Afghanistan Parliament attack: 2 civilians killed, 28 injured
A coordinated Taliban assault on the parliament building in Kabul came to an end with the killing of all eight attackers in one and a half hours gun-battle that killed a woman and a child and injured another 28 civilians, officials said.
Kabul police spokesperson Ebadullah Razin told Pajhwok Afghan News nine women and children and 19 men were among the wounded and some of them were in critical condition.
The Public Health Ministry spokesman said 31 wounded civilians had been delivered at Istiqlal, Emergency and Sadri-Ibni-Sina government hospitals for treatment.
Ismail Kawoosi said the wounded included five women and three children and one of them was struggling for life.
The attack took place after a group of suicide bombers stormed the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament building on the Darul Aman road at around 10:30am.
Kabul police chief Lt. Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi said one of the attackers crashed his explosives-laden car against the front gate of the parliament.
Then the remaining attackers tried to force their way inside the parliament building, but security forces beat them back.
“Some fighters entered an under construction building east of the parliament but police chased them and engaged them in a heavy firefight,” he said.
Rahimi said the situation was under security forces control and all the attackers had been killed after one and a half hours fighting.
The Wolesi Jirga was holding a general session where Masoom Stanikzai was introduced as the defence minister-designate for a vote of confidence when the attack occurred.
The Kabul police chief said all the lawmakers remained unhurt.
“All members of the parliament were safely evacuated from the building,” Rahimi said.
Lt. Gen. Sher Aziz Kamawal, who is responsible for the parliament security, also said all members of the parliament had been rescued.
Kamawal said a rocket landed on the roof of the parliament building after its gate was targeted by a heavy explosion.
The security commission head of the Wolesi Jirga, Shekiba Hashimi, said some people had suffered casualties, but she had no figures.
“We were safe inside the parliament building, but I am not sure about others outside,” Hashmi added.
A Pajhwok reporter at the scene said a number of cars were damaged and windowpanes of nearby houses smashed as a result of the blasts.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack in an email received by Pajhwok Afghan News.
US drone strike kills 7, Nangarhar province [KUNA - 22/6/15]
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned today the killing of 16 civilians, and injuring of several others, when their minibus hit an improvised explosive device (IED) on Saturday.
Mostly women and children, the victims were members of three families returning to their village, having fled violent clashes between anti-Government elements and Afghan National Security Forces earlier the same day. ... [Media Release - 21/6/15]
President of Louisville police union calls activists “liars” and “race-baiters” [Washington Times – 19/6/15]
Okinawans still haunted by horror of war 70 years on [Jakarta Post – 22/6/15]
Karachi heatwave death toll nears 200 [Dawn – 22/6/15]
UN Gaza Inquiry finds
credible allegations of war crimes committed in 2014 by both Israel and
Palestinian armed groups
Office for the High Commisson for Human Rights Media Release [22/6/15]:
The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict has gathered substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.
“The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come,” the chair of the commission, Justice Mary McGowan Davis told a press briefing today, adding that, “there is also on-going fear in Israel among communities who come under regular threat”.
The 2014 hostilities saw a huge increase in firepower used in Gaza, with more than 6,000 airstrikes by Israel and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired.
In the 51 day operation, 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children.
Palestinian armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel in July and August 2014, killing 6 civilians and injuring at least 1,600.
Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed in their own homes, especially women and children.
Survivors gave graphic testimony describing air strikes that reduced buildings to piles of dust and rubble in seconds.
“I woke up…in the hospital, and I later learned that my sister, mother and my children had all died,” said a member of the Al Najjar family after an attack in Khan Younis on 26 July that killed 19 of his relatives, “We all died that day even those who survived”.
At least 142 families lost three or more members in an attack on a residential building during the summer of 2014, resulting in 742 deaths.
The fact that Israel did not revise its practice of air-strikes, even after their dire effects on civilians became apparent, raises the question of whether this was part of a broader policy which was at least tacitly approved at the highest level of government.
The commission is concerned about Israel’s extensive use of weapons with a wide kill and injury radius; though not illegal, their use in densely populated areas is highly likely to kill combatants and civilians indiscriminately.
There appears also to be a pattern whereby the IDF issued warnings to people to leave a neighbourhood and then automatically considered anyone remaining to be a fighter.
This practice makes attacks on civilians highly likely.
During the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza that began in mid-July 2014, hundreds of people were killed and thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
Ambulance call centres said they received desperate appeals for help from people in Shuja’iya during which they could hear young children screaming in the background.
“There was an explosion about every ten seconds,” said a witness in Rafah in early August where the IDF launched a major operation after they believed one of their soldiers had been captured.
“When the safety of an Israeli soldier is at stake, all the rules seem to be disregarded,” commented Justice Davis.
The hostilities also caused immense distress and disruption to the lives of civilians in Israel.
