At least 25 civilians have been killed in Saudi airstrikes against residential areas in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a.
Scores were also wounded after Saudi warplanes targeted the districts of Hasbah, Sawan as well as a sports stadium in the capital on Monday, Yemen’s Saba Net news agency reported.
The report further said that several residential houses as well as an administrative building were destroyed in the air raids. ... [Press TV - 21/9/15]
Yemen rebels free US, Saudi, British hostages [Ahram - 20/9/15]
At least 21 people were killed in a series of blasts blamed on Boko Haram militants in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri, witnesses said on Monday.
Rescuers and the military had said there were three blasts on Sunday night in the Gomari and Ajilari areas in the city's western suburbs, without giving casualty figures.
But locals on Monday said there were four separate explosions, including at a mosque during evening prayers and among football fans watching a televised match. ... [Naharnet - 21/9/15]
The latest 3 News/Reid Research poll shows a clear majority of voters want private provider Serco out of New Zealand prisons and control returned to the Government. ... [3 News - 21/9/15]
Coroner blames senior NSW Police for accidental shooting of young officer
Nine MSN [21/9/15]:
Constable Bill Crews’ accidental shooting death during a botched raid could have been prevented if senior officers properly assessed the plan, the NSW coroner said today.
Const. Crews, 26, was fatally shot in the neck by a colleague during the 2010 raid of a Bankstown carpark, in Sydney’s south-west.
Detective David Roberts accidentally shot Const. Crews while he was returning fire after their target, drug dealer Philip Nguyen, unexpectedly produced a gun and shot at the officers.
Coroner Michael Barnes said Const. Crews died as a result of “cascading and compounding errors by police”.
The fact the officers were in plain clothes with no badges or ID was a dangerous mistake, Mr Barnes said.
He accepted Nguyen’s explanation that he thought he was shooting at robbers, not police.
Mr Barnes criticised senior police for their lack of supervision, and said that the risks were not properly assessed.
The senior officer who approved the raid had not seen the details, he said.
“Bill Crews lay alone on the cold concrete as his life ebbed away, while his colleagues unnecessarily held back. That must be as upsetting for them as it is for his family,” Mr Barnes said.
Const. Crews' parents attended the inquest. His father Kel said he hoped future deaths could be prevented.
“It’s a tragic incident that’s occurred and therefore we never want it to happen again to any police officer,” Mr Crews said.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the service had already made changes.
“We will be looking particularly at what the coroner’s got to say but already we’ve made a number of changes and we’ll continue to build on those certainly if the coroner’s that we need to take heed of,” Mr Scipione said.
Const. Crews’ parents told 9NEWS they wanted time to read the Coroner’s report.
At the inquest, they were flanked by Const. Crews’ colleagues, who wore his favourite colour, red.
Myanmar: More than one month after Cyclone Komen, some impacted people remain homeless
UNHCR Media Release [21/9/15]:
More than one month on from the collapse of their home in Myanmar's western Rakhine State, Ma Nge and her 10-year-old son remain homeless. The strong winds created by Cyclone Komen had felled a nearby palm tree, causing it to fall directly onto the frail, thatched structure.
Standing in front of the fragments of their former home, still a jumble of broken bamboo and palm leaves, Ma Nge told UNHCR that they had been fortunate: "We were in the house when I saw that the tree was swinging in the wind. It didn't seem safe, so we decided to leave immediately and seek shelter with my sister-in-law next door. Three minutes later, the tree fell."
Ma Nge and her son, who live in a small village in Ponnagyun township some 20 miles north-east of the state capital Sittwe, are just two of the many people who have been critically affected by the severe weather which hit the region in July.
Before making landfall in neighbouring Bangladesh on July 30, Cyclone Komen had swept past western Myanmar, causing high winds and heavy rains throughout the country and increasing the severity of the seasonal downpours.
Over the following days and weeks, 12 of the 14 states and regions in Myanmar experienced major flooding. Rakhine and Chin states, as well as Magway and Sagaing regions, were declared as "natural disaster zones" by the Myanmar Government.
According to Myanmar's National Natural Disaster Management Committee, the stormy conditions and rising floodwater forced approximately 1.6 million to leave their homes during July and August. At least 117 people have been killed. Some 800,000 acres of farmland have been destroyed, posing risks to the country's food security.
Rakhine and the northern state of Kachin are home to an existing population of 240,000 internally displaced people, many of whom were also impacted.
Leveraging its presence in the two states, UNHCR has been able to respond quickly in flood-affected communities, both displaced and non-displaced. Together with partner organisations and in coordination with the Myanmar authorities, UNHCR helped to assess the damage, identify needs and provide relief.
Emergency relief items – including tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and cooking utensils – were distributed to those affected based on need.
UNHCR also led protection-driven advocacy with humanitarian partners and the Government; this focused on calling for freedom of movement as a life-saving measure and access without discrimination, in particular for vulnerable groups. Ma Nge and her son were among the recipients of UNHCR assistance.
"Everything we had was destroyed," she said. "All our household items are gone."
Ma Nge intends to rebuild her house after the rainy season, but acknowledged the financial hurdles. Her husband moved to Thailand nine years ago to find employment. She is not sure what he is currently doing. "I think his work is not going so well," she explained.
On top of suffering from a displacement situation arising from the bouts of inter-communal violence in 2012, Rakhine State is the second poorest in all of Myanmar. Many of the families affected by the floods, especially female-headed households, were already at risk.
Despite its wealth of natural resources, communities throughout the state are marked by chronic poverty and under-development. Poor infrastructure and basic services, coupled with limited livelihood opportunities have led many to leave in search of jobs elsewhere – within Myanmar and outside the country.
