Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has accused multinationals including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton of giving inaccurate evidence to the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance.
Speaking at the inquiry's second round of hearings, Mr Jordan did not go so far as saying the companies had misled parliament, but he did say that their evidence at earlier hearings was not accurately reflecting the reality that the level of taxes they pay locally was being contested by the ATO. ... [Canberra Times - 22/4/15]
Tax Agency uncovers €20 billion of Spanish capital in Switzerland [El Pais - 21/4/15]
Jason Garrels' father waiting on ALP support promise
Daily Mercury [22/4/15]:
A father still mourning the death of his son feels let down by the ALP over what he believes is a lack of commitment to a pre-election promise.
Jason Garrels, 20, was fatally electrocuted at work in February 2012, the circumstances of which were recently the focus of a coronial inquest.
Michael Garrels has since dedicated much of his time fighting to establish a victims' families forum, which would help make the judicial process in relation to industrial work deaths transparent for those most affected.
He even appealed to coroner David O'Connell to consider recommending a forum be set up as part of his findings.
In January this year, Mr Garrels received a written indication from the ALP that they would support his push to establish the forum.
"The Industrial Relations Minister will involve injured workers and the families of victims in a consultative committee, to ensure genuine and ongoing output," the response read.
However, in the wake of the election Mr Garrels is yet to be contacted by Industrial Relations Minister Curtis Pitt about this initiative, of which Mr Garrels is the driving force.
Mr Garrels said he'd made several unsuccessful attempts to speak with Mr Pitt.
"I've very disappointed because I waited to allow them time to set up government," he said.
"I keep hearing 'we'll get back to you' and 'we're committed'. At the end of the day actions speak louder than words."
A spokesperson for Mr Pitt said the minister was waiting for the coroner's findings to be handed down before meeting with Mr Garrels.
In a statement Mr Pitt said "workplace health and safety" would always be a top priority.
"As Industrial Relations Minister, I'll work closely with the families of victims in a consultative committee to ensure we deliver safer workplaces throughout Queensland," Mr Pitt said. [i.e. Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!]
Day three of protest supporting 13 Bundaberg workers locked out of their workplace by Medical Director
News Mail [22/4/15]:
More community members have joined the protest to support 13 Bundaberg workers locked out of their workplace by their employer, Medical Director.
The protest has been running for two days outside the Bourbong St business and continues again today as the workers, their families and an ever-growing number of supporters rally for more pay and better conditions.
Australia Services Union Bundaberg organiser Donna Webster said they sent a letter to Medical Director requesting a sit-down meeting to be held today, but was still yet to get any confirmation.
"There has been conversation with the lawyers for the company today and we're just waiting for some confirmation in writing," she said.
A Medical Director spokesman told the NewsMail a date was confirmed.
"We are focused on resolving this issue swiftly with the union and staff, with a meeting agreed for Thursday," he said.
But Ms Webster was yet to get that notification.
"So now we're just left waiting out the front until then," she said.
State-owned electricity distributor Western Power has admitted it is partly to blame for an incident in Mandurah in which a teenager was almost killed by a fallen light pole and another one was shocked. ... [West Australian - 22/4/15]
$25,000 reward to catch Toowoomba Mosque arsonists
A $25,000 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the Garden City Mosque fire.
Darling Downs police district officer Detective Inspector Dave Isherwood said it was hoped the monetary incentive would prompt someone with vital information to come forward to police.
"We are appealing to the public for anyone with information in relation to the mosque fire to come forward and if that information leads to the identification and conviction of those responsible than they could be eligible for up to $25,000," Det. Insp. Isherwood said.
"The reward money comes under the Arson Rewards Scheme of the Insurance Council of Australia.
"If the information received leads to an arrest and conviction we will present an application to the Insurance Council."
Det. Insp. Isherwood said police continued to follow leads of inquiry and were looking at a number of "persons of interest" but no arrests had yet been made.
The alleged arson attempted at the mosque had been "amateurish", similar to earlier attempt on the same building in January, and police had not ruled out the possibility that the same person or persons was behind both wilful damage incidents, he said.
Det. Insp. Isherwood said, despite speculation in the public arena, there was no evidence to support the alleged arson was religiously motivated.
"I would say it's more likely a stupidity motivated attack," he said.
"There is nothing to support any possible link between the (alleged arsonist) and any anti-Muslim group."
Anyone with information which could help police in the investigation of this matter is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Report: Israeli forces directly targeted children in Gaza
Evidence suggests that Israeli forces directly targeted children during last summer's war, reported childrens' rights group Defense for Children International- Palestine.
Evidence and testimonies collected by DCIP reveal several locations that should have provided children with shelter and safety were, in practice, not immune from attacks by Israeli forces.
"Missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes killed 225 children while they were in their own homes or seeking shelter, often as they sat down to eat with their families," DCIP reported.
Just under half of the children who died during the offensive lost their lives in aerial attacks on residential buildings.
The fighting between Palestinian militant groups and Israel that resulted in an offensive which Israel dubs "Operation Protective Edge" killed 547 Palestinian children, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks.
Another 3,374 children suffered injuries in attacks, "including over 1,000 children whose wounds rendered them permanently disabled," as documented by DCIP.
DCIP also estimates at least 164 children were killed in drone attacks, noting Israel as the world’s largest exporter of aerial drones.
"In one such case Rawya Joudeh, 40, and four of her five children were killed by an Israeli drone fired missile as they played together in the family’s yard in Tal alZatar, Jabalia refugee camp, North Gaza, on the afternoon of August 24.
"The children were aged between 6 and 14."
New Zealand Seeks UN Resolution on Israel-Palestine [Jakarta Globe - 22/4/15]
The Kagoshima District Court has approved the restart of Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power plant, plaintiffs said on Wednesday, rejecting a legal bid to halt the process by residents worried about the safety of the plant. … [Japan Today – 22/4/15]
Indigenous icon saved from CSG mining in Far North Queensland
Lock The Gate [22/4/15]:
The Djungan people of Queensland’s southern Cape York area are elated that the threat of coal seam gas exploration and mining at Ngarrabulgan (Mt Mulligan), has passed for now.
