Until we are all free, none of us are free.

The Grandfather has an original theory that this treatment stems, at least in part, from the way we have treated indigenous peoples. It is a projection of guilt, he maintains. "Guilt is the most poisonous of emotions." And he recites a verse, by poet William Empson: Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills/The waste remains, the waste remains, and kills.  ...

Arnold Zable -  Detainees: the injustice remains, the vigil goes on [The Age - 22/12/14]

Lack of journalism allows Queensland Premier and Ministers to remain unaccountable and Murdoch driven racist propaganda to flourish.

Campbell Newman Facebook [19/12/14] 

Will there be a full investigation and/or urgent reporting into every aspect of government involvement in the Manoora tragedy i.e. housing, family and welfare services, mental health?

Perhaps we could ask the Queensland Premier on Tuesday night?

Missing Lota man and sons found safe and well

North West Star [21/12/14]:

Missing Lota father Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his two young sons have been located safe and well, and a bit hungry, around 3.30pm this afternoon in Expedition National Park by a local grazier who had been in the park searching for them.

Their vehicle is bogged and police (Stock Squad) and local rangers are currently enroute to assist with retrieving the trio, and their vehicle.

...

James Smith and Billie Murphy get Christmas offers of housing and lunch

Courier [21/12/14]:

On Saturday morning James Smith, Billie Murphy and their two-year-old daughter Hannah had no-one to spend Christmas with and nowhere to sleep apart from a Holden Commodore sedan.

Now they will share Christmas with a generous family and a roof over their head thanks to the Moorabool Shire.

The community responded to Saturday's story in The Courier with offers of help and, in the case of Moorabool mayor Paul Tatchell, permanent accommodation.

Cr Tatchell said he would find somewhere for the family to stay even though emergency accommodation in the shire was stretched.

"I'll be damned if we let kids stay in a car over Christmas," Cr Tatchell said. "If they are in strife let's see if we can help them out.

"We're pretty full up in terms of emergency accommodation but we'll come up with something. Even if it's a tent and they have to treat it like they are on holiday camping."

Cr Tatchell offered Ms Murphy and her family a cabin in Ballan would be made available once renovations were completed.

Meanwhile Ballarat couple Steve Atkinson and Cathy Bryant invited the family to a Christmas lunch.

"We thought if that particular family had no where to go on Christmas Day they would be welcome to enjoy the day with us," Mr Atkinson said.

"There will be stacks of food. There always is. There will be turkey, beef, ham and even some cold beverages.

"My wife and I have been talking about inviting people who might be on their own to join us. Then we saw the story in The Courier. There might be only a dozen or so people there but it will be very friendly.

"We were inspired by a Facebook group called 'Humans in New York' where you can read amazing stories about people helping each other."

Ms Murphy said she was surprised and overwhelmed by the generous offers of help.

She said her family's outlook had changed dramatically in the space of a couple of days.

"We are feeling a lot happier and a lot more confident about the future," she explained.

"We had some offers of accommodation over Facebook but it was out of our price range but then (Cr Tatchell) told us that a cabin in Ballan should become available after it is renovated.

"We certainly didn't expect anyone to offer us that (Christmas lunch). We were very pleased to accept."

Court orders employee awarded $700,000 for company’s negligence

North West Star [19/12/14]:

A Mount Isa Bunnings employee was hospitalised the day after she swept uncovered fertiliser at the store.

Some days later, in March 2008, Janelle Elizabeth Cowen woke from a coma in the Townsville Hospital and was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis, encephalitis and septicaemia.

On Tuesday Bunnings was ordered to pay $700,000 and legal costs to Ms Cowen, following a Supreme Court of Queensland hearing.

This was on the grounds of negligence for damages relating to Ms Cowen’s illness.

Judge Alan Wilson decided the Rooster Booster fertiliser she swept without wearing a respirator, mask or personal protective equipment was the most likely cause.

Bunnings legal defence suggested Ms Cowen’s illness was coincidental with the timing of the work she did.

Ms Cowen could have instead breathed in sulphur dioxide – known to cause invasive pneumococcal disease.