"As the focus of the response shifts from emergency assistance to recovery and rehabilitation, the urgent needs throughout Rakhine State need to be addressed," said Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR Representative in Myanmar. Among the ongoing challenges are ending displacement and advancing social cohesion between and within communities.
"It is crucial to ensure that the post-floods response is a holistic one that facilitates the sustained, community-based development of Rakhine State in its entirety, from south to north. And it is crucial that it's done now."
The Power Index: biz directors, Michael Chaney at #3 [Crikey - 12/12/12]: ... But it’s not just boardroom influence — ideas have always coursed through the Chaney household. He’s the son of Menzies government minister Sir Fred Chaney and the brother of former Liberal Party deputy leader Fred Chaney Jr (a WA senator and member for the federal seat of Pearce). Another brother, John, is a WA Supreme Court Judge. ...
Address by Chairman Michael Chaney and CEO and Managing Director Peter Coleman Woodside Petroleum Ltd. 2015 Annual General Meeting [16/4/15]:
... In Myanmar, we’re now the leading acreage holder in the underexplored Rakhine Basin. We’ve consolidated and built a strong position across the Atlantic margin play, with acreage in Nova Scotia, Ireland and Morocco. ...
Darling Downs couple states the bleeding obvious and puts Australia's political, media and human rights class to shame
A Darling Downs couple who spent a year with detainees visiting Christmas Island detention centres say the government was wasting money hand over fist and that the incarceration of refugees led to worrying psychiatric problems.
Keith and Norma Briggs of Dalby are calling for the government to close down offshore detention centres and process refugees in Australia.
The couple had free access to detention centres on the island in 2012 and 2013.
They were acting in a pastoral care capacity with Christmas Island Christian Fellowship.
"We met with people just off the boats, and were available to anyone who wished to join us in rooms provided by the Department of Immigration," Mr Briggs said.
"We got to know hundreds of them as they met with us and shared their stories and the reasons they took that journey."
Mr Briggs and his wife have spent the last four years interacting with and helping immigrants as they settled in Australia.
"We visited others in detention and those undergoing psychiatric treatment caused mainly by the hopelessness of being incarcerated in those insecure tents in hot tropical Manus and Nauru for years," he said.
Mr Briggs said living conditions in the Darwin Detention Centre were "quite reasonable", but that detainees should be released to make room for those being welcomed from Syria.
He said the Syrian refugees could [be] processed and readied in that centre for life in Australia if the government went ahead with its plans to resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees.
"You'd not believe the vast sums of money our government spends keeping these men, women, children and babies in a state of hopeless limbo that results in deep depression which often results in attempted suicide by those who have lost the desire to live," Mr Briggs said.
"This leads to more wasted money treating them in psychiatric hospitals in Australia to restore enough mental balance so they can send them back to Nauru to be plunged into deeper depression."
On Thursday the couple sat with a mental health patient in the Brisbane centre for three hours.
"Her mental state is such that her husband has almost single handedly brought up their beautiful seven month old baby," Mr Briggs said.
The Dalby couple has hosted a number of asylum seekers in their home and say many have become close and valued friends.
Mr Briggs applauded Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio and Western Downs Mayor Ray Brown for their recent comments on accepting Syrian refugees in the region.
"However knowing the plight of hundreds being poorly treated by our government with their hard line against people currently on Nauru and Manus I'm pleading with those in authority to close Manus and Nauru, settle those people in Australia and then think about bringing others here," Mr Briggs said.
"I appeal to decent Aussies to take up their cause.
"First to clear the rotten international reputation Australia has and then to deal with those whose plight is now being broadcast daily," he said.
The Federal Government's 2015 Budget included plans for the closure of two Christmas Island facilities, and for the main centre to only be used as a contingency from 2016.
The lengths the Australian government will go to in its quest to repel refugees include vanishing babies [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 21/9/15]:
A Rohingya baby became the first baby born to a refugee family on Nauru on Friday 18 September.
The baby girl, Nourkayas, was 3kg, and mother (Mama Citi) and baby are reported doing well.
Nourkayas is the third child for the Rohingya family that already includes a 7 year-old boy and a 3 year-old girl.
The baby was born on Nauru after the mother refused to be transferred to Port Moresby for the birth.
“We are very happy that all has gone well for mother and baby; but it is a risky precedent. The fact that refugees are sent to PNG and asylum seeker mothers are sent to Australia to have their babies says that Australian authorities do not believe that Nauru is safe,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The Australian government has a responsibility for all babies born to asylum seeker and refugee families; all pregnant women should be brought to Australia to give birth.
“We wish the family well, but we know the conditions on Nauru – no education, and no resettlement – put a dark cloud over their future.”
The birth will also seriously add to the family’s difficulties on Nauru. In the Nibok camp, family housing is stifling hot converted shipping containers, with only a small fan for ventilation.
The heat makes the accommodation unbearable; while the frequent water and electricity shortages make the situation impossible.
“All the problems of looking after a new baby are magnified. Sterilising bottles for example could become a nightmare,” said Rintoul.
“There needs to be consistent policy from the government. All mothers-to-be should be brought, with their families, to Australia to give birth, where there are proper medical facilities to ensure the health of mother and baby.
“Any birth is risky and Nauru hospital has limited staff, limited resources and no specialists. Any complication would risk the well-being of mother and baby. It is too big a risk to take.
“If the government had the best interests of mother and child at heart, they would not be on Nauru in the first place.”
Handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugee - who didn't come by boat - to live with Georgina and James in Adelaide [ABC - 21/9/15]
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]
Syrian refugee family waits 18 months For Australian visa [Huffington Post – 11/9/15]
The head of the department that oversees the Australian Border Force is initiating potentially costly legal proceedings at taxpayers’ expense in a bid to keep secret a single document about the federal government’s asylum seeker turnback operations, despite some of the material being publicly available. ... [Guardian - 2/9/15]
Man charged over alleged attempted rape of two-year-old boy at Brisbane childcare centre
There are claims a staff member allegedly attempted to rape a two-year-old boy at a Brisbane childcare centre on Friday.
Authorities said it was claimed that a woman arrived at the facility earlier than expected to find her son being molested in the centre's laundry by a 20-year-old man.
Officers later raided his home and allegedly seized child exploitation material.
Acting Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said the alleged material that had been located did "not relate to any humans".
"It is an animated picture sort of thing and as such doesn't relate to any children at that childcare centre or anywhere else," he said.
The man is allegedly a staff member at the centre and holds a Blue Card, which means he was legally allowed to work with children.
He appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Saturday charged with deprivation of liberty, attempted rape and entering premises with intent.
The man was released on bail with an undertaking he live with his mother and have no unsupervised contact with a child under 16.
He is due to reappear in court again in October.
Sydney dance teacher pleads guilty to child sex offences against students as young as nine [Nine MSN - 21/9/15]
Queensland man extradited to NSW to face child sex assault charges dating back to 1997 [ABC - 19/9/15]
Man dies after being hit by truck, Elimbah
A pedestrian has died after being hit by a truck on the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane.
The 30-year-old man was hit near Steve Irwin Way at Elimbah shortly before 1pm, a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said.
He died at the scene.
One lane travelling southbound has been closed with heavy delays expected.
A three-year-old boy died in a single vehicle crash near Shelbourne yesterday afternoon.
Preliminary information indicates the boy was travelling with family members when their vehicle rolled on the Bamaga Bypass Road, Shelburne – north of the Captain Billy Landing turn off – around 4.30pm. ... [QPS Media - 21/9/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Welcome Station [QPS Media - 20/9/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Bundaberg [QPS Media - 20/9/15]
Elderly couple, female friend killed in car crash near Toowoomba in Queensland's Lockyer Valley [ABC - 19/9/15]
Police search for person who hit Murdoch University professor and left him injured on ground [WA Today – 20/9/15]
Police are investigating a fatal crash in Wannamal, 125km northeast of Perth, in which a man died after being thrown from his vehicle. … [WA Today – 20/9/15]
Body of missing Gold Coast woman found by bushwalkers
The body of missing Gold Coast woman has been found near a bushwalking track in a Gold Coast national park.
Belinda Lee was last seen at a Nerang pharmacy in the very early hours of last Tuesday.
She did not arrive home to her husband of four decades Ken Lee.
Bushwalkers found her body in bushland, off the Morans Fall Track in the Lamington National Park on Sunday afternoon.
Preliminary investigations indicate there are no suspicious circumstances and police will prepare a report for the coroner.
Mother and young daughter dead after suspected murder-suicide at Sydney home [Nine MSN - 21/9/15]
A man has briefly appeared in court charged with the murder of Queensland man Michael McCabe.
Brent Malcolm Huxley, 31, is one of four people charged with the murder of Mr McCabe, who was reported missing in August.
His body was found at Crystal Creek, north of Townsville, last week.
Huxley faced the Townsville Magistrates Court on Monday and was remanded in custody until November 16.
His co-accused will appear on the same date. [Yahoo - 21/9/15]
Attempted murder charge to be upgraded, Enoggera [QPS Media - 21/9/15]
Serious assault, Miami [QPS Media – 20/9/15]
Yacht cocaine bust accused denied bail [Yahoo - 21/9/15]
Teen busted with 220 MDMA tablets in Surfers Paradise high rise granted bail [MYGC - 21/9/15]
Police have charged a man they claim pointed a gun at them on the Gold Coast.
The 27-year-old man was approached in his car by officers after the vehicle had allegedly been involved in two earlier traffic incidents on Monday morning.
When police approached the car outside the Southport Courthouse however, it is alleged he took a gun from his lap and pointed it at the police from close range.
The man was arrested shortly afterwards without any further incident. ... [Yahoo - 21/9/15]
A 38-year-old local man has been charged with nine offences including arson and serious animal cruelty following an investigation into a house fire which claimed the life of a pet pig at Cooktown yesterday. ... [QPS Media - 21/9/15]
Ten wombats, including four feeding mothers, deliberately run over at Kangaroo Valley camping ground, NSW Police say [ABC – 20/9/15]
Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Judy Spence MP, together with Commissioner Bob Atkinson today announced a 12 month trial of Electro Muscular Disruption Devices (Tasers). ... [Media Release - 29/3/07]
Guns were pointed at children during police raids on Palm Island in 2004
Nine MSN [21/9/15]:
Guns were pointed at children during early morning raids which were a "complete overreaction" to rioting sparked by a high-profile death in custody on Queensland's Palm Island, a court has heard.
A class action, launched on behalf of Palm Islanders, claims police failures after the 2004 death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on the local watchhouse floor were racially discriminatory.
The declaration of an emergency, the subsequent raids and arrests without warrants was excessive, barrister for the community Chris Ronalds SC said.
Police could have arrested suspects without raids involving heavily armed police wearing balaclavas, she said.
Children witnessed the arrests of family members and were not given counselling after having guns pointed at them, she said.
Head applicant Lex Wotton, who was jailed for inciting the riots, was tasered without warning in front of his young children, she said.
"Conduct of the police during the state of emergency is not something that is ... conceivable anywhere else in Queensland other than a remote aboriginal community," she said.
Among the other complaints were that the death was not referred to the state homicide squad, that Mulrunji's arresting officer, Chris Hurley, was not immediately stood down and that evidence from Aboriginal witnesses was unfairly discredited.
