fighting for control of Libya’s second city Benghazi had agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce Wednesday.

The U.N.-brokered cease-fire was the first in Benghazi since the launch of a government-backed offensive to recapture the eastern city from Islamists a month ago.

But there were signs that the truce was not being fully respected, according to a reporter who heard heavy weapons fire in the city, although its origin was unknown.

The move was aimed at enabling the evacuation of civilians, the retrieval of bodies, the removal of sewage and the restocking of food and medical supplies, the U.N. mission in Libya said.

“The humanitarian truce is critical to giving the people of Benghazi a much-needed reprieve from violence,” it said, urging all parties “to fully abide by their commitments during the truce.”

It said the truce had begun at 7 a.m. and could be prolonged subject to agreement by all sides.

More than 350 people have been killed since the launch of the government-backed offensive led by retired Gen. Khalifa Haftar against Islamist militias who took near-total control of Benghazi in July.

Libyan authorities have struggled to assert control over powerful militias that ousted longtime autocratic leader Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 revolt.

UN: More Than 1.5 mn Flee Nigeria Violence, Crisis of 'Enormous Concern'

Naharnet [19/11/14]:

Growing violence by Islamist extremists has forced more than 1.5 million Nigerians to flee their homes and is deepening an already dire humanitarian situation in Nigeria, the U.N. warned Wednesday.

"Nigeria is without question of enormous concern," said Robert Piper, who coordinates the U.N.'s humanitarian work in the Sahel region.

He said the violence wreaked by the Islamist militants of Boko Haram was "generating more and more suffering, it is generating more and more displacement."

Nigeria has in the past six months alone seen the number of people displaced inside the country soar from 600,000 to around 1.5 million, he said, quoting Nigerian government estimates.

In addition, some 100,000 Nigerians have fled across the borders to Cameroon and Niger, Piper told reporters in Geneva.

That Nigerians see Niger, the world's poorest country, as a sanctuary "gives you a sense of what they must be fleeing from," Piper said.

More than 13,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 2009 and Boko Haram is now said to be in control of more than two dozen towns in its quest for a hardline Islamic state.

According to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, 3.3 million people have been directly or indirectly impacted by the conflict in the northeast of the country.

"Our worry is that it will continue to spiral out of control with devastating consequences both for Nigeria itself and for the region," Piper said, adding that "the scale of the challenges there are truly very, very worrying indeed."

The fact that Nigeria produces half of west Africa's food makes the situation there all the more alarming, he said.

Taking a broader look, Piper said the entire Sahel region, which counts nine countries -- Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal -- has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people scrambling to put food on the table.

Just since the beginning of the year, the number of people considered food insecure has jumped from 20 to 25 million.

Across the region, 6.4 million children are acutely malnourished, Piper said, with around 600,000 children dying of causes linked to malnutrition each year.

The U.N. has appealed for $1.9 billion (1.5 billion euros) towards humanitarian aid to the Sahel in 2014, but has received just $1.1 billion of that.

The U.N. also said it had received just $12.3 million, or 13 percent, of the $93.4 million requested for humanitarian aid in Nigeria.

Troops, Vigilantes Reclaim Seized Nigerian Towns [Naharnet - 19/11/14]

Kenya police stage fresh mosque raid [Al Jazeera - 19/11/14]

Sudanese refugees struggle to get by as new dangers arise in CAR conflict [UNHCR Media Release - 19/11/14]

The armed rebel group FARC and the Colombian government have announced that they have reached conditions for releasing a captured general and four other people. ... [Al Jazeera - 20/11/14]

"Palestinians Always Live in Fear": Jerusalem Killings Follow Months of Tensions, Settlement Growth

Democracy Now [19/11/14]:

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s attack that killed five Israeli civilians in a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting violence in the city and said the killings were part of a "battle over Jerusalem." Abbas has condemned the attack, which came after weeks of unrest fueled by a dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and known to Jews as the Temple Mount, as well as the continued expansion of Israeli settlements. We discuss the worsening tensions in Israel and the Occupied Territories with two guests: Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and author of several books, and Eran Efrati, a former Israeli combat soldier turned anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher.