Witnesses living near Gaza spoke of being disturbed by seeing the bombing from their sitting room windows but also struggled to reach shelters in time with their children when the sirens alerted them to incoming attacks.
The indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel appeared to have the intention of spreading terror among civilians there.
In addition the Israeli military discovered 14 tunnels extending from Gaza into Israel that were used to attack their soldiers during this period.
The idea of the tunnels traumatised Israeli civilians who feared they could be attacked at any moment by gunmen bursting out of the ground.
In the West Bank including East Jerusalem, 27 Palestinians were killed and 3,020 injured between June and August 2014.
The number killed in these three months was equivalent to the total for the whole of 2013.
The commission is concerned about what appears to be the increasing use of live ammunition for crowd control by the Israeli Security Forces, which raises the likelihood of death or serious injury.
Impunity prevails across the board for violations allegedly committed by Israeli forces, both in Gaza and the West Bank.
“Israel must break with its lamentable track record in holding wrong doers accountable,” said the commissioners, “and accountability on the Palestinian side is also woefully inadequate”.
The commission is disturbed by Israel’s decision to close its criminal investigation into the case of the killing of four children on the beach in Gaza on 16 July 2014.
International journalists and many Palestinian eyewitnesses do not appear to have been interviewed by the Israeli authorities, which raises questions about the thoroughness of their investigation.
The commission was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014 to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of the military operations conducted last summer.
The commission comprises Justice Mary McGowan Davis (United States) and Dr. Doudou Diene (Senegal).
The Israeli authorities did not respond to repeated requests by the commission for information and direct access to Israel and to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
However the commission obtained harrowing first hand testimony by means of Skype, VTC and telephone interviews.
It also conducted face-to-face interviews with victims and witnesses from the West Bank during two visits to Jordan and spoke to victims and witnesses from Israel who travelled to Geneva.
The commission conducted more than 280 confidential interviews and received some 500 written submissions.
Announcing the release of the report Monday, Justice Davis (chair) and Dr. Diene outlined a number of steps the parties and the international community should take.
One of these was that countries should actively support the work of the International Criminal Court in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“We were deeply moved by the immense suffering and resilience of the victims,” the commissioners concluded, “we just hope our report contributes in some small way to ending the cycle of violence”.
The commission is scheduled formally to present its report to the UN Human Rights Council on 29 June 2015 in Geneva.
Another bipartisan stitchup, reported by the media after the event
Nine MSN [22/6/15]:
Australians could be blocked from accessing websites allowing them to download content illegally after new anti-piracy legislation cleared parliament today.
A bill to allow copyright owners to seek a court injunction forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to block overseas piracy websites passed the Senate with bipartisan support late today.
Introduced in March by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in an effort to curb online piracy of film and television shows, the bill passed with 37 votes to 13.
The Australian Greens opposed the bills, as did Senator David Leyonhjelm, Senator Glenn Lazarus and Senator Ricky Muir.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam labelled the bill "lazy and dangerous", while Senator Leyonhjelm said it was a badly drafted law.
The legislation allows the rights holder to go to a Federal Court and have a site blocked if it has the "primary purpose" of facilitating copyright infringement.
If the rights holder is successful with their request, ISPs will need to comply with the judge's order and disable access.
Popular torrenting sites The Pirate Bay and KickAssTorrents are expected to be among the first sites to be blocked.
The federal government said Australians need to be reminded that if they take too much from creative industries such as film or music without giving back, they will jeopardise content.
Current crop of Australian politicians have NOTHING to offer us: Why 'Clare's Law' is not the solution [Plymouth Herald - 12/3/15]:
... Fortunately, someone knew the number of the local refuge, and I had an interview to assess my need. I was one of the fortunate ones; I was assessed as being in extreme risk and, luckily, they had a room free.
Had it not been for their intervention, I don’t know if I would be here today. The abuse was escalating and I was very depressed; I knew my situation was not going to have a happy ending.
It was not just the shelter the refuge provided, it was the support, and the preparation they gave me for the future. A huge part of my stay in the refuge was taking part in a programme that looked at abusive patterns of behaviour.
We learnt how to spot controlling behaviour and how to deal with it. We were also taught that we didn’t deserve what had happened to us and that we had value, even if we didn’t feel that way at the time.
We were never called “victims“, we were survivors. But I don’t think I have survived, I think I have flourished. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen entirely in the refuge, but in the months that followed I gradually grew stronger. There was a dawning realisation that what had happened to me was wrong.
Would Clare’s Law have saved me the years of heartache I had and the gradual loss of all that I held dear: my family, friends and career? I hate to say it, but for me, the answer is no.
If Clare’s Law had been around then I just wouldn’t have taken advantage of it and even if I had, I would have found nothing out. My ex had no previous history with the police – a lot of perpetrators don’t.