Ms Ronalds said Islanders had been victims of systemic racism that was "so entrenched that it is apparently invisible to those who did it and those who manage and supervise it".
Judge Debbie Mortimer will consider whether Queensland should compensate the community, which has also asked for a formal apology.
The trial continues.
Outside the special court, which has been set up at a school on Palm Island, Mr Wotton said he hoped the case would act as a turning point for indigenous communities.
"I hope good things will come out of it," he said.
"(And that) when it comes to policing and these
matters (of) deaths in custody in indigenous communities and non-indigenous
communities that things will be done in a professional manner."
Chris Hurley stood down over Gold Coast police pursuit [Nine MSN - 21/5/15]:
The Queensland government says it won't be changing the state's police pursuits policy after two officers were stood down over a chase on the Gold Coast.
Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley and his partner Senior Constable Barry Wellington were stood down from the South Eastern Queensland region on Thursday.
The officers are subject to a disciplinary investigation to determine if they engaged in an unauthorised and dangerous pursuit, drove or caused a police motor vehicle to be driven in a manner likely to endanger other road users, and used an inappropriate amount of force.
The allegations partly stem from a weekend car chase on the Gold Coast in which Sen Sgt Hurley and Sen Const Wellington allegedly fired shots.
Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley ... took the head of the Queensland Police Union on a tour of the Gold Coast schoolies precinct. ... [VIDEO - ABC - 26/11/10]
From Jeff Waters'  'Gone For A Song: A Death In Custody On Palm Island':
Any observant person, resident or visitor, can find a very telling example of Queensland's record on race relations simply by walking into Brisbane's civic focal point for most of its history: King George Square.
There, high above the main entrance to the distinctive City Hall, is a massive stone monument to what would these days be called attempted genocide. And most of the population is oblivious to it.
When Brisbane City Hall was opened back in 1930 it was the second most expensive structure in the country; only the Sydney Harbour Bridge cost more. As it was built in the classical style, a huge relief sculpture was commissioned for the tympanum above its entrance. Daphne Mayo, a Brisbane artist who was the first woman to be awarded a gold medal for sculpture at London's Royal Academy, was asked to create it. She was given a brief to depict white settlement and that, perhaps inevitably, included the submission of the Aborigines.
The resulting 'Progress of Civilisation in the State of Queensland' depicts a central female figure, representing the state, sending forth settlers and their stock to apparently subdue the natives. To the viewer's right is a series of proud-looking explorers and other Europeans marching purposefully forward. To the left is an Aboriginal man with spear and shield in a defensive pose. Further along to the left is what appears to be a dead indigenous man. He has been lying there - a murdered human - above Brisbane's main square for more than seventy-five years.
In preparing a film on this sculpture for the ABC's Stateline program, I encountered some scepticism. Some of those I discussed the matter with asserted that the man could have been asleep. But, with the assistance of a kind archivist, a description of the sculpture was uncovered in the official program for the opening of the Brisbane City Hall: 'On the left hand side [of the tympanum] the native life is represented dying out before the approach of the white man.'
A curator from the Queensland Museum, Dr Judith McKay, knew Daphne Mayo, and has written a book about her work. In an interview for the Stateline program, she said that Ms Mayo had always held indigenous people in high regard. Dr McKay felt the City Hall sculpture should be considered a product of its time.
'That would not be a theme we would build an artwork around today', she said, 'But that was the theme chosen by the city fathers and the theme that Daphne Mayo carried out to the best of her ability.'
The sculpture may be passed, high and unnoticed, every day by tens of thousands of white people, but it has not gone unnoticed by the state's indigenous community, some of whom regard it as a daily symbol of oppression.
The FAIRA Aboriginal Corporation's Les Malezer was keen to comment for the Stateline story, calling the work a racist sculpture, representing a racist culture:This really typifies not just the past, but also the present. This is the way Aboriginal people are treated - this is the way Aboriginal people are regarded. We've seen examples in the media recently, you know the Ku Klux Klan and the army photo [in which Australian soldiers took a photo of themselves in Klan garb] and things like that, there's constantly a message there.Griffith University educationalist Professor Bonnie Robertson said: 'I can understand why people want to have it removed because it's too painful and it's a very distinct reminder of what our ancestors and our grandparents and sometimes our parents and older siblings went through.'And what of the state of Queensland's 'cruel history'? Could a look at the history between black and white Queenslanders shed some light on the present? Could it explain how so many non-indigenous Queenslanders could have accepted the abysmal treatment of Mulrunji and Palm Islanders by the police force? ...
But, she added:
If we did remove it I would be sad about that because I think that should be a very distinct reminder, as hurtful as it might be, as tragic as it might be for our people to see it.
At a point when we're really trying to come to terms with what it is that we are as a country in terms of race relations and where we are as a group of people, I think it's really, really important that we acknowledge, openly and honestly, our cruel history, this country's cruel history.
Israeli forces fracture teen's skull in East Jerusalem village [Maan - 20/9/15]
Israeli forces detained six Palestinians across the occupied West Bank overnight Saturday, an Israeli army spokesperson said.
An Israeli army spokesperson said three Palestinians were detained in Jenin, two near Ramallah and one near Bethlehem. ... [Maan - 20/9/15]
Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson announced today on Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV that Reykjavík City Council will cancel its previously-announced boycott of Israeli products, explaining that the city will now only boycott goods produced in occupied territories.
The original boycott, included in a motion presented by Björk Vilhelmsdóttir of the Social Democrats earlier this week, was approved by the majority of councilpersons.
Dagur admitted that the motion hadn’t been prepared well enough and that it will now be changed and clarified.