RASHID KHALIDI: Well, the United States is precisely the enabler of all of this. The United States, by its diplomatic support, prevents any real pressure on Israel to stop it from occupation, settlement and repression.

AMY GOODMAN: And the tension reportedly between Netanyahu and Obama?

RASHID KHALIDI: I mean, that and five cents won’t get you a cup of coffee. The president can vent and have his acolytes and his flacks and his hacks say nasty things about the Israeli prime minister. As long as American money is going to support the repression of Palestinians, as long as supposedly "charitable" organizations in this country are not stopped by the Justice Department, are not stopped by the Treasury, from funneling tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to settlement activities and to the repression of Palestinians, what the president says is meaningless. This is an American-Israeli enterprise, in fact. The money is largely from the United States. The weapons are from the United States. We are implicated.

And we are running interference for Israel. Whenever anybody tries to do anything—British Parliament, the Spanish Parliament, the Irish Parliament, the Swedish government—the United States objects. Whenever anybody tries to do anything diplomatically or in a nonviolent manner, such as boycott, divestment and sanctions, we’re told that these are anti-Semitic actions. So, presumably, the Palestinians are supposed to lie down and let the bulldozers and the settlement enterprise and the repression run over them and go back to negotiations, which Netanyahu has already told us can never lead to an end to occupation. That’s the doing of the United States, to a very large extent, I’m afraid.


Number of Operating Centrifuges Key Issue Holding Back Iran Nuclear Deal [Sputnik News - 19/11/14]

Putin: Mutual respect, non-interference will improve relations with US [RT - 19/11/14]:

Vladimir Putin has accepted the credentials of new US Ambassador John Tefft, and said that he hopes for a thawing in ties with Washington, based on mutual respect – and both sides keeping out of each other’s backyards.

“We are ready for practical cooperation with our American partners concerning a wide range of issues under the principles of mutually understanding each other, without interfering in each other’s internal affairs,” Putin said at a ceremony at the Kremlin, where he accepted the credentials of 15 new ambassadors to the country, including US Ambassador John Tefft.


Ebola death toll rises to 5,420: WHO

Daily Star [20/11/14]:

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that 5,420 people had so far died of Ebola across eight countries, out of a total 15,145 cases of infection, since late December 2013.

On Friday, the UN health agency had reported 5,177 deaths and 14,413 cases.

The WHO believes that the number of deaths is likely far higher, given that the fatality rate in the current outbreak is known to be around 70 percent.

The deadliest Ebola outbreak ever continues to affect Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone the most.

But the fresh toll came as the spread appeared to be slowing in the capital of Liberia, allowing the hardest-hit country to lift its state of emergency.

In its latest toll, WHO said that through November 16, 2,964 people had died in Liberia, out of 7,069 cases.

In Sierra Leone, 1,250 people had died as of November 16 out of 6,073 cases, WHO said.

Guinea, where the outbreak began late last year, counted 1,192 deaths and 1,971 cases.

Data from Mali, the latest country to be hit by Ebola, showed six cases of the deadly virus and five deaths.

Data from Nigeria and Senegal remained unchanged, and both countries have been declared Ebola free.

Nigeria had eight deaths and 20 cases, while Senegal had one case and no deaths.

There has been one case of infection in Spain, where an infected nurse has recovered.

In the United States, four Ebola cases have been recorded and one person -- a Liberian -- had died from the virus.

Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are therefore especially exposed.

WHO said Wednesday that a total of 568 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 329 of them had died.

Australia's Foreign Minister shills for war, empire, anti muslim bigotry and censorship of internet at UN

ABC [20/11/14]:

... Ms Bishop said the international community must provide leadership and do all it can to denounce radical preachers of hate around the world.

"ISIL and its ilk are an affront to Islam. All of us, including Muslim communities themselves, must do more to negate the violent extremist narratives of terrorists and denounce radical preachers of hate in our midst," she said.

