United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 22/5/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media [23/5/16]: Anbar: Hashd militias and the government forces are still shelling the neighborhoods in Fallujah.........................
An Iraq war veteran will spend up to 11 years in jail for the manslaughter of his partner in a car park in the NSW Hunter Valley.
In March a Supreme Court jury found Ross Albert Merrick, 32, not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Marika Ninness. ... [ABC - 23/5/16]
At least 78 people were killed and scores, were injured, some critically, in a series of terrorist bombings that rocked the coastal cities of Tartous and Jableh on Monday morning.
A source at Lattakia Police Command said that 45 people were killed and others, mostly women and children, were injured, in the terrorist attacks hit Jableh city. ... [SANA - 23/5/16]
It appears that Greek authorities are poised to put into action a plan to evacuate the refugee camp in Idomeni, on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. ... [Ekathimerini - 23/5/16]
WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH THEM? ---> Libyan coastguards intercepted about 850 migrants on Sunday off the coast near the western city of Sabratha, a spokesman said.
Ayoub Qassem said the migrants were from various African countries and among them were 69 women, including 11 who were pregnant, as well as 11 children.
They were travelling in inflatable rubber boats, he said. ... [Reuters - 23/5/16]
@graziano_delrio - Italian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport [23/5/16]: Let us not forget that we were a nation of emigrants and the Mediterranean a sea of peace.
... Next Monday, May 23, 36 envoys from African countries will deliver to the General Command of Port Authorities an award which recognizes the work done by the units of the Guard in search and rescue mission of hundreds thousands of immigrants.
Admiral Pietro Vella announced the award today in Trapani during the 67th general assembly of Federagenti.
Italian Minister Graziano Delrio will receive the award.
In the past 25 years the Italian Coast Guard has rescued 640,000 people at sea.
Half were rescued between 2014 and 2015, years in which arrivals at sea from Northern Africa surged considerably.
25,000 migrants and refugees have been saved in 2016 so far. [ItalyUN.it - 20/5/16]
@ItalianNavy [23/5/16]: #SAR nave Bettica #MarinaMilitare impegnata in #MareSicuro termina terzo intervento recuperando 121 #migranti nello Stretto di Sicilia
How many refugee boats did Australia push back, sink or abandon over the past 24 hours? ---> @ItalianNavy [23/5/16]: #SAR nave Bettica #MarinaMilitare termina primo soccorso ad imbarcazione in difficoltà recuperando 128 #migranti
Where is the Australian politician who will visit the gulags and refugees stranded in OUR region? ---> Bernie Sanders slams Obama's deportations at US-Mexico border [teleSUR - 22/5/16]
Day 65, refugee protests on Nauru
Image: @Mums4Refugees [23/5/16]
@InsurrectNews [23/5/16]: Day 65 of protests by #refugees at the Australian govt's refugee detention center on #Nauru.
@SuchNigel [23/5/16]: Iraqi guy has suffered a shock of his mother's death he is in OPC1 without any care from IHMS . He is still incapable of movement
Detention, deportation and death.
The UNHCR's protected and unaccountable "durable solutions" in South East Asia.
Refugees are under attack. They need ACTION, not magical thinking. ---> #staysafestaystrong people on #Manus and #Nauru we support you!! Image: @Amnesty_Parra [23/5/16]
Refugees on Manus and Nauru have written to a number of human rights organisations outlining their explicit demands for freedom, justice and GENUINE resettlement. Why are they being ignored? ---> @Amnesty_VIC [23/5/16]: A little message from us at Amnesty International to those on #Nauru and #Manus. We're with you #StaySafeStayStrong
Bangkok Post [23/5/16]:
Twenty-one trafficked Rohingya migrants broke out of their detention cell and escaped in the Southern province of Phangnga early Monday.
Three were quickly recaptured and a fourth was shot dead by pursuers who said they fired in self defence when a small group of the escapees attacked them.