The very nature of domestic abuse is that it’s something hidden, something people are ashamed of. By the time the violence started I really believed I deserved it. The confident woman he first met would never have let a man raise a hand to her, but she was long gone.
… For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning! ...
'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Gold Coast Seaway is teeming with creatures ... saw heaps of dolphins, albatross and this sleepy cormorant today! [22/6/15]
Over 200 join constitutional challenge to their incarceration in Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island
Almost a third of the asylum seekers at the Australian-run immigration centre on Manus Island are challenging their detention, after 277 of them were added to an ongoing case in Papua New Guinea.
The case will argue the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island has breached at least 8 parts of PNG's constitution, including the right to liberty, freedom of movement, information about detention and access to a lawyer.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia approved a move to join 277 new applicants to the original 25 asylum seekers who started the case.
"I will be travelling to Manus [Island] and will spend 21 days to collate the 277 signed affidavits for filing by the first week of August," Ben Lomai, the lawyer representing the asylum seekers, said.
The legal action began when 25 asylum seekers were jailed without charge during unrest in January and were able to make contact with a lawyer while in a provincial prison.
The case has been filed against PNG's chief migration officer, immigration minister and the state.
Australia's role in the case remains unclear.
"We are aware of the case being run by Mr Lomai in PNG on behalf of a number of detainees in Manus ... [but] the Commonwealth has not been served documents in relation to this case," a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said.
However, Mr Lomai said he has served documents on the Commonwealth of Australia via diplomatic channels that were suggested by the Australian High Commission.
"If the court finds in favour of the applicants there are serious implications for the Commonwealth of Australia, because I will be asking for [the asylum seekers] to be released to the first port of entry, which is Australia," he said.
The case is one of numerous legal challenges to the Australian-funded processing of asylum seekers on PNG's remote Manus Island.
Former PNG opposition leader Belden Namah launched a Supreme Court challenge last year, which has since become bogged down in the court system.
Australia has funded PNG's legal challenge against Mr Namah's case.
In March, PNG judge David Cannings launched a Human Rights Inquiry into conditions for asylum seekers, allowing rare media access to the detention centre.
The PNG government stayed that case, citing conflict of interest, and Justice Cannings promptly launched a second human rights inquiry into whether asylum seekers' rights were being denied.
Separately, asylum seekers are undertaking a class action in the Victorian Supreme Court, suing the Commonwealth for negligence relating to the standard of care provided at the detention centre and for psychological injury caused by conditions.
There were 943 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island — according to Australian immigration figures from May 31 — and approximately 40 refugees at a transit centre awaiting permanent resettlement.
Some of the men have been on the island for almost two years and the PNG government is yet to form a policy on how to resettle [exile] them in other parts of the nation.
Empire and colonisation brings a culture of exploitation and abuse ----> Sexual crimes against minors on the rise [PNG Loop – 22/6/15]
MP and others go to court over Madang project [PNG Loop – 21/6/15]
Bishop, Ciobo, Danby and Australian media are FULL OF SHIT
... A stand and deliver moment against 20 guards knowing they were going to smash me.
Image: @nampix Nick Moir [22/2/14]
Iran, Australia keen to expand consular services [IRNA – 20/6/15]:
An informed Iranian source said Tehran and Canberra officials are holding high-profile talks on consular issues.
Talking to IRNA on Saturday, the source said the two sides have already had talks on consular, tourism, student and refugee sections.
However, he dismissed the claims by some Australian media that the two countries have agreed to force Iranian refugee-seekers to return home.
He explained that the two sides had the first round of their talks on the issues before the visit of the Australian foreign minister to Tehran and decided to do the second round in Canberra.
Talks did certainly take place about consular topics but there have been no agreements so far, said the source.
He dismissed any agreements between the two countries on forced deportation of Iranian refugee-seekers home.
He said it is the principled policy of the Iranian government to give its citizens the freedom to choose their place of residence so people are to voluntarily seek return to Iran under no compulsion.
He referred to the period, number and level of education to be offered to the Iranian students in Australia and exchange of sports team especially soccer and volleyball as among other issues discussed by officials.
According to the source, the Iranian delegation has urged Australia to make necessary inquiries about Iran’s tourism capacities to give the country its due share in Australian tourism industry.
As an aftermath of negotiations between managing director of Iranian Foreign Ministry's Consular Affairs Office with high ranking Australian official, Australian media reported on Friday that those rejected refugees who fail to go back on a voluntary basis will be forced to do so.
An Iranian delegation led by the Managing Director of Iranian Foreign Ministry's Consular Affairs Office Ali Chegini held talks with the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and that country's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, according to an IRNA report.
The websites of Australian dailies Sydney Morning Herald and West Australian in their Friday pages focused on the meetings.
The dailies claimed that the Australian government has agreed to grant scholarships to the Iranian students in that country in return for the forced return of those refugee-seekers who have been denied Australian documents.