"Every country has an obligation to prevent terrorism. Every country has an obligation not to export terrorist capabilities.

"Each one has a responsibility to degrade the resources of terrorist organisations and to prevent the spread of their evil propaganda."

The Security Council was meeting to follow up on a resolution adopted in August aimed at stemming the flow of foreign fighters and financing to Islamist groups who now control vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

"Today's presidential statement builds on these resolutions. It identifies practical next steps to stop the recruitment and travel of foreign terrorist fighters, to ensure that there is no place for their toxic ideologies in our communities and to disrupt each and every terrorist organisation's funding sources," Ms Bishop said.

"This statement reaffirms the international community's unflinching resolve - we must starve terrorist organisations of fighters, funding and legitimacy. We must act decisively and together."

Ms Bishop also called for the appointment of a UN envoy to build a "coordinated and strategic message" to counter the spread of violent extremism.

"The threat from ISIL or Daish, Al-Nusra Front and other Al Qaeda affiliated groups is more dangerous, more global and more diversified than ever before," she said.

"Terrorists seem younger, more violent and highly interconnected. They are masters of social media to terrorise and to recruit and are very tech savvy. They incite each other.


Good ol' boys who stole navy guns, ammunition released

Daily Mercury [20/11/14]:

The Australian Navy was left red-faced when Tiron Ardin Ferguson and his mate Timothy Jozef Lever used a small hatchback car to rip a gun safe from its bolt mount inside a shipping container at Proserpine then drive off with six guns and rounds of ammunition inside.

Ferguson, 39, an Airlie Beach tattoo artist, was released on immediate parole yesterday after pleading guilty in the District Court in Mackay to two drug charges: supplying methylamphetamine to Lever on September 23 at Collinsville, and possession of a dangerous drug.

Ferguson also pleaded guilty to entering Royal Australian Navy premises around 11pm on September 23 and stealing six firearms and a quantity of ammunition, and being in unlawful possession of Category A weapons.

The container was being used by the Whitsunday group of Royal Australian Navy cadets to store their uniforms and the weapons.

Emily Coley for the Crown, said Ferguson had previous convictions for possession of knuckledusters and possession of methamphetamine, dangerous drugs and having drug utensils.

Ms Coley said Ferguson and Lever broke into the shipping container then tied a strap around the gun safe and pulled it out using their car. The safe held six bolt-action rifles and rounds of ammunition.

When their car was stopped the next day and the men arrested, a small quantity of methylamphetamine was found in the car and Ferguson told police he had given some to Lever.

Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said Ferguson had not been coping following his marriage break-up and suffered depression, but medication made his hands shake, which was not compatible with his tattoo art, so he took up a friend's suggestion to use methylamphetamine.

Judge Michael Shanahan took into account when sentencing Ferguson the punishment received by Lever at Proserpine Magistrates Court two weeks ago.

Lever, 35, had pleaded guilty to breaking into the container twice within two weeks and stealing clothes, medical supplies and a printer and was sentenced to nine months jail. After taking into account the 36 days Lever had spent in custody he was immediately released on parole. At that time, on November 3, one of the stolen rifles was still missing.

Judge Shanahan said the break, enter and theft of the Navy's rifles was the most serious offence of the four charges.

Ferguson, who appeared in court wearing a black t-shirt with the motif of a woman holding a smoking gun, was sentenced to nine months jail.

Judge Shanahan immediately ordered his release on supervised parole after taking into account the 51 days he'd already spent in custody.

Severe societal decay, terror: Man bashed, run over and shot during "church night"

West Australian [20/11/14]:

David Liam Johnson was bashed, run over by a car and shot by three men he barely knew during a "church night" among a gang that was recruiting members, a Perth jury was told yesterday.

Alexander James Stephens, Nathan Michael Beckton and Angus William John Ritchie are on trial in the Supreme Court, accused of murdering Mr Johnson, 32, in Swanbourne in March last year.

