We condemn a doctor for practising in Syria yet Australian doctors will soon sign an oath of allegiance to work in refugee torture camps?
“The continuous bombing of civilian targets here by the coalition has done nothing but disappoint me of the country I once loved so much.”
Notorious Australian doctor Tareq Kamleh — sometimes known as Abu Yousef Al-Australie after he travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State — has declared on Facebook he will never return to Australia and doesn't care if authorities cancel his Australian passport.
Dr. Kamleh, who is believed to have grown up in Perth, came to Australia's attention in April when he was featured in an ISIS propaganda video. In the clip, the doctor appears to be working in a paediatric hospital in Raqqa, Syria and urges other medical practitioners to join him.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and South Australia Police issued a warrant for Dr. Kamleh's arrest on Thursday. He is wanted for membership of a terrorist organisation, recruiting for a terrorist organisation and for entering, or remaining in, an area the government has deemed a no-go area due to terrorism, according to joint statement issued by law enforcement.
Addressing the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on Facebook Sunday, Dr. Kamleh wrote he was unconcerned if the medical association cancelled his registration and said that he intended to stay in the Middle East. "I have no concern if you cancel my passport," he added.
"I anticipated an arrest warrant, hence why I left in secret," Dr. Kamleh wrote in response to the move by the AFP.
"None of the case you put forward has indicated to me a malicious character on my behalf and it is this injustice within the Australian judicial system that was a catalyst for me to leave."
Dr. Kamleh's statement comes amidst a furious debate in Australia over whether alleged terrorists should lose their Australian passport. Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to give the immigration minister the power to strip suspected terrorists of their citizenship, even without trial, if they are a dual national.
Concerns have been raised by members of the legal profession, however, who say the plan may be unconstitutional. Some government ministers within Abbott's own Liberal Party have also indicated they are concerned about the proposal's legality, Fairfax Media has reported.
In May, Dr. Kamleh posted an open letter on his Facebook account denying he was brainwashed into joining ISIS and countering reports from former colleagues and friends that he had been a heavy-drinking womaniser. He wrote that his choice to travel to Syria had been a thought-out, calculated decision and said he had "finally returned home."
He has since posted an image of an x-ray on Facebook, writing that the "Pathology here is incredible," as well as a photo of an underweight baby apparently in hospital.
Dr. Kamleh will be "immediately" arrested if he returns to Australia, according to the AFP.
... The federal government will now also require Australian Border Force staff – which could include medical personnel – to sign an oath affirming their loyalty to the organisation.
A copy of the oath was recently tabled by the immigration minister, Peter Dutton. It requires staff to affirm: “I will uphold the significant trust that is placed in me as a result of my role. I will, to the best of my ability, skill and knowledge, faithfully and professionally discharge all my duties according to law, and in such a manner that at all times upholds the good reputation of the Australian Border Force.” [Guardian - 19/6/15]
Surgeon who cut away child's hip bone displayed 'unsatisfactory professional performance' [Canberra Times - 19/6/15]
UN Report: Israel in Regular Contact with Syrian Rebels including ISIS [IB Times - 7/12/14]:
A report submitted to the United Nations Security Council by UN observers in the Golan Heights over the past 18 months shows that Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been in regular contact with Syrian rebels, including Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
Citing the UN report, Haaretz noted that there have been several instances detailed in the report that shows close ties between Syrian armed rebels and Israeli army.
According to the UN report, a person wounded on 15 September "was taken by armed members of the opposition across the ceasefire line, where he was transferred to a civilian ambulance escorted by an IDF vehicle."
Moreover, from 9-19 November, the "UNDOF observed at least 10 wounded persons being transferred by armed members of the opposition from the Bravo side across the ceasefire line to IDF."
As per the details released by the Israel's health ministry, so far some 1,000 Syrians have been treated in four Israeli hospitals. Besides the civilians, some are members of the secular Free Syrian Army rebel group.
Israel initially had maintained that it was treating only civilians. However, reports claimed that earlier last month members of Israel's Druze minority protested the hospitalisation of wounded Syrian fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Israel.
A statement issued by a group of Druze activists accused the Israeli government of supporting radical Sunni factions such as the Islamic State (ISIS).
Replying to a question by i24News on whether Israel has given medical assistance to members of al-Nusra and Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS), a Israeli military spokesman's office said: "In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity."
The UN report also laid out instances where in Israeli army was seen interacting with armed rebels. In one incident, the report claimed that the IDF gave some boxes to the Syrian armed rebels.
Melbourne man racially abused and beaten unconscious
Nine MSN [21/6/15]:
Police are hunting three men who racially abused a Melbourne man before beating him unconscious in a car park overnight.
CCTV shows the victim walking along Chapel Street in Prahran when he is suddenly racially abused by three men at around 3.20am.
The 33-year-old victim attempted to walk away but the trio pursued him down a side street, before two of the men beat the victim unconscious twice in 30 seconds.
Detective Senior Constable Katie Johnston said the attack was "particularly brutal".
"Police are sickened, we've seen it and it's disgusting to be honest," she said.
"They've kicked him several times to the head and to the upper body and rendered him unconscious.
"He then regained consciousness and they kicked him again and to the upper body and rendering him further unconscious."
The victim had been drinking alone at Blue Bar, 200m from where cameras captured the beginning of the unprovoked attack.
The St Kilda man is in the Alfred Hospital in a stable condition with serious facial injuries.
One of the attackers was caught on camera running up Princes Close back towards Chapel Street after the assault.
Police wish to speak with all three men caught on camera.
The first man is perceived to be of Islander appearance, tall and with a solid build and short black dreadlocks.