Last week, the Djungan learned that the application for an Authority to Prospect had been withdrawn on this month, after the exploration permit was surrendered in mid-March. Elder Alfie ‘Pop’ Neal, as spokesperson for the Djungan, and for Ngarrabulgan, today said on behalf of his extended family that he would like to thank everybody from across Australia who helped in the fight to save the Mountain.
Ngarrabulgan, as the oldest occupied site in Queensland, is a sacred place for the Djunan people who have had an ongoing struggle to prevent mining and to control the future of the site. Most recently, Elders have spoken up against coal seam gas mining at rallies, campaigns and awareness raising tours across FNQ and as far as the NT, arguing against the highly destructive fracking process.
Judulu, chairperson of the Ngarrabulgan Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, said that while it is a relief to have the CSG application lifted from the Mountain, unconventional gas mining using fracking remains a threat across the whole of the north of Australia.
He highlighted the mining industry’s unlimited access to water and potential contamination of aquifers as “unacceptable”, saying that it must be “stopped at all costs”.
“That water is needed for people, for farming, and for the ecosystem, not just now, but for future generations. Fracking is an attack not just on the Woomera nation, but on all Australian people. We Djungan support the calling of a moratorium on fracking across Australia,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Judulu formally acknowledged the support from a broad cross-section of the community, including Lock the Gate and its affiliates, the Knitting Nanas, pastoralists, the Greens and Senator Larissa Waters, Katter's Australian Party and Cook electorate candidate Lee Marriott, and the Douglas and Cook Shire Councils.
He says the obligation under Law to look after the land must now be met with a strategic plan that addresses the spiritual, cultural and social needs and aspirations of the Djungan people.
Anyone wanting to be involved with this will be welcomed, and can contact the Ngarrabulgan Native Title Aboriginal Corporation at email@example.com
Daily Mercury [22/4/15]:
Linc Energy owner of the Blair Athol mine in the Bowen Basin, announced the sale of its non-core conventional coal business to United Mining Group in a company announcement to shareholders yesterday.
According to the statement, the company has been in talks with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) for clarification of the listing rule requirements with respect to this transaction and the company will need shareholder approval to go ahead.
Child sex abuse inquiry: Senior Catholic nun apologises to victims from Neerkol orphanage in Queensland
A senior Catholic nun has apologised to victims of sexual abuse at St Joseph's Orphanage at Neerkol, near Rockhampton, during her testimony at a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing.
Hundreds of children were beaten, molested and raped at St Joseph's over three decades up until the late 1970s.
Sisters of Mercy Australia leader Berneice Loch finished her testimony this morning at the inquiry, which is investigating systemic abuse at the orphanage.
Sister Loch was a senior member of the Sisters of Mercy when allegations of abuse at the orphanage first came to light in the 1990s.
She now leads the order's Australian branch.
Under cross-examination this morning, Sister Loch apologised to the victims of abuse.
"I have been deeply moved this week and last week at the goodness of people who have come through very hard days – their goodness and courage," she said.
Sister Loch told the inquiry she now understood the long-term impacts of child sexual assault was not confined to the victim themselves.
"Reflecting on the responses made by me personally and by our congregation over the years since about 1993, I regret that I did not take steps earlier to learn more about abuse and its effects on people, and about possible responses," she said.
"I did the best I could at the time and with the knowledge I had, but my best fell a long way short of ideal.
"I think the Sisters of Mercy have tried to focus on the needs of those who were in our care as children and this has informed our thinking and guided our decisions, however imperfectly."
She said she hoped the Catholic Church would continue to acknowledge its past failings.
"It's the only way we can be the church we're called to be," she said.
"I am not sure it is possible to get this right since every individual has a different understanding of what is needed to set things right, but we can continue to work on it.
"I believe that it is important to focus on establishing good relationships as integral to any response that can set people free of memories that diminish and entrap them.
"Many victims speak of their wish to hear the word sorry and of their wish to ensure that other children will never suffer as they did.
"We can promise to work constantly towards the prevention of child abuse of any sort.
"[We] will continue to improve our processes for prevention of abuse where we can and for respectful interaction with those who have suffered where abuse still occurs."
Sister Loch had testified yesterday she objected to abuse allegations being raised in the Queensland Parliament by then-Nationals MP Kevin Lingard in 1996.
Mr Lingard's ministerial statement prompted hundreds of victims of rape and molestation to come forward, but Sister Loch told the inquiry the allegations were sensationalised in the media.
In September 1997, the Sisters of Mercy apologised to the former residents of the orphanage.
Di-Anne Rowan, who was a congressional leader with the Sisters of Mercy during the late 1990s, told the inquiry today she believed up to five of the nuns that allegedly perpetrated the abuse were still alive during the early 1990s when the allegations first became public.
Ms Rowan testified one of the nuns agreed to meet with a victim, but the others were reluctant.
She said their reluctance stemmed from anxiety that they would not remember the specific incidents.
"Their big concern was because the incidents had happened so many years ago they might not remember," she said.
"Most of what I discussed with them, they didn't remember, so they couldn't give specific details.
"They really were embarrassed about the allegations ... I think it did affect them very deeply and they were ashamed, embarrassed, upset."
Ms Rowan left the order in 2003.
The commission has also heard evidence about the sale of the Neerkol orphanage site.
The Sisters of Mercy sold the site for $1.43 million in 2000, to help fund compensation for the victims.
QPS Media [22/4/15]:
Cherbourg police have charged sixteen people after alleged disturbances on Barber Street, Cherbourg on Sunday.
Between 6am and 5pm police will allege several individuals were involved in physical and verbal altercations throughout the day.
A 27-year-old Cherbourg man received head injuries and was flown to the Toowoomba hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Sixteen people have been charged with a variety of offences including public nuisance, breach of bail, possess liquor in restricted area, threatening violence and assault.
Police investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Media blackout at the PNG Supreme Court today? Really?
