Nauru's propagandist says Nauru to issue response to Moss Report Tuesday morning.
Australia still torturing refugees.
@LyallMercer [23/3/15]: Govt of Nauru to issue response to Moss Review Tuesday morning
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [20/3/15]:
In a major breakthrough in the legal challenge to the Manus Island detention centre, the PNG government has agreed to provide access to lawyers to obtain statements from asylum seekers incarcerated there.
Final orders by the Supreme Court will be made on Tuesday 24 March, but initial access will be for a period of two months with provision to apply to extend the time period, if necessary.
“We are extremely happy to finally have legal access to the detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Ever since the detention centre was opened, asylum seekers have been denied access to lawyers and legal advice. The centre has operated under a complete cloak of secrecy under which the Australian Immigration Department, the PNG government, G4S, Transfield and Wilson’s Security violated the human rights of asylum seekers with impunity.
“Hopefully that dark time is coming to an end. For the first time asylum seekers will have an opportunity to openly make statements regarding their treatment to a lawyer.
“Asylum seekers have been denied the fundamental right of people to obtain legal advice. They have been denied habeas corpus, the fundamental democratic right to be taken before a court, established by the Magna Carta, 800 years ago, has been denied to them by both the Australian and PNG governments.”
Australian Financial Review [22/3/15]:
... Investors were hoping that Transfield's first-half results in February would show that the company, which has been restructured under chief executive Graeme Hunt, was starting to generate solid underlying profits after several years of poor performance.
But while group underlying earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 51 per cent to $112.2 million in the first half, the increase was one-dimensional – most of the earnings boost came from lucrative contracts with the Department of Immigration providing maintenance and welfare services to refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.
Underlying EBITDA in Transfield's defence, social and property arm soared to $131.9 million in the first half from just $30.7 million a year earlier, while profit margins jumped to 16.9 per cent from 6 per cent.
Transfield won the controversial $1.2 billion contract in February 2014, replacing British security services group G4S.
As the incumbent operator, Transfield is hopeful of renewing the contract before it expires in October, with tenders due in early April.
Imaginary Australian journalist to the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton: HOW MANY REFUGEES HAVE DROWNED BECAUSE YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS FORCED THEM BACK OUT TO SEA?
ANTARA News [23/3/15]:
Australia has sent back 15 illegal immigrants from Nepal, Iran and Bangladesh to Indonesian territory in the sea off Sukabumi, Indonesian authorities said.
The illegal immigrants already reached Australian island of Christmas and stayed there for three days, an official of the Sukabumi district immigration office Markus Lenggo quoted the immigrant as saying.
"They said they crossed to the Australian island from the Pamengpeuk coastal village of Garut on March 17 , but after three days they were sent back to Indonesian territory in the sea off Pangumbahan, in the sub-district of Ciracap, regency of Sukabumi,"Markus Lenggo said here on Monday.
The 15 illegal immigrants -- six from Iran including three girls, seven from Bangladesh and two from Nepal - were found stranded in the coast of Pangumbahan by police on Sunday (March 22).
They were then sent to the Sukabumi immigration office which put them in the immigration detention center.
Markus said the immigration office had coordinated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the ministry of justice and human right what to do with the illegal immigrants.
Nine of them hold official documents from the UNHCR showing that they are asylum seekers, but the rest claimed they have lost their documents.
"We are awaiting directions from IOM and the justice and human right ministry what to do with the immigrants. Based on an international law they may not be deported to their respective countries unless they want so," he said.
One of the illegal immigrant Muhamad Baleyet Husain from Bangladesh said the Australian authorities told them they had to be sent back to Indonesia as the two countries were having political problem with two Australians facing death execution on drug smuggling case .
"We already arrived in Australia precisely on the Christmas island but the local Australia authorities sent us back to Indonesian waters using a boat accompanied by Australian officers," Husain said.
Husain, who spoke fluently in Indonesian language said he already stayed for six months in the country before attempting to seek asylum in Australia.
Historic pearl lugger gutted by fire in Broome ahead of the tourist season [ABC – 23/3/15]
Teen girl allegedly bashed and burned with ice pipe while detained by boyfriend
Nine MSN [23/3/15]:
In May 2013, the girl, who cannot be named, was allegedly detained by her then boyfriend and his father in their Sydney home.