The same will apply to tourist and work visas for those who intend to travel to Australia, as well as facilitating the establishment of consular offices in Sydney and Melbourne.
The report notes that the agreement also asks the Iranian government not to punish the rejected refugees after return to Iran.
Of course the Australian officials sympathizing with the rejected Iranian refugees upon their return to their homeland reminds one of the inhumane conditions in the Australian refugee camps which has throughout these years led to the catastrophic deaths of many refugees.
Julie Bishop in her early spring visit of Tehran spoke about the return of Iranian refugees and asked the Iranian officials to visit Australia as soon as possible to continue the talks about the issue.
Today Australia's national broadcaster did PR for the Israeli dairy industry
The 18 Palestinian Cows That Threatened Israel’s Security [The Nation - 12/6/15]:
The Wanted 18 is a deadly serious documentary, a film about rebellion, resistance to occupation and the tragic toll that can come with it. But it’s also a very funny story about cows. The film, which is screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival this Saturday, oscillates between these modes seamlessly, with a few overlaps. How else can one explain the Israeli military’s orders to shut down a small Palestinian dairy farm except as both an example of the total control sought by the occupying power and also an exemplar of absurdist humor?
Through archival footage, claymation, illustrations, interviews, and some contrived reenactments, filmmakers Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan tell the tale of Beit Sahour, a small Christian town on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, during the First Intifada, or uprising. In late 1987, Palestinians began to organize a mass uprising in response to 20 years of Israeli occupation, which began with 1967’s Six-Day War. Local committees organized the demonstrations, strikes, mass refusals to pay taxes to the occupying authorities, and boycotts of Israeli products.
Beit Sahour was a hotbed of creative nonviolent activism. In 1988, activists decided to stop buying Israeli milk. But a substitute would be needed to feed the town’s families, so Jalal Qumsieh went to a friendly kibbutz, or Jewish collective community, and purchased 18 cows. But, as one Beit Sahour resident says in the film, Palestinians didn’t have a culture of cow farming, so a local university student was dispatched to the United States to learn everything from how to care for the cows to how to milk them. “The moment I saw the cows at the farm,” says Qumsieh in the film, “I felt as if we had started to realize our dream of freedom and independence.”
The sense of community that the cows helped to build comes across through present-day interviews with the neighborhood committee members. Everyone pitched in for the Intifada. One Beit Sahour resident tells of how a group of women would divide duties in order to sew Palestinian flags, which were banned at the time—including one woman to serve as a lookout for Israeli soldiers as the sewing happened. Majed Nasser, a doctor, recounts being stopped by soldiers as he swept the street; they did not believe a medical doctor would stoop to such a task. The soldiers then recognized, he said, “There was more to the Intifada than throwing stones and burning tires.” And, indeed, there were the cows.
The Israeli army didn’t like it one bit. Occupation was, so far as they were concerned, predicated on control—and dependence played a big part in that. Like much of the West Bank, many Palestinians in Beit Sahour depended on the Israeli economy for their livelihoods and for the products that sustained their lives; with the Israelis asserting firm control over open lands, especially so close to the so-called Green Line that sectioned off the occupied territories under military rule, agriculture proved enormously difficult. The neighborhood committees of the Intifada were themselves seen as a threat. The Israeli military governor, Shaltiel Lavie, explains in The Wanted 18:
We had a strict directive on dealing with those who formed the neighborhood committees with all the necessary force, and all legal means at our disposal in order to control them so as to prevent the possibility of their setting up an administrative apparatus which was ultimately designed to replace our own.
The Israeli military began keeping an eye on the small dairy farm and eventually intervened, ordering the farm shut down within 24 hours and, failing that, threatening to destroy it with bulldozers. Qumsieh asked the Israeli soldier why the farm had to be shut down and recalls the response word-for-word: “These cows are dangerous for the security of the State of Israel.”
... Mekorot's governance of water ensures Palestinians remain on their knees of dependence on Israel - prohibited from using the water flowing beneath their feet or develop their own water infrastructure.
The years immediately following Israel's usurpation of Palestine's water resources saw a sharp 20 percent decline in Palestine's agricultural production.
Nearly 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have no access to running water, nor do Palestinians have the ability to collect water themselves without explicit permission, which is rarely granted. ... [Al Jazeera - 30/3/14]
Moncrieff constituent protests outside Ciobo's office [February 2014]
Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo begins his election campaign:
New Flight Path:
Our city is a great place to live. As your Federal MP I want to make sure it stays that way.
I am hosting a town hall meeting at Albert Waterways Community Centre on Tuesday, 30 June 2015, starting at 7pm, on the new flight path. I hope to see you there.
Time to move on Cr Crichlow. We've had enough of your bigotry - and that of your colleague (mentioned above) - on the Gold Coast [MYGC - 21/6/15]:
An outspoken Gold Coast City Councillor is on the war path, to rid Southport of a possible radical Islamic group.