“I have stated that it should have been made much clearer in the text [that only products from territories occupied by Israel should be boycotted], although that’s what we had in mind. I will suggest to the City Council that the motion the way it reads now be withdrawn while we discuss the next steps and how to present it,” the mayor said. ... [Iceland Review - 19/9/15]
US Defense Secretary invites Israeli Defense Minister to Washington for security talks [US Department of Defense – 17/9/15]
Global defense companies are clamoring for the chance to compete with Boeing (BA.N) for a multi-billion-dollar contract to provide Britain with submarine-hunting aircraft, as the UK government ponders a gap left by recent defense cuts. ... [Reuters - 17/9/15]
Boeing teams up with innovative PhDs through UQ scholarships [UQ News - 17/9/15]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [20/9/15]:
Anbar: The heavy artillery has targeted the civilian homes in Julan neighbourhood in Fallujah resulted in killing and wounding of some of women and children .........................
Fallujah: The government's air force has shelled cars showroom in Adalus neighbourhood in the middle of Fallujah district resulted in killing and wounding of civilians...............................
Nineveh: Mosul has been shelled violently and the sounds of blasts have been heard in most of the city's neighbourhoods .Meanwhile, eyewitnesses in the city said that this shelling has been the most violent since the starting of events..........
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded in Ubeidi area east of Baghdad resulted in killing and wounding of persons .............
Iraq's government has ordered daily water tests and other measures to try and contain an outbreak of cholera that has been blamed for the deaths of at least six people in a town west of the capital Baghdad.
At least 70 other infections were reported in and around Abu Ghraib, as health experts warn the outbreak may spread because of the high number of displaced people living in refugee camps in the area.
The country's water and sewerage systems are outdated and infrastructure development has been hindered by years of war and neglect. ... [Al Jazeera - 20/9/15]
Car bomb attack in Afghanistan's Kandahar province kills one, injures three [UPI.com - 20/9/15]
At least 28 civilians were wounded in a magnetic bomb explosion in Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province, on Sunday, an official said. ... [Pajhwok - 20/9/15]
Defence Department tries to suppress insider killings evidence of three soldiers in Afghanistan [Canberra Times – 20/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [20/9/15]: Yesterday was a very busy day at sea. #Argos rescued 4 boats and its team now provides care to more than 900 people
They were found in a rubber vessel 60km north east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, during stormy conditions.
The naval ship Le Niamh was sent to the scene at about 2pm after being alerted by a merchant ship, the St Jeneborg.
During a two-hour rescue operation, all 125 people were brought on board.
They are now receiving food water and medical assistance, an Irish Navy spokesman said. ... Irish naval crews rescue 125 migrants in Mediterranean [Belfast Telegraph - 20/9/15]
Professor Alexander Betts [Guardian - 20/9/15]:
... The world as a whole lacks a vision for how to respond to the changing nature of displacement. So much of the current “crisis” is not a crisis of numbers but a crisis of politics. We need bold leadership that correctly and honestly articulates the causes of movement and outlines global solutions.
The 1951 convention offers an important and irreplaceable starting point. At a time when its core norms are being flagrantly violated, from Hungary to Australia, states need to publicly reaffirm its core principles.
However, the drafters could not have been expected to anticipate every future scenario.
Five major gaps in the refugee regime stand out, which require long-term policy development at national, regional and global levels.
How are people supposed to claim asylum? In Europe, asylum is based on an inherent contradiction; people are expected to arrive spontaneously in Europe, yet border management means the only means to do so is “illegal” entry. It is this paradox that underlies the smuggling industry, the chaos at Europe’s border, and the loss of life in the Mediterranean. Europe’s current proposals do nothing to address this.
One solution would be a humanitarian visa system that allows asylum seekers to travel legally to a country in which they can claim asylum.
The current refugee regime creates an obligation on states to provide asylum to refugees on their territory. However, it is vague on the obligations states have to support refugees on the territory of other states. This leads to a fundamental inequity, because responsibility is de facto allocated on the basis of proximity.
This becomes a particular problem when a crisis like the Syria situation occurs. Historically, this gap has been addressed through the UN secretary general calling for a global conference, usually run by UNHCR, at which a framework for cooperation is negotiated and commitments made. This is needed for Syria and the Mediterranean.
■ Survival migration
Increasingly, people fleeing fall into a neither/nor category. Many people leaving fragile states fall outside the 1951 convention definition but cannot in any way be described as “voluntary” migrants. If they cannot achieve the basic conditions for life and dignity in their country of origin, then, ethically, they are in an analogous situation to refugees.
In theory, international human rights law should offer some form of protection to such people but jurisprudence is generally conservative. One solution would be to develop a supplementary “soft law” framework in order to ensure meaningful, temporary protection of such people. If such movements are going to occur, all states are better off addressing them within a predictable, common framework.
The dominant approach to refugees is state-centric. It is dominated by a boats-and-camps logic that views refugees either as a border management issue or as a humanitarian concern. It is too often assumed that refugees need be an inevitable burden. Empirical research challenges this; with the right policies, refugees often make a positive economic contribution.
Rather than just providing food, clothing and shelter in closed refugee camps, we should be supporting refugee self-reliance through a development assistance fund that can simultaneously benefit refugees and hosts. In a transnational world, there is nothing incompatible about someone being a refugee and also having the opportunity to integrate into labour markets. Doing so offers a route to greater sustainability, and enables refugees to eventually go home and rebuild post-conflict societies.
■ People not in need of international protection
A major reason for the crisis of legitimacy of asylum around the world is that states have few practical ways to respond to people without a human rights-based or humanitarian claim. Removal and deportation processes are costly, and challenging both diplomatically and often challenging also from a human rights perspective.
