Abbott to attend Brisbane's Paniyiri Festival.
Australian media keep it secret so no-one can protest the hypocritical turd.
Neos Kosmos [20/5/15]:
Brisbane's famous Paniyiri will be held over 23 and 24 May paying tribute to all things Greek and cherishing the colour, culture and characters present within the Greek Australian community.
This year, according to exclusive information provided to Neos Kosmos, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will not only be attending the weekend, but will commence the celebrations.
Paniyiri Greek Festival is set to offer Brisbane a unique art and food experience, along with several culture and fashion events. There will also be special ceremonies held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli and honour Greek Australian diggers.
The two-day Greek festival has an annual turnout of over 60,000 people, including honorary Greeks and Australians flocking to Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.
Brisbane Paniyiri is the state's largest cultural festival as well as the country's longest running Greek festival, which started in 1976 when a group of passionate Greek Australians wanted to share their cultural traditions with Brisbane.
Tickets are $10 adults (13+), $3 all pensioners, children enter for free.
You can buy tickets online at www.paniyiri.com
For more information contact 07 3844 1166.
When: Sat May 23 from noon, Sunday May 24 from 10.00 am
Where: Musgrave Park & The Greek Club, Edmondstone St, South Brisbane
Refugee Council of New Zealand urges New Zealand government to take leadership in the Pacific
Press Release via Scoop.nz [23/5/15]:
While Australia takes a back step in its refugee policy, the Refugee Council of New Zealand urges the New Zealand government to take leadership in the Pacific and accept refugees from among the displaced Rohingya and Bangladeshi for resettlement.
As a country that forms part of the Asia-Pacific neighbourhood, New Zealand should demonstrate leadership in the area of refugee protection, as it is has done in the past.
While New Zealand has no legal obligation under the Refugee Convention to which is a party, to take refugees until they arrive within our borders, nonetheless, in the spirit of the Convention, we need to step up to the plate when there is a refugee crisis in our neighbourhood, as we did some years ago in the case of refugees on the ship, The Tampa, and at least extend an offer to accept some of the people who are suffering in the present refugee crisis.
Recently, opposition leader Andrew Little and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, both publicly stated the need to increase the number of refugees we take in each year. That number presently stands at a paltry 750, the same as it was in 1987.
The official position of Myanmar is that its ethnic Rohingya minority who constitute the majority of refugees now experiencing extreme conditions aboard unsafe vessels, do not belong to Myanmar, but are illegal immigrants. It accepts no responsibility for them. Do we, like Myanmar, “wash our hands”?
Media report liar and human rights abuser Scott "fluffy" Morrison's flaccid explanation why Australia can't help rescue, resettle Rohingya refugees
Cambodia could temporarily shelter Rohingya refugees says Hun Sen [Cambodia Daily - 23/5/15]:
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday said Cambodia would be prepared to offer temporary shelter to the thousands of Rohingya asylum seekers stranded in the Andaman Sea if the U.N. agrees to resettle them in another country, according to Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan.
Malaysia and Indonesia announced on Wednesday that they would start allowing the asylum seekers to disembark in their countries if others agreed to resettle them, and Mr. Siphan said Mr. Hun Sen suggested at Friday’s Council of Ministers meeting that Cambodia could be part of such a solution.
“It was not a policy yet, he just raised his way of thinking,” Mr. Siphan said. “He felt that Asean has a duty to deal with this issue, and he thought that Cambodia might offer a place for those people to come onto Cambodia soil.”
“They could come here with a U.N. commitment to move to a second country. It needs this U.N. commitment. If the U.N. does not commit, we cannot do this,” he added.
“Let me repeat: this is not a policy or commitment, it is a thought to provide land for those refugees to disembark if there is a U.N. commitment to move those refugees. We have not talked to the U.N. yet, or had any commitments.”
Mr. Hun Sen also said the government could offer “holding camps” for any asylum seekers awaiting resettlement after they land in Southeast Asia, Mr. Siphan said.
It is unlikely that any such solution would involve any of the asylum seekers in the Andaman Sea directly disembarking in Cambodia, as such a journey would require them to sail thousands of kilometers around the Malaysian peninsula instead of landing in Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand.
Myanmar to deport refugees as UN chief urges further rescues [Channel News Asia - 23/5/15]:
A group of migrants recently rescued by Myanmar will be deported to Bangladesh, officials confirmed on Saturday, as the United Nations chief called on regional nations to prioritise saving the lives of those still stranded at sea.
On Friday, the country's navy said it had carried out its first rescue of a migrant boat when scores of bare-chested men were found crammed into the hull of a wooden fishing vessel and taken to shore.
Myanmar officials say all 208 men are from Bangladesh and will soon be returned there.
AFP wasn't able to independently verify where the migrants were from.
"We are giving humanitarian assistance to them. After that we will deport them back to the relative country," Zaw Htay, director of the presidential office, told AFP on Saturday.