There, over a number of days, she was allegedly burnt with an "ice" pipe, threatened and bashed.
Jason Cicerkofski, 23, has pleaded not guilty to detaining and causing her actual bodily harm.
In the opening day of his trial at Sydney's District Court, crown prosecutor Paul Leask said "the evidence has a quality which is somewhat disturbing".
The crown alleges Cicerkofski tethered the teenager to a chair with cable ties sometime on or about May 11 at his Arncliffe home in Sydney's south-west.
There - while in company with his father and another unknown man - the teenage girl was scratched and stabbed with a syringe, Mr Leask said.
A pipe used to smoke crystal meth or "ice" was allegedly used to inflict burns over her body, while a gun and shears were used to threatened her.
"The violence was actual and it was threatened," Mr Leask told the jury on Monday.
"It was done to gratify a desire to cause harm and pain to her."
When she eventually "escaped" and ran back to her mother's home, Mr Leask said her eyes were blackened to the point they were closed shut.
While it wasn't just Cicerkofski who caused the injuries, "the evidence will be that he was the one to primarily inflict the damage," Mr Leask said.
The youngest of three children, the court heard the girl had been "wayward" and had engaged with "undesirable" people and taking drugs.
But the family was close and loving.
When she returned home they had never seen her in "such a state".
She then spent the next six and a half months in a psychiatric institution.
Cicerkofski's defence barrister Tim Watts said the question was whether the crown could establish beyond reasonable doubt that it was his client who inflicted the injuries.
He also said there would be issues about her reliability as a witness.
The trial continues.
Child sex abuse at St Ignatius College, Riverview: Investigation launched into historic allegations
Sydney Morning Herald [23/3/15]:
An investigation has been launched into allegations of child sexual abuse at one of Sydney's most prestigious private schools dating back more than 30 years.
St Ignatius' College, Riverview on Monday sent a letter to its old boys informing them that a former student had made allegations which principal Paul Hine said had now been reported to the NSW police force.
The only detail of the allegation contained in the letter is that it concerned "child sexual abuse over 30 years ago".
Dr Hine said it was with "some sadness" that he wrote to the school community about the allegation which had been passed on to him from the professional standards office of the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus.
"There are clear limits on what I am able to reveal about the allegations," Dr Hine wrote. "Despite this, I believe it important to inform you about the situation as I understand it and to offer reassurance that such matters are the object of direct and sustained vigilance at the school."
Dr Hine said he would also be informing current students about the allegations.
He said Riverview took seriously its duty of care to the entire school community and that their procedures to safeguard students were of the highest standard.
Anyone with concerns related to child abuse or other "professional standards matters" should contact the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus or Dr Hine personally, he wrote.
"For a long time Riverview has had a proud history of education and care for boys," Dr Hine wrote. "This situation presents a salient reminder of the need to protect our young people both in policy and in practice."
The north shore private school boasts notable alumni including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher. Former NSW premier Nick Greiner and federal minister Barnaby Joyce also attended.
In 1997 a teacher at the school, Peter Bohrsmann took his own life on school grounds after a detailed complaint was made to police about him.
The 57-year-old classics teacher, himself a former pupil, was found dead in his car with the engine running close to the Jesuit school's boat shed. His body was discovered two days after he had protested his innocence when confronted about the anonymous allegation.
It is not know if the current allegation before police relates to that matter or a separate incident.
Comment was being sought from the NSW police.
Protesters in southern Chile have tried to stop the ordination of a Catholic bishop, accusing him of covering up a priest's sexual abuse of young boys.
Police in the city of Osorno said at least 650 people turned up at the cathedral wearing black in protest against the ordination of Juan Barros.
The protesters say Bishop Barros used his position in the Church to try to deter an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Fernando Karadima. ... [BBC - 21/3/15]
US will not take floor at UN rights debate on Israel, Palestinians
The United States will not take the floor at the main U.N. human rights forum on Monday during the annual debate on violations committed in the Palestinian territories, a U.S. spokesman told Reuters.
The step, which is unprecedented at the 47-member state forum where Washington unfailingly defends Israel, follows signals that the Obama administration is undertaking a "reassessment" of relations with the Jewish state.