Witchfinder delayed by rain in PNG highlands with killing still the danger [ABC – 22/4/15]
PNG: What's fuelling the violence in Hela Province?
Ten dead in clashes over stolen pig [PNG Loop – 22/4/15]:
At least ten people have been killed over the last three days in a fiery tribal fight that stemmed from a dispute over a stolen pig in Hela Province.
The fighting is between the Wapiago and Tapamu clans that live in the Hulia LLG in Komo Margarima district of Hela province.
Three women are among the dead while several others with gun wounds are fighting for their lives at the Tari hospital.
Classes at the Wabia primary and Tari secondary schools have been suspended while mothers and children have fled and are taking refuge with their relatives at the neighboring Tari Pori district.
Assistant Police Commissioner -Highlands (ACP) Teddy Tei travelled to Tari from Mt Hagen on Monday to attend to the fight.
ACP Tei, Hela provincial police commander acting Chief Supt Mark Yangen, Hela deputy provincial administrators Pius Pape and Kope Waiko, Tari police personnel and PNG Defense Force soldiers attached with the multi-billion kina PNG LNG security operations went in a convoy of vehicles to Hulia villages.
The group talked to warring factions to lay down their arms and agree to a cease fire.
Tei asked the owner of the stolen pig and other instigators of the fight to surrender to police in Tari by tomorrow (Thursday).
He warned that if the perpetrators of the fight, including the owner of the pig who is believed to be a local councilo, fail to surrender by Thursday, he would have no option but flush out the warriors by launching a special police operation in the area.
“I appeal to you people to stop fighting and bring the main suspects including the councilor who is the owner of the stolen pig to surrender to police by Thursday (tomorrow).
“If they fail to surrender to police, I will come by myself and look for them,” Tei warned.
Tei told the people to look after government services in the area and stop fighting. He said the fighting would severely affect everyone and it was not good to add more body bags to the 10 already killed over a pig.
Yangen also urged the people to show leadership and assist police end the fight.
Mr Yangen said with the leadership vacuum in the area following the jailing of local MP Potape and Hela Governor Anderson Agiru recovering from sick bed, it was important that councilors and community leaders work with the police in stopping the fight and bring back normalcy to the area.
Hela DPA Waiko said it is totally senseless to lose ten lives over a pig.
“We are all acting like pigs if we die and kill each other just for pigs.”
“We can’t allow another ten lives to be lost just for the sake of one stolen pig and you people must listen to police and stop fighting now,” Waiko said.
PNG: Hela Province needs magistrate, police say [The National - 31/3/15]
A teenage girl was chopped to death by a group of armed men numbering about 15 on Sunday night.
Police say the men attacked Piangoanda village in Komo-Magarima, Hela Province on suspicion over the theft of seven pigs earlier. ... [PNG Loop - 31/3/15]
Australian High Commission, Hela provincial government and ExxonMobil PNG announce a partnership to support and expand community safety [Australian High Commission PNG Media Release - 11/12/14]:
Hela Governor, Mr. Anderson Agiru, ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG) Managing Director Peter Graham and Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Deborah Stokes, signed a Statement of Principles committing support for community safety through the PNG-Australia Law and Justice - Transition Program.
A Memorandum of Understanding was subsequently signed between the Australia High Commission and EMPNG enabling joint funding of a full-time Tari-based community safety adviser.
“This is an excellent example of how business and development partners can work together to improve the lives of Papua New Guineans. Our partnership affirms our joint commitment to supporting and expanding community safety, and to the economic development of Papua New Guinea,” Ms Stokes said.
The placement of a Community Safety Adviser in Tari will support the Hela government’s efforts to strengthen local justice delivery, improve collaboration with national agencies and assist in reporting justice outcomes. Of particular focus will be support for Village Courts and reducing and preventing family and sexual violence.
Governor Agiru extended his full support to the initiative.
“The placement of a full-time law and justice advisor in Hela is welcomed, as it builds upon the work already done by the PALJP team in the province. My administration fully supports this initiative, and we appreciate the willingness of the PNG national government, the Australian government and ExxonMobil to support Hela’s development priorities.”
ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director Peter Graham noted during the signing ceremony that development challenges require ongoing collaboration between the public sector, industry and civil society.
“ExxonMobil remains committed to helping develop human, social and economic capacity in PNG. We are pleased to support the Law and Justice Partnership and commend the PALJP -TP team and the Hela Provincial Government for moving this initiative forward.”
It could be so different.
@ItalianNavy [17/1/15]: #UltimOra Nave Libra #MarinaMilitare inserita in #Triton ad #Augusta. I due bambini nati ieri con team sanitario MM
… On the road from Acre
They’re crucifying thieves
Crows are pecking at their eyes
While the hypocrites run free
I’ve been told that you’ve been bold
Believing in the shit that you’ve been sold
And I hear that you fear the way
a simple damn dream can disappear ...
'3rd Crusade', Cowboy Junkies 
Imagine if these were real bodies on #Brighton beach. It's not happening here but it's happening now #DontLetThemDrown
Image: @NaomiWestland [22/4/15]
Hundreds of body bags will appear on Brighton beach on Wednesday to highlight the UK’s shameful response to the rapidly escalating migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, ahead of an emergency meeting of EU leaders on Thursday. … [Amnesty International Media Release – 22/4/15]
@T_Coombes [22/4/15]: As pressure builds on #EU to act on migrant deaths at sea, follow @AmnestyOnline activists across Europe: #SOSEurope
Parliamentarians call on ASEAN to address Rohingya crisis
ASEAN leaders must urgently respond to the escalating crisis situation for Rohingya Muslims and other vulnerable minorities in Myanmar, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on April 22 in a public call on regional governments on the eve of the 26th ASEAN Summit.
In an open letter to ASEAN heads of state, the collective of parliamentarians called for greater recognition of the serious threat the continued persecution of the Rohingya minority represents not only to Myanmar, but to all of ASEAN.
APHR also called for an independent investigation into the growing crisis and the deployment of ASEAN monitors in the lead up to elections scheduled for later this year.