"We have made contact with Bangladeshi border officials on the ground regarding the arrived persons," he added.
The rescue by the Myanmar navy comes as fears grow for migrants still stuck at sea at a time when the dry winter months are about to give way to the regional monsoon.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said finding and saving the lives of those migrants should be a "top priority".
Speaking during a visit to Hanoi, he called on regional nations to tackle the "root causes" of the current exodus at an upcoming conference in Thailand later this month.
"But when people are drifting on the sea, how we can search and rescue them and provide life saving humanitarian assistance, that is a top priority at this time," he said.
Disturbing silence from Muslim World, including Pakistan on the genocide & exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
"tweeted" by @ImranKhanPTI - Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [23/5/15]
Myanmar president approves population control law [Anadolu Agency - 23/5/15]:
Myanmar's president has signed off on a population control law that ethnic and women's rights groups have condemned as sexist and racist.
State-run media reported Saturday that Thein Sein approved the Population Control Healthcare Bill – under which women will be forced to wait three years between having children – the day before.
Ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks, who preach that Muslims are attempting to "breed" Buddhists out of existence, had pushed for the law as part of a group of four bills aimed at preserving Myanmar's predominant religion.
The other proposed laws cover religious conversion, interreligious marriage and monogamy.
The country has struggled with outbreaks of religious rioting since a democratic reform process began in 2011.
Critics say the new laws will increase tensions and risk being used selectively against ethnic minorities including Muslims such as the persecuted Rohingya minority.
In January, rights groups released a statement saying the laws would breach international human rights law and Myanmar's own constitution, which says all citizens have the "right to freely profess and practice religion."
The statement added: “Religion, family planning… and marriage are subjects integral to the private lives of people. The government cannot and should not control these areas of people’s lives through laws."
A chorus of international voices has called for the draft laws to be scrapped. Last year Human Rights Watch accused Myanmar's government of "stoking communal tensions" by considering them.
Indonesian fishermen wept as they rescued starving refugees [Yahoo -
... "I was speechless," Ali told AFP, recalling the moment he saw the boatload of more than 400 Muslim migrants who are fleeing persecution in their native Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist.
"Looking at these people, me and my friends cried because they looked so hungry, so skinny."
The fisherman from staunchly Islamic Aceh province, where there has been an outpouring of sympathy as Rohingya and Bangladeshis have come ashore in recent days, said that he also felt compelled to help due to their shared religion.
"We must help fellow Muslims, how can we not help destitute people like this? It would be a big sin," he said.
The wooden green boat had drawn global attention after harrowing scenes emerged of the migrants pleading for help off Thailand last week. They were rescued by fishermen early Wednesday and brought to shore, and AFP journalists boarded the vessel soon afterwards and confirmed it was the same boat.
For the migrants, who had not been heard from for over three days, the rescue marked the end of a harrowing, four-month journey.
The Rohingya, who included 140 women and children, were "totally exhausted" after being repeatedly towed out of Thai waters and then forced at gunpoint to leave Malaysian waters, said Chris Lewa, whose Arakan Project monitors migrant journeys across the Bay of Bengal.
Fisherman Ali described how he heard from others about the stranded boat late Tuesday and arrived to help in the early hours of Wednesday.
"They came close to us, they were shouting, calling for help," he said. "We looked at the boat and -- wow -- there were so many people aboard."
He said several fishing vessels in the area were called in to help and the migrant boat was initially towed closer to shore. Fishermen then loaded the migrants into their trawlers and brought them to land.
Ali, who transported about 100 of the Rohingya, said the Acehnese and migrants could not understand each other but managed to work out they shared the same religion.
"If we said 'Islam', they would answer 'Islam, Muslim'. Those were the only two words that we exchanged," he said.
@kasunubayasiri [23/5/15]: #Rohingya Campaign in #Brisbane ...
Legendary Native American Singer-Songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie on Five
Decades of Music, Activism [Democracy Now – 22/5/15]:
… Another song on the album is called "Carry It On." It’s super positive. It’s about contemporary
"Hold your head up. Lift the top of your mind. Put your eyes on the Earth. Lift your heart to your own home planet. What do you see? What is your attitude? Are you here to improve or damn it? Look right now and you will see, we’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is, so take heart and take care of your link with Life. It ain’t money that makes the world go round. That’s only temporary confusion. It ain’t governments that make the people strong. It’s the opposite illusion. Look right now and you will see, they’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is, so take heart and take care of your link with, Life is beautiful, if you got the sense to take care of your source of perfection. Mother Nature, she’s the daughter of God and the source of all protection. Look right now and you will see she’s only here by the skin of her teeth as it is, so take heart and take care of your link with Life. And carry it on. And keep playing. And keep praying. And carry it on."
... The journalist reporting
all people in grief
like ghouls at the mime show
devils on the scene
parents still in mourning
get prodded on site
about how bad they are feeling
how will they ever survive? ...