At the time of the attack he was wearing a tight maroon t-shirt, black fitted pants and black shoes. He may have a tattoo on his left bicep.
The second man is of Caucasian appearance, tall with a solid build and short black hair.
At the time of the attack he was wearing a tight maroon t-shirt with dark fitted pants and dark shoes.
The third man is of Caucasian appearance with short dark hair and a solid build.
At the time of the attack he was wearing a tight black t-shirt with a large square motif on the front, black fitted pants and black shoes.
Anyone with information about the attack is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Appeal for witness to a serious traffic crash at Willowbank on Thursday
QPS Media [21/6/15]:
Police investigating a serious traffic crash at Willowbank on Thursday are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Just before 1pm a maroon tip truck with dog trailer was travelling towards Ipswich on the Cunningham Highway when it collided hit head on with a silver Honda Civic hatchback.
The truck and trailer tipped onto their side and the Honda was extensively damaged.
The truck driver was not physically injured as a result of the crash.
The driver and one passenger from the car received non-life threatening injuries.
A second passenger from the car, a 36-year-old woman, remains at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical condition.
Forensic Crash Unit Officers are appealing for witnesses to the crash or anyone who saw either vehicle prior to the crash to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police in toy dinosaur case accused of causing Rickey Caton to lose his job
Canberra Times [21/6/15]:
Rickey Caton was having a bad week. The 31-year-old had already allegedly been assaulted and falsely charged by police after cheekily producing his daughter's toy dinosaur during a roadside police stop.
Then, he says, the boss called him in to say he was out of a job as a removalist.
"The operations manager comes in and says 'We've got no more work for you,' " Mr Caton said.
"I said, 'Mate, I've got three kids.' "
Queanbeyan Local Court has heard that the sacking may not have been an unfortunate coincidence.
The court was told that, a few days after what has come to be known as "the dinosaur incident", one and possibly two of the police officers involved visited Mr Caton's workplace and spoke to his boss.
Less than a week after that, Mr Caton's role as a removalist was terminated, along with that of a friend who was also involved, Adam Antram.
"You've deliberately gone to see the boss of these two young men in their workplace to undermine their employment?" Mr Caton's barrister, Steven Boland, asserted to Senior Constable Patrick Hicks during his client's hearing on charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police.
"No," Constable Hicks replied.
The constable told the court that he had gone to the men's workplace because he needed to serve Mr Antram with a court attendance notice, having been unable to find him at home.
He said he could not remember to whom he spoke but said he had not revealed that Mr Caton and Mr Antram had been charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest.
In sworn statements and testimony before the court, Constable Hicks and his colleague, Senior Constable Todd Finnegan, said that, after Mr Caton and his mates had been pulled over on suspicion of involvement in a violent home invasion, the 31-year-old had been "rummaging around his pockets … possibly for a weapon".
This was why he was pulled from the car, forced to the ground and handcuffed, they said.
The constables also said Mr Antram had charged Constable Finnegan, necessitating a "check drill", which resulted in him being shoved into a retaining wall.
But their own colleague, Constable Lucie Litchfield, said that Mr Antram had not threatened anyone and expressed the view that constables Hicks and Finnegan had "corroborated" each other's stories.
The police prosecutor withdrew all charges in the middle of Constable Litchfield's evidence, and lawyers for Mr Caton and Mr Antram are now applying for the NSW Police to pay their substantial legal costs.
In written submissions to the court, Mr Boland said the NSW Police knew that their case contained not only contradictory evidence, but evidence of serious criminal activity by two police officers.
"The NSW Police failed to appreciate that the more serious allegations of criminality pertained to the officers in charge of the investigation rather than the people who were being prosecuted," Mr Boland said.
"The misjudgment displayed by the continuing prosecution of this matter, all the while knowing that there was a major internal allegation of corruption that went to the heart of the proceedings, is regrettable in the extreme."
A NSW Police spokesman said the matter was the
subject of an internal police investigation.
Driver hits pedestrian before crashing into fish and chip shop in Sydney's south
Nine MSN [21/6/15]:
A car has crashed into a fish and chip shop after colliding with a pedestrian in Sydney's south.
The vehicle was being driven by a 90-year-old woman when hit the Naked Fish business on Connells Point Road in South Hurstville at around 11:45am.
Her car had first hit a female pedestrian and her car before it ploughed into the shop.
The elderly driver, the pedestrian and a female passenger in the second car were all taken to St George Hospital with minor injuries.
The shop has major structural damage and police are investigating.
Burglary with violence, Edens Landing
QPS Media [21/6/15]:
Police are investigating following an incident that occurred in Edens Landing last night.
Around 7.45pm, three men have attended a residence on Kummara Road and have claimed to be police officers with a search warrant.
The men have entered the house with one believed to be in possession of a gun and have demanded the two residents, a man and woman both aged 23, remain in a room while they have searched the house.
The men have then left the residence in a vehicle. No cash or property was taken and the two residents were not physically harmed.
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.
Queensland Cup league player critically injured during game
A Queensland Cup rugby league player has been critically injured during a game in Brisbane.
Sunshine Coast Falcons forward James Ackerman, 25 is in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital after suffering a head injury during in a match against Norths Devils at Bishop Park, in Nundah on Saturday.
More than a hundred people have posted messages of support for the father-of-two on Facebook.
Federal Court fines CFMEU $545,000
The CFMEU and five of its union officials have been fined a total $545,000 for unlawful coercion at a Brisbane housing project.
The fines, imposed by the Federal Court on Friday, relate to "verbal threats" and a week-long hindering of access to the site for Grocon employees and other workers.
