Kurdish militia launches assault to evict Syrian army from key city of Hasaka [Reuters - 22/8/16]
United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 22/8/16]
Rescued migrants arrive at Augusta, Sicily on board navy ship [EURO News - 21/8/16]
A human rights group has challenged the government’s refusal to disclose whether ministers or Downing Street officials were involved in a decision not to prosecute anyone over an espionage operation to kidnap two Libyan dissidents.
Reprieve, the group that represents the dissidents, has questioned whether Downing Street is covering up political interference in the decision not to bring charges over the abduction of the dissidents and their families, including a pregnant woman and four children.
The group has lodged a complaint with the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, calling on her to investigate the secrecy.
The complaint relates to a joint operation run by the CIA and MI6 to abduct Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi in south-east Asia and fly them to Libya, where they say they were tortured. ... [Guardian - 22/8/16]
Day 156 refugee protests, Nauru
Never give up
Image: @elahe_zivardar [22/8/16]
PNG Supreme Court confirms Australia and PNG are responsible for closing Australia's illegal refugee concentration camp on Manus Island [RNZI - 22/8/16]
Compensation claims and sham refugee assessment grievances associated with Australia's illegal refugee concentration camp still able to be heard separately [PNG Loop - 22/8/16]
Reeks of political and ideological interference at the highest levels ---> The Supreme Court order on April 26, which ordered for the closure of the Manus Regional Detention Centre, has still yet to be enforced.
Today in court, the state’s lawyer said the government was having problems interpreting the court order. ... [EMTV - 22/8/16]
Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin has expressed concern that the Manus people will not be receiving any compensation for hosting the asylum processing centre in Lorengau.
Benjamin said during the grievance debate in Parliament on Friday that the Australian and PNG governments had announced the closure of the camps.
“But both governments have not advised the Manus people if they will receive any money as a way of appreciation,” he said.
“We are still waiting for the promised Manus package.
“And now there is an announcement that they (asylum seekers) will go and we are still waiting when they will go.” ... [The National - 22/8/16]
On another (perhaps related) note: PNG ratifies visa waiver agreement with Israel [PNG Loop - 22/8/16]
Prince Charles Hospital security guard charged with manslaughter over elderly patient's death [ABC- 22/8/16]
A woman has been charged with murder after a man was allegedly shot dead near a primary school on the Gold Coast.
Police and paramedics were called to a home on Imperial Parade in Labrador just after 2pm after reports of a shot being fired.
The 43-year-old man died at the scene.
This evening, a 48-year-old woman who was assisting police with their inquiries, was charged with murder.
Police said the man and woman were known to each other, and the alleged shooting is believed to have occurred inside the house.
The woman is due to face Southport Magistrates court tomorrow. ... [Nine MSN - 22/8/16]
Pacific Pines home targeted by violent home invaders [MYGC - 22/8/16]
Man charged after Ipswich kidnapping [Brisbane Times - 22/8/16]
A shooting is under investigation in Broadbeach.
At around 8:00pm on Sunday night police responded to reports of a shot being fired at a unit complex on Albert Avenue.
Once they got there, they set up a crime scene but have not found a firearm. ... [MYGC - 22/8/16]
Police have confirmed there’s nothing to be alarmed about at Emmanuel College after the school was forced into lock-down this morning.
Officers swarmed on the school at Carrara around 10.00am after reports emerged of a person allegedly armed with a shotgun on the school grounds.
It turns out it was all a false alarm, with the cause of the lock-down a student doing a play dress rehearsal with a toy handgun. ... [MYGC - 22/8/16]
Or you could LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT, establish traffic calming zones and IMPROVE pedestrian amenity - particularly in tourist areas ---> ... The signs display a smiling face or a reminder to slow down and are regularly rotated around roads experiencing speed issues. ... [Gold Coast City Council Media Release - 22/8/16]
A tree lopper has died after coming into contact with power lines in Brisbane's west on Monday afternoon.
According to the Queensland Ambulance Service, paramedics were called to the Glenbrae Street scene at The Gap shortly before 3.30pm.
It's believed the man was working above the live power lines when he accidentally touched the live wires. ... [Yahoo - 22/8/16]
Police raid Sydney home in investigation into terrorism financing [Nine MSN - 22/8/16]:
Police have raided a home in the Sydney suburb of Heckenberg as part of an investigation into terrorism funding.
Authorities raided the Tantangara Street property this morning, seizing a number of items and taking photographs inside the home and nearby cars.
A neighbour told 9NEWS a woman lives at the home with her young children and mother.
The woman's husband has apparently not lived at the home for several months.
Police said there is no current threat to the public.
"It's not a threat to the public, it relates to terrorism financing," AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said today.