Police said that the illegal migrants used a hacksaw blade to cut the bars of a second floor cell at the Phangnga immigration bureau in Tambong Tham Nam Phud and fled about 3 am Monday.
Fifteen of them escaped down a nearby canal, which adjoins Phangnga Bay, and the six others fled uphill.
Pursuers caught up with the six escapees on Thong mountain.
Three were arrested and one was killed.
The officials said they fired a gun to protect themselves from attack by the desperate migrants.
One Rohingya man was hit and killed by the bullet.
Rohingya refugee: We were hunted down by a mob in Myanmar [Al Jazeera - 23/5/16]:
… Abu Siddiq, a Rohingya refugee living in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, told Al Jazeera that he was forced to flee his home after ethnic Buddhists launched a brutal campaign against his family and community.
"We were beaten, harrassed and our houses burned down," Siddiq told Al Jazeera.
"We dug trenches, and put dry grass in them to sleep. We soon had no food to eat and were often hunted down."
"With 6,000 people living in a field, we drank water from drains and puddles, there was no food or medical care," he added.
"Four of my children aged, two, three, five and 10 were brutally killed - hacked to death. A Rohingya woman was killed during Ramadan [the Muslim holy month of fasting] which started a riot."
Not regarded as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups, Myanmar government views the Rohingya as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants despite the fact that many of them have been living there for more than a century.
The government has denied them citizenship, which renders them stateless.
Fearing for the safety of his other remaining family members, Siddiq joined over 120 others and crammed onto a boat headed for Malaysia, where the Rohingya eke out a living on the margins of society. ...
They sleep like babies.
As Bali Process condemns 1,000s of refugees in South East Asia to indefinite detention, refoulement and genocide ---> UNHCR leadership "pins hopes" on democracy in Myanmar and "repatriation" - calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to sign the refugee convention, while ignoring the role of Australia's exclusionary policies in creating the bottleneck [23/3/16]
... A/S RICHARD: Well thank you for your question. I did meet with Australian colleagues at the May 29th meeting in Bangkok including the Ambassador for People Smuggling -- or Against People Smuggling, I guess. The United States takes a different approach off our shores to people coming toward us in boats.
You know our Coast Guard intercepts the boats and then conducts interviews on its decks to find out if the people, if the boat people in the Caribbean have a credible fear of persecution or not.
And if it is judged that they are economic migrants they’re returned to places from which they’ve come.
But if it’s judged that they may have a case for asylum then they are not returned and that they get follow-on interviews and they may end up being moved as refugees to a new country. So the numbers we’re talking about in the Caribbean are quite small, but this, with this approach of ensuring that people get a chance to express their case is a part of what the US is doing that I think is needed throughout the region. I think that’s mostly on that issue. ...
... Anne Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for population, migration and refugees, said resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States would entice others to leave their homeland.
"The answer to the issue is peace and stability and citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine state, and that is the solution," she said at the end of a three-day visit to Malaysia. ...
... Goledzinowski [Australia’s ambassador for people smuggling issues, Andrew Goledzinowski] said resettlement was raised during the Bangkok meeting on 29 May.
“All who spoke on resettlement said that this was not a durable solution for the Rohingya problem and that it would constitute a pull factor,” he told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday.
“The UNHCR was the most articulate on this point.”
He engaged in bilateral meetings with representatives from some of the other 16 countries in attendance, and is adamant that at least one will seek further briefings on adopting Australia’s key asylum seeker measures.
“We also were able to talk a little bit about our own experiences during operation sovereign borders where we’ve been very successful in disrupting people trafficking and smuggling networks,” Goledzinowski said.
... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.
Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis. This can be discussed without Burma.
Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."
Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...
Cross-border highway to link India, Myanmar, Thailand [The Nation - 23/5/16]
Rwanda is appealing to European countries to try genocide cases if they cannot extradite wanted persons to face charges back home.