"Regrettably, the conduct outlined in this case is but day-to-day activity on Australian building and construction sites," said Nigel Hadgkiss, director of the Australian government's Fair Work Building and Construction which took the case to court.
The construction union CFMEU will pay about $3.5 million to building giant Grocon to settle a civil case against it over illegal blockades to a series of Grocon Melbourne building sites. … [Nine MSN – 21/6/15]
Bill Shorten, the man who grew good at manipulating Labor's machine [Canberra Times - 21/6/15]
ALP “outrage” over closure of Mount Isa CWA branch [North West Star – 21/6/15]
Passing of former Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke AO MBE
GCCC Media Release [18/6/15]:
Statement from Mayor Tom Tate
City of Gold Coast is saddened to learn of the passing of former Mayor Ron Clarke AO MBE.
Mr Clarke will be remembered for his significant contribution to Australian sport and an eight year local government career.
The City has been in contact with the Clarke family who have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.
Statement from City of Gold Coast CEO Dale Dickson
I had the privilege of working with Ron in his time as Mayor of the city from 2004 to 2012, and am personally saddened at his passing.
Whilst Ron was a very public figure, he was a very private person.
He will be greatly missed.
Sri Lanka not investigating Australian payment to repel refugee boat
Colombo Gazette [21/6/15]:
The Foreign Ministry said that Sri Lanka is not a party to the allegations raised over the incident involving the boat with asylum seekers reportedly turned back by Australia recently and therefore, the question of any investigation does not arise.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said this in response to a question raised by the Colombo Gazette if Sri Lanka is investigating the alleged incident.
“As you know, the boat had not originated from Sri Lanka. What we understand is that most of the people concerned have been registered with UNHCR even before they set off on this journey. As you know, the journey originated in Indonesia itself and not in Sri Lanka. Whether Sri Lanka will take anyone back would depend on whether any one of them wants to return to Sri Lanka. It is a voluntary process which should be initiated by the individuals concerned. If someone expresses interest in returning to Sri Lanka, then the UNHCR/IOM officials would bring that to the attention of the Sri Lanka Mission in Jakarta. So far, from the information we have, no one has indicated any interest in returning to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is not a party to the allegations. Therefore, the question of any investigation does not arise,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
IOM, Australian High Commission and PNG immigration officials hijack PNG's first World Refugee Day by pretending the death camp on Manus Island doesn't exist
EMTV [VIDEO - 20/6/15]:
Today marked a significant year for Papua New Guinea as it celebrated its first ever world refugee day at the Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby.
Representatives from the Australian Immigration and the United Nations International Organization for Migration [IOM] including the West Papua Representative were all there to witness the world refugee day.
Singer Song Writer, Anslom Nakikus, was awarded a certificate by the PNG immigration, as the PNG Refugee Ambassador.
Many who attended the world refugee day described it as a very special occasion for all Papua New Guinean and a time to take the opportunity to pay tribute to honour the strengths and resilience of the refugee in the country as well as those around the world.
Community leader for West Papua Refugee praised the work of the PNG Government for their helping hand towards refugee in the country including the assistance provided by the UN organisations [IOM].
Scott Mann, Representative from the Australian Immigration and High Commission expressed similar consents regarding refugees not just in PNG but around the world.
He said across the world today, many refugees are seen displaced and need our helping hand, as they have experienced a lot through conflicts, persecution and many other for of violence.
Singer Song writer and international recording artist Anslom Nakikus is the first Papua New Guinean to volunteer, to show his respects to the refugee community as the First PNG Refugee Ambassador for PNG.
I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.
Antonio Gramsci: Letter from Prison (19
December 1929); also attributed to Romain Rolland.
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 20/6/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Raqqah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL motorcycle.
-- Near Tal Abyad, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Qaim, one airstrike struck an ISIL checkpoint, destroying an ISIL storage container.
-- Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Fallujah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Mosul, six airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, three ISIL staging areas and an ISIL tank, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL building.
-- Near Ramadi, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL buildings, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL sniper position.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
Afghanistan: 14 civilians killed, 5 wounded in Helmand roadside bomb explosion [Khaama - 20/6/15]:
At least 14 civilians were killed and 5 others were wounded in an explosion which targeted a civilian vehicle in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.
The incident took place earlier this evening in Marjah district after a car carrying civilian struck with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the anti-government armed militants.
The provincial governor spokesman Omar Zwak confirmed the incident and said a number of children and women were also among those killed or wounded.
No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Taliban militants and insurgents from the other militant groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces which normally leads to civilian casualties.
Officials confirm beheading of a man by ISIS affiliates in Nangarhar [Khaama – 20/6/15]
Palestinian wounded near site of fatal West Bank attack [Yahoo – 20/6/15]
Indonesian NGO Says Donation-Funded Hospital in Gaza Ready for President Joko to Launch [Jakarta Globe – 20/6/15]
9 people shot, one person dead at a Detroit basketball court [NBC25 - 20/6/15]:
WDIV in Detroit reports nine people have been shot at a basketball court on Dexter Avenue and Webb Street leaving one person killed and one in critical condition.
The incident occurred on the city's west side.
The Detroit Free Press reports the shooting happen at a block party where a 46-year-old man was in criticcal condition and the other men 21, and 26-years-old are in serious condition.
Police are still investigating the shooting and there are no other details at this time.
Unarmed man shot by LAPD officer [LA Times – 20/6/15]
New Orleans police officer killed while transporting suspect [Yahoo – 20/6/15]
Judge Who Presided Over Dylann Roof Bond Hearing Was Reprimanded for
Racial Slur [NBC - 20/6/15]:
The judge who oversaw a bond hearing for a man accused of fatally shooting nine people at a historic black church in Charleston was previously reprimanded for using a racial slur while on the bench.
Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who presided over confessed gunman Dylann Roof's bond hearing on Friday, made the comments in a courtroom over a decade ago.
Gosnell was reprimanded by the state Supreme Court in 2005 for telling a black defendant in 2003, "There are four kinds of people in this world: black people, white people, rednecks, and n******." …
Why I Chose Charleston: Dylann Roof's Apparent Manifesto Surfaces [ICH – 20/6/15]
From the Archives : Michael Moore on Gun Violence and "Bowling For Columbine" [Democracy Now – 27/7/12]:
… AMY GOODMAN: Wow! So it is breaking box office records already. Talk a little about Bowling for Columbine in this time, in this day, in the United States.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, the film, probably I should say right from the beginning, is — really isn’t about guns or Columbine or school shootings. I mean, it is the jumping-off point in the film, but what I wanted to say in this movie goes far beyond that. I wanted to take a look at why — you know, when the NRA says, "Guns kill” — “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people," I sort of — I came to believe that they were partially right when they say that, except I would alter it to "Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people,” because we’re the only ones who do this. And we do it not just personally and locally, we do it globally.
And I wanted to take a look at the connections between the kind of local and personal violence to our global violence and why we always want to just run in and, you know, bomb another country because we don’t like what they’re doing. So that is sort of the journey through the film.
And I wanted to know, too, why Canada, who turns out to have — they’ve got like seven million guns and ten million homes — why they have all these guns laying around, and they don’t shoot each other, and what is it about their society that’s different from ours. And so, that became, you know, the sort of mission of the movie, but through my particular eye and lens in the way that I, you know, am wont to look at things.
World no closer to Cold War-style nuclear standoff, Putin tells global media chiefs
Russia’s deployment of 40 additional nuclear ballistic missiles in response to the US military buildup in Europe doesn’t mean the world is at greater risk of a nuclear war, President Vladimir Putin told the heads of global news agencies.
The Russian head of state held a late-night meeting with top executives from 12 foreign news agencies on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Most of the event was held behind closed doors and not recorded.
The extra deployment is necessary to protect Russia and is a response to a growing threat from the West, Putin explained as EFE, a Spanish news agency, later quoted him as saying.
Pentagon is reportedly considering placing additional American heavy weapons, including artillery, in Europe. Washington says it is needed to protect its NATO allies from an aggressive Russia.
“Russia is not an aggressor and does not favor increasing the level of tension… but is obliged to respond to Western actions targeting Moscow,” EFE cited Putin as saying, without using direct quotes.
The meeting was apparently held under so-called Chatham House rules, where participants’ comments cannot be reported directly without their express permission.
“The increase in belligerent rhetoric between Russia and the US does not mean the world is at greater risk of nuclear confrontation,” the agency added, summarizing the Russian leader’s response.
Putin also commented on the seizures of Russian state property in European countries, intended to enforce a Hague court ruling to pay billions of dollars in damages to shareholders of the now-defunct oil giant Yukos. The Russian president said Russia cannot fail to react to the asset seizures, but would not elaborate, saying it was up to lawyers to come up with a solution.
He added that the arbitration court’s decision to order Russia to pay $50 billion in compensation is based on the European Energy Charter, which Russia has not ratified. It makes the decision unlawful, because the court was acting beyond its jurisdiction, Putin said, according to EFE.
Commenting on the recent G7 summit in Bavaria and the statement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Russia was not welcome in the group, Putin implied that Harper would act as instructed by Washington on this issue.
"I don't want to offend anyone, but if the United States says Russia should be returned to the G8, [Canada's] prime minister will change his opinion," Putin told The Canadian Press.
Putin reiterated his calls for Western powers to pressure the government of Ukraine to stick to its obligations under February’s Minsk peace agreement, a ceasefire deal between Kiev and rebels in the east of the country, which appears to have completely broken down in the past few weeks. The Russian president also said that the government of Petro Poroshenko must stop the economic blockade of the rebels in the east, implement constitutional reform and call local elections in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, AP reports.
Putin denied allegations by Kiev and its foreign backers that Moscow is sending troops and weapons to eastern Ukraine. He said that once Kiev stops trying to solve the crisis by force, and the Ukrainian government returns to seeking a political resolution to the crisis, the rebels would no longer need to take up weapons to defend themselves.
In response to other questions, Putin defended Russia’s right to host the FIFA 2018 World Cup, insisting that the country had won the right to host the event fairly. He said that people claiming that the selection was marred by corruption in FIFA should present the evidence of their allegations.
Thousands march through Berlin for peace and in support of refugees, Greece
Deutsche Welle [20/6/15]:
Thousands have demonstrated in Berlin for World Refugee Day, while calling for a solution in crisis talks with Greece.
Protesters said Europe should adopt a more open and understanding approach to both issues.
The demonstrations were hosted by Germany's opposition Left and Green parties, as well as several other related movements.
Local authorities said around 3,700 people attended the demonstrations, chanting slogans welcoming refugees and against deportation.
The organizers behind the "Remake.Europe" rally said numbers were closer to 10,000.
"In light of the mass casualties in the Mediterranean and the brutal austerity measures in the European south, the limits of acceptance have long since been reached," the group's website read.
"We want to publicly declare on the streets of Berlin: This Europe is not acting in our name."
Protesters gathered in the bohemian Kreuzberg district in the city's south to hear speeches by politicians, including Theano Fotiou, Greece's deputy minister for social solidarity, before making their way to the Brandenburg Gate.