"The U.S. delegation will not be speaking about Palestine today," a U.S. spokesman in Geneva told Reuters in response to a query as the debate began. He declined further comment.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's allies acknowledged on Sunday that his election-eve disavowal of a Palestinian state had caused a rift with the White House, but blamed U.S. President Barack Obama's unprecedented criticism on a misunderstanding.
Japan's Okinawa orders halt to US military base work
Daily Star [23/3/15]:
The governor of Okinawa Monday ordered a halt to construction of a controversial U.S. military base, in the latest twist in a saga that has riven southern Japan for decades.
Setting up a new clash between the central government in Tokyo and the independently minded semi-tropical island chain, Takeshi Onaga told a news conference he could revoke a drilling permit if the defense ministry does not comply with his order.
Anti-airbase Onaga was elected in November, ousting his pragmatic predecessor who had agreed to the drilling needed in the sparsely populated coastal region to relocate Futenma airbase, which sits in a crowded urban area.
"Because rock drilling has apparently been carried out (outside the area covered by the permit), I ordered them to suspend the work while the prefecture probes the issue," Onaga said.
The move came after undersea research conducted by the Okinawa government last month found coral reefs in the area had been damaged by one of concrete blocks sunk there as part of a survey.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga characterised Onaga's move as "regrettable".
"The construction work is taking place after (Okinawa) agreed on it. It's impossible" that the work be suspended, he told reporters.
Around half of the 47,000 U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan are based in Okinawa, a strategically vital archipelago.
While most Japanese value the protection the U.S. military alliance gives them, especially in the context of China's growing assertiveness in its numerous regional disputes, a sizable proportion of Okinawans want the Americans to leave the island chain.
The shuttering of Futenma and the opening of a replacement facility at Nago, 50 kilometres (30 miles) away, was first agreed in 1996 as the U.S. sought to calm local anger after the gang rape of a schoolgirl by servicemen.
But it has been bogged down ever since, with local politicians blocking the move in a bid to reduce the American footprint.
In 2013 Onaga's predecessor Hirokazu Nakaima agreed to drop his opposition in exchange for a hefty annual cash injection to the local economy.
Many islanders saw this as a betrayal, and in November booted him out of office in favor of Onaga.
Shinzo Abe is expected to become the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress next month, crowning a visit focused on deepening trade and military ties. ...
Abe’s visit is likely to push forward talks on the partnership—a trade deal bringing together a dozen nations including Australia, Japan, Mexico, the United States and Vietnam.
Negotiators hope that by the time Abe arrives, President Barack Obama will have won backing from Congress to close negotiations on the deal.
Obama is seeking so-called fast-track authority that would allow the White House to secure the deal and submit it in its entirety to Congress to ratify, without the power to make amendments.
... [Japan Today - 23/3/15]
Nobody weeps for fascists when they die.
US President Barack Obama was among the first world leaders to pay tribute to Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, who died on Monday at the age of 91.
“On behalf of the American people, (First lady) Michelle and I offer our deepest condolences to the Lee family and join the people of Singapore in mourning the loss of this remarkable man,” he said, in a statement released just hours after news broke of Lee’s passing.
He hailed the Lee as a “visionary” as well as a “devoted public servant and remarkable leader” and said he was deeply saddened by the news. ... [Jakarta Post - 23/3/15]
US spies feel 'comfortable' in Switzerland, afraid of nothing - Snowden
US spies operate in Switzerland without much fear of being unmasked, because Swiss intelligence, though knowledgeable and very professional, poses no threat to them, former NSA contributor Edward Snowden told Swiss TV.
“The reason that made Switzerland so interesting as the capital of espionage - particularly Geneva - has not changed,” Snowden said in an interview to Darius Rochebin on RTS, a Swiss broadcaster.
The two spoke at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights on March 5.
The transcript of the interview was published in le Temps, a Swiss French-language newspaper, this Saturday.
“There have always been international headquarters, the United Nations, WTO, WHO, ICRC [in Geneva]. There are representations of foreign governments, embassies, international organizations, NGOs ... A number of organizations, and all of them are in one city [Geneva]!”
According to Snowden, other Swiss cities have also been “affected” by US spies.
“You have exceptional flows of capital and money in Zurich. You have bilateral agreements and international trade in Bern,” he said.
The ex-NSA man recalled the time he was working in Geneva as an undercover US agent. He said the Americans weren’t afraid of Swiss intelligence.
