A Turkish woman protest against the visit of Joe Biden.

Image: @Aviva___ [22/11/14]

'Biden get out:' Protesters greet US Vice President in Turkey [USA Today - 22/11/14]

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a Syrian transition of power away from the Bashar al-Assad regime during a four-hour meeting in Istanbul on Nov. 22. ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 22/11/14]

Polls close in boycotted Bahrain elections [Al Jazeera - 23/11/14]

Bahrain troops attack anti-government protesters [Press TV - 21/11/14]

Canada: Arrests rise to 53 on Burnaby Mountain, including author J.B. MacKinnon

Vancouver Observer [22/11/14]:

Prominent author J. B. MacKinnon has just been arrested on Burnaby Mountain, protesting Kinder Morgan pipeline. Hands cuffed behind him with plastic, the author was guided by into a paddy wagon along with 14 other protesters who were also arrested this morning.

Ten women were arrested along with 5 men, including MacKinnon, bringing the total arrested this week for protesting the tar sands pipeline to 53. MacKinnon is currently being processed by RCMP. Photos and videos of the clashes are being shared around the world by news outlets and social media.

MacKinnon is an independent journalist and author whose works include The 100-Mile Diet, a bestseller that helped catalyze the local foods movement, Dead Man in Paradise, I Live Here (co-authored with Mia Kirshner, and The Once and Future World. He has won six National Magazine awards and collaborated with co-author Alisa Smith (The 100-Mile Diet) on the Food Network show, The 100-Mile Challenge.

A crowd of protesters and concerned citizens began collecting at the bottom of Centennial Drive on Burnaby Mountain around 10:15am. Spirits were high amongst the diverse crowd. All ages were represented, with children and elders standing side by side around signs that loudly proclaimed opposition to Kinder Morgan.

Lynne Quarmby, the SFU professor arrested yesterday and currently facing a civil suit from Kinder Morgan, resolutely returned to the hill to applause as the crowd started to grow. Helicopters flew overhead, airlifting equipment into the drilling site further up the hill. They were met with loud cries of disapproval.

After a number of addresses from protest organizers and individuals aware of the legal ramifications of crossing into the area under injunction by the courts (where Kinder Morgan is now drilling around the clock) small groups of individuals who were prepared to enter the drilling site convened to discuss the logistics and practicalities of doing so.

An unidentified woman, flanked by smiling children, climbed up onto the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area sign and spoke to the assembly about the reasons the protest was taking place. The cheers and applause prepared the crowd to move, and it was not long before the crowd began a slow march up to the injunction site chanting "No pipeline on stolen Native lands" to the beat of drums.

Sunlight, shining down through trees glistening after last night's rain, illuminated a colorful, boisterous procession up the drive. The yellow tape marking out the injunction boundary, enforced by a police cordon, came near. The protesters soon reached the boundary and came to a halt.

Chanting continued and for the moment events seemed to be in a holding pattern, but one bold citizen, after explaining his reasons and stating his political position on the issue, stepped over the line and into the injunction zone to uproarious applause from the crowd of protesters. He was immediately taken into custody by the awaiting police officers.

...

Wir tragen den protest dahin wo er hingehört! In das herz der bestie! #Blockupy

Image: @Blockupy [22/11/14]

Activists of the "Blockupy" movement have clashed with the police in Frankfurt. The demonstration was organized to protest the inauguration of the European Central Bank's new office. ... [Deutsche Welle - 22/11/14]

Israeli troops shoot Palestinian farmer

Daily Star [23/11/14]:

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian farmer near the border in northern Gaza on Sunday in the first deadly shooting since an August truce ended a 50-day war, medics said.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra identified the dead man as Fadel Mohammed Halawa, 32, saying the bullet had hit him in the back.

Qudra said the bullet appeared to have been fired from a nearby army watchtower at a man who was farming land near the border fence.

It was the first time a Palestinian from Gaza had been killed by Israeli fire since a seven-week Israeli assault ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Aug. 26.

Following the initial truce agreement, the sides were supposed to have resumed talks on some of the thornier outstanding issues within a month, but the deadline has been repeatedly delayed.