Following a decision by a Swedish court to sentence a Rwandan man to life in jail for genocide, Kigali said there are hundreds of pending cases or arrest warrants for people in European countries, who are suspected of taking part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. ... [All Africa - 21/5/16]
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang said on Monday the United States had decided to "completely lift" its embargo on trade in lethal arms with the Southeast Asian country. ... [Reuters - 23/5/16]
US would back a rethink of Japan’s plutonium recycling program: White House [Japan Times - 21/5/16]
Anwar admits to writing letter, reminds PKR leaders of past cruelty [Free Malaysia Today - 23/5/16]:
... In the leaked letter, Anwar urged PKR leaders to be wary of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the participation of various leaders from both sides of the political divide in seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak via the Citizens’ Declaration.
Without elaborating much, he also agreed in his letter, that three PKR lawmakers namely Rafizi Ramli, Azmin Ali and Tian Chua, who signed the Citizens’ Declaration, could go ahead and “maintain a working relationship” with Mahathir while keeping in mind the many issues affecting the rakyat.
“Do not follow his agenda and forget the people (agenda).”
“How about the prices of goods, the welfare, education and IPPs (independent power plants)?” he said. ...
The Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill challenging the joinder of the heads of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate in a National Court proceeding.
The date for the hearing has been set for June 3.
The hearing date was set this morning by Justice Terrence Higgins. ... [PNG Loop - 23/5/16]
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed Oil Search’s 100 per cent acquisition of InterOil, saying it will create a “PNG gas and oil company of regional significance”.
The acquisition, recently approved by the boards of the two companies, will be followed by a separate agreement in which Oil Search will sell to Total, the operator of the multi-billion kina Papua LNG project, for cash. ... [The National - 23/5/16]
UPNG students to continue boycott [PNG Loop – 22/5/16]
Propaganda 101: Normalise war crimes [ABC - 23/5/16]
Video showing Hillary Clinton ‘lying for 13 minutes straight' gains millions of views [Independent - 21/5/16]
"We can serve privilege and power or we can serve justice and truth. And those of us who commit to serving justice and truth, the more we make concessions to those who serve privilege and power, the more we dilute the possibilities of justice and truth."
... The event, in room 215 of the Forgan Smith Building at the St Lucia campus, ties into wider celebrations of 60 years of social work at UQ.
“To make it more interesting, the head of the social work discipline here at UQ, Professor Karen Healy, is a long-time advocate of registration for social workers,” Dr Drayton said.
“Perhaps I don’t want to do too well in arguing to the negative, or else I might put her offside “Of course I jest. While the subject is a topical one, we will be presenting it in a light-hearted, jovial environment.
“For what it’s worth, I do support registration, but do not think social work necessarily presents a danger to the public.” ...
"Durable solutions" of detention, deportation and death won't end until the people demand it.
... We are living in a camp in the jungle. This is where they ‘re-settled’ us. This is no place to live. If we are refugees why are we not living in community? We have no neighbours here. Our ‘neighbours’, our ‘relatives’ are mosquitoes and flies and dogs. Please listen to our issues. We want to tell you that we are here like animals. ...
Refugees protest on Nauru, 26 September 2014 via @iranian_naur012
If 1 in 5 Australians would offer a refugee a spare room, why is the UNHCR helping the government and "opposition" drive them away? [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/5/16]:
One in five Australians would offer a temporary home for a refugee if they had a spare room, an international poll shows.
That's a higher proportion than in Britain, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea, but lower than in the US, Germany and Turkey.
In Australia, under-35s are the most likely age group to strongly agree that they would shelter a refugee at home along with the highly educated.
Those living in metropolitan areas are more likely to open their homes to a refugee than those in regional areas and women more likely than men.
A bigger share of low-income earners strongly agreed that they would provide short-term accommodation to a refugee than middle and high-income earners. ...