“Swiss services were not considered as a threat. [They] are also very knowledgeable and very professional. But they are small in numbers.”
Snowden compared Swiss intelligence to spying agencies in France, saying they respected French spies who are known to be “sophisticated and aggressive.”
He drew examples of CIA operations concerning weapons of mass destruction, adding that people “involved in nuclear proliferation” were violating the law in Switzerland, Germany and neighboring countries.
And unfortunately, “political influence” was seen in these cases, which “rose to the highest level in the government.”
“That's why representatives of the US government, even when they violate the Swiss laws, have a certain level of comfort, knowing that there will be no consequences,” Snowden concluded.
The North Carolina native worked at the US diplomatic mission in Geneva from March 2007 to February 2009, wire-tapping communications systems. At that time, he shared his views on life in Switzerland with fellow Americans under an online username “TheTrueHOOHA”. He said it was “like living in a post card,” but also “nightmarishly expensive and horrifically classist.”
Dotcom hearing delay turned down
A court has refused to postpone the extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom.
The extradition hearing will decide whether Mr Dotcom should be sent to the United States to stand trial.
It is due to take place in early June but the internet businessman's lawyers had asked the North Shore District Court for an adjournment until October, saying there was not enough time to prepare for the earlier hearing date.
The hearing date has already been postponed four times since Mr Dotcom was first arrested over three years ago at his mansion north of Auckland.
Mr Dotcom's lawyers say they have applied for a judicial review of the latest decision.
NZ spied on WTO candidates – Hager [RNZI – 23/3//15]
Kiev postpones re-integration of Donbass by dodging implementing Minsk agreements
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s statements about Donbass’ "inevitable re-integration" sound strange against the backdrop of Kiev’s actions directed at hampering the Minsk peace process, the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) envoy to the Contact Group Vladislav Deinego told Lugansk Inform Center on Sunday.
"I am ready to argue with the term ‘inevitable’ but this is a topic for a separate discussion," Deinego said. "Talking about re-integration as such, the algorithm is very clearly outlined in the package of measures on implementing the Minsk agreements signed on February 12, 2015.
Ukraine systematically dodges implementing it, violates its norms and freely interprets the essence and logical structure of this documents. Such behavior is called ‘explicit and open sabotage and provocations’," the envoy added.
"Kiev cannot even admit that whole Donbass in unison, represented by two people’s republics, has risen against the tyranny of pro-fascist followers of [Stepan] Bandera [Ukrainian nationalist] as they seized power in Ukraine," the envoy added.
"The people are restricted in movement, food and necessities supply is blocked, banking and financial systems are blocked, economic and energy blockade is obvious. Systematic diversions and terrorist attacks, shelling of cities and town from heavy weaponry add colors to the already colorful picture of ‘friendliness and peaceful intentions’ of official Kiev directed at ‘re-integration’," he added.
In case of full implementation of the Minsk agreements, Ukraine has a chance "to upgrade, rid itself of Nazi followers and pro-fascist politicians and return to the path of democratic development," Deinego said.
On February 12, negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" were held in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The talks lasted for around 14 hours.
Simultaneously, a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement was held in Minsk, bringing together former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, both representing the Ukrainian side, alongside representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) special envoy to Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, who acts as a mediator.
The Minsk agreements envisage ceasefire in Ukraine’s south-east, heavy weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbass and constitutional reform in Ukraine.
Greeks PM faces Merkel amid race to detail reforms
As government officials scramble to draft a list of detailed reforms in line with demands by the country’s international creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due in Berlin on Monday for crucial talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as concerns grow about Greece’s dwindling cash reserves.
In a statement to Sunday’s Kathimerini, Tsipras said the meeting was an opportunity for the two leaders to talk without pressure. The meeting “will not be pressurized by negotiations,” the premier said. “And this is very significant because we can both discuss the important issues that are burdening Europe as well as improving bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Tsipras highlighted a “unique opportunity to pursue changes which previous governments did not dare to attempt, either because they were committed to powerful interests or because they did not have popular support.”
Despite the premier’s optimistic tone, the challenge he faces is tough and multi-faceted. First of all, despite his reassurances that Greece will meet all its obligations, the state is running out of money. Greece needs an estimated 1.5 billion euros to meet its obligations for March and 2 billion euros for April.