West Bank Home Torched in Suspected Settler Attack [Naharnet - 23/11/14]

Queensland police shoot man dead, Tewantin

ABC [23/11/14]:

Queensland police have shot dead a man on a Sunshine Coast street after he allegedly lunged at them with a weapon.

Officers were called to Outlook Drive at Tewantin just after 2:00pm (AEST) amid reports of a man damaging property with a steel pole.

When they arrived they were allegedly confronted by a man who got out of a car and lunged at them with either a knife or the pole.

According to witnesses, the officers fired three shots into the man's chest, killing him instantly on the road.

District Officer Acting Superintendent John Bosnjak said police were called to the address to "deal with a disturbance" but would not confirm whether the man was armed.

"Our understanding [is the incident] did happen in the street," he said.

"The issue is quite complex - there are a significant amount of witnesses to be interviewed."

He said the 51-year-old man who was killed was from interstate and "apparently related" to the people in the house.

Superintendent Bosnjak said Police Ethnical Standards Command was investigating and the scene was still to be processed.

"We will be working long into the night," he said.

He said counselling would be offered to the officers involved.

"It's quite a traumatic time for the family and police involved - you don't come to work to be involved in matters like this," he said.

"I do feel for my people and I obviously feel for the family of the deceased male."

Resident Brett Larcombe said he heard three gunshots.

"I heard the gunshots from my house, but I didn't see the shooting," he said. "You don't hear anything like that around here - it's a really quiet neighbourhood.

"We've never had any dramas like that around this neighbourhood - it's a good neighbourhood, good people.

"It was a bit daunting - wondering what was happening - which is why we came to have a look, we only live around the corner."

Another resident, John Smith, said he heard a single bang earlier this afternoon, but said "it didn't sound like a gunshot".

"Just a sort of a crack, a bang, something that'd hit something," he said.

"A while later I heard a couple short bursts of siren and didn't think much of it, I thought it was just passing by.
"I just walked out here and saw all the action down the road."

Since September, there have been four police shootings, three of them fatal.

On September 29, a 42-year-old man was shot dead by police outside an Inala unit block after a four-hour stand-off.

On October 21, a 29-year-old man survived being shot in the head in arms by police at Rochedale on Brisbane's southside.

On November 18, a 33-year-old man was shot dead by officers at Kippa-Ring near Redcliffe, north of Brisbane.

Heart of Empire reverberates around the world: Ferguson prepares for grand jury decision [WBTV - 23/11/14]

Cleveland police officer shoots 12-year-old boy [Cleveland.com - 22/11/14]

Drug charges, Surfers Paradise

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Police have charged two 17-year-old women with drug-related offences after a search warrant was executed at a Surfers Paradise hotel overnight.

Just after midnight, police conducted a search of a hotel room on Orchid Avenue where it will be alleged they uncovered a quantity of ecstasy tablets.

Two Ipswich women have been charged with possessing a dangerous drug. One of the women was additionally charged with supplying a dangerous drug.

They are due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court at a later date.

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.

Mother of abandoned baby found by police

ABC [23/11/14]:

The mother of a newborn baby boy left inside a drain near Sydney's M7 motorway has been found.

The baby's cries alerted cyclists who were riding alongside the motorway at Quaker's Hill in Sydney's west this morning.

He was rescued and police said it appeared the baby had been abandoned and dropped 2.5 metres through an opening in the drain.

Police believed the baby was born in hospital and after checking hospital records and doorknocking the area, they have now identified the baby's mother as a 20-year-old Quakers Hill woman.

She is currently assisting police with inquiries at Blacktown Police Station.

The boy remains in a serious but stable condition at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

Call for hatches to save abandoned babies [Yahoo - 23/11/14]

Is it any wonder numbers are down for Schoolies 2014?

Who wants to celebrate the end of their school days being treated like a criminal?

Don't be depressed. Big pharma's marketing vehicle has arrived!