Cr Dawn Crichlow is concerned Ahlul Tawheed has moved into a building in our city’s CBD.
According to the [horrible old fascist Rupert Murdoch's] Sunday Mail, the Islamic group is operating out of the Red Cross building on Lawson Street, despite being forced out of another on nearby Davenport Street over a "parking violation".
Cr Crichlow claims a prominent member of the Islamic community has warned her the group are religious ‘radicals’.
New York Times weighs in on Australia's refugee policy
New York Times [21/6/15]:
... “Australia is moving to ever more radical measures to avoid our international obligations,” said Hugh de Kretser, director of the Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Center. “But the world is watching.”
Even before the payment allegations, which surfaced last week, international organizations and human rights groups had assailed Australia’s policy of intercepting boats of migrants at sea and turning them to Indonesia, or holding migrants indefinitely at offshore detention centers.
There have been reports of abuse and a death at the centers, in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. In March, the United Nations said conditions at Nauru breached an international anti-torture convention.
This month, Australia flew four asylum seekers to Cambodia, the first transfer in a $31 million deal to resettle [exile] refugees in a country that Human Rights Watch says has been unable to integrate the refugees already there.
The Australian government has also expanded its legal authority, passing a law in December giving it the power to hold asylum seekers indefinitely on the high seas and to transfer them to any country the immigration minister chooses, even if the transfer returns a refugee to potential danger.
A bill currently in Parliament would give guards at the detention centers the authority to use force to maintain order at the privately run sites, a response to riots over conditions at the center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea last year. ...
The policy of mandatory detention in Australia (that is the legal requirement to detain all non-citizens without a valid visa) was introduced by the Keating (Labor) Government in 1992 in response to a wave of Indochinese boat arrivals. ... [Immigration detention in Australia - Parliament of Australia - 20/3/13]
World Refugee Day: Indonesia sets an example
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?
Thomas Vargas [Jakarta Post - 20/6/15]:
Imagine a Rohingya woman living in Myanmar with three children, desperate to reach her husband in Malaysia.
With no travel documents and no nationality, she has no choice but to get on a smuggler’s boat with hundreds of others in similar situations.
Her boat is abandoned by the smugglers and drifts at sea for months.
Some countries provide food and water, but the boat continues to drift aimlessly. As supplies and hope run out, the boat starts to sink. They jump into the water and are spotted by nearby Acehnese fishermen who bring them safely to shore.
What sounds like nightmare is a reality for Fatima, a Rohingya refugee who arrived in Indonesia last month and was welcomed, sheltered and assisted by the local authorities and community in Kuala Langsa, Aceh.
Her ordeal is not over yet.
In the confusion of the rescue she lost her eldest daughter. Fatima cried for two days straight. After a week, she learned that the girl was rescued by other fishermen and is alive in Kuala Simpang, a nearby regency. Now they have renewed hope to reunite as a whole family with her husband in Malaysia.
Fatima is one of 13,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Indonesia who fled persecution in more than 40 countries.
She and others like her dream of living a normal life again — in safety and dignity — the type of life that many of us take for granted. Meanwhile like any guest in someone’s home, they are expected to respect the laws and traditions of their host country.
In Indonesia, refugees are sometimes mistakenly called “illegal migrants” simply because they may have entered the country without proper travel or identity documentation, like Fatima.
What makes them different from other people on the move?
Refugees are forced to flee their home countries literally to save their lives. Staying could mean getting killed or facing other persecution simply for being who they are, for their beliefs, skin color or religion. They have no choice but to flee. You and I would do the same under such circumstances.
The confusion between irregular migrants and refugees often leaves refugees open to arrest and prolonged immigration detention. They are also vulnerable to further exploitation, violence and deprivation by people smugglers or human traffickers. This type of abuse has been tragically witnessed over the last few months with the boat crisis in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Luckily for Fatima and others like her, Indonesia provides refugees a safe place to stay until a solution can be found for them.
This sort of protection is a long-standing practice that reflects the Islamic tradition when the Prophet Muhammad himself was granted refuge in Medea more than 1,000 years ago.
The government protects refugees from being sent to any country where their lives would be in danger, otherwise known as the fundamental principle of non-refoulement.
Situated in the Asia-Pacific region, which hosts some 4.2 million refugees and people in refugee-like situations, Indonesia neighbors countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Australia that host much larger numbers of refugees.
By accepting and protecting refugees, Indonesia shows its solidarity with the international community and shares the responsibility of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution.
As Fatima’s example shows, this tradition is all the more important in a region characterized by different groups of people moving on boats who are often subjected to atrocities committed by smugglers and traffickers.
Indonesia is actively involved in initiatives exploring comprehensive regional solutions to the growing phenomenon of people fleeing on smugglers’ boats.