Sources indicated that officials have found a way of covering obligations for this week but the outlook from then onward is unclear.
Greek officials are said to be considering a range of options. One of those is the use of IOUs for the payment of salaries and pensions. There is also the possibility of tapping the reserves of pension funds, state bodies and utilities, though the institutions in question appear reluctant to oblige.
Meanwhile Tsipras’s government is under renewed pressure to prepare a raft of reforms, based on a list sent to creditors by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that formed the basis of the February 20 Eurogroup agreement, with details of the projected fiscal impact of the measures.
Apart from securing the approval of eurozone finance ministers when they convene – most likely over the coming week – those measures must also be voted through Greece’s Parliament, meaning that Tsipras must gain the backing of far-left critics within SYRIZA who have opposed many of the proposed measures to date.
Bills voted through the House last week, providing a raft of anti-poverty measures and a payment plan for tax debtors, gained widespread support but it is unclear whether more controversial reforms will win approval as easily. ...
New York district judge Thomas Griesa has authorized Citibank to process interest payments on US$2.3 billion of Argentina bonds due on March 31st. ... [Buenos Aires Herald - 21/3/15]
Electrical faults identified on Clermont work site days before Jason Garrels electrocuted, inquest hears
Concerns about electrical faults were raised several days before a worker was electrocuted on a central Queensland construction site, an inquest has been told.
Jason Garrels was electrocuted on a work site in Clermont on February 27, 2012.
A coronial inquest into the 20-year-old's death began in Mackay on Monday.
It heard Mr Garrels was electrocuted when he moved a metal switchboard box that had come into contact with live wires because a covering had slipped.
In his opening address, counsel assisting the coroner John Aberdeen told the hearing a safety inspector had identified a number of faults on the site in mid-February, including electrical faults.
The inquest heard Mr Garrels was working as a labourer for Daytona Trading, which was put on notice to rectify the problems by February 20 but asked for an extension to February 27.
One of the requirements was that safe power outlets were installed.
The hearing was told that on the day Mr Garrels was electrocuted it was raining heavily in Clermont.
Workers, including the electrical contractor Cold Spark and its principal Nathan Day, were busy filling trenches containing cables and moving switchboards into place on top of the trenches.
The inquest heard that on that day Mr Garrels was killed when he was collecting rubbish on the site with another labourer.
The operator of an excavator had been working with Mr Day, but in Mr Day's absence the excavator operator asked Mr Garrels and his co-worker for help with moving the switchboards.
The inquest heard that Mr Garrels took hold of a switchboard by the sides of a metal box and titled it towards him.
One of the workers saw sparks underneath the metal case at about the level of Mr Garrels' belt.
The inquest heard that when Mr Garrels lifted the switchboard, conduit covering the cables slipped down and active wires were exposed.
Mr Garrels held onto the switchboard for three seconds, staggered backwards and then collapsed on the muddy ground.
A short time later, Mr Day went to the main switchboard and isolated the power.
Organic farmer supported at WA court appearance
WA Today [23/3/15]:
Supporters of organic farmer Steve Marsh have turned up at a West Australian court to back him in his fight against GM contamination.
In May last year, Mr Marsh failed in his bid to sue former friend Michael Baxter, claiming he lost organic certification for more than half his Kojonup farm after genetically modified canola drifted onto his land from Mr Baxter's neighbouring property.
Mr Marsh is appealing the judgment, with his hearing set to start in the WA Supreme Court on Monday.
If his appeal is unsuccessful, he faces a bill for legal costs of
Former police officer apologises over deception involving fake tenant to conceal drugs
A former South Australian police officer has apologised in court for her "smear on the good name" of the profession by fabricating evidence and helping a drug dealer.
Amanda Boughen, 41, has admitted creating the identity of a bogus tenant for her investment property in September 2006 to allow her abusive then-boyfriend to use the home to grow cannabis hydroponically.
The senior constable quit the police force in December, more than two months after pleading guilty to fabricating, altering or concealing evidence.
The District Court heard there were about 10 cannabis plants in two rooms in her investment property, and four in her residential property - but no charges were laid over the plants because prosecutors were out of time.
The court was told because there were less than 20 plants, charges had to be laid within two years, but that did not occur.