Opening the State case, prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said Mr Johnson was invited by his friend to attend the gathering, which the gang called "church nights", before he became involved in an argument with Mr Beckton, who threatened him with a meat cleaver.

Mr Johnson later hid under a utility at the front of the house.

His friend left the property, believing Mr Johnson had also gone. But the jury was told Mr Johnson was soon dragged out from under the vehicle and stomped on, laughed at, verbally abused and kicked.

Ms Barbagallo said Mr Stephens and Mr Ritchie drove away to look for Mr Johnson's friend then returned with a sawn-off shotgun.

She said Mr Stephens ran over Mr Johnson and then said he was "still breathing" before throwing a concrete slab on his head.

The trio are accused of then driving Mr Johnson to nearby Lime Kiln Field where Mr Stephens is alleged to have shot him.

"He was a stranger to all of these men," Ms Barbagallo said.

"He was nothing to all of these men." She said CCTV footage would show the accused men driving to the park and later at a train station unsuccessfully looking for Mr Johnson's friend.

Two other men, who are not on trial, remained at the house with one of them using bleach to clean up the mess, the court was told.

The trial's opening day had to be cut short after Mr Ritchie became ill in the dock.

The court was moments away from being shown images of the dead man when Supreme Court Justice Lindy Jenkins was informed of Mr Ritchie's illness and quickly ended the day's proceedings.

The trial continues.

Police state PR: Heavily armed officers with Bearcat, police dog raid empty Sydney apartment [Nine MSN - 20/11/14]

Why Are We REALLY Being Spied On?

Russell Brand The Trews (E193) [VIDEO - 19/11/14]:

Reaction to news that the US Senate has rejected the USA Freedom Act, a bill that sought to end the NSA’s ongoing daily collection of practically all US phone data.

Amnestied eastern dissidents meet detained western dissident

Guardian [VIDEO - 19/11/14]:

Two members of Pussy Riot attend the Ecuadorian embassy in London to meet Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say the two groups have shared interests in freedom of expression and security. The pair were jailed in Russia for two years on charges of hooliganism.

Man smashes nearly every window at WIN television building, Kingston

Canberra Times [20/11/14]:

A man used a timber post to smash nearly every window at the front of the WIN Television building in Kingston in the early hours of Thursday morning.

ACT Police said they received reports of a man in dark clothing damaging a commercial building on Wentworth Avenue at about 4.10am.

Police also believe it is possible the same man attacked a gas pipe they found damaged on the scene.

ACT Fire and Rescue attended the scene and secured the gas pipe.

The timber post was found protruding from an external window.

Police are urging witnesses to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or at

Canberra Times [19/11/14]:

The Abbott government is creating "a fourth free-to-air network by stealth" after it proposed doubling the amount of advertising on the SBS, Ten Network boss Hamish McLennan says.

Meanwhile, David Gyngell, the boss of larger television network owner Nine Entertainment Co, says the change would be "hugely damaging" to the commercial free-to-air industry and said licence fees should be reduced to offset the loss.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that he will seek to change the SBS's legislation to allow it to have 10 minutes an hour of advertising during peak viewing periods.


Ex-police officer accused of NSW murder in court

West Australian [20/11/14]:

A former NSW detective allegedly involved in the execution-style killing of Jamie Gao is set to apply for bail in the Supreme Court.

Glen McNamara and fellow ex-cop Roger Rogerson have been charged with murdering Gao on May 20 at a Padstow storage unit in Sydney's southwest.

The university student's body was found bobbing about three kilometres off Cronulla beach a week later, while 2.8kg of "ice" was discovered in the back footwell of McNamara's car, the court has previously heard.

A bail hearing for McNamara is listed for Thursday in the Supreme Court.

Woman dies after being hit by truck in Auburn

Nine MSN [20/11/14]:

A woman has been killed attempting to cross a busy road in Sydney's west this morning.

The 41-year-old was hit by a truck on Parramatta Road, Auburn just before 8am.