'Flanelette Border', Backsliders 
The Backsliders at Broadbeach Blues Festival. (No, Rob Hirst doesn't throw his sticks into the audience anymore).
MP Karen McNamara claims ice user gouged out own eyeballs and ate them [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/5/15]
... A Hunter New England Health spokeswoman contacted to corroborate the incident said there were no recent records of that nature.
While an older incident was described as "similar", the spokeswoman said she was unable to say if methamphetamine was involved.
"Based on the information to hand, we have not been able to find a recent record of this incident," the spokeswoman said.
"There was a similar incident in the hospital's emergency department more than a decade ago, however in the interest of [the patient's] privacy, we are unable to provide any further information or confirm a link to the drug crystal methamphetamine without the patient's consent." ...
A 29-year-old north Canberra man has been charged and refused bail after he allegedly smashed an iPad over his former partner, before running away from police.
The father of two appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday morning after he was arrested on Friday night. ... [Canberra Times - 23/5/15]
Grievous bodily harm charge, Clontarf
QPS Media [23/5/15]:
A man has been charged following an incident in which a woman received internal injuries in Clontarf yesterday.
Around 5pm, a woman was walking along Hornibrook Esplanade when it will be alleged that a vehicle left the road and struck the woman.
A 50-year-old Clonraft woman was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for treatment of internal injuries and is in a stable condition.
A man was taken into custody a short time later.
Both parties are known to each other.
A 55-year-old Deception Bay man has been charged
with one count of acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm and is due to
appear in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court today.
Weapons charges, Worongary and Helensvale
QPS Media [22/5/15]:
Gold Coast detectives have charged a man in relation to two alleged shooting incidents at Worongary and Helensvale on Tuesday.
Police will allege that the man discharged a firearm around 7.45pm near a residence at San Fernando Drive, Worongary and around 10pm at Sarina Place, Helensvale.
A 26-year-old Arundel man has been charged with threatening violence – discharge firearms, discharge weapon public place, discharge of weapon on private land without owner’s consent, burglary and commit indictable offence, authority required to possess explosives (ammunition), possess dangerous drugs, unlawful use of motor vehicle, and two counts of wilful damage. He is expected to appear at the Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow (May 23).
A 28-year-old Helensvale woman has been charged with two counts of accessories after the fact.
She is expected to appear at the Southport Magistrates Court on June 5.
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.
Second man charged over torture at Currumbin [QPS Media – 22/5/15]
13-year-old boys charged with attempted armed robbery, Toowoomba [QPS Media - 23/5/15]
Police have released CCTV still images of a man that may be able to assist with their investigations into the armed robbery of a convenience store at Tanah Merah on Monday. ... [QPS Media - 22/5/15]
Armed robbery, Redbank Plains [QPS Media – 22/5/15]
Police officer stood down Central Region
QPS Media [22/5/15]:
A 45- year- old male Detective Senior Sergeant from Central Region was stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer is subject of a disciplinary investigation concerning allegations he inappropriately released official confidential information, permitted the inappropriate use of Queensland Police Service resources and inappropriately received gifts and benefits.
In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have undertaken to inform the public when an officer faces serious allegations of misconduct. This does not mean that the allegations against the officers have been substantiated.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Man who fired spear gun at Innisfail policeman in 2013 jailed with immediate parole [ABC – 22/5/15]
An associate of self-styled Islamist preacher Junaid Thorne has been handed a 12-month supervision order for using a false name to book and take flights from Perth. ... [ABC - 22/5/15]
The Sydney wife of an Islamic State recruit accused of supporting overseas terrorism has had passport charges against her mentioned in a Brisbane court.
Fatima Elomar is charged with four counts of giving false or misleading information for an Australian document.
Elomar, who is married to Islamic State recruit Mohamed Elomar, was stopped at Sydney Airport in May last year when she tried to board an international flight with her children.
Magistrate Tina Privitera adjourned the passport charges against Elomar, who has previously lived in Brisbane, until June 11.
Man dies at Tanah Merah worksite after reports of excavator accident
A man has died in a workplace accident south of Brisbane this morning.
Paramedics were called to a worksite at Tanah Merah just before 10:30am, with reports a man was trapped under an excavator.
A man aged in his 50s was declared dead at the scene.
Workplace Health and Safety is investigating.
Another death on a WA mine site has sparked calls for a Royal Commission into fatalities at WA workplaces.
The mine death earlier this month at the Birla Nifty copper mine, 350km east of Port Hedland, was the third mine-site death in WA this year. ... [WA Today - 23/5/15]
A worker died at the construction site of a new Istanbul metro line on May 22, just one day after its groundbreaking ceremony with the participation of Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş. ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 22/5/15]
Redland City Council cleared over cliff fall [Yahoo – 22/5/15]
A magistrate has found a sign installer guilty for his role in the collapse of a brick wall in Melbourne that killed three people, and issued him with a $7,500 fine.