As millions of refugees throughout Asia hope for solutions, new and long-running conflicts continue to force people to search for safety in the region.
The heroic generosity of the community in Aceh perfectly illustrates that Indonesia’s tradition to help people in need of protection is alive and provides an example for other countries in the region to follow.
The writer is the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia
Australia Myanmar Institute Conference 2015 - Myanmar and the Sustainable Development Goals “Informed by the Past, Looking to the Future” 10- 12 July 2015, Yangon University:
... We invite proposals for papers, panels or projects relevant to the theme of Myanmar and the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on six priority thematic areas;
•Governance and law- e.g. constitutional law reform; law and order policies; national, state/division and local governance; peace process; ethnic and religious relations; etc.
•Education – e.g. minority language education; monastic education; education sector review; education policies; community education and empowerment; etc.
•Health – e.g. preventative and rural health programs: communicable and non-communicable disease prevention or research; emergency medicine; national health funding; etc.
•Business & economics – e.g. economic development; CSR & FDI; trade infrastructure; resource development and distribution; rural finance; land security and rights; etc.
•Equity (gender and minorities) – e.g. Yangon urban heritage; Pyu cities; world heritage listing; natural environmental heritage; etc. [try to find the plight of Rohingya mentioned on this website.]
Nauru opposition MP bailed, public servants sacked for supporting pro democracy protests.
Australian government still silent.
A Nauru opposition MP Mathew Batsiua says there are mounting numbers of jobless on the island as sackings continue in the wake of last week's anti-government protests.
Mr Batsiua is on bail after taking part in the protests over the suspension of several opposition MPs from parliament more than a year ago.
He says several dozen people have been sacked and even people who were not protesting but believed to be sympathetic to the demonstrations have lost their jobs.
Mr Batsiua says it is part of continued quashing of dissent by the Nauru government.
"Today there is an air of intimidation. People are afraid (for) their jobs. People who have participated in the process have been instantly dismissed without any explanation or without any due process for them to reply and defend themselves."
A local businessman Lockley Denuga says he has heard of three or four dismissals each in the past week from government entities including Nauru Fisheries, the Regional Processing Centre [refugee concentration camp], RONphos and the boat harbour as well as about 15 people from the Menen Hotel.
Former Deputy Director Public Prosecutions and current DPP in Nauru Wilisoni Kurisaqila has been killed in a road accident.
Kurisaqila died in the accident in Nauru on the weekend. His body left Nauru yesterday bound for burial in Fiji. Kurisaqila is survived by his wife and two children.
Kurisaqila previously worked at the DPP’s Office in Suva before moving to Nauru to take up his appointment as Nauru’s Director of Public Prosecution.
He is the son of the late and former Speaker of Parliament, Dr Apenisa Kurisaqila.
A quiet coup: War mongering fascist Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation takes 14.9% stake in APN.
Australian political and media establishment doesn't bat an eye.
Living With Evil
Bye Bye journalism at APN.
... "Print newspapers are not dead. And I am so sick of hearing speculation and doomsayer rubbish to the contrary. While there are communities and while there are issues - and people and institutions which need to be kept honest - there will always be a role for good, well researched and accurate journalism." ... [Meredith Papavasiliou, who was appointed editor of The Observer in March 2009 and has taken on the role of Northern Region Editor-in-Chief - Gladstone Observer - 8/12/12]
Sydney Morning Herald [20/3/15]:
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has intrigued its rivals by swooping on a 14.99 per cent stake in APN News & Media, which owns strong-performing radio assets, positioning Australia's biggest media company for further consolidation of the struggling media sector.
It acquired most of the stake in a sale by APN's Irish dominant shareholders, ending a 27-year-relationship with the trans-Tasman newspaper, radio and outdoor advertising group by selling their combined 30 per cent stake for about $300 million.
The surprise move, news of which was broken on Thursday morning by Fairfax Media, comes as the federal government considers ripping up cross-media ownership restrictions that limit mergers between traditional players.
While News describes the holding as an "investment stake", APN pays no dividends and the shares have already performed strongly in the past 18 months.
"It's not untypical for News to buy these strategic stakes as part of a bigger-picture move or a bigger play," said one senior media executive who asked not to be named.
A 14.99 per cent stake gives News, which is prevented by law from buying APN, a right of veto if another company attempted to acquire APN via a scheme of arrangement. News Corp's local rival Fairfax Media, which owns The Australian Financial Review and Business Day, has discussed various commercial opportunities with APN in recent years.
APN owns more than 100 regional newspapers, many of them in Queensland, and Australian Radio Network, which is the star of the radio sector with leading FM breakfast shows on its Sydney stations KiiS FM, and WS FM.
News Corp is prevented from acquiring 15 per cent or more of APN because News co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch owns 100 per cent of rival radio company Nova Entertainment. Nova owns the Sydney stations Nova and Smooth FM. No media owner can control more than two radio licences in a major market.