“The growing risk of atrocity crimes in Myanmar represents a direct threat to ASEAN nations, both because of the security risks and economic strains it poses for all ASEAN member states, and because it undermines our shared commitment to protecting all people from persecution and violence,” said Charles Santiago, APHR’s Chairperson and a member of the Malaysian Parliament, in the organisation’s press release.
“We are standing on the precipice of a great tragedy. ASEAN as a grouping as well as individual national leaders have the responsibility, both morally and under international law, to act to prevent atrocity crimes and crimes against humanity from taking place.”
APHR MPs travelled in early April to Myanmar to see the situation first hand and said they were alarmed by the proliferation of hate speech and extremist language that the state is turning a blind eye to.
President Barack Obama, wary of damaging relations with Turkey amid growing unrest in the Middle East, won't use the 100th anniversary of the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire to declare the brutal episode a genocide.
Despite Obama's campaign promise in 2008 to "recognize the Armenian Genocide" as president, the White House on Tuesday issued a carefully worded statement on a high-level administration meeting with Armenian groups that avoided using the term "genocide." ... [CNN - 22/4/15]
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie, Robert Fisk [The Independent - 20/4/15]
Australian Immigration officials screened Vietnamese asylum seekers aboard navy ship HMAS Choules [Brisbane Times – 22/4/15]:
Immigration Department officials evaluated and rejected the asylum claims of 46 Vietnamese aboard an Australia navy vessel before the entire group was handed back to the Communist government last week, Fairfax Media has learned.
The on-water processing represents a new development in the Abbott government's hardline approach to border control.
A large group of Sri Lankan Tamils who were kept at sea for a month on the Customs ship Ocean Protector last year had their claims heard over the phone.
The screening by department officials aboard HMAS Choules is believed to have happened over a number of days after a single boat carrying 46 Vietnamese was intercepted north of Australia.
They were returned to southern port city of Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City last weekend.
Two Defence sources confirmed to Fairfax Media that the Choules, which has been moored at Manus Island, was used in the operation.
... They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement" ...
[Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]
This is a jail cell some of the female refugees were imprisoned for 30 hours and given only one bottle of water to share. ... [Refugees on Nauru - 5/3/15]
Nauruan refugee shot with air gun pellet and then beaten by locals [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 15/4/15]
Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister makes a propaganda video. [Guardian - 22/4/15]:
The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has pleaded with refugees on Nauru to take up a settlement package to Cambodia, encouraging them to call a “Cambodia settlement hotline” in a video message obtained by Guardian Australia.
In the video, which was due to be shown to asylum seekers at the Nauru detention centre on Wednesday afternoon, the minister touts Cambodia’s “wealth of opportunities” and diversity.
On Wednesday Guardian Australia reported that Australian immigration officials had approached asylum seekers in the Nauru detention centre about resettlement in Cambodia, apparently in contravention of the agreement between the two countries.
Their memorandum of understanding specifies that only people whose claim for refugee status has been approved would be eligible for the transfer. ...
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor.
Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.
In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.
Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944.
It was all an elaborate hoax.
The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries.
Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.
Peter Dutton: Inspecting the progress at the new Murrumba Downs Station this morning with Federal Member for Petrie, Luke Howarth. ... [22/4/15]
American-style doughnuts are set to roll into the Kingdom after US-based doughnut chain Krispy Kreme announced it would open 10 shops across Cambodia over the next five years. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 22/4/15]
A controversial statement released by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday calls for the quick passage of a trade union law, which union advocates say violates international labour conventions.
The draft law prevents large swaths of Cambodia’s workforce from unionising, and favours pro-government labour unions. [Cambodia Daily - 21/4/15]
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday met with a visiting delegation of U.S. Congress members, including House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a government spokesman said.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said Ms. Pelosi’s delegation met Mr. Hun Sen at his office in Phnom Penh on Monday morning.
Ms. Pelosi said in a statement last night that the delegation met with the prime minister for more than two hours. ... [Cambodia Daily - 31/3/15]
WEF panel in Jakarta discusses migration flows and the economic benefits of unregulated labour (i.e. slaves). [Jakarta Globe - 20/4/15]:
... The sensitive nature of the issues surrounding a liberalized labor force — despite its potential — is the reason why each government’s ability to create a fair cross-country migration policy will set the tone, said William Lacy Swing, director general at the International Organization for Migration and another co-chair of the WEF on East Asia.
“Large-scale migrations are inevitable, necessary and highly desirable if we have the right policies. It’s not much a problem to be solved as it is a reality to be managed,” Swing added.
Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed shared a similar view, saying that regulation on the flow of skilled labor is currently being cooked up between Asean countries.
“This is one of the benefits of Asean integration,” he said. “There cannot be development if you face shortages of labor.”
Inner City Press [18/12/14]:
When International Organization for Migration director William Lacy Swing took questions at the UN on International Migrants Day, December 18, Inner City Press asked him about IOM's work for Australia, in Manus Island, Nauru and prospectively in Cambodia -- and also with Bangladesh about or on the Rohingya.
Swing insisted that IOM is not involved in involuntary repatriations, but that once the deed is done, they will assist.
Inner City Press asked, doesn't [that] enable and embolden countries to violate international refugee and humanitarian law?
THIS is refugee resettlement as defined by the UNHCR - anything else is EXILE.
Australia already resettles refugees. IN AUSTRALIA. Close the concentration camps and bring the refugees HERE.
Some refugees cannot go home or are unwilling to do so because they will face continued persecution. Many are also living in perilous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection. In such circumstances, UNHCR helps resettle refugees in a third country as the only safe and viable durable solution. Of the 10.5 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, only about 1 per cent are submitted by the agency for resettlement.
Only a small number of states take part in UNHCR resettlement programmes. The United States is the world's top resettlement country, while Australia, Canada and the Nordic countries also provide a sizeable number of places annually. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of countries involved in resettlement in Europe and Latin America.
The resettlement country provides the refugee with legal and physical protection, including access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals. It should allow for refugees to become naturalized citizens.