The court ruled that sub-contractor Jonathon Westmoreland could have ensured that a building permit was in place before erecting a sign on the brick wall of a construction site.
Grocon was fined $250,000 last year for breaching workplace safety laws. ... [ABC - 22/5/15]
Overcrowding at privately run Queensland prisons is putting our members at risk: United Voice
Overcrowding at Queensland's two privately-run prisons is so bad officer safety is at risk, a union says.
A survey of guards at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, southwest of Brisbane, and the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, in the Lockyer Valley, has shown most believe the situation is becoming out of hand.
Only 11 per cent of respondents believed enough staff were rostered on to ensure safe working conditions, while just one quarter thought management treated their safety with the level of priority it deserved.
The poll surveyed 177 officers - or about half the custodial staff at both prisons.
The problems were not being taken seriously, according to Michael Clifford from the union United Voice, which carried out the survey.
"Overcrowding is an issue which our members have raised time and again," he said.
Arthur Gorrie was built to hold 890 inmates and is Queensland's largest prison, but it currently holds 1041 prisoners.
The smaller Southern Queensland jail was housing 380 inmates last year - 80 more than it is designed for.
"They've done that by doubling up people in rooms, which in itself causes a stack of problems - it builds up tensions," Mr Clifford said.
Those tensions can fuel assaults on officers, according to the union.
Mr Clifford said every month this year, there has been an increase in the number of assaults across all Queensland jails when compared to last year.
"Its about a 47 per cent increase in the number of assaults."
Mr Clifford said the union would speak with the state government to address overcrowding, which remains a problem across most Queensland facilities.
The GEO Group Australia, which runs the Arthur Gorrie prison, and Serco, which runs the Southern Queensland facility, have been contacted for comment.
Ballarat police complaints triple the average [Yahoo – 22/5/15]:
Senior police had concerns about a high number of excessive force complaints involving officers in Ballarat going back to 2010, court documents reveal.
Four incidents are to be investigated by the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC), including one in January that led to two officers being stood down.
The two officers are fighting in the Supreme Court to avoid appearing before the commission, prompting details of the alleged incidents to be made public in court documents.
According to the documents, a Victoria Police analysis showed 27 of the 133 officers at Ballarat Police Station were the subject of a complaint between July 2014 and March this year.
Eleven of the complaints were assault-related, a figure three times the average in stations of similar size.
IBAC Operations Director Robert Sutton said in a statement that former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay contacted him in 2012 about a long-standing over-representation of Ballarat police in official complaints.
Mr Sutton also described CCTV footage of the alleged January assault that involved a 51-year-old women, known as Person A, who was "violent" and "intoxicated".
He said one of the officers appeared to stand on her legs and torso, before kicking her, while the other officer crouched over her and later pushed her.
"It is noted in the footage that numerous other police personnel are present during the events ... and they did not intervene nor raise any concerns about the treatment of Person A either at that time or subsequently," he said.
In a voluntary statement, one of the officers describes pinning the woman's legs to avoid her kicking other officers.
The officer said earlier in the night the woman had been "extremely abusive" towards police and it had required four officers to help arrest her because of her violent resistance.
It is also alleged the woman drank out of a toilet after police failed to provide her drinking water, and that she was not given a blanket until more than seven hours after being taken into custody despite being made to shower in her clothes after being sprayed with capsicum spray.
Lawyers for the two officers have argued that forcing the officers to answer questions could deny their rights against self-incrimination. Ted Woodward SC, counsel for the commission, says the pair are important witnesses in ensuring IBAC gets the full story.
Justice Peter Riordan has reserved his decision on whether the two officers will have to face public questioning over the allegations.
The matter will return to court at a later date.
Police pursuit ends in crash, Perth [WA Today - 23/5/15]
Firm fined over fatal garbage truck crash
West Australian [22/5/15]:
Transpacific has been fined $363,000 after one of its garbage trucks crashed into a car in Perth's Swan Valley, killing a 71-year-old woman.
Mary Louise Ross died in February 2011 on West Swan Road in Caversham, after the 12-tonne Cleanaway truck hit her vehicle head-on.
The garbage truck driver had abruptly braked after the car in front of him suddenly veered onto the gravel verge to avoid a van that was stationary at a junction.
The four rear wheels of the truck locked up and it skidded, striking the van, then continued to slide into the oncoming traffic.
By the time the truck hit Mrs Ross' car, it had skidded 60 metres.
It was later established that the truck's front brakes were not properly adjusted, despite having been serviced seven days before the crash.
If they had been properly adjusted, the truck would have stopped 13.6m short of Mrs Ross' car, federal government occupational health and safety authority Comcare calculated.
"There was a systematic servicing problem ... as there were three separate mechanics on three separate occasions who failed to identify any faults," Federal Court of Australia Justice Michael Barker said on Friday.