... This device would be illegal in Australia, but the ASX tolerates it because News Corp’s primary listing is in the US, where governance standards are much lower. ... [News Corp entrenches ‘poison pill’, a smack in the face to shareholders - Crikey - 19/6/15]
The Motley Fool [19/6/15]:
Today, shares of APN News and Media Limited (ASX: APN) shrugged off a swooning share price to jump as much as 5% higher on the back of a resignation and appointment to its leadership team.
After more than two years in the top job, current CEO, Michael Miller, announced his resignation in order to take the executive chair position of News Corp’s (ASX: NWS) Australasian business later in the year.
Current CEO of the Australian Radio Network, Ciaran Davis, will take the reins from Mr Miller at 1 September 2015.
Commenting on Mr Miller’s resignation APN Chairman, Peter Cosgrove, said, “I would like to thank Michael for his significant contribution as CEO of the Company. He has done an excellent job setting the growth platform for APN and building a strong leadership team.”
@MayneReport: Incoming News Corp Australia exec chair Michael Miller working with the mothership wearing his APN hat 2 years back [VIDEO]
emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) is Australia’s new cross-platform audience insights survey. ...
Judicial independence in the spotlight
UQ Media Release [22/6/15]:
He has presided over some of Queensland’s highest profile criminal trials, but former Justice George Fryberg is probably best known for taking on the Newman Government’s [ALP supported] controversial [draconian] anti-bikie [rights] laws.
The retired Supreme Court judge will be back in the public limelight at a conference at The University of Queensland 10 and 11 July.
The Judicial Independence in Australia Conference will involve legal academics and practitioners, including judges, from across Australia.
Mr Fryberg will chair a session at UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law that will cover issues such as judicial independence, criticism of judges, and law in the era of social media on 11 July.
“Judicial independence underpins our capacity to bring court proceedings against, or defend proceedings brought by, the executive government,” Mr Fryberg said.
“Without that, the only option would be to submit to the government or resort to armed force.”
He said technology posed both opportunities and challenges for the legal profession.
“Swift advances, especially in how people communicate, make this an important issue and one which courts must understand and adopt,” he said.
“I doubt the judiciary have any serious concerns about criticism in social media, but if courts are to use social media, they must exercise great caution.”
The conference coincides with the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta and is sponsored by the Magna Carta Committee of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia.
Mr Fryberg said the Magna Carta resonated today because it was considered the source of our inherited liberties.
Former High Court of Australia Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason and Supreme Court Justice Martin Daubney will also speak at the conference.
Registration details are available at www.law.uq.edu.au/judicial-independence.
Aboriginal delegate heads offshore to seek support of Melanesian nations
Aboriginal Provisional Government Media Release [22/6/15]:
Aboriginal delegate Callum Clayton-Dixon will fly into Honiara this week for the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit.
He will build upon the efforts of Goenpul woman Pekeri Ruska who spent time in the Solomon Islands last month meeting and developing contacts with key members of the West Papuan independence movement.
“It’s crucial that we as Aboriginal people gain recognition of our right to self-determination from the international community, including bodies like the Melanesian Spearhead Group,” says Mr Clayton-Dixon, a Nyaywana man and Chairperson of the Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG).
“Consecutive Australian governments have refused to deliver on Aboriginal demands for real land rights, proper political representation and reparations. This has driven us to seek support from nations that may be sympathetic to our situation, nations that could put pressure on the Australian government to address the unresolved issues at hand.”
Mr Clayton-Dixon believes the situation of Aboriginal people is similar to that of the West Papuans in the way that Indonesia chooses to deal only with governors installed by the Indonesian state:
“In reality, Australia only deals with the Aboriginal people they handpick. The latest example of this will be the July 6 meeting in Sydney between Tony Abbott, Bill Shorten and a select group of 40 Aborigines to discuss the timing and wording of the referendum to ‘recognise’ Aboriginal people in the Australian Constitution. Abbott and Shorten choose to focus on yet another tokenistic and paternalistic push to assimilate our people, and meet with the minority who support this push.”
The application by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua for membership on the MSG will be high on the agenda at the summit, a bid backed unreservedly by the APG according to Mr Clayton-Dixon:
“Indonesia continues to deny the right of West Papuans to determine their own future, and is committing nothing short of genocide against our indigenous brothers and sisters. Hundreds of thousands of West Papuans have been murdered, tortured and imprisoned by Indonesian forces over the past 50 years of brutal military occupation. But in the face of overwhelming odds, the West Papuan people have persisted in their struggle for liberation. The United Liberation Movement’s bid for recognition from the international community is a clear indication of their unwavering resolve to be free from decades of Indonesian oppression and occupation.”