Surfers Paradise [23/11/14]

And when the media jackals aren't demonising young people they're exploiting them. ---> Surging popularity of Tinder and dating apps changes Schoolies socialising [Brisbane Times - 23/11/14]

The over the top police presence, fences and special zones, security, lanyards and red frog evangelicals aren't keeping schoolies safe - it's scaring them off - as well as stifling for business owners, residents and tourists.

Yahoo [23/11/14]:

The first night of Gold Coast schoolies has been marred by violence after a teenage girl was brutally assaulted by a group of female revelers.

The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning on the beachfront at Surfers Paradise.

Footage shows the young girl being repeatedly punched in the face before having her head slammed against a steel fence.

A man who tried to protect her was also attacked.

A young girl had her face repeatedly slammed into a steel fence.

...

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Police are investigating the robbery of an 18-year old Victorian man at Surfers Paradise in the early hours of this morning.

Just after midnight the man was sitting alone on the beach at Surfers Paradise when three teenaged males approached him.

Demands were made for the man surrender his money and phone before being punched several times in the head and torso.

The trio then left the scene with the man’s wallet and watch.

The man received first-aid treatment for swelling and bruising.

The men are described as being Pacific Islander in appearance and aged in their teens.

Investigations into the incident are continuing.

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.

Armed Robbery charges, Yeppoon

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Police have charged a man after an alleged armed robbery at a service station on Rockhampton Road in Yeppoon.

It is alleged that around 8.45pm yesterday a man entered the store armed with a knife and demanded money from the male attendant. The man fled the store with a sum of cash.

No one was physically injured during the incident.

A 21-year-old Yeppoon man has been charged with enter premises with intent and armed robbery. He is due to appear in the Yeppoon Magistrates Court on December 11.

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.

Woman shot by police, Sydney

ABC [23/11/14]:

A woman was involved in a violent fight with her son when she was shot by police at Picton, south-west of Sydney.

An internal police investigation has begun into the shooting after police were called to a Colden Street property on Saturday night after they had been told a woman was armed with a weapon.

When officers arrived they found the woman and her son fighting in the front yard.

Officers shot the 54-year-old woman in the abdomen.

She was treated by paramedics and taken to Liverpool Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

No officers were hurt, and a crime scene has been set up.

Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli said an internal investigation will examine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

"Police intervened, at this time the female and the male turned on the police," he said.

"One of the police officers used his OC spray to no effect.

"Police were in fear of being seriously injured. One of the officers withdrew his firearm and discharged one shot into the female.

"Police officers have a split second to make a decision and then others can spend weeks and months dissecting that decision [and] any issues with it."

Man charged after being shot at by corrective services officers, Wollongong

ABC [22/11/14]:

A man who was shot at by corrective services officers when he escaped from Wollongong Hospital south of Sydney yesterday has now been charged.

The 34-year-old prisoner, facing armed robbery charges, allegedly assaulted a guard and tried to steal his gun during a hospital visit shortly before 4:00pm on Saturday.

He then ran out of the hospital and onto the street.

Officers chased the man and a guard fired two shots, which led to the prisoner stopping and being detained.

The prisoner, complaining of stomach pain, was taken to the hospital by corrective services guards about half an hour before the incident.

While in custody, it is alleged he punched a corrective services officer in the face and tried to steal his gun.

No-one was injured in the shooting but the corrective services officer was treated by paramedics for minor facial injuries.

The man has been charged with escape from lawful custody, assaulting an officer and resisting an officer in execution of duty.

He has been remanded to face court in January next year.

Men flee after car hits house, Stafford

Yahoo [23/11/14]:

Police are seeking two men who ran from the scene after the car they were in crashed into a house in Brisbane's north.

The car hit a two-storey house in Stafford at about 12.30am on Sunday.

Two people inside at the time were unhurt.

Police said that two men who were in the car jumped out and were last seen running along Kitchener Road, wearing shorts but not shirts.

Suspicious fire, Strathpine

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Police are investigating a building fire that occurred overnight in Strathpine.

At around 2.30am police and emergency services were called to the fire at a school on Gympie Road.

Emergency services extinguished the fire before it took hold of the building which was unoccupied at the time.