In 2011, UNHCR submitted the files of some 92,000 refugees for consideration by resettlement countries. By nationality, the main beneficiaries of UNHCR-facilitated resettlement programmes were refugees from Myanmar (21,300), Iraq (20,000), Somalia (15,700) and Bhutan (13,000). Ten per cent of all submissions were for women and girls at risk, the highest percentage of the last six years.
In the same year, almost 62,000 individuals departed to 22 resettlement countries with UNHCR's assistance. The largest number of resettled refugees left from Nepal (18,150), followed by Thailand (9,570) and Malaysia (8,370). Resettlement is a life-changing experience. It is both challenging and rewarding. Refugees are often resettled to a country where the society, language and culture are completely different and new to them.
Providing for their effective reception and integration is beneficial for both the resettled refugee and the receiving country. Governments and non-governmental organization partners provide services to facilitate integration, such as cultural orientation, language and vocational training as well as programmes to promote access to education and employment.
Asia, Africa to mark summit that forged post-colonial unity
Channel News Asia [22/4/15]:
The leaders of China and Japan arrived in Indonesia ahead of a summit beginning on Wednesday to mark a crucial gathering of Asian and African countries 60 years ago that helped forge a post-colonial identity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, both of whom arrived in Indonesia late Tuesday, will join leaders from several African countries as well as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani at commemorations of the 1955 conference that laid the foundations for the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The two-day leaders' summit in the capital Jakarta - part of a five-day schedule of events - will open on Wednesday with a speech from Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Japan's Abe is also due to address the gathering on Wednesday, and his remarks will be closely watched for clues about the content of a statement the premier will make later this year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The original conference gathered around 30 countries, many of them newly independent after decades of colonialism and foreign occupation, in the city of Bandung on Java island. It was led by Indonesian independence hero Sukarno.
Other prominent figures included Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, who were among leaders who founded the NAM several years later, an organisation for countries that did not want to take sides during the Cold War with either the United States or Soviet Union.
However the NAM has struggled to remain relevant in the post-Cold War era, and some analysts argue that this week's gathering is more about nations seeking to extend their influence with other participants than a display of solidarity.
China, especially, has been aggressively forging closer links with Africa, whose natural resources help power the country's growth.
"The bigger states have their own agenda coming here," said Tobias Basuki, a Jakarta-based political analyst, adding that the scores of countries represented would struggle to come up with a unified message.
Yemen may also feature at the summit, as several member states of major Muslim grouping the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation - such as Iran, who is backing rebels in the conflict - could meet on the sidelines to discuss the crisis.
The majority of leaders at the summit are from Asia or Africa, but there are also a handful from the Middle East.
As well as doubts over the NAM's relevance, the conference has been marred by the absence of key figures, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi - India was a major figure at the original conference - and South African President Jacob Zuma, who cancelled due to a wave of xenophobic violence at home.
... Laetitia Tura is the co-producer of "The Messengers", a documentary film that examines how the bodies of dead migrants are handled.
"[In Tunisia] bodies that routinely float ashore are treated like waste by the authorities. They're piled up in landfills well out of sight. In 2011, authorities dug a mass grave for the bodies. But in Tunisia, like elsewhere, the struggle to ensure that these migrants are given a dignified burial is above all the fruit of a collective effort led by individuals and NGOs."
... [France 24 - 21/4/15]
NOT ONE Australian politician will denounce the Abbott/Murdoch "stop the boats" lie?
Why the silence?
Do they agree with the Abbott/Murdoch "stop the boats" lie?
Professor Jane McAdam [Canberra Times - 22/4/15]:
... International law does not privilege the treatment of the citizen over the non-citizen. As the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states in its "recommended principles and guidelines on human rights at international borders", borders are not black holes for human rights. While states are entitled to exercise jurisdiction at their borders, they must do so in light of their human rights obligations.
A notable difference between those seeking to cross the Mediterranean by boat, and those seeking to reach Australia by boat, is that European movements are much more mixed. Mixed flows of people involve asylum seekers in search of protection, as well as migrants looking for work and better opportunities. By contrast, most people seeking asylum in our region are refugees, as recognition rates in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru show.
But while refugees require special protection – including access to refugee status determination procedures – all migrants must be treated with dignity and have their rights respected. States cannot act unilaterally or without impunity on the seas. Australian legislation authorising officials effectively to do what they like when dealing with asylum seekers at sea would never pass muster in Europe, because it is wholly inconsistent with international law and EU law. ...
International community must work together, 'be respectful' to help asylum seekers, UN Special Rapporteur says [ABC – 22/4/15]:
... Ms Giammarinaro dismissed the line used that more search and rescue operations would urge more migrants to travel in the hope that they would be safely resettled.
"We have to realise that people are fleeing conflict, to escape from violence [and] torture, to escape from a situation in which the lives of people you love is constantly at risk," she said.
"This kind of migration flow, you can't stop.
"I would try to escape. I think you would too."
She also said that a shared responsibility was the only answer.
"A shared responsibility is needed to deal with this issue in a way in which is respectful of the migrants and, at the same time, is effective," Ms Giammarinaro said.
"To protect the rights of people at risk and to be serious about that ... means to understand that if we push back these people, they will die somewhere else."
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday welcomed European plans to tackle the challenges of irregular migration in the Mediterranean, but said saving human lives at sea should remain the priority after hundreds of refugees and migrants lost their lives.
UNHCR staff in Catania said the survivors looked tired and nervous. Aid workers presented them with clothes and food. "The fear in the eyes of one man, his head lowered and hands stuffed into his pockets, is plain to see," wrote Kate Bond, a writer for UNHCR. "One survivor told UNHCR staff that there were children aboard the boat. So far, none of them have been found, although search-and-rescue operations at the site continue," she added.