Mr Clayton-Dixon also intends to use his Aboriginal passport on arriving in the Solomon Islands, and when returning to Australia. There have been several incidents over the past year when Aborigines have been harassed by Australian customs officials after presenting only their Aboriginal passport. Most recently, officials at Brisbane international airport threatened to body search APG Treasurer Pekeri Ruska if she did not hand over an Australian passport. This was in spite of Ruska having her Aboriginal passport stamped by Solomon Islands customs on entry and exit from Honiara.
Mr Clayton-Dixon will leave for Honiara from Brisbane at 10am on Tuesday the 23rd of June.
@laparisiennelib [21/6/15]: «Human resistance against financial terrorism» #Grèce #Greece #Syntagma via @giorgospanagaki @OlivierDrot >
... Athina, a student who joined the demonstration to remind Syriza that “we are the people who elected them”, blames big business interests for encouraging a run on the banks so as to hasten the fall of Alexis Tsipras’s party.
“Only a minority should worry. If you saw how much money the people here have in the bank, you’d laugh.” ... [Irish Times - 21/6/15]
@AlbaFerrs [21/6/15]: Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrives for a cabinet meeting.
Britain to boost its military presence in E. Europe to ‘strengthen NATO’ [RT - 21/6/15]
US warship to enter Black Sea to support Operation Atlantic Resolve [Press TV - 21/6/15]
Saudi Arabia continues airstrikes against Yemen [Press TV - 21/6/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [21/6/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria, all near Tal Abyad, striking three ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Baghdadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL improvised explosive device, an ISIL structure and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Rutbah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Beiji, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL supply truck.
-- Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle-borne IED and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck an ISIL safe house and an ISIL headquarters.
-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL rocket and land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage, destroying an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL buildings.
-- Near Tal Afar, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL mortar system, three ISIL fighting positions and land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage, destroying two ISIL buildings and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
Bombings kill at least 5 people near Iraqi capital, Baghdad [Daily Star - 21/6/15]
9 injured, including 18-month-old, in West Philadelphia block party shooting
Authorities say nine people, including two children and a baby, were shot after someone opened fire during a block party in West Philadelphia.
It happened shortly before 10:00 p.m. Saturday in the 4100 block of Ogden Street.
A group of people were gathered for a block party.
That's when police say two men opened fired from down the block hitting six adults, ranging in age from 22 to 48, a 1-year-old girl, and two boys, ages 11 and 12.
Police believe the suspects used a shotgun at first, then drove down the street and fired more shots using a handgun.
Investigators are looking for a gold or silver four door sedan. All victims were taken to local hospitals and listed in stable condition.
There is also no word on a possible motive.
The first suspect is e described as a black male, in his 20s, with a light complexion, a neck beard, and tattoos on one arm, wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans.
The second suspect is described as a black male, dark complexion, wearing dark blue jeans and a black shirt.
Imagine if the media questioned dishonesty rather than promoted it.
Proposed bipartisan stitchup "reforms" to education, health etc are NEVER to improve, they are to impose more neoliberal policies and austerity. [Sydney Morning Herald - 1/2/15]:
… NSW Greens MP John Kaye said 62 elite schools had effectively diverted all of the $85 million in state government funding they received to build "extravagant" facilities to attract wealthy students.
An analysis of My School data showed only a third of the $270 million in combined public funds provided to the schools by the federal and state governments was spent on operations, Dr Kaye said.
Most ($189 million) was spent on capital works or repaying debts for past capital works, he said. ...
This morning the ABC reports that the proposed arbitrary removal of citizenship laws (another ALP/LNP stitchup) are "long awaited".
What does Palestinian membership of the International Criminal Court mean for Australia? [Sydney Morning Herald – 28/1/15]:
... Additionally, Palestine has backdated the ICC's jurisdiction to June 13, 2014. This means Palestine has specifically authorised potential ICC jurisdiction over incidents that have taken place in Palestinian territory from that date on – including Israel's 2014 Operation Protective Edge. Indeed, in line with normal processes, the ICC prosecutor began a preliminary examination into the situation of Palestine this month.
What might this mean for Australia?
The first thing it most certainly means is the potential for Australian citizens who also hold Israeli citizenship, who were perhaps serving in the Israel Defence Force at the time, to be subject to investigation for their conduct during operations in Gaza from June 13, 2014. The same applies to Australian Palestinians who might have fought in the conflict against Israel from the same date.
Should an Australian citizen – either serving in the Israeli Defence Force or fighting for one of the Palestinian armed groups – be alleged to have been involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity that were committed in or from Palestinian territory during the conflict, then Australia will have to decide how to deal with that allegation.
Australia can certainly prosecute such people here – there are laws in place to do that. But, equally, Australia might be faced with a situation where consideration of extraditing that suspect to Palestine for trial, or, perhaps more palatably, to the ICC for trial, arises. ...
22 June 2015