A crime scene has been established and the fire is being treated as suspicious.

Investigations are continuing and anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers or Policelink on 131 444.

Day two of Gold Coast Schoolies 2014

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Official celebrations started for former students last night when thousands [Huh??? ... more like hundreds ...] of school leavers congregated around Surfers Paradise to enjoy the entertainment and facilities provided.

Generally police were pleased with the behaviour of schoolies, with only a small number of the large crowd coming to the attention of police.

[Surfers Paradise was crawling with police. The police chopper flew over a number of times spotlighting the beach and residential apartments, and several ambulance and fire trucks were deployed during the evening.]

Overnight police arrested 19 schoolies, 18 males and one female, on 23 offences. The majority of offences were for being drunk and public nuisance. There were eight arrests for drug offences.

42 schoolies were issued with liquor infringement notices for drinking in a public place.

Police arrested 35 non-schoolies on 40 charges, mainly for public nuisance and other good order offences, along with three non-schoolies issued with liquor infringement notices.

Boy charged over laser attack on police chopper

Yahoo [23/11/14]:

A teenage boy has been charged after a laser was beamed at a police helicopter as it was flying over the town of Beenliegh in Queensland's southeast.

Police say the helicopter crew noticed the laser being shone at them from outside a home in the Waterford area at about 7pm on Saturday.

Police visited the address where a teenage boy was spoken to.

He has been charged with an offence committed under the Civil Aviation Act and will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.

Gina Rinehart's Fairfax goes after Clive Palmer: Journalism or business rivalry?

The Age [23/11/14]:

Clive Palmer has lost a bid to get a suppression order concealing the already widely known fact that he owns a private airplane after a judge rejected claims the knowledge could put his life in danger.

Mr Palmer, who has repeatedly been photographed next to the estimated $70 million aircraft during the 2013 federal election campaign, now believes fresh media coverage about its existence poses "safety issues".

The application for the confidentiality order was made as part of Mr Palmer's fight against the public release of flight records for his jet that was ordered by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The departure and arrival records for all aircraft that use Australia's airspace are held by commonwealth regulatory agency Airservices Australia, which has traditionally ruled that release of this type of information is in line with public policy about transparency and does not violate privacy laws.

Fairfax Media was supposed to be granted access to the flight plans under freedom-of-information laws, a decision that is now being challenged by Mr Palmer's company, Palmer Aviation, in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Mr Palmer's legal counsel argued the existence of the legal proceeding should be suppressed from the public and a pseudonym used in all documentation that refers to the politician and mining magnate and his company.

...

ABC [22/11/14]:

Australia's wealthiest person Gina Rinehart has flown into Darwin, as she spruiks the benefits of developing the north.

The mining magnate, who is worth a reported $20.01 billion, is the patron of the association and makes an address to their conference each year.

Asked her thoughts on developing northern Australia, Mrs Rinehart said she was very much in favour of it, adding that she was also a supporter of NT Chief Minister Adam Giles.

...

Queensland taxpayers to fund surgery in sub standard, profit seeking private hospitals

Minister for Health Media Release [23/11/14]:

... “With the new Wait Time Guarantee we can now ensure that every patient will have their surgery as planned by maximising access to the state’s network of hospitals, doctors and nurses whether they are in the public, non-government or private sector.

...

Queensland government announce plans for ugly, self funded reitiree residential slum on public hospital site. [Treasurer and Minister for Trade Media Release - 20/11/14]

De Maiziere: high numbers of refugees 'for years to come'

Deutsche Welle [22/11/14]:

Germany has seen the highest rates worldwide of asylum seekers from conflict zones this year. Those numbers won't be dwindling any time soon, so Germany must "adjust," says the country's interior minister.

Between January and June this year, more than 65,000 people applied for asylum in Germany, figures that topped numbers seen in any other industrialized country.

The sudden change has sparked a debate in Germany about refugee policies, ranging from cost, to living conditions, to the fears of a rise in xenophobic sentiment.

On Saturday, Germany's interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, weighed in on the issue by calling on Germans to face the reality of the situation.