In part, we have to accept that the price of asylum is a low level of non-removable people who are not in need of protection. However, there are also creative ways in which alternative channels can be opened.
In an era in which many states need workers, collective action by governments, including on skills matching, might enable alternative and democratically legitimate solutions to be created.
In the long run, states will be collectively better off working together than acting in isolation. But at national, regional and global levels, leadership is needed to build a vision for a global refugee regime adapted to the needs of a changing world.
... The book is a good primer; even now, you can see Orwell's Burma in the crumbling grand old buildings in Yangon, and the refurbished, very colonial hotel The Strand, where you can sip gin and tonics under slow-moving ceiling fans. ...
Myanmar: The best way to see Asia's most unspoilt destination, Brigid Delaney [Stuff.co.nz - 21/9/15]
Rohingya kids in the rain during the rainy season in Sittwe's Muslim Quarter, now effectively a sealed ghetto.
Image: @andreapitzer [16/7/15]
Myanmar bullish on inflow of foreign direct investment [Asia One - 21/9/15]
Human trafficking charges against a Royal Thai Navy commander allege that he extorted large sums from police stations along the Andaman coast of Thailand for his silence, Phuketwan can reveal today.
It is believed the commander allegedly turned a blind eye and seldom intercepted vessels containing boatpeople - then allegedly claimed money from those who did intercept the boatpeople to hand them to traffickers.
Charges laid against Commander Kampanart Sangtonggeen and three Army captains only enlarge the scale of the alleged trafficking off Thailand's coast by officials wearing several different types of uniforms.
The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, and the Commander in Chief of the Army, Udomdej Sitabutr, have called for full investigations of all human trafficking issues.
French court blocks Rwanda genocide suspect extradition [RFI - 15/9/15]
PM Julia Gillard and David Bradbury [MP for Lindsay - in Western Sydney] watch a vessel boarding exercise in Darwin Harbour [ABC - 7/7/10]
A fish rots from the head down.
... Sydney-based orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who fled Iraq in 1999, said he still met people who judged him because he arrived in Australia by boat.
At a recent high-profile event, a "senior member of Australian society" had asked how the 43-year-old -- who has met Britain's Prince Harry because of his pioneering work with amputees -- came to be invited after he revealed he was a boat refugee, Al Muderis told AFP.
The man changed his tone after his wife revealed she had read about Al Muderis' life story in the media.
"He realised I'm a human being, I'm normal, I can speak English and I can articulate and... I'm the guest of honour, not him."
Human rights atrocities committed by governments don't stop for school holidays.
Nearly 4,000 Australian women have signed this open letter.
IGNORE US AT YOUR PERIL.
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
By refusing to respond to the request of refugees incarcerated on Manus Island, while still fundraising for Syria (as part of the government's abhorrent 12,000 specially selected, non muslim PR stunt) the UNHCR are emboldening the Australian government to continue its atrocities against refugees.
And another Queensland MP joins the cruel Syrian refugee PR stunt bandwagon. [Logan Reporter - 21/9/15]:
... Access has over 30 years experience delivering vital multi-disciplinary service solutions to newly arrived refugees and migrants in Logan and across the state.
After last week's announcement that Australia would accept a one-off intake of 12,000 refugees, Access CEO Gail Ker said the organisation was ready to provide whatever assistance it could to help create new lives for the individuals.
Monday's fundraiser had been held to support the UNHCR's Syria Crisis Urgent Appeal.
"The work of the UNHCR to keep refugees safe and provide them with shelter, sleeping mats, blankets, food, medical care and access to education on the front line of Syria and its neighbouring nations is absolutely crucial," Mr Alexander said.
MP Cameron Dick said Logan was ready to walk hand in hand with refugees seeking protection, safety and compassion.
"Here in Logan we live in one of the most multicultural communities in Australia and because of this we are a community that says welcome," he said.
"We have never turned away from people in need of our support and we won't turn our backs on them now." <---- Not if they come by boat.
Do the UNHCR support this deliberate dehumanisation and invisibilisation of refugees and asylum seekers detained on Manus, Nauru and onshore? Why don't they say? [Nine MSN - 11/9/15]:
... A spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection told ninemsn that partner agencies will then refer cases for permanent settlement on to Australian officials for further assessment.
"Departmental staff and other agencies, such as ASIO, will then carry out Australia’s screening," confirmed the spokesman.
"Candidates for resettlement will be required to meet all criteria for a protection visa, including health, character and security checks."
The 12,000 Syrian refugees will be processed in the same way the government has handled refugees since World War II, the spokesman said.
ninemsn tried to contact UNHCR to enquire about their processes and selection criteria but the Canberra-based office did not return calls. ...
To precis Turnbull: "We stopped the boats." ----> ... In no small part because we have been successful in securing our borders, we can play our part in helping resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. ... [House of Representatives Hansard - 15/9/15]
The ALP helped Abbott lock in offshore detention two months ago [ABC - 24/6/15]
Men accused of Reza Barati's murder at Australia's death camp on Manus Island stand trial
... Statements made to the police name at least two more G4S guards who reportedly kicked Barati in the head as he lay prone and bleeding at the top of a staircase.
But local men Joshua Kaluvia and Louie Efi, both 29, remain the only two charged, and appear likely to be the only two ever called to answer for the crime.
“They want to convict us so that nobody else, no Australians or New Zealanders who are responsible, have to face justice,” Kaluvia told Guardian Australia from Lorengau prison.
“We have to take the blame for them because we are PNG.”
The Manus MP, Ronnie Knight, says the limited prosecution highlights a legal doublestandard: “One law for the locals, and no laws for the expats. The locals don’t matter, and the expats get off, they can do what they like.”