The refugees and migrants were taken by bus to a nearby reception centre, where they received medical attention. Dazed, vacant faces stared out of the windows of the bus as it pulled away into the dark night. ... [UNHCR Media Release - 21/4/15]
Lawyers representing refugees jailed in Australia's death camp on Manus Island to appear in PNG Supreme Court today. [EMTV - 8/4/15]:
The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea is being challenged by a group of asylum seekers who say their detention is a breach of their constitutional rights. ...
Renewed fighting broke out again south west of Tripoli in the Warshefana area this morning and towards Gharyan, with the latter hit in air strikes. ... [Libya Herald - 21/4/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
U.S.-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Syria with six air strikes from Monday to Tuesday morning and conducted 22 strikes against the group in Iraq, the U.S. military said.
The Syria strikes were concentrated near Al Hasakah and Kobani, the military said in a statement on Tuesday.
They hit tactical units, a checkpoint, vehicles and fighting positions.
In Iraq, coalition forces struck the area around Mosul, hitting a factory as they sought to weaken weapons production, the military said.
There were also air strikes near Al Asad, Al Huwayjah, Bayji, Fallujah, Ramadi, Sinjar and Tal Afar.
How the US, "allies" train the Iraqi army to kill fellow Iraqis. [Centcom - 21/4/15]:
... The coalition's most visible action taken against Daesh has been launching more than 3,200 airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria since operations began in August.
"Our deliberate targeting process involves many levels of review," said Weidley. [Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve chief of staff]
"We look at those targets for hours and hours to understand the pattern of life, and all airstrikes in Iraq are approved by the ministry of defense."
The coalition's other main effort is training Iraqi forces through a program called building partner capacity, or BPC. The coalition has nearly 1,000 military trainers and advisers in Iraq at five separate BPC sites where they train Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces through four- to six-week periods of instruction to prepare them for operations against Daesh.
BPC site trainers come from a host of countries. Those who have announced their participation in the program include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. ...
UNHCR Media Release [21/4/15]:
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday reported that Iraqi civilians fleeing violence in Ramadi face numerous challenges, including dwindling resources, checkpoints, entry restrictions and security procedures to navigate on their journeys to safety.
An estimated 114,000 Iraqis have fled Ramadi, located in Iraq's restive Anbar province, over the past two weeks as conflict between government forces and extremists intensified. Of these, about 39,000 remain inside the province – many unable to move further afield.
Some 54,000 have gone to Baghdad, 15,000 to Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and 2,100 people have fled to Babylon. Other people are still on the move trying to reach safety and at least 900 have reached Diyala.
Inside Anbar province, the displaced are seeking shelter wherever they can find it in places such as Khalidiya, Al-Habaniyah and Amriyat Al Fallujah. Here, they stay with relatives, host families or seek shelter in mosques and schools. In one community centre in Al Habaniya, people already displaced by previous waves of violence are sharing their space with new arrivals, resulting in overcrowding – in some cases up to four families are sharing one tent. ...
The [US backed] Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Yemen for almost a month says its military operation 'Decisive Storm' has ended and a new campaign aimed at protecting civilians and preventing Houthi fighters from operating has begun.
Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Assiri, the coalition's spokesperson, said on Tuesday that the coalition had achieved its military goals in Yemen and a new operation, called 'Restoration of Hope', would aim to protect civilians and combat "terrorism".
The new operation started at midnight local time (22:00 GMT). Early on Wednesday morning, Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi gave a televised address from Riyadh, where he thanked the coalition partners for their support. ... [Al Jazeera - 21/4/15]
Yemen healthcare services on brink of collapse, WHO says [Yahoo - 21/4/15]:
Health services in Yemen are on the brink of collapse amid critical shortages of life-saving medicines, oxygen and fuel, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Prices of essential medicines have increased by more than 300 percent, and the shortage of water has increased the risk of diarrhea and other diseases and is affecting basic hygiene in hospitals and clinics, the Geneva-based organization said.
"Over the past four weeks, national disease surveillance reports show a doubling in the number of cases of bloody diarrhea in children below the age of five, as well as an increase in the number of cases of measles and suspected malaria," WHO Yemen representative Ahmed Shadoul said in a statement.
"High rates of malnutrition among women and children below the age of five have also been reported."
Major hospitals will soon be unable to provide emergency services, perform operations and provide intensive care to patients because of lack of medicines and fuel, WHO said, citing the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population.
Al Thawrah, Yemen's largest hospital with 850 patients, is at immediate risk of becoming unable to function because of critical shortages of fuel and oxygen, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Fuel shortages have disrupted ambulance services and delivery of health supplies across the country, while laboratory and blood transfusion services face disruption from power cuts, WHO said.
There has been a 40 percent drop in the number of consultations in health facilities since fighting in the country worsened, indicating that street fighting and road barriers are preventing ill people from reach facilities, WHO said.
Disruption of the distribution of vaccines is putting millions of children at risk of catching communicable diseases such as measles, and of polio which has been eliminated but is now at risk of reappearing, WHO said.
The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has killed 600 people, wounded 2,200 and displaced 100,000 since Houthi rebels allied with Iran seized the capital Sanaa in September.
The rebels now control most of Yemen and their advance toward the southern port of Aden triggered air strikes by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia to try to drive them back.
Afghanistan: 19 abducted deminers in Paktia released
The 19 deminers who were abducted by militants three days ago were released on Tuesday, officials said.
Zalmai Oryakhail, Paktia police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the deminers were released after government officials and local elders’ efforts.
The deminers were employees of Sterling Demining Afghanistan (SDA), and were kidnapped in the vicinity of Gardez.
Based on reports, gunmen had taken the men to Shahi Kot locality of Zurmat district.
The kidnappers had also taken four vehicles with themselves.
According to officials, the 36 deminers were busy working in Sarwali locality and when the gunmen arrived, some of them managed to escape.
Young man brutally killed by unidentified gunman in Kabul city [Khaama – 21/4/15]
Three civilians were shot dead after local Shura (council) ordered death penalty to them in a remote area of central Ghor province, officials said on Tuesday. ... [Khaama - 21/4/15]
In this race, it's said that the big guys will run slower and the little guys will run faster. But this isn't your typical competition. This marathon is happening inside a small room at Bagram Airfield, and it's the bad guys -- the DNA type -- that won't cross the finish line.