The driver of the truck stopped and emergency services were called, but the woman's injuries were too serious to survive.

She died at the scene.

The truck driver was not injured and has been taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing.

Police, including officers from the Crash Investigation Unit are examining the scene and as a result, westbound traffic has been reduced to one lane.

Man punches, threatens to stab truck driver in highway rage

Sunshine Coast Daily [20/11/14]:

A Gold Coast man has punched and threatened to stab a truck driver on the Bruce Highway near Caloundra.

Police have arrested a 23-year-old following an assault at Bells Creek on the Bruce Highway last night.

A Paradise Point man has been charged with a number of offences, including; wounding, assault occasioning bodily harm, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle whilst adversely affected, wilful damage and wilful damage of police property.

Police allege the man assaulted a truck driver, punching him in the head before dragging him from the cab of the truck and attempting to stab the truck driver with a knife.

The Paradise Point man then left the scene and was located by police a short time later.

He is due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates court on 19 December.

Parking rage: paint splattered over Noosa mum's car [Chronicle - 18/11/14]

Partisan luvvies laugh at the disabled [Brisbane Times - 20/11/14]

Drugs seized in Lockyer Valley police raids

Chronicle [20/11/14]:

A 34-year-old Gatton man was charged with drug offences after detectives raided an Old College Rd home.

Police said 100g of high quality marijuana and a small amount of amphetamine were among the items seized on Tuesday morning.

Officers also allegedly located a number of a drug-related utensils and equipment.

The man is due to appear in Gatton Magistrates Court on December 15.

Blaze destroys girls dormitory at Neerkol Orphanage [Morning Bulletin - 20/11/14]

Explosives giant Orica to cut 700 jobs next year

Gladstone Observer [19/11/14]:

Orica will cut about 700 jobs next year as it continues its cost-cutting drive.

The explosives giant, which has a plant in Gladstone, already has cut 1300 positions in the past two years.

Along with a procurement efficiency program, the move is expected to save $140-170 million in 2015 and $60-80m in 2016.

The company has today announced its full year results, with net profit after tax of $602.5 million, up two per cent on last year.

The company is struggling as its mining customers cut costs in the face of weak commodity prices.

Orica also announced it would sell its chemicals business to Blackstone for $750 million.

The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

Managing director and chief executive Ian Smith said efficiency improvements had delivered savings of $69 million this year.

"With further improvements expected in 2015, Orica's cost base is being reset and the company positioned to better meet customers' needs in dynamic market conditions," he said.

"This process will also allow Orica to capture the benefits of any improvement in the commodity cycle."

The company reported that explosives volume growth was positive in the Pilbara iron ore region, the emerging mining markets in Africa and in the European quarry and construction sector.

However, overall global explosive volumes across the year were down 1%, reflecting reduced coal market demand in Eastern Australia, North America and Indonesia.

The company said the volatility and uncertainty in the global resources markets made it difficult to provide profit guidance for the year ahead.

But it did not expect a significant improvement in the resources markets, "reinforcing the requirement for the company to achieve its transformation objectives".

Gladstone's newest coal terminal hasn't even begun loading coal onto ships, but project heads are already talking expansion, despite instability around the global coal market. ... [Gladstone Observer - 20/11/14]

Fired miner takes BHP to Federal Court [Morning Bulletin - 20/11/14]

While Mount Isa’s water usage has spiked in the summer months, Cloncurry’s has dropped.

And while Mount Isa might be reluctant to climb to level-4 water restrictions, Cloncurry has been on them for a month. But the meaning of what level-4 restrictions mean is different to both councils. ... [North West Star - 19/11/14]

Jacqui Lambie a Liar: Clive Palmer

Palmer United Party Media Release [20/11/14]:

The Palmer United Party federal leader and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, says Jacqui Lambie has lied to the Senate in a rant against him and has done so to cover up her own misgivings.

Mr Palmer today confirmed Senator Lambie had not spoken to him for a month and she had failed to return all his phone calls and attend parliamentary party meetings.