"We have roughly 50 million refugees worldwide, the highest numbers since the end of World War II," de Maiziere said in an interview with the German daily "Der Tagesspiegel," scheduled to be published in its Sunday edition.

Emphasizing that Germany had a responsibility to the world to help refugees, he said: "We must adjust ourselves [to the fact that we will be seeing] high numbers of asylum seekers and refugees for years to come."

Political instability across North Africa and the Middle East has driven the refugee crisis in recent years, with fighting, particularly in Syria and Iraq, forcing millions of people to flee their homes.

During the first half of 2014, Germany saw not only a spike in the number of asylum seekers, but also a 64 percent increase - or roughly 127,000 people - in the number of refugees seeking residence.

While many municipalities have worked to accommodate the refugees, the sharp rise in foreigners has opened the public debate to a wide range of concerns and including varying degrees of anti-foreigner sentiment.

However, De Maiziere emphasized the necessity of public debate on an issue which has such a wide affect on society.

It's "completely wrong to make this taboo or, the reverse, to act as if the high number of refugees were no problem," he said. "[But] someone who asks critical questions isn't automatically a right-wing extremist."

Several cases - including continuous protests by refugees in Berlin and the discovery of security guards abusing residents at another home for asylums seekers in western Germany - have underscored the concerns felt across society about caring for those in need while also protecting German interests.

A study published by the Social Democratic Party-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation this week furthermore pointed to a noticeable level of disregard toward asylum seekers. The survey found that roughly 44 percent of its 2,000 participants had a negative attitude toward asylum seekers and that more 40 percent of those surveyed did not believe the refugees had been persecuted in their home countries.

Radio New Zealand speaks to Nauru resident.

Australian media blackout continues.

RNZI [22/11/14]:

There are reports from Nauru that refugees who had got work on the island have left the jobs after a threatening letter was distributed a week ago.

Nauru houses more than 1000 of Australia's asylum seekers and more than 100 have been declared refugees [released] and allowed to live and work in the community.

The letter says the refugees should leave their jobs, stop wandering around the island and stop fraternising with Nauruan women.

It says they should go away or bad things will happen.

There have already been a number of serious assaults on refugees.

The Nauru government suggests the refugees themselves may have written the letter but Clint Deidenang, who works as a photo-journalist there, says he is certain it was penned by a Nauruan.

He says there is a significant minority on the island supporting some of the sentiments in the letter, including him.

"Nauruans are not used to living with people from different cultures - this multi-cultural thing is not working in Nauru."

Nearly 800 refugees rescued off Italy, Libya in 48 hours

Straits Times [23/11/14]:

A total 796 people were rescued from boats in distress in the Mediterranean in the last 48 hours, Italian and Libyan officials said Saturday, as unprecedented numbers of would-be immigrants head for Italy’s shores.

The Italian coastguard said it helped pluck 520 people from five boats in trouble in Libyan waters overnight Thursday to Friday after a communications centre in Rome traced distress calls sent by cellphone from the boats heading towards Sicily.

The coastguard then sailed to waters north of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to help two merchant vessels which had picked up more distress signals. Two groups of 78 and 93 people were also saved.

There were no details on their nationalities.

Libya’s navy announced that on Friday it had rescued 105 migrants from a boat that broke down off the coast of Garabulli, which is around 50km east of Tripoli.

Despite the onset of autumn, which usually brings a slowdown in migrant numbers, Italian authorities this week alone rescued several thousand people. The coastguard and navy say migrants are taking increasingly high risks.

Last year, saw almost 8,000 people arrive in the first six months, followed by 35,000 in the second half of the year.

Around 65,000 people landed in the first half of this year, with the total now at more than 150,000 or an average 400 per day.

Greek port authorities meanwhile said 16 people had been rescued but four were missing when a boat carrying mostly Syrian refugees capsized off Mytilene.

An Uzbek national was detained on suspicion of human trafficking.