"There was a less than adequate supervision system in place.
"While it is not necessary for each mechanic to be constantly supervised, the circumstances of this case suggest the system of supervision was inadequate."
The judge noted that while Transpacific had expressed remorse and made changes to its servicing system, it tried to reduce its responsibility for its contraventions by blaming the truck driver for failing to take actions that may, it argued, have prevented the fatal incident.
Man dies after quad bike crash, Tasmania [West Australia – 22/5/15]
Police seek witnesses to Fyshwick hit and run [Canberra Tmes – 22/3/15]
Parents of 22-month-old boy who drowned in swimming pool while in temporary foster care demand answers [ABC – 21/5/15]:
… Mr Slager said he was then put under pressure by staff from the department to temporarily place Braxton in foster care, and that the department told him if he did not, it would seek permanent custody of Braxton.
He said the department also refused to consider placing the boy with Mr Slager's relatives. Ms Lewin felt incapable of looking after Braxton because of her own drug use.
Braxton was placed in the foster home, in the western Sydney suburb of Stanhope Gardens, by a non-government organisation called Life Without Barriers, which the department contracts to house children in foster care.
Mr Slager said he began the process required to get Braxton back, which included drug tests and other conditions.
Braxton was only days away from being returned to Mr Slager's care when he slipped into the water of the backyard swimming pool. ...
Sydney Morning Herald [13/3/12]:
Foster children could fall through the gaps if the NSW government transfers almost 12,000 youngsters out of state care and into the non-government sector, a union says.
Under changes unveiled by the NSW government on Tuesday, 11,813 children and young people now in statutory, or court-ordered, care in NSW will no longer be looked after by social workers from the Department of Family and Community Services (DoCS).
Instead they will have their care overseen by NGOs.
All non-Aboriginal children and young people in statutory care will be transferred over five years, while the transition will take up to 10 years for Aboriginal children and young people.
Public Service Association (PSA) NSW assistant secretary Steve Turner said the move would put children at risk because NGOs did not have the capacity to look after children. ...
A quarry on Brisbane's northside which has been closed since the 1920s has local residents worried after recent rain caused the rock face to crumble.
More than 90 tonnes of rock from the Lutwyche Quarry fell into nearby parkland creating mounds of rubble at the foot of the cliff in early April. ... [ABC - 22/5/15]
Tunnelling underway on Airport Link and Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) [Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Media Release - 19/3/10]
Japan takes S Korea to WTO over Fukushima-related food import restrictions
Japan Today [22/5/15]:
Japan launched a trade complaint at the World Trade Organization on Thursday to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements for Japanese food after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
South Korea expressed regret at Japan’s action and said its ban on some Japanese seafood was necessary and reflected safety concerns.
Japan says several measures taken by South Korea violate the WTO’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement and Seoul has failed to justify its trade restrictions as required, the WTO said in a statement.
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days in which to deal with Japan’s concerns in bilateral talks. After that Japan could ask the WTO to adjudicate on the matter.
“In upcoming talks with Japan, we plan to explain fully that the import ban is necessary for people’s safety, and actively deal with Japan over the issue they raised based upon WTO’s dispute settlement procedures,” South Korea’s trade, agriculture, foreign affairs and other related ministries said in a joint statement.
Details of Japan’s complaint were not immediately available, but Japan has repeatedly raised the issue in committee meetings at the WTO, where it has also voiced concerns about Fukushima-related trade restrictions imposed by Taiwan and China.
Japan’s representative told the WTO’s SPS committee in March that radioactive levels in Japanese food had declined substantially since the accident. It noted that the United States, Australia, the European Union, Singapore and Vietnam had all lifted or eased their Fukushima-related restrictions.
South Korea extended its ban on Japanese fishery imports in September of 2013 to cover imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.
Last October, the Japanese representative at the WTO committee said contamination levels in more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.
South Korea’s representative told the same meeting that its restrictions were in line with the WTO rules, but Japan had not provided it with sufficient data for an objective and science-based risk assessment.
Japan’s representative also cited an assessment from the International Atomic Energy Agency in September 2014, which found its measures to deal with contamination were appropriate, according to minutes of the WTO committee.
The average annual value of South Korean imports of Japanese fish and seafood was $96 million in 2012-2014, less than half the average of $213 million in 2006-2010, according from data from the International Trade Center in Geneva.
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years [Independent – 22/5/15]
Joint Communiqué of Fifth Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Seoul, May 22, 2015) [MIKTA]
Once again the Australia media unquestioningly report the Foreign Minister's unsubstantiated claims about refugees.
See the "illegal labourers" and "terrorist people smugglers"? [Jakarta Post - 22/5/15]:
Somirahatun was spared from an unimaginable disaster.
The migrant from Myanmar nearly lost her baby.