Jennifer Hammons is the lead DNA examiner at BAF's Afghanistan Captured Material Exploitation, or ACME, laboratory, the only forensic operating lab in theater. And it's the genetic analyzer that helps her catch the enemy. And all she needs is a drop.
"The thing I love the most in situations like this is when we have something that looks like nothing, and we wind up with a great answer," she said, explaining her machines and the multi-step DNA process. "Parwan (province) has the highest conviction rate in Afghanistan. And we're able to get individuals detained or off the streets." … [Centcom - 21/4/15]
War Against All Puerto Ricans: Inside the US crackdown on Pedro Albizu Campos and Nationalist Party [Democracy Now - 21/4/15]:
Commemorations are being held today to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pedro Albizu Campos, popularly known to many as Don Pedro, the former head of the Nationalist Party and leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement.
Albizu Campos spent some 26 years in prison for organizing against U.S. colonial rule.
He was born in 1891, seven years before the U.S. invaded the island. He would go on to become the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School.
Once he returned to Puerto Rico, he dedicated the rest of his life to the independence movement, becoming president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in 1930. It was a position he held until his death in 1965.
In 1936, Albizu Campos was jailed along with other Nationalist leaders on conspiracy and sedition charges. His jailing led to protests across Puerto Rico.
On Palm Sunday, March 21, 1937, police shot and killed 21 Puerto Ricans and wounded over 200 others taking part in a peaceful march to protest Albizu Campos’ imprisonment.
The event became known as the Ponce massacre.
After his eventual release, Albizu Campos was arrested again in 1950, just days after a Nationalist revolt began on October 30.
Pedro Albizu Campos would spend almost the rest of his life in prison, where he repeatedly charged that he was the subject of human radiation experiments.
We hear Albizu Campos in his own words and speak to three guests: Rep. José Serrano (D-NY); Nelson Denis, author of the new book, "War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony"; and Hugo Rodríguez of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.
Mexico's government said on Monday it would investigate reports that federal police killed 16 unarmed people in two attacks in January, the latest allegations to raise the specter of abuses by Mexican security forces.
Among the media to report on the killings was the website of Carmen Aristegui, a journalist whose team previously revealed that Pena Nieto and his wife had bought or used homes belonging to a government contractor, disclosures that stirred a conflict of interest scandal.
Aristegui later lost her radio job after conflict with her employer over her team's support for a new whistleblowing website. She accused the government of working to oust her, sparking fears that freedom of expression was under attack.
Just prior to publishing its report on the Apatzingan killings, the journalist's website Aristegui Noticias went offline for several hours and later said it had been the victim of a cyber attack. It was not clear how the attack occurred. ... [Reuters - 20/4/15]
Egypt's Morsi sentenced to 20 years in jail [Al Jazeera - 21/4/15]
US couple found guilty of sadistic Bali suitcase murder
An Indonesian court found a young U.S. couple guilty on Tuesday of murdering the woman's mother and stuffing her battered body into a suitcase on the resort island of Bali.
Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer, both from the Chicago area, were arrested last August after staff at a luxury hotel discovered the body of Mack's mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, in an abandoned suitcase in a taxi.
Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison for premeditated murder immediately after the verdict was delivered by a panel of three judges, and Mack to 10 years for being an accessory to murder.
The pair were tried separately in Denpasar District Court and it was not immediately clear if they would appeal.
Schaefer, 21, who had said in court he had killed Wiese-Mack in self-defense after she attacked him in anger because she objected to the couple's relationship, apologized to the family of the victim.
"Although I do take full responsibility for my actions, I am not a murderer," he told Reuters after hearing the verdict.
Prosecutors had called for a 15-year sentence for Mack, 19, because she faced a lesser charge and because she recently gave birth to a baby girl.
"10 years is better than the 15 years sought by the prosecution, so (we're) happy," said Ni Ketut Novi Sri Wirani, Mack's lawyer.
Presiding Judge Made Suweda spent more than an hour reading out the grisly details of the killing before delivering the verdicts.
"In my decision I have made a special judgment because Heather has a baby who needs a mother," said the judge. "For Tommy, I call the crime sadistic."
Bali police, assisted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted a four-month investigation into the killing, including a re-enactment with the defendants at the five-star St Regis Bali Resort where the body was found with bruises on her arms and broken fingers.
Other evidence submitted to prosecutors included CCTV footage showing the couple speaking to a taxi driver after dropping the bloodied suitcase along with other luggage outside the hotel.
Mack and her mother had a troubled relationship and von Wiese-Mack had frequently reported that her daughter punched and bit her, according to police reports cited by Chicago media.
Von Wiese-Mack's husband and Heather's father, classical music composer James Mack, died in 2006.
Vanuatu damage report reveals need for more aid
Vanuatu's latest damage assessment has revealed an even greater need for assistance from the international community in the months ahead.
The Operations Manager of the National Disaster Management Office Peter Korisa says the report outlines gaps in the ongoing relief and recovery effort with specific instructions on what needs to be done.
Mr Korisa says there is a high level of detail in the reports recommendations but many of the proposals will require even more help from overseas.
"Some of those sectors we have some resources, while others may depend largely on support whether internally or externally. I think we will need, we still need support from overseas, partners overseas and even regionally to do some, to assist us in the implementation of some of those recommendations."
Peter Korisa says the report is expected to be fully endorsed by the Vanuatu government tomorrow in order for its implementation to begin.
Bainimarama queries Australian, NZ policies on climate change [PNG Loop – 21/4/15]
PNG: Tokarara Sewerage Spillover Affects Family [EMTV – 20/4/15]
Outsourcing, privatisation = Someone gets paid to record empty Queensland courtrooms.
ALP: Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!
Baden-Clay jury pool was 'recorded' by Auscript [Brisbane Times - 22/4/15]:
... Concerns over the recording of out of session proceedings had been raised by DJAG in the weeks before the Baden-Clay case began, with the emails showing Auscript introduced a change of process to leave recordings running after the court had been adjourned.