#UltimOra completato intervento #SAR di nave Driade #MarinaMilitare Soccorsi 96 #migranti (28 donne 9 minori)

Image: @ItalianNavy [21/11/14]

Just when you thought the Australian Navy might avoid initiation rituals. [Navy Daily - 22/11/14]:

... For a small donation, Recruit School staff and Recruits were able to nominate a staff member to be dunked with a bucket of icy cold water. The 12 staff members who accumulated the most votes were then dunked by a lucky Recruit, who had nominated them.

...

Recruit School Physical Training Instructor, Leading Seaman Bradley Pethers said he was always amazed at the enthusiasm and willingness of those newest to Navy to participate in such a good cause.

“Recruits are always ready and willing to give their all, and this makes my job of being an instructor at Recruit School both rewarding and enjoyable,” he said.

In total, the activity raised $1,600 for Ocsober. More importantly however, it raised awareness around alcohol and drug misuse in young Australians and provided the opportunity for a good laugh with Recruits dunking their instructors.

 

Save the children, but to hell with their parents, and any other adult fleeing war and genocide?

... Whatever their parents got up to the kids are innocent victims ...

Ita Buttrose has joined a campaign to remove children from detention centres. [VIDEO - Studio 10 - 19/11/14]

 

Manifestation of a vicious, dysfunctional society: Newborn baby boy abandoned in drain near Sydney's M7, rescued by cyclists [ABC - 23/11/14]

 

July 19. Dad came home with a dead possum he'd picked up by the side of the road. I found a jar of blackberry jam, gift-wrapped, in the boot of grandma's old car, from before the war.

...

'Home and Away', John Marsden and Matt Ottley [Lothian, 2008]

Booktopia:

A dramatic picture book for older readers that poses the question what would happen if a typical Australian family found themselves refugees?

Indonesian foreign minister regrets Australian asylum-seeker policy

Jakarta Post [21/11/14]:

The Indonesian government strongly regrets the decision of the Australian government to completely close its doors to unwanted asylum seekers who use Indonesia as the entry point to their preferred final destination, Australia.

Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi expressed the government’s deep concern over Canberra’s new policy. She described the decision as unilateral, with Australia just considering its own interests and ignoring the situation that Indonesia has to face as a transit venue for asylum seekers.

The minister pointed out that she had contacted her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, and they had agreed to regularly communicate to avoid misunderstandings such as those that had often occurred with the previous administration.

“Basically, we [the Indonesian government], have conveyed our strong stance against the Australian policy,” said Retno.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that his government would not accept any refugees who registered with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia after July 1 this year. In addition, Canberra will also reduce the number of people it would allow to resettle in Australia from Indonesia from 600 to 450 people per year.

Morrison said the new rules were designed to stop the flow of asylum seekers from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan into Indonesia.

“We’re taking the sugar off the table,” Morrison told ABC Radio on Wednesday. “People smugglers are smuggling people into Indonesia for the purpose of trying to get resettlement in Australia.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held at least two bilateral discussions with his new counterpart, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who came to power last month.

Abbott is trying to have a better personal connection with Jokowi after his stormy relationship with Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Yudhoyono was angered by information that Australia had bugged his mobile telephone conversations for nearly two years.

Morrison declined to say whether Abbott and Jokowi discussed the policy at the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, but said Indonesia was “fully appraised” of the decision before it was made public.

“We are happy to work with Indonesia in any way we can to reduce the number of people in Indonesia, but not by encouraging more people to come to Indonesia because they think they will get a visa to Australia,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

“We regret the unilateral policy that Australia has chosen to adopt, as it is not only a violation of its duty as a party to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees but also its international duty. Meanwhile, Indonesia, a non-party of the convention, has gone the extra mile and done plenty,” Retno said.

Over 10,000 asylum seekers fleeing instability in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are currently stranded in Indonesia.

Abbott’s promise to be much tougher on asylum seekers trying to enter Australia through Indonesian waters was among the key points that had helped him win the post of prime minister in September last year.

“Indonesia and Australia are neighboring countries, therefore, it is a must for us to have and maintain good bilateral relations,” said Retno.

During her recent meeting with Bishop at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, Retno reminded her counterpart to “learn from past experiences on policies that did not impact bilateral relations of the two countries positively”.