Boughen told the court she was "ashamed" and hoped she would not be remembered as a "corrupt cop".
"I am embarrassed to be here in this position before you today and every day that has preceded this," she told the court.
"I am not proud of my actions nine years ago.
"I do not blame anyone else other than myself. I stand before you today humbled, broken and completely changed."
Boughen said her actions had caused an "unacceptable smear on the good name of South Australia Police".
"I apologise unreservedly to the public of South Australia, to the police force and the Commissioner of police," she said.
"When I am asked, I still say it is the best job in the world."
Boughen's lawyer, Stephen Ey, said she should be given a suspended sentence because of her guilty plea, her previous exemplary character and her need to care for her 13-year-old son.
"This is a woman who loves her career and is well thought of by peers, but who's in this horrible relationship that clouds her vision," she said.
"She allows the growing of drugs and proactively does this subterfuge. It's all part of being in this cyclic domestic violence hurdy-gurdy.
"While it doesn't amount to a defence, it puts it in perspective as to how she was taken in."
Mr Ey reminded the court Boughen's offending was not in the course of her official duties.
"While she was a police officer, it wasn't done in the course of her employment," he said.
"She has lost the career that she loved. She has already suffered. She has lost her job, lost her reputation, and her future prospects are limited."
The court will hear further submissions on her sentence in May.
Customs hid details of officer snorting cocaine after drug bust, documents show [Canberra Times - 23/3/15]:
... The first trial in the Queensland Supreme Court was aborted in December when federal police officers denied on oath the existence of some video footage at the marina, only for it to be found on their own website. ...
US and Australian funded and trained Densus 88 Arrests Six People Over "Islamic State Recruitment"
Jakarta Globe [22/3/15]:
The National Police’s anti-terror squad Densus 88 on Saturday arrested six people for allegedly helping recruit and fund Indonesians to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
“We arrested six people, but it seems that only four people were actively involved [in recruiting],” said Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, deputy chief of the National Police.
The arrests were made in Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, Bekasi and South Tangerang. Badrodin said the four allegedly funded and recruited Indonesians, and prepared IS propaganda.
On Sunday Densus 88 officers raided the Bogor home of Muhammad Amin Mude, who was one of the six detained on Saturday.
“We suspect him to have been involved in facilitating and helping fund local citizens who are going to Iraq and Syria,” Densus 88 spokesperson Sr. Comr. Faisal Tayeb said on Sunday.
He added police confiscated a number of IS related documents.
Amin’s wife, Wirda Lukman, has vehemently denied the allegations. She insisted that her husband has never helped facilitate Indonesians to join IS.
“How come we can help bring people to Syria when we only have enough to live daily?” said Wirda, 36, as quoted by news portal Republika.co.id.
Wirda said her husband, who works as a glass glue distributor and stone polisher, used to work as a volunteer for the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) in Gaza.
“My husband is just a regular person and he’s not guilty. Why must he be detained?”
Some 500 Indonesians are believed to have joined IS ranks in both Middle Eastern countries, according to Indonesian counterterrorism officials.
PNG: Government warns of Warangoi River contamination
The National [23/3/15]:
East New Britain provincial administrator Akuila Tubal is warning people living near the Warangoi River not to eat dead fish, eels or any other form of life in the river.
Tubal, who is the chairman of the provincial disaster committee, is concerned with cyanide spillage from vats at the Sinivat Mine site that could have found its way into the river system.
A report by the provincial disaster technical team that had been working on the containment and awareness programme on the spillage said that down-flow of heavy rain water from the ranges where the mine was located had increased.
Tubal said the team was also asking people living both upstream and downstream not to use river water for drinking or washing until tests were carried done by Department of Environment and Conservation.
He urged fishermen not to fish in the Ganai area of the Bitapaka LLG or the mouth of the Warangoi River until further notice.
He appealed to the public to have proof of dead marine and aquatic life before making reports to the provincial disaster technical team.
Man injured in second South East Queensland hit-and-run
A pedestrian has been injured at Warwick in the second hit-and-run in Queensland in 24 hours.
The 30-year-old man was struck by a car at the showgrounds on Sunday night.
He was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
In the early hours of Sunday Ashleigh Humphrys died in Brisbane after being hit by a car while walking along the Western Freeway at Toowong.