"We are demonstrating for a Europe of solidarity and peace," Fotiou said. "For a Europe of the people, not the bankers."
The Bourbon #Argos rescued 730 people in the Med yesterday. 1 overcrowded fishing boat carried 345 people
Transfer between #MSF boats: nearly 300 people rescued by #Dignity I yesterday, then welcomed on Bourbon #Argos
... 106 people rescued today by the #MSF boat #Dignity I. They were travelling on an inflatable boat. ...
When I got in the boat I thought about my family not myself. In this situation you just have to be brave. ...
65-year old Mohamed from Afghanistan is helped by #MSF staff inside the Captain Elias hotel on Kos. ...
A family from Afghanistan at the port of Kos. ..
One day soon those responsible for these atrocious human rights abuses will come before the International Criminal Court.
Proud to have given voice to testimony from my friends incarcerated in Manus as RRAN put successive PMs and Immigration Ministers on trial in a People's Court outside PIDC today. The verdict was a resounding "Guilty of Human Rights" abuses and the immigration centres were declared a crime scene. [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 20/6/15]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [20/6/15]:
Go to the
14.45 minute mark to see coverage of our action today outside PIDC.
Our verdict? Mandatory Detention IS A CRIME. It's only a matter of time until
our leaders are really held to account for the atrocities they are committing.
In honour of World Refugee Day the Refugee Rights Action Network, with support of Salsaal Integration Association, the United Hazara Association, Students for Refugees, Unionists for Refugees and Senator Scott Ludlam, put mandatory detention on trial.
We held a people's trial of mandatory detention outside the Perth Immigration Detention Centre (PIDC).
The people's court heard testimony written by people currently being held in detention on Nauru and Manus Islands.
The architects of current government policy, including the likes of Abbott, Rudd, Morrison and Dutton were accused of the crimes they have committed and ultimately it was ruled that their acts were 'utterly indefensible' - GUILTY of ALL charges.
Though yesterday the rulings were symbolic, one day justice will be served, and we will keep fighting for it, until that day arrives.
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [VIDEO]: Waving a flag of peace to those interned at Perth Immigration Detention Centre...
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [VIDEO]: FREEDOM 'Ping Pong Match' ...
More needs to be done to help Rohingya: Jose Ramos-Horta
Channel News Asia [21/6/15]:
Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Timor Leste Jose Ramos-Horta has urged Myanmar to do more to address the Rohingya issue.
He said Asia is doing well overall in peace building, reconciliation and democratisation in the last 30 years. But more needs to be done on some security and political challenges, such as the suffering of the Rohingyas.
“I think Myanmar can take clues from Indonesia’s experience on how to manage situation in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society. I hope the President will continue with his very best effort together with (Aung San) Suu Kyi,” said Jose Ramos-Horta, chair of High-Level Independent Panel on UN Peacekeeping.
“The international community should not exert too much pressure on the President and others. They are managing a very difficult, complex situation.”
But he lauded the recent peace process in the Philippines between the government and Muslim rebels. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) recently held a symbolic ceremony to decommission its weapons and combatants.
After the ceremony, the MILF leader, Murad Ebrahim, went to Tokyo to share his experiences and acknowledged the important role Japan played in facilitating the 2011 meeting between himself and Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Narita. He said the meeting was the turning point in peace negotiations.
"The role played by the international community is very significant. Most of the structure, mechanism established, is with the participation of the international community. Japan especially occupied a very important role," said Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chairman of Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
He said the political process of the deal is to be implemented within this year, with a regular government for Bangsamoro elected next May. But he added the normalisation process will take up to five years, and the biggest challenge is rebuilding the four decades of devastation caused by the fighting in southern Mindanao.
"I think sharing diverse experiences with each other candidly, honestly would be the first important step. We can learn useful lessons from these experiences so that we can coordinate future actions together,” said Yasushi Akashi, former UN Under-Secretary-General.
Mr Akashi has also called on the international community to be less overbearing and more tolerant in their assistance to countries.
The Speech of Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta at The Oslo Conference to End Myanmar’s Systematic Persecution of Rohingyas [Rohingya Blogger - 26/5/15]
Bruneian brings aid to Rohingya [Brunei Times - 29/6/15]
Arrested Nauru opposition MPs denied bail.
Australia still silent.
Facebook blackout continues
The two opposition MPs arrested on Nauru yesterday following anti-government protests this week have reportedly been denied bail.
Squire Jeremiah and former president Sprent Dabwido appeared in court on the island this afternoon, where sources say they were told they will be kept in custody until their next appearance on Tuesday.
It's not known what the pair have been charged with and the reason for their continued detention as calls to both their lawyer and the police have gone unanswered.
New Zealand: Flooding Wanganui's worst in recorded history
The authorities have described the flooding in Wanganui as the largest flood event in the district's recent history.
Civil defence said 100 properties in Wanganui were evacuated overnight, with many choosing to leave their homes as the water rose.
A state of emergency remains in place for Wanganui, Rangitikei and the Taranaki district.
About 200 people were forced to leave their properties as the Whanganui River spilled over its stopbanks early this morning after more than 24 hours of heavy rain
Dozens of homes on the eastern side of the river have been inundated by floodwaters with the Anzac Road and Putiki areas the worst affected.
Businesses along Taupo Quay in the central business district have also been flooded and the main bridge into the town is closed because it has been hit by logs and will need an engineering assessment this morning.
Wanganui Civil Defence controller Kevin Ross said it is an 85 year flood and more rain is on the way today and tomorrow.
He said the city remained cut off because of the closure of State Highway 3.