The mother was separated from her child when she and hundreds of other people landed in Kuala Langsa, East Aceh, after months drifting in the open sea.
Police and local residents stepped in to help Somirahatun and she was eventually reunited with her child.
The mother and son were among 677 other people from Myanmar and Bangladesh — the third batch of undocumented migrants arriving in Aceh in the past few weeks.
“My mother was killed in the conflict in our village, so there’s no need for us to stay in Myanmar in a state of fear,” said Somirahatun. ...
#UNHCR encouraged to see States in SEAsia working to resolve high-seas boat crises.
A regional response is the answer - not isolation.
"tweeted" by @RefugeesMedia - UNHCR News [22/5/15]
UN welcomes 200 people brought ashore but warns 3,500 more stranded in South East Asian waters [Media Release - 22/5/15]
Philippines plan to temporarily house 3,000 Rohingya refugees.
Australia's political, media establishment plan lies and spin.
Channel News Asia [22/5/15]:
The Philippines government has held a series of high level meetings with UNHCR to formalise plans to temporarily house the Rohingya refugees.
Earlier this week, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the government is open to sheltering up to 3,000 refugees. Some analysts say such preparation is key for the plan to be successful.
"They are already scouting around for several venues, but the venue is the least of our concern,” said Clarita Campos, political science professor, University of the Philippines.
“It’s more important to figure out the medical needs of the migrants, as well as other health and food requirements first.
"Then later on, we need to think about education and job requirements. All of this has to be planned out and planned well."
While it is unlikely the boats carrying the refugees will reach Philippine shores, the government has said they are looking forward to being part of the solution to this regional humanitarian crisis.
The Philippines will present its position at the May 29 meeting in Bangkok which will bring together more than a dozen governments from Southeast Asia and beyond.
The UNHCR's Philippines representative said the country has the necessary legislative framework to take in the refugees, such as the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.
"The Philippines has experience dealing with refugee status to determine and to undertake individual interviews with people to understand the conditions which have pushed them into this ordeal - and to determine whether they are in need of international protection or not,” said Bernard Kerblat, Philippine Representative, UNHCR.
The Philippines has had a long history of helping refugees, including persecuted Jews during World War II, Vietnamese boat people during the Vietnam War and the Chinese during the rise of communism and their civil war period.
The Australian media won't publish these pictures ---> Myanmar navy announces rescue of stranded Rohingya [Al Jazeera - 22/5/15]
Australian politicians and media are fascists and liars.
Where's Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International? Why are they silent on Australia's crucial role helping rescue and resettle Rohingya refugees?
RSPCA South Australia:
This Saturday, May 23, Adelaide Against Live Export are holding a rally at 11.00am on the steps of Parliament House.
This rally could not be timelier given the claims this week of Australian cattle being sledgehammered to death in Vietnam.
Our CEO Tim Vasudeva will be speaking at Saturday's rally and will share the RSPCA’s position on Live Export.
As more horrific cases of cruelty are exposed, compassionate Australians must continue to speak out against this brutal trade.
Follow the link for further details about Saturday’s rally >> https://www.facebook.com/adelaideagainstliveexport
a person who is hated and rejected by other people
Warrnambool refugee advocates are disgusted by the federal government’s attitude towards asylum seekers which they say will see desperate people left to drown at sea.
Uniting Church’s Reverend Geoff Barker criticised Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s response to resettling any of the 7000 people stranded at sea in South East Asia.
Mr Abbott’s “nope, nope, nope” response to resettling the Myanmar and Bangladesh asylum seekers was disgusting according to Mr Barker said.
“It’s just so rude,” he said.
“It’s like he’s gloating even. I’m disgusted with it.
“At least show some sadness for their cause.”
Mr Abbott told reporters this week if people wanted to start a new life in Australia they needed to come through the front door.
Mr Barker said Mr Abbott’s comments perpetuated a myth that there was an orderly queue for people fleeing persecution.
“There’s the myth that there is a front door and back door. As if there is an immigration office in Myanmar where people can line up,” he said.
“Our government has become so mean. If we’re not in a position to help then who is?
“It’s mean-spirited grandstanding. These are desperate people who we’re going to let drown.”
Mr Barker said Mr Abbott could show strength by leading Australians down a compassionate road.
Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to provide temporary shelter to the refugees as long as the international community provides resettlement within a year.
The United States has vowed to help countries in the region bear the burden and will consider resettlement requests.
Rural Australians for Refugees south-west branch member Don Stewart said Australia was not responding adequately to an issue which required a regional response.
“It’s harsh and un-Australian to not show compassion to these people,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s totally misleading. There is no door, so to speak.
“In the 1970s, Australia successfully responded to the Indo-Chinese refugee crisis by working with other nations to provide asylum seekers with orderly pathways to refuge and resettlement.
“Now that large numbers are again being driven from their homes by war and persecution, Australia must not stand aside.”