She had been out celebrating her 20th birthday.
Police are searching for a dark sedan believed to be involved in her death.
No details are available about the car that injured the man in Warwick.
Grievous bodily harm, South Brisbane
QPS Media [23/3/15]:
A 24-year-old Inala man has been charged following an alleged assault incident at a South Brisbane hotel last night.
Police will allege at around 11pm, a 22-year-old man had part of his left ear bitten off, and a 25-year-old male was assaulted at a Melbourne Street licenced premises.
One man was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for treatment.
An Inala man is scheduled to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today charged with one count each of grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm.
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.
Unlawful wounding, Caboolture
QPS Media [23/3/15]:
Police are investigating an incident that occurred on Morningview Drive, Caboolture late on Saturday night.
Initial investigations suggest that around 11pm on March 21, a 23-year-old man has received a gunshot wound to his face from an unknown person.
The 23-year-old man attended the Caboolture Hospital and received treatment for his injuries.
The man remains in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Police investigations are continuing and there is no further information currently available.
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.
Fiji: Free milk initiative launched
Fiji Times [23/3/15]:
The Government's free milk initiative was launched at Nakelo District School in Tailevu today.
The initiative will result in 20,000 Year One students nationwide receiving 250 millilitres of Rewa Life Milk every morning.
Students will also be given a piece of Weet Bix each.
While launching the initiative, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the students first year of school was critical and it was one of his Governments visions to ensure that they were looked after well because they were leaders of tomorrow.
With the free education and free milk initiative, you are all given the chance to study well and complete your education to the highest level and from where I stand as your Prime Minister, nothing that my Government has ever done is more noble than this, Mr Bainimarama said.
By building healthy body and minds, we are building a healthier and smarter nation for the benefit of every Fijian now and in the years to come.
WA Police shooting victim named
West Australian [22/3/15]:
Police have named a man shot by police in Hamilton Hill last week.
Daniel Josef Adwent, 44, was shot and later died after police were called to a domestic violence incident at a Jamy Place home around 11pm on Friday.
At the time, police said the man was armed with a weapon, believed to be a large knife, when he was shot once in the stomach after charging at officers.
Mr Adwent was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital in a critical condition but died from his injuries early on Saturday morning.
A neighbour told reporters on Saturday he had not noticed any trouble at the house in the past.
More PNG police head to Australia for training [PNG Loop – 23/3/15]:
Ten more PNG police officers have headed to Australia as part of the “Mekim Senis” police placement program.
The first group of PNG placement officers went to Darwin and Canberra in September 2014 and a second group in February of this year underwent a one month placement with the Queensland Police based in Cairns and Townsville.
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force and a team from the United States Army will be completing their 25th Infantry Division PNGDF NCO Development Leaderships Course today at the Goldie Depot (Barracks) in Port Moresby. ... [PNG Loop - 23/3/15]
Communications minister Jimmy Miringtoro says they plan to have a legislation passed this year for the implementation of sim card registration. ... [PNG Loop - 21/3/15]
British naval base in Bahrain faces legal challenge over human rights abuses [Independent - 17/3/15]
Rape on Nauru shows mandatory detention "unsustainable".
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
STOP TORTURING REFUGEES.
Canberra Times [23/3/15]:
The damning Moss Review of sexual abuse inside Australia's detention centre on Nauru should renew debate on ending the policy of mandatory detention and implementing a regional solution on asylum seekers, child welfare advocates have urged.
Save the Children chief executive Paul Ronalds said confirmation in the independent report of rapes, sexual abuse of children and a trade in marijuana for sexual favours in the Nauru facility was proof that the policy of detention and offshore processing was "unsustainable".
"I think the government has an opportunity to look at this positively, to say we've stopped the boats and it is time to move to a genuine regional-based solution," he said.
"The Moss report makes absolutely clear that the current solution is unsustainable. Now is the time, while there is no pressure from boat arrivals, to find a new solution."
The 2012 expert panel on asylum seekers, led by Angus Houston and Paris Aristotle, recommended regional processing.
Mr Ronalds said the government should re-engage countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia instead of the unilateral approach that has pushed asylum seekers back to those countries and cost up to $500,000 a person kept in detention on Manus and Nauru.