Sue Dudman said it was still not known how badly affected many rural areas are because local roads and highways remain closed, along with Wanganui's main bridge across the river.
Meanwhile, civil defence said there may be further evacuations needed around Whangaehu on State Highway 3 due to the high level of the Whangaehu River.
Many people evacuated from their flooded properties will not be able to return to their homes before tomorrow at the earliest because of fears over sewage contamination.
The river level has now stabilised and no significant increase in flooding is expected, although more rain is forecast for today and tomorrow.
The city's Civil Defence controller Kevin Ross said it was likely to take all day for the roads to be clear of floodwater.
Mr Ross said it will take some time before people can return to their homes.
"People won't be able to get back to their houses today and most likely won't be able to get back till Tuesday, some may be able to get back on Monday but we suspect most of our day will be actually pumping the water that's gone over those floodbanks, out."
Kevin Ross said a helicopter will assess the state of the rural roads around Wanganui.
Army unimogs evacuated six people from the township of Koitiata, in Rangitikei.
Koitiata resident Suzi Bryant said the army evacuated people who wanted to leave but most wanted to stay with their homes.
She said some of the town's 60 or so houses are badly flooded - and some owners will have lost everything.
Man charged over Mandurah death
West Australian [21/6/15]:
A 47-year-old man has been charged after a body was found in Mandurah yesterday.
Major Crime Squad arrested the man and charged him with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm regarding the discovery of the body found in the carport of a unit at 15 Boundary Road Dudley Park at 7am yesterday.
The accused man has been refused bail and will appear in court this morning.
Police say they have not confirmed the identity of the dead man and no family have been formally notified.
A police spokesman said the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm might be upgraded pending the outcome of a post mortem examination.
Brawl breaks out at child's birthday party in Sydney's south-west, men hospitalised
A brawl has broken out during a child's birthday party at a play centre in Sydney's south-west, with several men taken to hospital for treatment.
About 4:30pm yesterday, police were called to the Lollipops Playland indoor play centre on McIlwraith Street, Wetherill Park, following reports of a brawl.
According to witnesses, a 48-year-old man approached another man, who was with a different group, about a minor incident on the play equipment involving their children.
A group of men then allegedly assaulted the 48-year-old man and he fell to the ground.
Two men from his group, aged 27 and 32, were also allegedly assaulted when they came to his aid.
The attackers then ran from the children's play centre and left in their cars.
NSW paramedics took to the injured men to Fairfield Hospital for treatment of injuries to the face, head, back and hands.
Police established a crime scene which was examined by specialist forensic officers.
They have appealed for information from the public about the incident and said an investigation into the incident is now underway.
Man critical after violent assault in Sydney's Darling Harbour precinct
Nine MSN [21/6/15]:
A man is in a critical condition after being attacked by a group of men at Sydney's Darling Harbour.
Emergency crews were called to Cockle Bay Wharf, near Pyrmont Bridge early on Sunday morning to find a man with serious head injuries.
Police said the 25-year-old fell to the ground after being punched in the face when confronted by a group of men, who then fled the scene.
The injured man was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital where he has been placed in an induced coma.
Police are yet to make any arrests and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Sydney mechanic suffers serious burns after gas bottle explodes at workshop
Nine MSN [21/6/15]:
A man has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries after an explosion at a mechanics business in Sydney's west.
The 42-year-old employee was left with burns to his face and body and injuries to his hands and legs after the explosion ripped through the Turbo Exhaust Centre workshop in Smithfield last night.
After paramedics spent 90 minutes stabilising the man, he was taken to Liverpool Hospital, where he remains in a serious condition.
In addition to the serious burns, the man is understood to have suffered multiple fractures to his arms and legs and lost fingers on one of his hands.
It is believed the man was working with an acetylene gas bottle when it exploded.
Emergency crews could be seen cooling the exploded cylinder in water.
A distraught work colleague was at the scene and has spoken to police.
Police have established a crime scene as they continue their investigations, with the matter also reported to WorkCover.
Aboriginal man dies in custody in Alice Springs, NT
An Aboriginal man has died in custody at the Alice Springs jail.
The Northern Territory Coroner will investigate the death, which occurred about 11:00pm (ACST) on Friday.
The Department of Corrections said officers provided emergency oxygen as paramedics were called.
They arrived at 11:43pm and it is believed the 40-year-old inmate died shortly after.
Corrections Commissioner Ken Middlebrook said prison officers followed correct protocol.
"By all the reports I've read this morning they've done an outstanding job, it's just very sad that this happens," Mr Middlebrook said.
In the 1980s a royal commission held into Aboriginal deaths in custody made 339 recommendations to try and reduce the number.
Girl badly hurt as she and mother hit by car at Breakfast Point in Sydney's inner-west
Police say a five-year-old girl has been seriously injured after she and her mother were hit by a car in Sydney's inner-west.
A female driver was trying to park when her car when the incident happened at Breakfast Point around 5:30pm.
The child was taken to Westmead Hospital with suspected chest and abdominal injuries, police said.
She was in a stable condition. Her mother was not hurt.
Police said investigations into the accident were continuing and that the driver would undergo mandatory testing.
They have urged anyone with information in relation to the incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit their website.
Pair arrested, two on the run after Victorian police officer pinned between car and van
Nine MSN [20/6/15]:
Two men have been arrested and police are searching for two more after a Melbourne constable was pinned between a car and his van.
The incident occurred this afternoon after police stopped a vehicle on the South Gippsland Highway in the city's southeast.
But what began as a routine inspection ended with the police constable pinned between the car and police van, with the exact series of events still being investigated.