So, please we beg you to use your privilege ... use your rights to bring justice to this unjust crisis. Please get up and speak up, so tomorrow there will be no place on this beautiful earth for evils doer to make this kind of crisis elsewhere.
Statements from Rohingya refugees incarcerated on Manus Island read out at Perth rally [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 22/5/15]:
... Another new friend who was born after 1982 explains
"And the Govt of Burma planned to get rid of all Rohingyas from Myanmar with different tortures and genocides.
They made a Citizenship law in 1982 against Rohingyas. According to that law we Rohingyas are not allowed to hold any citizen card. And we r not even allowed to move from place to place such as from town to town.
We can visit from village to village with their permision But they give us a paper called Tokanza to visit other villages. It's like living in a prison.
In 2012 riot they bunt down to ashes many houses and the people belonged to that housrs were settled in camps. Means burnt your house and provide u with tent as camps.
After that they keep torturing many different way... such as arrest Rohingyas for no reason and killed or sentenced for years. Sometimes demand money if sb from your home has gone oit of country If can't pay the amount they ask for, u"ll be sentenced for at least 20 years or be killed and no family visiting at all.
We have been longing to be a citizen of a country Coz in our own country, we r unable to claim that."
So for managing to survive the horrendous situation at home and an unimaginable boat journey, this young man, who has never been recognised as a person with rights, is being punished for this very survival. And the excuse for this is that it will stop more people attempting this journey and will stop drownings. But the evidence must now be obvious to all. The threat of incarceration in appalling offshore processing centres has not stopped the boats. The push factors are way too strong.
And it must now be obvious to anyone who has not closed their eyes and blocked their ears, that "stop the boats" has never been about stopping drownings. It is about shutting the door on hope. It is about punishment for even daring to hope. And it should make us all horrified and ashamed.
United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense Media Release [22/5/15]:
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
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted five airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two airstrikes struck two ISIL wellheads.
-- Near Kobani, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL fighting positon.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted conducted 15 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Asad, two airstrikes destroyed five ISIL buildings.
-- Near Haditha, one airstrike struck an ISIL staging area.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL tunnel systems, an ISIL motorcycle, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL cache.
-- Near Ramadi, five airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying five ISIL armored vehicles, two ISIL tanks, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL armored personnel carrier, three ISIL IEDs, five abandoned tanks, two abandoned armored personnel carriers and two abandoned armored vehicles.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL buildings, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL mortar system.
The United Nations refugee agency and its partners are preparing aid for some 11,000 people fleeing the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and surrounding villages which have been overrun by militant forces this week. ... [Media Release - 22/5/15]
Secretary General of Iran Red Crescent Society Ali-Asghar Ahmadi said his humanitarian orginzation is cooperating with Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to unload Iran's relief aid cargo ship in the Yemeni port of Al-Hudaydah.
The vessel containing 2,500 tons of relief aid by Iran to the Yemeni nation started sailing on May 11 toward the Yemeni port n the Red Sea.
It is accompanied by three anti-war activists from Europe and the US as well as 15 reporters. [IRNA - 22/5/15]
Yemen's Houthi group yesterday made its participation in a UN-sponsored conference on Yemen in Geneva later this month conditional on the halt of an ongoing air offensive launched by a Saudi-led coalition against its positions. ... [Middle East Monitor - 22/5/15]
Afghanistan: Grenade attack on wedding party in Faryab leaves 15 injured
At least fifteen people were injured following a grenade attack on a wedding party in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.
According to local government officials, the incident took place late on Thursday night in Andkhoi district.
The district administrative chief Sultan Mohammad Sanjar, said several people had attended a wedding party when militants hurled a hand grenade.
Sanjar further added that fifteen people were injured in the attack and were taken to the hospital for treatment.
No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Faryab is among the relatively peaceful provinces in northern Afghaistan however the anti-government armed militants have recently increased to their insurgency activities in parts of Faryaban province during the recent months.
This comes as two people were killed and eight others wre injured after a hand grenade went off in Maimana city few days earlier.
According to reports, the incident took place after a hand grenade kept by a drug addicted man went off, leaving the addicted man dead along with his father dead and eight others wounded.
Three militants killed after attacking police officer’s residence in Laghman [Khaama – 22/5/15]
At least 43 people were killed during clashes between armed civilians and security forces in western Mexico, a region torn by drug cartel violence, two government officials said.
The shootout took place on Friday morning in the municipality of Tanhuato, in the state of Michoacan, and the death toll was a "preliminary figure," an official said on condition of anonymity. … [Al Jazeera – 22/5/15]
Democracy Now [10/4/15]:
As the Summit of the Americas commences, several U.S.-based groups and university officials have signed a letter to President Obama questioning his response to the 43 students missing from the Mexican state of Guerrero for over six months.
The letter asks why the Obama administration has placed sanctions on Venezuela, but maintained normal relations with Mexico, despite the students’ disappearance.