Save the Children has demanded an apology from government for its nine staff deported from Nauru. The review by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss found no evidence for the claims of Immigration Department officials and former minister Scott Morrison that they had coached to asylum seekers to embarrass the Abbott government.
But the review found that three rapes had probably occurred and children and women had been offered gifts by Nauruan guards in return for sexual favours.
Professor David Isaacs, a consultant paediatrician who visited the Nauru detention centre in December, said holding people in detention increased the risk of abuse and forces Australia to take full responsibility for their wellbeing compared with when asylum seekers are allowed to exist in the community while their applications for refugee status are assessed.
"The Moss report suggests that the government cannot easily keep children or adults in detention in places like Manus and Nauru and keep them safe," he said.
"If we are going to imprison people without trial they should at least be safe while that is happening. Almost no other country in the world imprisons asylum seekers like this."
The office of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.
Following Andrew Wilkie MP and Greg Barns, Julian Burnside QC starts second campaign for ICC to investigate the Australian government
West Australian [23/3/15]:
One of the nation's senior barristers, Julian Burnside, has started a campaign to convince the International Criminal Court to investigate Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former immigration minister Scott Morrison for crimes against humanity committed on refugees in offshore detention centres.
Mr Burnside, a Melbourne QC, told a Perth audience at the weekend he was trying to recruit high-profile international lawyers, including Amal Clooney, to conduct the investigation.
"If we got Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and a couple of others in the dock at The Hague, the Nuremberg Defence ("I was only following orders") wouldn't work," Mr Burnside told a sold-out auditorium at the University of WA.
"I'm working on a plan to persuade the ICC to investigate the things that we are concerned about.
"I think the fact that an investigation was happening would have a real, chilling effect on their conduct.
"I'm trying to recruit (leading British barrister) Geoffrey Robertson and Amal Clooney."
In his lecture We Are Better Than This, Mr Burnside outlined his concerns about what he described as Australia's failure to deal decently with vulnerable people fleeing persecution and torture and the moral failure of Labor and coalition governments over more than 15 years to deal humanely with refugees.
He paid tribute to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, another outspoken critic of Australia's refugee policies, who died on Friday.
He said Australia would be better off redirecting some of its $4 billion to $5 billion spending on offshore processing and border protection to the UNHCR to quickly and humanely process claims for asylum in Indonesia and Malaysia.
In a post-lecture conversation with Janet Holmes a Court, Mr Burnside reiterated his view that the Federal Government bore a heavy responsibility for misleading Australians about asylum seekers.
"We have seen in history how otherwise civilised people can be persuaded to tolerate intolerable conduct on their behalf by their country," he said.
"We've been induced to think of boat people as criminals. A three-year-old child? Really? We are frightened of a three-year-old child? That's why children in detention has always been a weak spot. Once we see past our fear we are capable of very good things."
Senator Glenn Lazarus [20/3/15]:
I am saddened by the passing of Malcolm Fraser. I received a phone call from Mr Fraser a few months after I started in the Senate. He rang me to share his passion for human rights and the need for Australia to embrace people in need. He was concerned by the way Australia was treating asylum seekers and how this was impacting Australia's reputation across the world. It was an honour to receive a call from Mr Fraser. Australia has lost a good man. My thoughts go out to Mr Fraser's family and friends during this difficult time.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser says the major parties are beyond reform. [Flipside News - VIDEO - 9/10/14]
Today in the House of Representatives and the Senate, ALP and LNP politicians are using Malcolm Fraser's memory to promote their demented, bipartisan ideology. See you in the Hague fascists.
Vietnamese community mourns the passing of Malcolm Fraser [The Age - 22/3/15]:
… The boat was built for 500. Mr Nguyen, who was then only 18, remembers South Vietnamese authorities jamming more than 1000 people aboard.
"Their intention was we would be laden so much we would not make it," he said.
The boat somehow did make it, but not before it was menaced by sea pirates.
The captain had everyone stand on the deck carrying sticks, giving the appearance of guns, before turning the boat and charging toward the pirates, who fled.
The overloaded boat was turned away in Malaysia at gunpoint before the would-be asylum seekers found their way to Indonesia and a refugee camp.
The US government offered to take the small family in, but Mr Nguyen's mother was under strict instructions.
"[My father] did not have very high regard for the Americans. He had a very high regard for the Australian army," he said.
23 March 2015