There was a spike in atmospheric sulphur dioxide emissions in Mount Isa the same day Ms Cowen cleaned the fertiliser, the defence noted.

Smoking or a cold which Ms Cowen could have had before sweeping the fertiliser might also have caused the illness.

Judge Wilson said a pre-existing condition was “exploded” by the evidence.

“And all the other [reasons] involve such a high degree of coincidence, and instead awfully bad luck, that they are considerably less plausible, to a degree which means that the attribution of causation to them would, with respect to the doctors, defy common sense,” Judge Wilson said.

“The plaintiff [Ms Cowen], for these reasons, must succeed in the case and have judgement against the defendant.”

Medical witnesses said Ms Cowen’s illness was caused by streptococcus pneumoniae, which likely colonised her upper respiratory tract.

But this colonisation is common and occurs in up to 40 per cent of the adult population at one time.

In a rare and more serious occurrence, the infection spread into her blood stream, brain and meninges, the evidence said.

Lands Department chemical spray inquiry must visit Ballarat, workers say

Courier [19/12/14]:

A government inquiry into the use of chemical sprays by the former Victorian Lands Department will likely come to Ballarat.

The inquiry was announced following a series of stories in The Courier highlighting the plight of former Lands Department workers around the state.

Environment Minister Lisa Neville said she was working with the Department of Health and the Workcover Authority to determine the terms of reference, before the inquiry could start.

She said the inquiry “would travel” so affected families can tell their story.

Ballarat’s John and Carol Hodges say the inquiry needs to travel to regional areas to hear from people who can’t make the trip to Melbourne.

John worked for the Lands Department between 1981 and 1993 in Ballarat and surrounding areas.

He developed a number of illnesses including meningitis, a rapidly depleting white-blood-cell count and is now battling Parkinson’s Disease.

After reading a number or articles in The Courier on the plight of former Lands Department workers, John decided the time was right to speak out.

“All those blokes I know most of them I’ve read in the paper,” he said.

John said he would readily speak at the inquiry if it came to Ballarat.

He said his main issue was the lack of protective clothing offered to workers at the time.

...

A case to follow if you are interested in genetic testing [via Benchmark]:

Eastbury v Genea Genetics [2014] NSWSC 1793

Limitations - professional negligence - mental harm - plaintiffs were parents of two children born in 2008 and 2012 who were diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome - plaintiffs claimed damages in respect of genetic screening performed by defendant - plaintiffs sought order that limitation period for causes of action be extended pursuant to s60G Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) - particular facts and circumstances - alleged breach of duty by failure to test carrier status of plaintiff - prejudice - chances of fair trial - held: defendant did not establish discretion should be exercised against extension of time on basis of claimed actual or presumptive prejudice or that it was unlikely to have fair trial - limitation period extended.

Milne loses bid for report into Tweed logging agreements

Tweed Daily News [18/12/14]:

Two logging operations around Mount Warning, executed under private forestry agreements with the NSW Government, have prompted Councillor Katie Milne to call for an exhaustive report into forestry on the Tweed.

Cr Milne proposed the report contain current and future forestry applications, impacts on threatened species, Aboriginal heritage and general appropriateness for the Tweed.

"It (the motion) goes to the merits and appropriateness and processes which are involved in those applications so we can get a better understanding of how we can potentially lobby the State Government," she said.

Tweed Shire Council general manager Troy Green said there were hurdles with access to the relevant data, because private forestry agreements were with the State Government and were commercial in confidence.

Cr Michael Armstrong suggested an interim report with the information available instead, but the motion was lost 3-4.

Martindale Hall: Community meeting demands clarity on mansion's future

ABC [18/12/14]:

A community meeting has shown strong support for keeping historic Martindale Hall in the mid-north of South Australia open to the public.

The mansion is known to many Australians because it was used in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock in the 1970s.

Martindale Hall was owned for years by the prominent Mortlock family but when J T Mortlock died in 1950 without an heir, the building was bequeathed to the South Australian Government.

Clare and Gilbert Valley chief executive Roy Blight told 891 ABC Adelaide about 100 people attended the public meeting at Clare on Wednesday night.