Justice Nicholas Kirriwom will preside over the trial.
This was a brutal attack, not a “riot” - Refugee Action Collective – Manus Island Fact Sheet [2/3/14]
Submission 67 Nauru Senate Inquiry: ... We were expected to "manufacture" Individual Management Plans as this was what the Department of Immigration wanted. ... After the murder of Reza Barati, we were told to lie to our clients and tell them it was a "riot" to deter them from protesting. ...
Witness to murder of Reza Barati at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island is 'too scared' to testify [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/9/15]
Researchers Aainst Pacific Black Sites Media Release [18/9/15]:
… This episode is the latest in the shocking brutalisation of one family on Nauru.
The young man is the brother of Nazanin, a 23 year old woman allegedly raped on Nauru in May. Following the alleged rape the woman tried to kill herself twice. Although critically ill for weeks, it was not until she was on the verge of organ failure that she was finally medivaced, alone, to Australia.
On the day of Nazanin’s second suicide attempt, her brother heard her scream and ran toward her. After being pinned down by two Australian officials, the young asylum seeker was then taken by Nauruan police and imprisoned in a cell for more than 30 hours where, he reported, ‘passers by, including guards, urinated through the bars’.
The young asylum seeker and his ill mother remain in Nauru separated from the sister.
This instance is not isolated but is part of the systematic degradation and violence, especially sexual violence, meted out to detainees in Nauru and Manus Island.
As this media release goes out, reports are emerging of another brutal rape of a refugee on Nauru.
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites has previously called attention to the harsh, cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment, tantamount to torture, enacted in the black sites that are Australia’s off-shore immigration detention centres.
As Australia prepares to welcome refugees from Syria and to stake its claim as a good global citizen, we call on our new Prime Minister to attend to the asylum seekers we have incarcerated off-shore though they are not accused of any crime.
In a letter congratulating Mr Turnbull, men detained on Manus Island write, ‘We are happy for them [those fleeing Syria] as they welcome, because we know the pain of them and understand them more than others’. They ask the Prime Minister to ‘bring back the taste of freedom and living to us’.
Another 20 year old Syrian man detained on Manus Island for 27 months told Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites that he too was beaten and imprisoned. ‘We are Alive Aylan. But I have been suffering for more than 2 years in worst living conditions. No one sees our pain. We are right here in Manus. We are dying here’.
Immediately after assuming the role of Prime Minister elect, Mr Turnbull pledged to run ‘a thoroughly liberal government’.
How long can a government pledged to liberal principles countenance the harsh, cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment of people under their care?
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites call on Prime Minister Turnbull to rise to the challenge of ending the cruel and degrading conditions for asylum seekers and refugees in offhshore detention.
The blowin No Business in Abuse and Get Up campaign against Transfield doesn't explicitly call for Australia's refugee concentration camps to be closed.
Genuine grassroots campaigners have been calling for divestment and the closure of the camps for years. They've had quite an impact - which has powerful interests worried.
Image: @xBorderOps [21/3/14]
Current action at syd town hall: #HESTAdivest. While you care for others, hesta finances detention. Time to divest.
Image: @Nikki_San [25/6/15]
Are divestment campaigns calls for nicer cages, ethical carnage and cleaner coal? [New Matilda - 10/9/15]:
… The threat and actuality of boycott and divestment campaigns have the capacity to undermine investor confidence in companies and render their involvement in detention untenable.
The precise aim of a boycott and divestment campaign is not to displace one company or another from operating detention contracts, but to render involvement in detention costly, unpredictable and ultimately financially ruinous for any company.
The crucial combination of grassroots determination by, on the one hand, artists, staff, members and audiences and, on the other hand, accurate, focussed information on corporate and financial arrangements has proven to be a winning assemblage. Because once the wildfire starts, there are only really three options for those who support these corporations and the practices of detention.
The first is what we have come to call the ‘Rabbit-Hole’. It is the most PR-friendly approach used by corporations and institutions: confuse, mislead through the use of meaningless financial jargon, or simply send people down the hole of debating irrelevant details until it becomes so confusing that decisions are clouded. By bringing together those who are genuinely confused with those who are ill-informed and those wish to confuse with purpose, the Rabbit-Hole is a potent mix and can paralyse a divestment campaign.
The second is the Compulsory Investment approach. When Attorney-General George Brandis insisted that artists should work for companies that were involved in detention — as he did in the wake of the Biennale boycott — or when investment funds argue (falsely) that they cannot divest from a sector, they are arguing in contravention of the principle of freedom of contract.
Recent efforts by investment funds to suggest that members cannot have a say in where their funds are invested, or to characterise the divestment campaign as a sub-set of debates over industry funds, is a game of bait and switch.
Investment funds are accountable to their members and it is not compulsory to invest in any given company or sector. The power of a divestment and boycott campaign draws upon the power contained in markets, and the most effective form of this is the power to refuse to enter into contracts.
The third is the Revolving-Door. Whether cynical or driven by a pessimism that nothing will ever change, campaigns which oppose these industries are often subject to take-over bids by organisations that have a financial interest in the continuation of those practices in another, more palatable form amenable to corporate image-making.
This destroys an independent opposition and encourages the resort to, say, cleaner coal or nicer cages. In practice, it means creating a revolving-door for people to move effortlessly between influencing the direction and priorities of campaigns against an industry and, at the same time, receiving money from organisations that are a part of that industry. ...
Andrew Gavin Marshall [13/10/11]:
... Thus, I feel it is important to differentiate between solidarity and co-optation. Solidarity implies a type of social empathy, in seeing how the cause or struggles of one movement or people is the cause and struggle of your own movement or people.