One man was arrested immediately, while another was taken into custody a short time later.
Police are still looking for two other men who fled the scene.
The constable is being treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Grenade attacks injure 11 police in Burundi
France 24 [20/6/15]:
Eleven Burundian police officers were wounded, one of them seriously, in a string of overnight grenade attacks in the capital of the crisis-hit central African nation, security sources said Saturday.
"Last night, several police posts as well as police vehicles were attacked with grenades. Eleven police officers were wounded, one of them seriously, and police responded with sustained gunfire," a senior police official told AFP, blaming demonstrators opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial bid for a third term in office.
Officials said the attacks took place in the districts of Citiboke, Nyakabiga, Musaga and Jabe, which have been at the centre of weeks of unrest sparked by Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third consecutive term in elections slated for mid-July.
"They (the demonstrators) have changed their methods," said the police official, condemning what he said were "terrorist attacks". Officials said no arrests were made.
The sound of explosions and heavy gunfire echoed across the capital Friday night.
Residents in the affected areas said they were unsure who was behind the attacks, although some blamed the police and accused security forces of "terrorising the population".
3 killed as car plows through crowd in Austria, driver goes on 'stabbing spree'
At least three people have been killed and dozens injured in the Austrian city of Graz where a man deliberately drove his van into a crowd and then reportedly went on to stab people. A seven-year-old boy is reportedly among the victims of the attack.
Some of the thirty-four injured are in critical condition, Austrian Wiener Zeitung reports. Other sources put the number of those injured at up to 50.
Witnesses of the event say that a man drove his SUV into the crowd at random. Several people crashed into the windshield and flew over the van, locals told ORF broadcaster.
When the vehicle stopped, the driver went out wielding a knife. He then started stabbing people near-by, according to Wiener Zeitung.
"People were screaming in panic and ran into the surrounding shops to get to safety", witnesses told Krone.
"At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the center of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken,” a statement from the city council said, "A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody."
A man, a woman and a seven-year-old boy are among the victims, Krone website reports citing a witness. The local added "the dead bodies were lying face down on the street".
The man was arrested, local police told Kleine Zeitung. He is described as a 26-year-old Austrian of Bosnian origin.
Police officials do not attribute the attack to “fanaticism” and say it has no terrorist background. National Police Director Josef Klamminger described the incident as "a psychosis."
The downtown area in Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, was sealed off. At least 60 ambulances and four helicopters were deployed at the scene to bring the victims of the attack to local hospitals.
Detention wiithout charge extended for Egyptian photojournalist
Daily News Egypt [20/6/15]:
The Cairo Criminal Court renewed Saturday the pre-trial detention of photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid for a further 45 days.
Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, has been detained with 300 others for over a year without trial. He was arrested while covering the security forces’ dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares sit-ins in August 2013.
“It is without logic, without a trial and lawless. Simply, an accusation on a piece of paper has jailed me without an investigation. Time passes and years are wasted between these four walls,” the photojournalist wrote in a letter from prison.
“My quarrel with my country is simply that I am an Egyptian; an Egyptian journalist. If there is no good ahead of me other than renouncing my Egyptian citizenship as well, then I will do it,” Shawkan said.
Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy had renounced his Egyptian nationality after over a year in prison on charges of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt.
Similarly, US citizen Mohamed Soltan had to surrender his Egyptian nationality after receiving a 25-year imprisonment sentence last month, on accusations of forming an “operations room” to defy the government.
“I don’t know why I have been caught up in a political fight. I do not belong to any organisation or camp. I don’t know the reason for keeping me in jail this long. I do not belong to anything except my profession as a photojournalist; just a photojournalist,” Shawkan wrote in his letter.
Al Jazeera Arabic Journalist Ahmed Mansour was detained in Berlin airport, Germany Saturday upon the request of the Egyptian authorities. ... [teleSUR - 20/6/15]
Bogor Police Arrest Six Journalists for Extortion
Jakarta Globe [20/6/15]:
Police in West Java’s Bogor district have arrested six journalists over the alleged extortion of a male civil servant after he made a report to police.
Adj. Comr. Aulia Djabar, chief of the detectives and crime unit at the Bogor District Police, said officers on Friday night apprehended the six suspects, who have been identified as KS, S, RE, Z, HS and H, during a meeting with the victim, identified as AN, at a mall in Cibinong, Bogor.
According to Aulia, the suspects had seen the victim with a woman at a hotel a few weeks ago and afterwards followed him to his house where they saw his family.
The six people, who admitted to be journalists covering news in Jakarta and Bogor, then requested a sum of money from the victim to keep quiet about the infidelity, Aulia said.
“They asked the money to the victim as holiday allowance and told him that they would reveal his infidel activity if he declined to pay up the cash,” Aulia said on Saturday.
AN then told the police about the details of their arrangement at the mall where officers eventually detained the six suspects.
“During the arrest, we confiscated Rp 100 million [$7,500] that was demanded by the suspects from the victim,”said Aulia, adding that police also seized ten mobile phones and six press identity cards.
The six suspects are still under investigation with the police and could be charged with article 369 of the Criminal Code with carries a maximum four years’ jail penalty.
End Austerity Now: Over 100,000 people gather in London to protest against austerity measures
City AM [20/6/15]:
An estimated 200,000 people have descended on London to take part in a demonstration against government austerity measures.
“Get the Tories out” they proclaim. “Austerity kills.” “Defy Tory rule.”
Among the protesters were Hollywood star Michael Sheen, Labour leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Coronation Street actress Julie Hasmondhalgh and singer Charlotte Church.