"One of the resolutions that came out of last night's meeting that will be considered by council in January will be the call to obtain further clarity from the State Government as to its future intentions for Martindale Hall," he said.

After the lease on the property ended, the SA Government appointed the local tourism operators of the nearby Mintaro Maze as caretakers for two years.

Mr Blight said the Government had sought a commercial operator but not yet found one and was still working on that option.

"They've indicated the next phase beyond the appointment of caretakers is to work through the future operation of Martindale Hall," he said.

"The big issue is around the sustainability of the asset.

"It is a major piece of building work and there's 40 acres around the Martindale Hall proper and that creates a significant development opportunity as well."

The property is costly for the Government to maintain in tough economic times, but it said recently there was no policy to sell the state's heritage assets to bolster the budget bottom line.

Mr Blight said mid-north locals were passionate about the need to find a sustainable future for Martindale Hall.

"It's a very important part of our tourism product for the region and it's heavily patronised," he said.

"Council's role in this is as an advocate for the local community. Clearly there is a strong community interest in that it is an iconic property and an important part of our cultural and social heritage and it is featured in our community life in many ways.

"One of the points that was raised and will be put forward to council is to encourage the establishment of a lottery fund, as has been done overseas or in other states, or some other means of community fundraising to support conservation projects for public properties."

He said the council had found the State Government very keen to listen to the community's views on a way forward.

"There's a lot of discussion around conserving Martindale Hall to ensure it is available for future generations in a proper and good manner and also that that public access is retained," he said.

The National Trust said recently it was worried that what was a gift to the state and an important part of its colonial history might be sold off.

It said a private owner might choose not to allow public access.

The previous caretaker said she sought a new lease but was not offered one.

Tracy Waechter ran Martindale Hall as a bed and breakfast venue and museum.

Man sues Woolworths over discriminatory job application form

Queensland Times [17/12/14]:

A Sunshine Coast man has successfully sued supermarket giant Woolworths after he took offence to some questions when filling out an online job application form.

Beerwah man Steven Willmott was awarded $5000 in compensation after a tribunal found he had been discriminated against after being asked to provide his date of birth, gender and proof he was legally able to work in Australia.

The decision has forced Woolworths to change its online job application forms.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard, during a hearing in September, that Mr Willmott, who was unemployed at the time, applied for a petrol station console operator's position which was advertised on Woolworths' website.

The tribunal heard that Mr Willmott was required to provide answers to certain mandatory fields, which included his gender, date of birth and proof of his right to work in Australia.

Mr Willmott did not complete the application because he was offended with Woolworths' insistence on the provision of the information and subsequently lodged a complaint with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Woolworths conceded at the hearing the request for the private information could amount to discriminatory conduct, but said the information was reasonably required for purposes that did not involve discrimination.

The company argued that it had a legislative responsibility not to employ unlawful non-citizens, as defined in the Commonwealth Migration Act.

Tribunal member Richard Oliver, in handing down his decision, said he was satisfied that Woolworths' conduct had contravened anti-discrimination legislation.

Mr Oliver ordered Woolworths compensate Mr Willmott to the tune of $5000 which took into account embarrassment, humiliation and some notional amount for the loss of a chance.

He ordered the money be paid before December 19.

Irony ----> Political and media establishment use social media to complain about social media

Queensland Premier, Health, Community Services and Housing Ministers remain unaccountable and invisible.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman addresses the media offering support to NSW police and Premier Mike Baird. [VIDEO]

Image: @Y7News [15/12/14]

 

There is no reason why these questions can't be asked by journalists:

1. Where is the Queensland Premier?

2. Where are the responsible Ministers?

3. Will there be a full investigation and/or urgent reporting into every aspect of government involvement in the Manoora tragedy i.e. housing, family and welfare services, mental health?

Maintaining that the matter is under investigation by police and therefore these issues cannot be discussed is censorship.  

It is only natural - and certainly not illegal - that social media conversations are are going to fill the journalistic (and leadership) void.

The opposition is useless. 

The media won't speak truth to power because they're frauds.