"It was just a part of an ongoing operation investigation that we've got in Sydney."
No arrests have been made.
Convicted paedophile priest sentenced to 18 years jail [The Herald - 22/8/16]:
Hunter paedophile priest David O’Hearn has been sentenced to 18 years jail for offences against boys in the 1980s and 90s.
Judge Richard Cogswell, who set a nine year non-parole period, said the sentence would have been longer if he had been able to use current sentencing standards rather than those that were in place at the time of the offences.
The court heard O’Hearn, 55, behaved “like a standover man in his local community”. ...
Two teenagers who have pleaded guilty to killing a 53-year-old man at a remote Aboriginal community are "vile, brutal psychopaths that should be locked up forever", the victim's sister has said. ... [ABC - 22/8/16]
Amirah Droudis: Girlfriend of Man Haron Monis 'brainwashed' into killing his ex-wife, court hears [ABC - 22/8/16]:
... However, defence barrister Mark Ierace SC told the court the case against his client was entirely circumstantial and three eyewitnesses had later failed to identify Amirah Droudis.
Mr Ierace told the court Monis had a history and tendency "to seek out [an] individual to kill for payment".
Mr Ierace also said because of Man Monis's "secretive dealings ... we may never know" who carried out the killing of his ex-wife.
The court has also heard Man Haron Monis had threatened his ex-wife's life in the years before the attack, unsuccessfully solicited Rebels bikies gangs to kill her, and also created an elaborate alibi for himself at the time he knew the murder was taking place.
The judge-alone trial is expected to last for up to two months.
Charged with murder, but they didn’t kill anyone—police did [Chicago Reader - 18/8/16]
@wikileaks [22/8/16]: 19 mins ago at 2:47am an unknown man scaled the side wall+window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London; fled after being caught by security.
The Israeli army fired missiles into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Sunday afternoon and evening, injuring at least five Palestinians, after a rocket fired from Gaza fell inside the southern Israeli city of Sderot, with no injuries or damage reported by the Israeli army. ... [Maan - 21/8/16]
A Very Heavy Agenda Trilogy
... After Ford’s loss and Jimmy Carter’s ascent to the White House in 1976, Indonesia requested additional arms to continue its brutal occupation, even though there was a supposed ban on arms transfers to Suharto’s government.
It was Carter’s appointee to the Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Richard Holbrooke, who authorized additional arms shipments to Indonesia during this supposed blockade.
Many scholars have noted that this was the period when the Indonesian suppression of the Timorese reached genocidal levels. ... Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine [Counterpunch - 19/8/16]
Can you see the war? ---> A young woman who has suffered at the hands of the so-called Islamic State will speak at The University of Queensland next week.
Two years ago the terrorist organisation massacred 21-year-old Nadia Murad’s family before abducting and sexually enslaving her.
Ms Murad escaped and now leads a humanitarian mission on behalf of the Yazidi people, to condemn the crimes of the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL).
Ms Murad’s public lecture at UQ will be hosted by the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. ... [UQ News - 19/8/16]
Australia figures out how three men trying to seek asylum died [ABC - 22/8/16]:
Three asylum seekers died after setting out on a makeshift raft from a sinking asylum seeker boat in 2013 in a desperate bid to get help, an inquest in the Perth Coroner's Court has heard.
The plight of the men, Mohammad Hassan, 21, Mohammad Noor, 20 and a man known as Mr Sabibullah, had come to the court's attention because the administrator of the island wanted to nominate them for a bravery award.
The men were among a group of 16 asylum seekers and three Indonesian crew members who left Java in Indonesia in January 2013 to travel to Australian waters.
The inquest was told the boat was in very poor condition and on the third day of the journey, about 31 nautical miles from Christmas Island, it broke down and started taking on water.
The boat had no radio, flares, lifejackets or satellite phone.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Lyle Housiaux, said the three men and the boat's captain then built a "makeshift raft" and tried to paddle to Christmas Island, but it broke up in a storm and the captain became separated.
The raft was made of tyre inner tubes, and four pieces of bamboo bound with rope.
In the meantime, the Australian Navy intercepted the asylum seeker boat, and the remaining passengers told officers about the four men.
The boat's captain was discovered alive on a beach on the eastern coast of Christmas Island but, despite an extensive search, the three passengers could not be found.
The captain told rescuers the raft broke up but he found a piece of driftwood and using it to stay afloat, swam towards Christmas Island.
When they found the captain he said he had been on land for four days, slept in the jungle and walked by day before being found by two locals.
But he said he lost sight of the other men.
After hearing evidence from a police officer who prepared a report on the matter, the deputy state coroner, Evelyn Vicker, said she was "satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt" the missing men were deceased.