“This is because Senator Lambie’s planning to set up an alternate political party,” he said.

“Jacqui Lambie has not brought forward one proposal to the party about Tasmanians, the people who elected her, or about veterans.

“Her statements she has made about me today are false. She originally wrote to the Palmer United Party requesting we endorse her for the Senate.

“She just wants to have a fight about nothing which is not a rational way to behave as a respectable Senator. Also the statements she has made about voting against all government legislation in the Senate are untrue.

“She’s discussing with the government on how to reduce the RET for Tasmania so she won’t be voting against the government on that issue. She’s also proposing a private members’ bill to link increases in parliamentary salaries to Australian Defence Force (ADF) pay.

“This is a meaningless and pointless gesture and she should know parliamentary salaries have been frozen for the next two years. Does she want to freeze ADF wages and deny them the 1.5 per cent rise the government is offering?”

Mr Palmer said it was obvious Senator Lambie was following the scripts of her Chief of Staff, Rob Messenger.

“It’s easy to whinge about problems but harder to find solutions,” he said. “Palmer United Party senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang and myself are about trying to find solutions.”

Mr Palmer said Senator Lambie obviously believes in the Palmer United Party as she is still a member.

“We hope she gets the appropriate assistance to get back on track,” he said.

Students protest in central London

Reuters [19/11/14]:

Scuffles broke out and missiles were thrown at police as thousands of students marched through the center of London on Wednesday to protest against a rise in higher education fees.

Some 5,000 demonstrators marched to Parliament Square where a small group broke away and breached temporary barriers to confront police outside the Houses of Parliament.

"Various missiles were thrown at the officers," Scotland Yard said in a statement. Three officers suffered minor injuries. By mid-afternoon there had been no arrests, it added.

The breakaway group later attacked a nearby Starbucks coffee shop and threw chairs from another restaurant at police, witnesses said.

Wednesday's march was the first mass protest by students in the British capital for three years.

Four protests against Prime Minister David Cameron's austerity measures shortly after he came to power in 2010 led to clashes with police, assaults on public buildings including the headquarters of Cameron's Conservative Party, and almost 400 arrests.

Students are angry at Cameron's government decision to hike tuition fees and they have been joined by other campaigners unhappy with spending cuts.

"Today we are marching through London in what is likely to be the biggest demonstration in several years," the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts said on its website. "We could well be on the verge of a new wave of student activism."

It addition to Wednesday's march, students were also planning walkouts and occupations of campus buildings.

Indonesia: Public transport action firms to stage national strike

Jakarta Post [19/11/14]:

The government’s decision to increase fuel prices has hit land transport firms, with the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) calling on all of its members to cease operations on Wednesday.

Organda chairwoman Eka Sari Lorena Surbakti said the government had not taken the country’s public transport business into consideration - given that its load factor had already declined over the past few years — when deciding to increase the price of Premium gasoline from Rp 6,500 (53 US cents) per liter to Rp 8,500, and diesel from Rp 5,500 to Rp 7,500 per liter.

Data from Organda shows that the country’s public transport load factor is only around 45 percent this year, decreased from around 60 percent last year.

Eka said it was feared that a tariff increase following the fuel price increases would further shrink the public transport load factor.

“We’ve asked the government to provide incentives to help revitalize public transport,” she said on Tuesday. “However, up until now, we have not seen the government’s commitment to supporting the public transport sector,” she continued.

She said the strike was part of the organization’s focus on the country’s low-income families that were dependant on the sector.

Separately, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan said in a press conference that the government had decided to stipulate a maximum 10 percent increase in tariff adjustments for public transport to help operators cope with increasing operational costs.

“In determining the percentage, we considered both public transport operators and public purchasing power,” the minister said.

“By staging a strike, instead of creating a problem for the government, [Organda] is abandoning the public service. [They] should be wiser,” he said.

Meanwhile, Organda secretary general Andriansyah said a 10 percent increase in the tariff stipulated by the ministry would not be able to cover the transport sector’s rising operational costs.