Young people and revolutionary ideas (mostly accessible via the internet and social media) threaten to knock anointed academics and opinionators off their privileged spot on the comfortable fringe.

This can't come soon enough - we need to reclaim our civil society. 

Spain: Thousands protest Public Security Law

TELESur [20/12/14]:

Thousands voiced their opposition against the recently passed anti-protest law in Spain this weekend.

On Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated in several Spanish cities to protest Spain's new anti-protest bill known as the Public Security law.

The law was approved by conservative-led Spanish parliament and sets hefty fines burning the national flag and protesting outside parliament buildings.

Political opposition and activists claim that the law violates their right to protest and limits freedom of expression. They also cite that the law will give more power to the police.

"The law or law proposal for public security basically tries to, in summary, criminalize public protest. I think the government is trying to manage through administrative sanctions, through repression, a social conflict generated by the dismantling of the welfare state," said Judge Ignacio Gonzalez Vega.

The bill will go to the senate where it is expected to pass due to conservative leadership. The Spanish government presented the law in response to growing demonstrations against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's rising unpopularity.

The largest protests across the country were in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid. Demonstrations were also held in cities such as Almeria, Granada and Valencia.

Turkey: Dozens arrested as police disperse Ankara education protest

Daily Star [20/12/14]:

Dozens of demonstrators were arrested Saturday in the Turkish capital Ankara as police used pepper spray and water cannon to disperse a protest in favor of secular education.

Police moved in on the protest, organized by labor unions, in the Kizilay district of Ankara with protesters forced to take cover from the jets of water and pepper spray, an AFP photographer reported.

Some reports said as many as 100 people may have been arrested, including the head of the Egitim-Is education union Veli Demir.

Many activists have been angered by the interventions of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the Turkish education system that they allege have undermined the country's secularity.

The government lifted a ban on female students wearing the Islamic headscarf in high schools and has encouraged the opening of Imam Hatip schools which mix religious education with a modern curriculum.

Why the phone-hacking affair has left Rupert Murdoch better off

Economist [20/12/14]:

... However, corporate karma turns out to be more lenient than business schools lead students to believe. Far from watching their empire crumble, Mr Murdoch and his family have more than doubled their wealth since the scandal broke. Mr Murdoch, who is 83, remains firmly in charge, and his sons, Lachlan and James, seem better placed than ever to succeed him one day.

The Murdoch clan’s resilience points to an overlooked reality in business: sometimes a loss can turn into an unexpected win. The crisis forced Mr Murdoch, a devoted newspaperman, to make difficult choices that he never would have in calmer circumstances. When the extent of the phone-hacking was uncovered, he promptly closed the News of the World, which he had owned since 1969 and whose sales had been falling since the 1980s. His ambitions to take over BSkyB frustrated, he handed some of News Corp’s spare cash back to investors, in the form of buy-backs that boosted its share price.

More momentous for shareholders, Mr Murdoch agreed to split his company in two, separating its high-growth film and television assets from the declining newspaper business, which was exposed to the scandal’s legal liabilities. Investors had been calling for such a split for years, but had no power to force it, because of the group’s dual-class equity structure. To please them further Mr Murdoch handed more power to Chase Carey, an executive whom investors trust more than they do his boss.

All this has had a remarkable effect on the businesses’ combined value. An analysis by Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm, reckoned that even after the $500m or so in legal fees and other costs incurred over the phone-hacking scandal, shareholders probably made around $2.6 billion more than if the Murdochs had pursued the BSkyB deal instead. It is an echo of what happened in 1911, a century before the hacking scandal, when John Rockefeller, an oil tycoon as unpopular as Mr Murdoch was during the scandal, was hit with a huge antitrust fine and had his Standard Oil empire broken up. Its pieces proved to be worth far more apart than together, making Rockefeller richer than ever.

...

The single largest factor in the underlying deterioration of the federal budget announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey in December was a cash payout of almost $900 million to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.  ... [Australian Financial Review - 17/2/14]

And not one journalist will ask the Prime Minister whether racism and policies of austerity have gone too  far in Australia

PM #reshuffle presser at the same time as police will update the media on #Manoora murder charges.