The inquest heard the men were identified using information from the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Red Cross, however their families could not be located.
Sydney Morning Herald [15/4/13]:
Christmas Island administrator Jon Stanhope has nominated an Indonesian crewman and three missing Burmese asylum seekers for Australian bravery awards.
Mr Stanhope said despite the men not being Australian citizens, they were responsible for ''inordinately brave'' acts in Australian waters and their courage should be commended.
In January, Australian authorities rescued about 16 Burmese asylum seekers on board a boat foundering some 20 nautical miles from Christmas Island.
Those on board told rescuers that the day before, the three Burmese men and an Indonesian crewman had built a makeshift raft by lashing inner tubes and bamboo together, and had set out to get help.
After four days the crewman washed up alive on Christmas Island, badly sunburned and dehydrated.
The bodies of the three Burmese men were never found.
Mr Stanhope says he had advice from the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat that the men were eligible to receive bravery awards because the acts took place in Australian territory. ...
@MSF_Sea [22/8/16]: "I asked to go back when I saw the boat. I was so afraid. But I couldn't go back."- Mary from #Eritrea, 17 & alone.
WHICH PART OF CLOSE THE CAMPS DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND STEVE GEORGANAS 'N GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA "LABOR 4 REFUGEES" CHANGE FROM WITHIN FRIENDS? YOU DUMB FUCKING FASCISTS. ---> Labor MP Steve Georganas says he wants to revive and reboot a cross-party working group to keep the pressure on for a more humane policy for asylum seekers in the wake of the recent revelations from the Nauru files. ... [Guardian - 22/8/16]
... Governments across the region need to seriously rethink how they approach refugees, seeing them as an opportunity, not a burden.
They must also acknowledge that immigration detention does not deter people from travelling to another country.
When your life is in danger, you will travel to any place where you are safe. ... [The Straits Times - 18/8/16]
"WE ARE ASKING THE WORLD TO TAKE US FROM THE HELL" @riserefugee [21/8/16]: Day 155 Protests by #asylum skrs & #refugees exiled & held hostage by #Aus govt in #Nauru
... "I watched these children's lives being destroyed by these camps," said Katie Price, a former child and youth recreation officer who was employed on Nauru with Save the Children for almost two years. ...
[NEOS KOSMOS - 22/8/16]
Image: @Mums4Refugees [21/5/16]
"Durable solutions": UNHCR issues progress report on its weaselly "Beyond Detention" strategy [18/8/16]:
... The strategy was launched two years ago to assist governments to tackle this important issue.
In partnership with states and civil society organizations, it has been rolled out in Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.
Data compiled from 2013 is used as a baseline, presented in one report alongside a progress report. ...
The harm is deliberate, but the Australian media want you to keep blaming the refugees and believing the policy is inevitable [Sydney Morning Herald - 22/8/16]:
When Asal Jabar is bored she yearns to play hide-and-seek.
But in Nauru's refugee ghost camps, the young Iranian must creep around drowsy, medicated inhabitants who can reportedly sleep for more than 15 hours a day.
"We want to run and play hide-and-seek but the people say to us: 'We want to sleep'. They sleep all day. We have nothing to do … we just have to sit in our home and watch the wall," Asal complained in video footage obtained by Fairfax Media. ...
More "durable solutions": Sedation and death in Japan's refugee gulags [Reuters - 8/3/16]:
In the 13 months before Niculas Fernando died in a Japanese immigration detention center in 2014, three other men suffered the same fate.
Anwar Hussin, 57, a Rohingya from Myanmar, died on Oct. 14, 2013, after suffering a stroke while being held at the same detention center as Fernando.
Saeid Ghadimi, a 33-year-old Iranian, choked on food and died on March 29, 2014, at the East Japan Immigration Detention Center in Ibaraki prefecture, a sprawling complex set among rice paddies northeast of Tokyo.
Flaubert Lea Wandji, a 43-year-old Cameroonian, died at the same center the next day, most likely due to acute heart failure.
The watchdog report drew attention to what it said was the heavy prescription of drugs to detainees.
At the time he died, Ghadimi had been prescribed 15 different drugs, including four painkillers, five sedatives – one a Japanese version of the tranquilizer Xanax – and two kinds of sleeping pills, the report said.
At one point during his incarceration, he was on a cocktail of 25 different pills. ...
PNG Supreme Court to rule on Australia's responsibility for political prisoners on Manus Island [SBS - 22/8/16]:
Lawyer Ben Lomai, acting for hundreds of detainees at the Australian-run facility, will ask the judges to order Manus’ closure within 48 hours, declare PNG is unable to resettle those held there and that all refugees and asylum seekers be returned to Australia.