Solidarity is an incredibly important and necessary development, especially in the context of today’s globalized world.
Solidarity allows for people the world over to understand and believe that the struggle of one person is the struggle of all people in all places, and indeed it is. Thus, solidarity, no matter with whom, should not be shunned.
There is, however, a fine line between solidarity and co-optation.
Co-optation emerges when those who declare solidarity then begin to speak “for” the movement, assume leadership positions within the movement, promote their particular agendas as the agendas of the entire movement, and effectively steer it into directions which they desire.
This process must be guarded against. ...
Voices from the Black Sites: The Dentist [19/9/15]
Republican candidate Carson says Muslims unfit to be US President [Reuters – 20/9/15]
... Q: So it’s more about suppressing the political activity than the violence?
KUNDNANI: Right, exactly. ...
Arun Kundnani traces the history of western theories of terrorist radicalization as a means to criminalize and suppress political ideologies and activism, from the use of agents provocateur within the Philippine independence movement in the early part of the 20th Century through the Palmer Raids after World War I and the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities during the civil rights movement.
Kundnani references a 1919 Supreme Court opinion upholding an Espionage Act conviction to explain how radicalization framing diverts attention away from the consequences of state violence: “…the irony is in a context where huge numbers of people are dying in this war in Europe, the one who’s shouting ‘fire’ is the anarchist advocating for peace.”
... Arun Kundnani is the author of “The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror,” (Verso Books, 2014). Kundnani, an adjunct professor at New York University, has studied terrorism and the effects of counter-radicalization policies in the United Kingdom and the United States. ... Interviewed by Michael German, fellow, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School on July 10, 2014. [VIDEO - Islam In Australia]
Urgent UN intervention sought on the mistreatment of young people in NT youth justice facility [Human Rights Law Centre Media Release - 21/9/15]
The State Government is set to roll out some of the toughest anti-bikie laws in the country as part of a new push aimed at driving criminal gangs out of WA.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin said gang laws were being overhauled to include what he said were the most effective aspects of Queensland, NSW and South Australia’s legislation — described by critics in these States as draconian.
The changes have been signed off by Cabinet and work is under way on redrafting the Criminal Organisations Control Act which was introduced in 2013 but has never been used. ... [West Australian - 21/9/15]
Yahoo 7 [11/3/14]:
New York's police commissioner has commended Queensland on its tough anti-bikie stance, likening it to US laws that cracked down on the Big Apple's most powerful Mafia families.
Premier Campbell Newman met Commissioner Bill Bratton in New York on Monday (US time) as part of his trade mission to the United States.
Mr Bratton said Queensland's anti-bikie Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act was similar to the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act in the US.
When asked whether following in RICO's footsteps was a good idea, Mr Bratton replied: "Hooray for you. Go for it.
"RICO certainly has helped us in the United States deal with not only the Mafia - the five families that once ruled in this city - but with many other types of activity."
Mr Bratton said the RICO laws helped curb the activity of gangs in Los Angeles and the equivalent "crews" in New York.
Mr Newman said New York crime statistics, which show a drop in overall crime, murders and shootings year on year for the past 24 years, was a positive sign for Queensland's new laws.
"We clearly haven't had the same sort of challenges with crime that cities like New York and Los Angeles have had, but the alcohol-fuelled violence and the criminal motorcycle gang issue are other issues we must solve," he said.
Mr Newman urged Queenslanders to give the anti-bikie laws time to work.
"While these laws have been tough and in some quarters been criticised, they are working to protect Queenslanders," he said.
The premier also toured New York's East Access Rail Line, saying it showed the benefits and challenges a similar underground transport project would bring to Brisbane.
Mr Newman will continue his trade mission to Houston after visiting Los Angeles and New York.
New York police officer James Frascatore made headlines earlier this month when he mistakenly identified retired tennis star James Blake as a suspect and slammed him to the ground outside a midtown hotel.
It’s not the first time Frascatore has been accused of using excessive force.
We speak to Warren Diggs, a Queens man suing Frascatore for assault after he was stopped in 2013 for allegedly riding his bicycle on the sidewalk.
Attorney Amy Rameau is representing Diggs and another New Yorker beaten by Frascatore. ... [Democracy Now - 18/9/15]
Four men charged following dangerous, resource wasting, class and race based police pursuit incorporating crash and police dog savagery, Nundah [QPS Media - 20/9/15]
Gold Coast officers resuscitate man in Surfers Paradise [QPS Media - 20/9/15]:
... Officers were called to a hotel on Cavill Avenue around 10.05pm yesterday in relation to a man causing a disturbance.
Upon arrival officers saw the man quickly fall into a semi-conscious state and then stop breathing. Police commenced Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) briefly reviving the man before he again stopped breathing and officers re-commenced CPR.
The 36-year-old Carrara man was successfully revived for a second time after a defibrillator was used.
The man was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital for treatment.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Man seriously injured after reportedly thrown out of window in Perth [WA Today – 20/9/15]:
... A sophisticated police set up is encamped on Cheriton Street outside the three-story building, a housing complex for the over 55s, which is encased in police tape.
Detectives sniff around looking for clues while a small press pack giggles and gossips a few metres away.
Pepi, an elderly man with a cheese-cutter cap and fresh, though out-dated, Dunlop sneakers, slowly walks towards the excitement.
"The police have been here for three of four days," he tells me.
"But the police report about the guy who fell through the window only came out this morning," I tell him.
He gives me a knowing look.
At least 13 migrants, including children, have died after their dinghy and a ferry collided off Turkey, the coastguard there says.
The accident happened close to the port of Canakkale. The boat was on its way to the Greek island of Lesbos. ... [BBC - 20/9/15]
21 September 2015