"tweeted" by @Brentus88 - Brent Davidson  Media/PR guy at QPS Media [21/12/14]

Queensland media pats itself on back for pissweak Manoora reporting while Premier, Health, Community Services and Housing Ministers remain unaccountable and invisible

QPS Media [21/12/14]:

Northern Region detectives have charged a woman in relation to the deaths of eight children in a house in Manoora on Friday, December 19.  

The 37-year-old local woman was charged with eight counts of murder, and appeared before a magistrate in a bedside hearing at the Cairns Base Hospital this morning.  

The woman was remanded in police custody, and currently remains in hospital.

Police looking for man missing from health facility, Wacol

QPS Media [21/12/14]:

Queensland Police are currently looking for 28-year-old David Terelinck who failed to return to The Park Centre for Mental Health in Wacol on December 17.

Mr. Terelinck, who is also known as David Casper, was granted community leave as part of his treatment plan on December 17 but failed to return by curfew.

Mr. Terelinck is described as Caucasian, 176cms tall with a slim build, short brown hair, with tattoos on both arms.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Terelinck or has any information in relation to his current whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Man allegedly threatens driver with tomahawk, Sydney

West Australian [21/12/14]:

An 81-year-old man has allegedly threatened a Sydney driver with a tomahawk during a parking dispute.

Police went to Flemington Markets on Saturday morning following reports an elderly man was waving a tomahawk around.

They allegedly found a hatchet on the floor of his car, along with a knife and a loaded .22 calibre pistol.

He was later charged with six offences, including possessing an unauthorised and unregistered pistol.

He was ordered to surrender all firearms, ammunition and his firearms licence, and was bailed to appear in Burwood Local Court on January 20.

Death of woman at Charles Creek town camp in Alice Springs is suspicious, police say

ABC [21/12/14]:

A woman's death at an Alice Springs town camp is being treated as suspicious, police say.

The 36-year-old's body was found in a house at Charles Creek, at the base of Anzac Hill in the centre of town, at about 8:00am (ACST) on Saturday.

It follows the death of a 34-year-old woman at the camp in August 2013.

In 2006, then federal human services minister Joe Hockey described the Alice Springs town camps as "ghettos of despair".

In June 2008, a 35-year-old woman died after being beaten around the upper body and head with an iron bar.

The Charles Creek camp also featured in a police investigation into the death of a 33-year-old man in Alice Springs in February 2013.

Five men were charged with murder after the body of a local man was found in a ditch alongside Stuart Highway near Alice Springs.

Police alleged the men travelled to the New Ilparpa town camp south of Alice Springs, assaulted the victim, and then drove him back to Charles Creek camp.

A sixth man was charged as an accessory after the fact.

Fatal traffic crash, Rocksberg

QPS Media [20/12/14]:

A motorcyclist has died following a traffic crash at Rocksberg, south-west of Caboolture, this afternoon.

Initial investigations indicate just after 2pm a motorcycle and a car have collided head-on on Old North Road.

The motorcyclist a 77-year-old Highfields man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the cause of the crash.

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.

 

Dishonest and misleading use of old photo.

Where is the proof?

Caption reads: "The last children held in detention on Christmas Island have been flown to the Australian mainland."  

[Last child removed from Christmas Island - West Australian – 21/12/14]

 

157 Tamil asylum seekers will seek compensation for their being detained at sea for three weeks  [Daily Mail - 27/7/14]

 

 

The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing against a white stone. . . .


Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly 'way up high.

It went away I'm sure because it wished to kiss the world good-bye.


For seven weeks I've lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.

But I have found what I love here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.


That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don't live in here, in the ghetto.

 

'The Butterfly', Pavel Friedman

 

Where is the proof these families, children have been released from Christmas Island refugee concentration camp?

ABC [21/12/14]:

The last asylum seeker children being detained on Christmas Island have been moved to the mainland, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says.