Mexican authorities have declared the 43 students dead, saying local police acting on the orders of the mayor of Iguala attacked them and turned them over to drug gang members, who killed and incinerated them.
But so far the remains of only one of the 43 have been identified, and reports have pointed to the involvement of federal authorities.
We are joined by two relatives of the missing students who live here in New York: Antonio Tizapa is the father of missing student Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño; and Amado Tlatempa is the cousin of another missing student, Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa.
"What I would tell President Obama is to stop supporting Plan Mérida, because the weapons, the arms that are supposedly supporting the war against drugs, those arms are being used to annihilate our students," Tizapa says.
Russia confident on Iran nuclear deal before long
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow has a high degree of certainty that a final agreement on Iran's nuclear program will be reached and that it does not expect these talks to be extended over a long period, local media reported.
'This agreement will be reached. In my opinion, we have already crossed the line before which we could have doubted that,' he said quoted by Interfax news agency on Friday.
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the seventh BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) academic forum, he added, 'I believe there is a high degree of certainty today that this agreement is not only possible, but it will be reached.'
'I would not forecast any concrete date, but any lengthy extension of these talks is unlikely,' Ryabkov said.
'Now we have high confidence that an agreement isn't just possible, it will definitely come about,' also RIA Novosti cited him as saying.
On April 2, Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers issued a joint statement after marathon talks in Lausanne calling, among other things, for the removal of UNSC sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The statement was read out in a joint press conference in the Swiss city by the EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
According to the agreement reached between Iran and the six world powers, Zarif said, all the US, EU and UN Security Council sanctions against Iran will be lifted under the final deal.
UN rights expert urges Nauru to revoke measures that could 'muzzle' dissent
Facebook blackout enters 23rd day
UN Media Release [22/5/15]:
Voicing concern over recent amendments to the Criminal Code in Nauru which “unduly restrict” freedom of expression, a United Nations expert on the issue today urged the Government to revoke such measures to fulfil its human rights obligations.
“These new laws could be used to muzzle dissenting opinions and deter human rights defenders, academics, journalists, students, politicians and civil society members”, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, warned today in a news release.
Ambiguous and imposing harsh penalties, the amended Criminal Code also includes up to seven years in prison for a wide range of legitimate expression, according to Mr. Kaye.
“Nauru should allow free space for expression without fear of criminal prosecution,” he said, adding that “it should lift all restrictions to access internet and social media, and facilitate access to the media in the country.”
Since April, the authorities have blocked access to social media and internet to prevent pornography and “cyberbullying” and to protect the national culture.
These restrictions, however, are “designed to prevent asylum seekers and refugees in the country from sharing information on their situation,” stressed the independent expert.
Mr. Kaye therefore called on the Government to revise norms to fulfil its human rights obligations.
Nauru has also curtailed the freedom of press. It imposed a prohibitive $6,500 fee for a single entry visa for foreign journalists in 2014.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, an independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanism that addresses specific country situations. They do not receive a salary for their work and are independent from any government.
Palestine to chair UNESCO meeting
Middle East Monitor [22/5/15]
Palestine was elected to chair the third Meeting of States Parties to the UNESCO 1970 Convention on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property for the first time earlier this week.
Palestine became the 195th full member of UNESCO in 2011 with the support of a large majority of countries.
Chairing a meeting of nearly 130 state parties has "both symbolic and practical" significance for Palestine, Mounir Anastas, deputy ambassador of Palestine to UNESCO, told the Anadolu Agency.
According to Anastas, the meeting that mainly aims to recover embezzled cultural property is a significant legal tool for Palestine that saw its own property "illegally exported or even stolen", particularly because of Israel's partial occupation of the West Bank.
"As you see, Israel is not among the states parties to attend the meeting, which will offer Palestine a legal framework to seek its rights," Anastas said.
Speaking about the process that led to the election of the Palestinian delegation to chair the meeting, Anastas said the initiative made by the Arab countries was "fully supported by Turkey".
The Turkish delegation, which currently holds the presidency of the regional bloc of "Western European and Other States" in the UN, was consulted as a national delegation and chair of its voting group, Anastas said.
As for the reaction of the other states members, Anastas said the delegation received "a lot of positive feedback".
"Even states that had voted against the recognition of Palestine as a full member state to UNESCO, like Canada and Germany, congratulated us, except the United States."
Anastas was optimistic about the possibility of chairing another UN meeting.
"We are here to practice our membership," he said.
UNESCO is currently the only UN agency that recognises Palestine as a full member state.
Did the Metropolitan Police send staff to Israel during last year's Gaza assault? [Middle East Monitor – 22/5/15]
@NeilChenoweth - Australian Financial Review [22/5/15]: News Corp Australia chief Julian Clarke said News paid 35 percent tax rate. Try 10.9percent ... [Senate Economic References Committee - tax inquiry]
23 May 2015