UN committee resolution could refer North Korea rulers to International Criminal Court [WorldTribune.com - 21/11/14]

ICC requested to investigate prosecution of Abbott Government [Andrew Wilkie MP - 22/10/14]:

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, and eminent human rights advocate and lawyer, Greg Barns, have formally requested the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate crimes against asylum seekers by members of the Abbott Government.

...

The Bali Process forums go mostly unreported in the Australian press because our political establishment don't take them seriously, and have no genuine intention of acting co-operatively.

Be as condescending as you can and don't mention the Bali Process: Australian journalists attack Indonesian politicians for questioning Australia's illegal refugee policees [Canberra Times - 18/10/14]


"We must ensure that their humanitarian needs are addressed and their human rights are protected and respected, regardless their legal status. Their need for assistance extends beyond the end of their intended journey."

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa delivers his speech during the opening session of the International Workshop for the Protection of Irregular Movement of Persons at Sea at the Foreign Ministry office in Jakarta on April 21, 2014. (Photo / AFP)

China Daily Asia [21/4/14]:

Indonesia commenced on Monday a two-day international meeting aimed at increasing global comprehensive and coordinated approach to deal with irregular movement of persons at sea.

The meeting, themed International Workshops on Irregular Movement of Persons At Sea, was to follow suit the Jakarta Declaration on Addressing Irregular Movement of Persons that was agreed in Special Conference on Irregular Movement of Persons held here in Aug. 20 last year.

Inaugurating the event attended by delegates of 16 countries and three international organizations, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said that discussions on seeking comprehensive solutions need to be conducted as incidents at sea involving people in human trafficking, asylum seeking and other illegal activities remain a problem in many parts of the world despite efforts conducted through the Bali Process.

"The cross border and complex nature of irregular movement of persons defies national solution. It demands comprehensive national, regional and global approaches. It was recognition of this reality that laid the foundation of the Bali Process launched a decade ago. It was relevant then and remains relevant today," Marty told the delegates attending the meeting.

Indonesia has been actively involved in Bali Process, an international forum joined by 50 countries and many international organizations that facilitate discussion and information sharing related to people smuggling, human trafficking, trans-national crimes and appropriate responses to those issues.

He added that the workshop serves as a channel to translate the recommendations of the Jakarta Declaration into concrete actions, including the formulation of standard operating procedure in dealing with irregular maritime movements of persons.

The Indonesian foreign minister said that the workshop was highly expected to formulate procedures aimed at ensuring protection for those victimized by such activities.

"We must ensure that their humanitarian needs are addressed and their human rights are protected and respected, regardless their legal status. Their need for assistance extends beyond the end of their intended journey," the minister said.

Marty encouraged workshop participants to enhance the search and rescue operation to avoid loss of lives at sea, develop protection-oriented migration management centers to eliminate possibility of fatalities at sea and mobilize resources towards efficient management of irregular migration and victim protection.

Indonesia has been the stopover point of "illegal" migrants from Middle East and South Asia intending to seek asylum in Australia with illegal and risky boat trips that often ended up with deaths of those people due to mishaps at sea.

Jakarta Post [21/4/14]:

Jakarta called on governments Monday to stop "shifting responsibility" for asylum-seekers, in veiled criticism of Australia's hardline policy of towing boatloads of would-be refugees back to Indonesia.

The military-led operation has caused anger in Indonesia, which has been forced to take back seven boatloads of asylum-seekers turned around by the Australian navy since December.

At the opening of an international meeting on asylum-seekers in Jakarta, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said countries should stand by commitments to cooperate on the issue made at a conference last year.

Those commitments "confirmed our shared responsibility -- shared responsibility, not (the) shifting of responsibility. Shared responsibility that requires coordination and cooperation," Natalegawa said at Monday's meeting.

"For Indonesia the message is crystal-clear -- the cross-border and complex nature of irregular movement of persons defies national solution."

Asylum-seekers have for years used Indonesia as a transit point to cross to Australia, usually on rickety fishing boats. More than 1,000 asylum-seekers have died at sea in recent years attempting the perilous journey.