Mr Lomai will also seek a further hearing to consider compensation payments for human rights breaches in the four years since the centre has been open. ...
PNG Department of Justice, IOM and US State Department conduct training for Magistrates in "eradicating trafficking of persons" [EMTV - 22/8/16]
Unwanted: The plight of Myanmar's Rohingya boat refugees [CNN - 20/5/15]
Australia's national broadcaster did propaganda for the Myanmar regime [ABC, Media Report - 18/5/15]
The ALP and LNP voted against a Greens Senate motion for Australia to provide SAR assistance and to help resettle some of the refugees [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]
... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.
Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis. This can be discussed without Burma.
Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."
Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...
Abandoned by the EU. Without home or safe way, their lives in the hands of volunteers. @PROACTIVA_SERV [21/8/16]
@SOSMedGermany [21/8/16]: Hundreds of people saved from wooden boat. SAR teams coop #SOSMEDITERRANEE #AQUARIUS and #ASTRAL #TogetherForRescue
Kate curries favour while we torture kids [Queensland Government Media Release - 22/8/16]:
Queensland will be on show in India this week, with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) leading tourism operators from across the State on an international trade mission.
Destination Showcase India, a joint mission in partnership with Visit Victoria, includes 17 Queensland operators travelling to Delhi and Mumbai to promote the State’s tourism products and experiences.
Participants will meet with and provide training to key travel agents promoting Queensland and their business, attend networking functions and gain valuable insights in the Indian market.
The following operators are participating in Destination Showcase India 2016:
Gold Coast Tourism
Southern Cross 4WD Tours
Jet Boat Extreme
Paradise Jet Boating
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Whales in Paradise
Fire for Hire
Village Roadshow Theme Parks
Hot Air Balloon Cairns and Gold Coast
One & Only Hayman Island
Sunlover Reef Cruises/Ocean Hotels and Tourism
Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises
Kuranda Koala Gardens (Wildlife TNQ)
The Australian government released this advertisement about the torture of children in its jails and detention centres, and it's surprisingly honest and informative. [The Juice Media]
What about the suiciding dairy farmers? Australia's Trade Minister Steve Ciobo selectively applies "rules" to former colony PNG [RNZI - 21/8/16]:
Australia has expressed concern about a new quota system in Papua New Guinea's national rice policy.
PNG's Department of Agriculture and Livestock this month laid out plans to provide an 80% quota of the local rice market to rice importer Naima Agro-Industry Ltd.
Australia's Trade Minister Steven Ciobo however said a quota system was inconsistent with PNG's obligations under the World Trade Organisation.
In a letter to his PNG counterpart Richard Maru, Mr Ciobo warned that Australia would be authorised under WTO rules to take retaliatory action against PNG exports to Australia.
Mr Maru said he would consult with the national executive council before the government formulated its response to Australia's serious concerns.
The PNG government's announcement of the quota for Naima, which it says has no previous rice experience, had sparked concern with a major player in the local rice sector.
Trukai, two-thirds of which is owned by Australian rice farmers and the rest by a PNG super fund, said it had concerns the new policy could jeopardise its business in PNG. ...
... And we’re part of the convenience rice foods market in America, where our subsidiary SunFoods’ HINODE brand can be found in retail giants like Walmart and Kroger. ... [SunRice]
Remote villagers in Papua New Guinea remain critically short of food with predictions that severe weather conditions will continue until the middle of the year.
According to a World Food Program operational briefing paper, quoting PNG Government figures, more than 2.7 million people are affected by extreme El Nino climate conditions, which started a year ago. ... [Catholic Leader - 30/3/16]
... Education policy, refugee policy, it's all the same thing for me. You can't have an education policy which is supposed to be about inclusion, about fairness, about compassion, if at the same time you deal nothing but cruelty to people who come here looking for a new way of life.
That's not an education policy. You can't do that. It's hypocrisy. ...
Adrian Skerritt [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/5/16]
Australian media help Wayne Swan peddle mythology that ALP policy not identical to LNP's (if not worse) ---> @amworldtodaypm [22/8/16]: Former Labor treasurer @SwannyQLD is warning the Turnbull Government against pursuing trickle down economics.
@SwannyQLD [22/8/16]: Unless inequality is tackled in Australia, economic growth & our social cohesion, will be threatened ... <--- Your mob started it: See Hawke, Keating and check your own neoliberal zealotry.
Even if they were lobbying our government, Australia staying out of South China Sea dispute would be a bad idea because???? ---> Chinese community leaders who have urged Australia to stay out of the South China Sea dispute insist they are not acting on instructions from the Chinese embassy. ... [ABC - 22/8/16]
At least 10 killed in suicide car bomb attack in Somalia [Reuters - 21/8/16]
22 August 2016