It was believed this was done as a protection against "rapid resumption of court proceedings after an adjournment" and the belief "frequently starting and stopping recordings may be considered labour intensive" for court staff.
Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D'Ath said she intended to write to the Auditor General outlining the issues and concerns that have been raised by the material revealed by Fairfax Media.
Court record work will be outsourced as a result of budget cuts [Brisbane Times - 12/9/12]:
Written records of Queensland court proceedings will no longer be produced in-house, with the Newman government confirming it is outsourcing the work to the private sector.
The 205 staff in the Department of Justice and Attorney-General's State Reporting Bureau will be offered voluntary redundancies with the transition likely to begin by the end of the year.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie argued today the move would save up to $6 million a year.
The State Reporting Bureau produces written records of proceedings in Queensland's Supreme, District and Magistrates courts, with these transcripts relied on by judges and lawyers.
The outsourcing of the SRB was one of the worst-kept secrets in the lead up to the state budget delivered yesterday.
CBA, NAB, Macquarie, ANZ front Senate over financial planning scandals [Australian Financial Review – 21/4/15]
5.27pm: That's a wrap for the Senate inquiry today. Earlier today Macquarie Group revealed it paid $9.5 million worth of compensation to clients.
5.06pm: Dastyari questioned Narev on the bank's response to pay out victims of its advice scandal.
CBA launched a compensation scheme for impacted clients last July, but many victims are still waiting for their payments.
Narev defended the bank's processes, arguing it had 400 people working on the program.
"You have to do a file by file approach, and in some cases it goes back 10 years," he told the committee. He said the bank would like to address the issue as quickly as possible but he said the company "must get it right".
4.59pm: The financial planning scandal at CBA is the most well known and arguably severe across the big four banks to date. Thousands of clients lost hundreds of millions in retirement savings from receiving inappropriate financial advice.
Xenophon asked about the existence of confidentiality agreements, and whether clients were gagged from talking about their circumstances if they received compensation.
"In the past we've had them," Narev said.
But as part of the bank's advice review process to improve the quality of its division, the clause no longer existed and the bank had taken "no action" against people who previously signed the clause but are now speaking out.
Stradbroke Island sand mining company Sibelco acquitted over permits [Brisbane Times – 21/4/15]
Chevron Continues Battle to Dodge $9bn Ecuador Compensation [teleSUR – 20/4/15]
Greece’s Finance Minister: The medicine of austerity is not working, we need a new treatment
Democracy Now [21/4/15]:
... JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Your response to Treasury Secretary Lew?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, Secretary Lew is absolutely spot-on, quite right. This is a crisis we don’t have to have. It’s a standoff that we should have ended some time ago. It is completely correct to say that if this negotiation fails to achieve a mutually advantageous outcome, then the repercussions will be dire, not just, of course, for the Greek people, but for the international economy. We are completely in agreement with that.
And what I believe that Jack Lew has been doing over the last few days and weeks is he’s been applying pressure to both the Greek government, of course, but, on the other hand, the institutions—the IMF, the European Central Bank, the European Commission, European partners—to get to an agreement.
On the question of proposals to settle this agreement, I can assure you now, for quite a few weeks—actually, months—the Greek government has very clear proposals on how to settle this. It is a matter of convincing the institutions, the three institutions—the ECB, the European Central Bank; the International Monetary Fund; the European Commission—that the ways of yesteryear, the ways of the last five years, were not solving the problem, that we need deeper reforms.
We need to get rid of the idea that austerity is going to end the debt crisis. We need an investment package for Greece. And we need, together with our partners and institutions, to agree on a reform mechanism, a reform package, that attacks here in Greece the worst cases of rent-seeking, the oligarchy, the various cartels, instead of targeting the little people, the pensioners who are living on $600 a month, as if that is a reform that would work. ...
"Opposition" Manless Pieface says: Blurt. [ABC - 22/4/15]: Labor has proposed superannuation tax changes it says would raise more than $14 billion from high-income and wealthy Australians over 10 years. ...
Jigger found at Mornington trackwork
Thoroughbred News [21/4/15]
A Mornington trainer is under investigation after an electric shocking device, otherwise known as a ‘jigger’, was discovered on Monday.
The device, usually used in conjunction with a whip, is designed to deliver an electric shock to a horse to try and spark a better performance on the track.
The practice is forbidden under the Australian Rules of Racing.
Racing Victoria confirmed in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that stewards have opened an investigation into the circumstances that led to a hand-held battery device being found at Mornington on Monday, April 20.
“A number of licensed persons and racecourse staff have been interviewed by Stewards regarding the discovery of the device during morning trackwork,” Racing Victoria said in a statement.
“The Stewards’ investigation is still in its infancy and until such time as their preliminary questioning is complete, Stewards will not be making any further comment on the specifics of their investigation.”
Racing.com understands the jigger was found by a member of the trackwork staff, as if it was dropped, and stewards were then informed.
Historically, the penalties for using a jigger have been harsh.
The embattled Mark Riley was suspended for two years for the practice in 2000, while trainer Paul Preusker and jockey Holly McKechnie were outed for four and three years respectively in 2007.
PNG bans Australian poultry
Partners of the poultry industry in Papua New Guinea are welcoming a Government ban on all raw poultry products imported from Australia.
The indefinite ban was announced by Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll, last week who says a decision was made following ongoing concerns about potential health threats.
The President of the PNG Farmers and Settlers Association says international imports meant that prices for chicken average at around $20 USD each.
Wilson Thompson says the ban will boost local production and help reduce poultry prices.
The Secretary of PNG's Poultry Industry Association, Keith Galgal, says 1 in 4 households are engaged in poultry production and the ban will support small holder farmers.
“We have the means to increase or even double or triple the local production of chicken, meat and eggs and we believe that we can meet the local demand.”
Director of the Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, said there is a need to safeguard the PNG poultry from genuine bio-security risks, and a precautionary approach is justified. … [EMTV – 20/4/15
22 April 2015