The march, which is estimated to have attracted over 70,000 people, has been organised by several unions and campaign groups - including the People's Assembly.
On the Facebook event page for the demonstration, the People's Assembly said: "With the Tories going it alone in government we know exactly what to expect. More nasty, destructive cuts to the things ordinary people care about- the NHS, the welfare state, education and public services."
However, a separate group called Class War is organising a counter-protest, claiming the main demonstration will fail to bring about any change.
A group of approximate 1,000 people - mainly from the Class War group - broke off from the main demonstration, as smoke bombs and flares were set off.
They headed south towards Lambeth, and were followed by a police presence.
The People's Assembly demonstration was organised against the government's austerity measures as it progresses to Westminster. The People's Assembly added:
We'll be assembling the demonstration in the heart of the City of London right on the doorstep of the very people who created the crisis in the first place, the banks and their friends in Westminster.
We demand that the bankers and elite should pay for the crisis and not the vast majority who had nothing to do with it.
We must not let ‘austerity measures’ provide a cover for a systematic dismantling of the mechanisms of equality in this country.
The truth is that the financial crisis was caused by the unchecked desires for profit at the expense of responsibility in the financial sector.
Thousands of union members took part in the protest, anticipating government policies which will be outlined in the chancellor's emergency budget in three weeks.
@NicolaRBartlett: That's one way of putting it #EndAusterityNow
Yanis Varoufakis: A pressing question for Ireland before Monday’s meeting on Greece [Irish Times - 20/6/15]:
... The euro zone moves in a mysterious way. Momentous decisions are rubber- stamped by finance ministers who remain in the dark on the details, while unelected officials of mighty institutions are locked into one-sided negotiations with a solitary government-in-distress.
It is as if Europe has determined that elected finance ministers are not up to the task of mastering the technical details; a task best left to “experts” representing not voters but the institutions. One can only wonder to what extent such an arrangement is efficient, let alone remotely democratic.
What Greece needs now is not more cutbacks that push an impoverished populace into greater indignity, or higher tax rates and charges that crush what is left of economic activity. These “parametric” measures, as the institutions call them, have been excessive, the result now being a nation on its knees.
No, what Greece now needs desperately is serious, proper reforms. We need a new tax system that helps defeat evasion and curtail political or corporate interference, a corruption-free procurement system, business-friendly licensing procedures, judicial reforms, elimination of scandalous early retirement practices, proper regulation of the media and of political party finances, etc.
Anti water charges march taking place in Dublin [Irish Times – 20/6/15]
Daily Mail [14/6/15]:
… There is no greater metaphor for a country’s health than its own healthcare system. And it is only when you see for yourself the horrors convulsing Greece’s NHS that you realise just how insane it is for this once-proud nation to continue as it is. If it was your country, it would make you weep with pain and shame.
In its overloaded hospital wards, I either saw or heard first-hand accounts of babies held hostage for payments and dying patients left unattended; of porters sent out as paramedics, patients told to bring their own sheets, brakes failing on ancient ambulances travelling at high speed and hospitals running out of drugs and dressings.
Operating theatres have been shut and staff numbers slashed because there simply is no money left. Five years ago, Greece spent £13 billion on the health of its 11 million population – above the European average. It is now spending about half this. Worse still, in the first four months of this year the 140 state hospitals received just £31 million, a 94 per cent fall on the previous year.
And to make matters even blacker, any reserves have just been taken back by the government in its desperate scramble for cash to pay public servants and international debts.
There are claims of an astonishing three-year fall in a Greek person’s life expectancy in just five years since the country’s economy crashed. If confirmed, this would be without precedent in modern Europe.
And the individual human stories are pitiful, verging on the macabre.
I met Costas, a 37-year-old waiter from Corfu, pushing himself slowly along the hospital road. He was struggling with a wheelchair held together with masking tape. His efforts were hampered by having one arm wrapped around a large, unwieldy item in a black bin liner.
He told me that a serious motor-cycle accident had meant the amputation of his right leg. He should still be in the hospital now, he explained, but there were no beds left; he had been asked to leave despite his protests. ‘They just said go home,’ he said. ‘I am scared because I do not have the money to get by.’
As he pushed himself on, I asked what was in the bag. ‘My leg,’ he replied, opening the bin liner to show me his prosthetic limb.
Automatic Earth for Athens Fund [The Automatic Earth – 19/6/15]
The World Bank on Friday authorized a contribution of $55 million in assistance to the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, saying it would go toward strengthening government institutions as well the private economy.
A statement said the grant would "support investment in municipal services, water and sanitation, energy, as well as social protection, health and education."
The contribution brings the organization's total assistance to Palestine since 1993 to $970 million. ... [Maan - 20/6/15]
... I was not expecting much from people living in a country that is murdering millions, but the arrogance that I encountered, was still mind-blowing. It was not just the arrogance from airport security personnel: it was the arrogance coming from the ordinary citizens. ...
In the USA – “I Cannot Write!”, Andre Vltchek [ICH/Counterpunch - 19/6/15]
UN World Yoga Day, 21 June:
The United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as International Yoga Day by resolution 69/131.
International Yoga Day aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
Join us for the first ever United Nations World Yoga Day at Bondi Beach, full of yoga classes, meditation, panel discussions and cultural activities. The day will begin with an Aboriginal Acknowledgement of Country and Ceremony on the picturesque Bondi Beach at 6:45 AM followed by Salute to the Sun – a United Nations World Yoga Day Challenge featuring Edo and Jo from A Sound Life, where you are invited to practice yoga on the beach together as the sun rises over the ocean. …
21 June 2015