One of the asylum seekers forcibly returned to Sri Lanka by Australia has said his claim for refugee status was ignored by officials.
Colombo human rights lawyer Lakshan Dias, who is acting on behalf of the man, Kumara, his wife and two children, said the asylum seeker group was put through an abbreviated and unfair refugee assessment process.
“They were only asked their name, where they came from, and why they came,” Dias told Guardian Australia from Colombo.
“No other questions. This man has a case for asylum that he wanted to present, but he was not given any opportunity.”
In the UK, deportations to Sri Lanka have been halted by the high court, and government documents show at least 15 Tamil asylum seekers sent back to Sri Lanka subsequently escaped again and were granted refugee status because they had been tortured upon return.
Several reports have alleged that asylum seekers returned from Australia to Sri Lanka have faced arbitrary arrest, persecution, police brutality, and torture.
On the same Saturday that the group was returned the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Juan E Méndez, said while progress had been made in post-war Sri Lanka, torture remained a common practice by the government. ...
Army fails to show up in court over case of surrendering Tamils [Tamil Guardian - 22/5/16]
The Sri Lankan government has not shown any “genuine willingness to consult the victims” in order to set up a justice mechanism for prosecute for enforced disappearances said the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and other Tamil organisations from across the North-East this week. ... [Tamil Guardian - 22/5/16]
Heavy rain and flooding battered the Tamil North-East this week, following torrential rains across much of the region. Floods have hit Kilinochchi and Jaffna, affecting hundreds of families in the Tamil North-East, who have had to abandon their homes.
Meanwhile more than 68 people have died from lightning strikes, drowning, falling trees and landslides triggered by the rains in the south, according to government updates.
Hundreds of thousands have also left their homes as torrential rains continued. ... [Tamil Guardian - 21/5/16]
Sri Lankan refugees imprisoned after removal from Australia [WSWS - 14/5/16]:
... Largely because of the protracted war and repression by the Sri Lankan government and military against Tamils, Sri Lankans once accounted for the largest group by nationality seeking asylum in Australia.
In January 2013, there were 3,437 Sri Lankan refugees either in Australian detention centres or in “community detention” awaiting protection visas.
Today, as a result of the bipartisan crackdown, that number has fallen to just 221.
The fact that the latest asylum seekers were said to be ethnic Sinhalese demonstrates that Tamils are not the only victims of the repression in Sri Lanka, and that the repression has continued long after the civil war was brought to a bloody end in 2009.
While Labor initiated the mass deportation of Sri Lankans, it could not have done so without the assistance of the Greens, who kept the minority Labor government in office from 2010 to 2013.
In the campaign for Australia’s July 2 election, the Greens are once again proposing a Labor-Greens government, while posturing as advocates of a more humane refugee policy. ...
IOM says Sri Lankans trying to reach Australia by boat are economic migrants
[ABC - 7/11/12]
The people you meet in Yangon - Kieran Gorman-Best of IOM who hails from my hometown of #Geelong.
Image: @RichardMarlesMP [19/5/15]
@tanya_plibersek [1/11/15]: Meeting w/ Angela Saunders + team from IOM-Marshall Islands abt climate challenges @billshortenmp @RichardMarlesMP
A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has to be amputated, he says.
The Type-2 diabetic blames substandard medical care in the Sydney lock-up of Villawood for his plight.
A human rights lawyer is calling on the New Zealand government to step in.
RNZ News has agreed not to name the detainee, who said he was worried about reprisals because he had posted pictures online of his wound, which was against the detention rules.
He scratched his lower left leg in December and an infection set in.
He said there was no wound specialist on hand at the detention centre, and it took weeks of asking before he saw one in March, when the doctor changed the bandaging regime.
More weeks passed back at Villawood, but the man said the nurses' lack of time and expertise made things worse.
"I only found out about the hole in my leg on Monday, the 2nd of May," he said.