Tony Abbott came to power last year at the head of a conservative government in Australia on the back of a pledge to stem the flow of asylum-seekers, and has implemented the tough border protection policies.

His government says they are working, claiming that no asylum-seekers arriving by boat have set foot on Australian soil since December.

The UN refugee agency said last week the number of asylum-seekers registering in Indonesia had dropped dramatically since December, from around 100 a day to 100 a week.

The Abbott administration retained the policy of the former government of sending all asylum-seekers arriving by boat to Papua New Guinea or Nauru -- for permanent resettlement there if judged to be refugees.

Natalegawa acknowledged Monday the policies may have helped reduce the loss of life at sea between the two countries, but reiterated his opposition to them.

"We need to take the politics out of this whole endeavour," he said, adding there must be alternative ways of stopping the flow of asylum-seekers.

Australia was represented at the meeting by officials from its Jakarta embassy, but they made no comment at the opening.

The two-day International Workshop on the Protection of the Irregular Movement of Persons at Sea, attended by senior officials from 14 countries, is co-chaired by Indonesia and the United Nations refugee agency.

Torturers of Chile president's father jailed

Al Jazeera [21/11/14]:

A Chilean judge has sentenced two retired colonels to prison for the torture of incumbent President Michelle Bachelet's father which indirectly led to his death during the early days of General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship.

On Friday, Judge Mario Carroza sentenced Edgar Cevallos Jones to a two-year term and Ramon Caceres Jorquera to three years for committing the "crime of torture resulting in the death" of Air Force General Alberto Bachelet Martinez.

Chile's government welcomed the ruling.

"This sentence, issued a few hours ago, is a step forward precisely to advance in the truth and justice Chile needs," said government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde.

Alberto Bachelet, who was loyal to deposed President Salvador Allende, was incarcerated following the September 1973 coup and charged with treason.

After being imprisoned in a public jail, Bachelet, like other servicemen opposed to the dictatorship, was periodically taken to the Air Warfare Academy to be tortured.

He died of a heart attack on March 12, 1974, at the age of 50 following a long session of interrogations, where he was again tortured by Caceres Jorquera and Cevallos Jones.

An estimated 3,000 people were kidnapped and killed or disappeared and 28,000 were tortured during the 17-year dictatorship. Pinochet died in 2006 at the age of 91 without facing a full trial for the crimes committed under his rule.

Michelle Bachelet, who is serving her second term in office, was also tortured during the dictatorship before fleeing to East Germany with her mother, Angela Jeria.

"We only asked for the truth and I agree (with the sentence)," said Jeria, adding that she was more concerned about the truth being established than the length of imprisonment for the crimes.

"It gives me tranquility and at the same time hope that the other servicemen that were with my husband and all the other people that suffered torture will find justice," she added.

Gunmen kill 28 in north east Kenya bus attack: security ministry

Reuters [22/11/14]:

Attackers ambushed a bus and killed 28 people early on Saturday in Mandera in northeast Kenya, police and the Ministry of Interior said.

It was not immediately clear who the attackers were.

"Bandits ambushed a bus from Mandera that was heading to Nairobi at dawn and killed 28 passengers of the 60 that were in the bus," the ministry said on its Twitter feed.

Police Spokesman Masoud Mwinyi confirmed the incident.

Tensions have escalated in Mandera County, near the border with Ethiopia and Somalia, in the past year as clashes between clans have displaced hundreds of people.

The region is awash with guns due to its proximity to Somalia, where al Shabaab has been fighting to topple the government, and Ethiopia, from where the armed Oromo Liberation Front has made incursions into Kenya.

At least nine people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile east where Ugandan rebels have recently staged bloody attacks, a top official said Friday. ... [Naharnet - 21/11/14]

Attack on Political Camp Injures 15 in Pakistan's Karachi [Naharnet - 21/11/14]

Al-Qaida in Yemen denounces Islamic State group [Jakarta Post - 21/11/14]

Philippines Bans Some Foreign Journalists over APEC Bali Incident [Naharnet - 22/11/14]

 

23 November 2014

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