“To prevent transport business operators from going bankrupt as well as to maintain the service, the tariff increase that will be applied is 30 percent,” Andriansyah told The Jakarta Post.

Acting Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said the city would not increase Transjakarta bus fares, while the fares of other public transport would be adjusted by Organda.

Blue Bird Group spokesman Teguh Wijayanto also said that the group had not formulated a plan to increase the tariff, adding that taxi operators would follow the direction of the taxi unit at Organda that would firstly discuss the impact of the fuel-price increases.

“Fuel costs contribute to 20 percent of our operational costs,” Teguh said. “However, up until now we haven’t decided to increase the tariff and will remain focused on accelerating our service to the customer.”

Apart from the land transport sector, it is feared that fuel price increases could affect the country’s airline sector.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia spokesperson Ikhsan Rosan said the fuel-price increases would lead to higher inflation, which would affect the public’s purchasing power and reduce the public’s appetite to travel.

“People will start to shift their priorities and be more selective in choosing their journeys. This will affect the company in the short run,” Ikhsan told the Post.

“However, the government has pledged to reallocate the budget for infrastructure projects and, with an improvement in infrastructure, it will eventually lead to higher economic growth and an increase in people’s purchasing power,” he continued.

Leon Taylor becomes ninth inmate to be executed in Missouri in 2014

Guardian [19/11/14]:

A man who killed a suburban Kansas City gas station attendant in front of the worker’s young stepdaughter in 1994 was put to death early on Wednesday – the ninth execution in the US state of Missouri this year.

Leon Taylor, 56, was pronounced dead at 12:22am at the state prison in Bonne Terre, minutes after receiving a lethal injection.

With Taylor’s death, 2014 ties 1999 for having the most executions in a year in Missouri.

Taylor shot worker Robert Newton in front of Newton’s eight-year-old stepdaughter during a gas station robbery in Independence, Missouri. Taylor tried to kill the girl, too, but the gun jammed.

Taylor’s fate was sealed on Tuesday when Governor Jay Nixon declined to grant clemency and the US supreme court turned down his appeal.

According to court records, Taylor, his half-brother and half-sister decided to rob a gas station on 14 April 1994. Newton was at the station with his stepdaughter.

Taylor entered the store, drew a gun and told Newton, 53, to put $400 (£260) in a money bag. Newton complied and the half-brother, Willie Owens, took the money to the car.

Taylor then ordered Newton and the child to a back room. Newton pleaded with Taylor not to shoot him in front of the girl, but Taylor shot him in the head. He tried to kill the girl but the gun jammed, so he locked her in the room and the trio drove away.

“She had the gun turned on her,” said Michael Hunt, an assistant Jackson County prosecutor who worked on the case. “It didn’t fire. If it had fired, we’d have had a double homicide.”

Hunt said the child’s testimony at trial was pivotal in the death sentence.

“You can imagine what a horrible crime this was, but when you see it coming out of a young person like that, it was hard to listen to,” Hunt said.

Taylor was arrested a week after the crime when police responded to a tips hotline call.

Court appeals claimed the death penalty for Taylor was unfair for several reasons.

Taylor’s original jury was deadlocked and a judge sentenced him to death. When that was thrown out, an all-white jury gave Taylor, who was black, the death sentence.

In 2002, the US supreme court ruled that only a jury could impose a death sentence. Taylor’s lawyers contended that a Missouri supreme court ruling after the US supreme court decision led the state to commute at least 10 other death sentences for inmates sentenced by a judge to life in prison everyone except Taylor.

Attorney Elizabeth Carlyle said Taylor essentially was penalised for successfully appealing against his first conviction.

The clemency request to Nixon said Taylor had turned his life around in prison, becoming a devout Christian who helped other prisoners.

The petition also cited abuse Taylor suffered as a child, saying his mother began giving him alcohol when he was five and that he later became addicted to alcohol and drugs.


20 November 2014