"So this whole time when they were supposedly cleaning it and that, there was an abscess there and ... they were actually pushing it in, which caused like a tunnel in my leg."
Only when one nurse cleaned it really well was the abscess revealed.
"She saw it, she went and got her managers and that, and they pretty much panicked and wanted me to go to hospital straight away, which I did."
Surgery was on 4 May.
The man said his surgeon told him the proper dressing must be strictly adhered to - but since going back into lockup, he claimed the nurses had not been doing that.
He was not allowed medication after 8pm, so spent painful nights awake.
The detainee said he would find out today from a specialist what would happen next.
"They said that if the infection got to the bone then they will have to cut it off, like cut the leg off, amputate my leg.
"I'm just, I can't believe I had a hole in my leg and it got that bad."
The medical care for the almost 200 New Zealanders in detention in Australia has been in question, particularly since the death in Villawood in early April of Rob Peihopa, which authorities have suggested was due to a heart attack.
The detainee with the leg wound said he spoke by phone to a New Zealand consular official.
"They said that I should go back to New Zealand to get it sorted .... I said no, we're not in the third world, we should be getting the same care as what we would get if we were back in New Zealand here in Australia."
Prime Minister John Key's position has been that detainees should sign up to be deported and fight their appeals from New Zealand.
The man said the consulate told him just before he went for surgery that it would be in touch, but he had heard nothing since. He also questioned why none of the New Zealand detainees get consular visits, compared with US and other citizens who do.
RNZ News has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about this issue.
The man is in his 40s, has two children and has lived in Australia since he was 17.
He said he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for a $60,000 dollar fraud; after that, his visa was cancelled and he was put in Villawood.
"If they are going to lock us up and keep us away from our families they need to look after us. The medical centre in the jails that I've been to were a lot better than what we are getting here," he said.
A human rights lawyer said it was hypocrisy that the government was acquiescing to Australia's treatment of New Zealand citizens this way.
"If the government had any guts they would stand up and say that the treatment of this man is inhumane and it's in blatant breach of human rights laws," said Michael Bott.
"And this is interesting because the New Zealand government is busy at the moment promoting New Zealand citizen Helen Clark [to be the new] head of the United Nations."
... Nobody's perfect, not even a perfect fool ...
'Perfect World' Huey Lewis and the News 
Solar plane lands in Dayton, Ohio on latest leg of round-the-world flight [Reuters - 22/5/16]
Australian media continues promoting human experimentation [ABC - 23/5/16]
... Ronalds [lawyer] said Palm Islanders had been victims of systemic racism that was “so entrenched that it is apparently invisible to those who did it and those who manage and supervise it”. ... SERT pointed guns at children in Palm Island raids, court told [Guardian - 21/9/15]
The death penalty for murder in a terror act that incoming Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman seeks will only apply to military courts, said a Likud source involved in the talks to bring Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party into the governing coalition.
Such a move, which Lieberman demands if his party is to join the government, would effectively exclude its application against Jews. ... [Haaretz - 22/5/16]
Israeli naval forces on Sunday morning opened fire on Palestinian fishermen, before detaining 10 fishermen and seizing five boats in a separate incident in the northern Gaza Strip. ... [Maan - 22/5/16]
The Occupation of the American Mind - interview with Roger Waters and Sut Jhally [VIDEO - TRNN - 20/5/16]
The United States "dreams of dividing" a "Chavista" military fiercely loyal to Venezuela's socialist government, President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday. ... [teleSUR - 22/5/16]
Bolivia’s Evo reaffirms solidarity with the Venezuelan people [teleSUR – 21/5/16]
A gunman has killed two people at a concert in western Austria before turning the weapon on himself.
Police said the 27-year-old gunman fired shots into a crowd of about 150 people attending an open air concert in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The incident happened near the town of Nenzing in the Voralberg province, about 24 miles east of Austria's border with Liechtenstein. ... [Independent - 22/5/16]
23 May 2016