Mr Morrison said a total of 194 people in family groups, including 94 children, were transferred on three separate charter flights from Christmas Island over the last week

"These families are now being accommodated at the Bladin Point facility in Darwin while arrangements continue to release them into the community," he said.

He said it had always been the Government's policy to place as many children into the community as possible, especially young children.

"The Government has been reducing the number of children in held detention across the country since coming to office," he said.

The minister said moving the children to the mainland was "consistent with the Government's commitment following the passage of legislation to resolve Labor's asylum legacy caseload".

"A record number of more than 8,000 children arrived on illegal boats under the previous government.

"In July last year a baby was among 18 people who died at sea in attempts to reach Australia illegally by boat."

He said asylum seekers who are transferred to offshore processing centres will continue to be assessed by the Governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea in line with Australia's agreements with both countries.

"Not only are children no longer arriving after dangerous illegal boat journeys, the Government's successful border protection policies have enabled us to return to a situation where no more children are detained on Christmas Island," Mr Morrison said.

Without evidence these children attended school, this story is just propaganda.

ABC [20/12/14]:

When teachers from the Catholic Education Office travelled to Christmas Island to set up a school for asylum seeker children, they knew they would be working with a traumatised group of young people.

 "One of the stories from the teachers was a story about hopping on the bus and of course [a] student said, 'Is there a bomb on the bus?'" the office's West Australian executive director Tim McDonald said.

Another time, two young boys were arguing.

"A boy was remonstrating that he was going to kill another student if he kept doing that and they were four-year-olds," he said.

Ten teachers and eight teachers' aides returned to Perth on Thursday night after six months on the remote Indian Ocean territory, which is 2,600km north-west of Perth.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced an agreement with the Catholic group in mid-June to set up a learning centre inside the Phosphate Hill camp for families and unaccompanied minors, to provide full-time education services for about 150 asylum seeker children.

Mr McDonald said an astounding 176 people had applied for the 18 jobs and the centre was set up within weeks.

It was supposed to be a one-year contract, but that ended abruptly this month when the Senate passed changes to immigration laws, re-introducing temporary protection visas.

...

As much as possible, it was run like any other school with a fence around it within the family compound, a set starting time, and parent drop-offs.

Parents could also stay in the classroom for a short time.

"It was no different from a classroom you would have here in Perth," Mr McDonald said.

At an open day for the mix of Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Rohingya children, aged between four and 18, they were given a hat, shirt, pencil case and backpack.

They were split into four groups according to English language proficiency and told to be at school by 8:20am.

It was a radical change for the teenage unaccompanied minors.

"They've had no routine in their lives, staying up to all hours, basically coming and going as they pleased within a confined area," he said.

"So we're actually giving structure and routine."

Mr McDonald said there had been a change of mood among the camp's parents.

"It gave them hope something was being done and they could transfer the skills after," he said.

It also gave parents more time: a women's-only fitness class grew from just a few people to more than 40.

...

 ...  They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement"  ...  

[Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]

Bomona War Cemetery, PNG

Scott Morrison's office has confirmed the mew immi detention centre at Bomana is going ahead. #PNG

"tweeted" by @Liam_Cochrane ABC PNG correspondent [17/12/14]

RNZI [20/12/14]:

The Manus MP Ronnie Knight says he doubts whether any of the the asylum seekers held at Australia's detention centre on Manus Island and found to be refugees will be permanently resettled in Papua New Guinea. [Refugee resettlement is not possible without the involvement of the UNHCR.]

The first fifty asylum seekers determined to be refugees from the Manus processing centre are soon to enter a transit facility before fully entering the PNG community.

The government says the refugees will be resettled where jobs that match their skills are available.

But Mr Knight says there is already a chronic lack of employment opportunities for Papua New Guineans.

He says the refugees, who are mainly from the Middle East and Asia, will be hard pressed to fit in.

"I cannot envisage anyone - unless they have specialist skills that this country needs and they apply for citizenship and they go through all the proper prospcts of being a PNG citizen and they have to have a certain amount of money, business interests or family in PNG and they have to live in the country for a certain number of years like anybody else - I don't think that any of them will meet that criteria."

Australia's Foreign Minister thinks pretty pictures take the focus off her responsibility for crimes against humanity

 

 Discussing women's economic and political participation in #PNG w Goroka Governor Julie Soso and @JanePrentice_MP

Image: @JulieBishopMP [17/12/14]

...  Fairfax Media revealed in June his allegations that he was intentionally being denied medical treatment to ease painful complications from severe burns, in a bid to convince him to return home. ...  [Sydney Morning Herald - 20/12/14]

Similarly ---> Appointment of Julia Gillard to beyondblue [Minister for Health Media Release - 18/12/14]:

The Minister for Health Peter Dutton today congratulated beyondblue on the appointment of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to its board.

The former Prime Minister has a lengthy record of public service to the country and will bring her considerable experience to the organisation.

beyondblue has played a significant part in stigma reduction and mental health issues since its formation and receives bipartisan support.

As founding and current chairman of beyondblue, former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has shown exceptional leadership in building an organisation that has played a major role in changing community attitudes to mental illness.

The Commonwealth has provided around $30 million in the current financial year to support the work of beyondblue. Improving mental health services for Australians who experience mental ill health has the support of all sides of politics.

The Australian Government is committed to building a world class mental health system that delivers appropriate services and support for those experiencing mental ill health.

We look forward to continue working with organisations like beyondblue to achieve those outcomes.

The asylum seekers whose drowned bodies were left in the Indian Ocean by Australian authorities are believed to have been Hazaras fleeing Afghanistan. ... [Guardian - 11/6/13]

Four detainees released from Guantanamo Bay to Afghanistan

LA Times [20/12/14]:

The Pentagon announced Saturday that four detainees have been sent home to Afghanistan from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as part of the U.S. government's ongoing release of former terrorism suspects who have been held for years..

Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani, and Mohammed Zahir are the latest identified suspects to be released from the detention center at the U.S. naval base in southern Cuba, according to a Pentagon statement.

"The United States is grateful to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," the statement said.

...

North Pole: Santa swamped by millions of letters

UN Media Release [19/12/14]:

With Christmas less than a week away, Santa and his helpers have been busy receiving stacks of letters from children around the world, according to the United Nations postal agency, which estimates the total this year will climb above 7 million.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) released data this week showing that Posts in countries around the world have been going the extra mile as 25 December approaches, making sure that mail addressed to Santa Claus and other popular holiday figures – from the Three Wise Men and Saint Nicholas to Ded Moroz – gets the attention it deserves.

Although the global total of letters handled by elves in Santa’s mail room remains stable, Canadian and French Posts saw record numbers of letters processed last year, with the high volumes projected to repeat in 2014, according to UPU, which is a specialized agency of the UN.

Canadian elves replied to letters written in more than 30 languages, including Braille, many of which were addressed to Santa using his own special postal code: H0H 0H0.

In Portugal, Santa Claus (Pai Natal) is making sure some 2,000 disadvantaged children see their Christmas wishes come true. Their letters are published on a dedicated website and available at post offices across the country. Anyone can sponsor a letter and offer a child the gift they wished for. Correios delivers these packages free of charge, on behalf of Pai Natal, of course.

“Toys still dominate the Christmas wishes, but requests for clothes, pets or even brothers and sisters are increasing,” says Isabel Tavares of Correios Portugal.

A similar pattern was identified in Sweden, where Santa’s post office received about 22,000 letters last year.

“Santa receives letters from kids all over the world, many from Asia. They often send wishes for good fortune and good health rather than toys. The latter are more common for the European kids,” says Maria Ibsen of Swedish Post.

On the other side of the Atlantic, 20 post offices across the US are participating in the “Letters to Santa” programme. In New York City, where about 500,000 letters are processed each year, the program is nicknamed ‘Operation Santa’.

Because Santa is a universal superstar, he has addresses in many parts of the world. Posts often use this time of the year to teach children about the importance of properly addressing letters to their favourite holiday figure.

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has its headquarters in Berne, Switzerland’s capital. It is the world’s second oldest intergovernmental organization and has been a United Nations specialized agency since 1948.

 

21 December 2014

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