... when the time is right - everyone will be invited to come and see what we've achieved. ...
PNG Foreign Minister [RNZI - 24/1/15]
Allied soldiers, who liberated Buchenwald concentration camp, organised mandatory tours for all Germans in the area to see the atrocities … [VIDEO]
@shanebazzi [24/1/15]: The hunger strike is still going on #Manus. Source says more than 20 asylum seekers collapsed in Foxtrot today.
Hunger striking refugees beaten, thrown into dungeons and disappeared - all overseen by an "adviser from the Australian government" [PNG Facts - 24/1/15]
Correctional service training at Bomona supported by the Australian government [EMTV - 24/1/15]
PNG to open 5 new jails in 2015, partner with Fiji correctional service [EMTV - 23/1/15]
PNG: Grandson of Sir Dadi Toka Killed; Families want Justice for Deaths [EMTV - 24/1/15]:
Two men are dead while three were injured, from a clash between Hanuabada villagers and local police. One of them is the grandson of senior statesman, Sir Dadi Toka.
The families of the victims have demanded that justice is served on the policemen involved.
The families of the deceased are still trying to come to terms with the death of their sons.
The news conference was held where the two men were alleged to have being shot by police.
Both parents of the deceased, Davai Rarua, who is the father of Nicholas Rarua and Gaudi Toka, father of Toka Gaudi described their sons as law abiding citizens who did not deserve to die in such a tragic manner.
They expect justice to be served and called authorities not ignore this issue.
They want NCD Governor, Powes Parkop to clarify the enforcement of the buai ban and the responsibilities surrounding the conduct of the police officers enforcing the ban.
The deceased Nicholas Rarua, 36, leaves behind a young daughter and a wife who is eight months pregnant.
The late Nicholas had recently left Exxon Mobil PNG Ltd where he worked as a Technical Adviser with the company’s regulatory division.
Toka Gaudi, 29, was unmarried, and worked as a driver for the local radio station, Lalokau FM, before his untimely death.
Arson suspected in Toowoomba mosque fire
An arson investigation has been launched after a suspicious fire at a mosque in Toowoomba, in Queensland.
Police say it appears someone lit a fire in a plastic bin after they forced entry to a wooden building next to the main Mosque building on West Street, just after 1pm on Saturday.
A gas stove was also deliberately turned on, but the leaking gas failed to ignite.
Fire crews rushed to the property to find fumes pouring into the building, as well as minor fire damage.
The incident is being treated as suspicious, police say.
The mosque - the Queensland city's first - opened last year after years of fundraising by local Muslim groups.
Islamic Society of Toowoomba founding president Professor Shahjahan Khan said it looked as though someone had tried to burn the mosque's office door and leak gas into the main meeting hall.
Other patrons told him CCTV cameras mounted inside the building had been broken along with a number of windows.
"It's just out of expectations that this kind of attempt to burn places of worship can happen," Prof Khan told AAP.
The incident had the hallmarks of a well-planned, serious attempt to burn the mosque down despite such an attack being out of character for such a peaceful city, he said.
"I hope that it's going to unite the community more than anything else.
"If it's a place of worship, it's a place of worship - people should respect it regardless of their personal beliefs."
Man charged over death of teenager, drug offences remanded in custody
A man charged over a teenager's death was the victim of a violent home invasion and was beaten and kicked before picking up a knife, his lawyer has told court.
Darrell John Shadlow appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with manslaughter and drug possession and trafficking offences.
The 48-year old father of four was charged after extensive police investigations into the death of a 19-year-old man at Macgregor on Brisbane's southside on January 6.
Lawyer Alex Jones told the court that Shadlow was the victim of a violent home invasion by three men he did not know.
"He was assaulted, beaten to the ground and kicked before picking up a knife and swinging wildly," Mr Jones said.
In applying for bail, Mr Jones said Shadlow was on a disability support pension and was the primary carer for his partner.
"He made a full admission to police in relation to the trafficking offences and a full account of his actions on the night of the alleged manslaughter," he said.
"He would submit to any bail conditions imposed by the court including random urine testing, a curfew and reporting to police."
Magistrate Tina Previtera rejected the bail application, saying Shadlow had a history of drug offences dating back to 1983.
"The charges before the court are extremely serious," she said.
"You are an unacceptable risk of reoffending."
Shadlow was due back in court in March.
Man with replica machine gun in Sydney CBD granted bail [Sydney Morning Herald – 24/1/15]
Armed robbery and fraud, Marsden
QPS Media [24/1/15]:
Detectives are searching for two men who intercepted a vehicle, assaulted the driver and stole items from the car at Marsden overnight.
Around 12.45am two 19-year-old men and a 20-year-old woman were travelling in a car on Burrinjuck Street when two vehicles pulled in front of their car at the intersection of Timberlee Drive.
The car manoeuvred around both vehicles and travelled to the end of Timberlee Drive.
The other vehicles followed them and blocked the car at the end of a cul-de-sac.
The male drivers of each vehicle confronted the occupants of the car before demanding they hand over cash and mobiles phones. It is believed one man was armed with a firearm.
One of the men then struck the 19-year-old man in the face through the driver’s window.
The pair then stole wallets and mobile phones from the occupants.
The first man, who was driving a dark vehicle, was described as being Caucasian in appearance, aged in his late 20s, about 170cm tall with a slim build and wearing a black top.
The second man, who was driving a dark hatchback, is described as being Caucasian in appearance, aged in his early 20s, about 170cm tall with sandy blonde curly hair and wearing a blue hoodie.
Around 1am the victims’ stolen credit cards were used to purchase items at a fast food outlet and at a service station at Meadowbrook. Police have released CCTV images (pictured) of the men who they believed fraudulently made the transactions at the service station.
The pair attended the service station in a stolen black 2006 Honda Jazz with registration 053 JQU.
Investigations into the incident are continuing and anyone who may recognise the men pictured in the CCTV images are urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
Two killed in collision between car and truck on Lincoln Highway near Cowell, South Australia
A man and a woman have died in a collision involving a car and a truck on Eyre Peninsula, South Australian police said.
Emergency services were called to the location on the Lincoln Highway about 10 kilometres north of Cowell late on Saturday morning.
The man and woman, both from Whyalla, were in the car.
The fatality caused the Lincoln Highway to be blocked for the day with traffic diverted around the scene as police investigated.
The crash occurred on the same road where three men from Port Pirie were killed on Thursday, in another collision between a truck and a car.
The 35-year-old truck driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, but the car burst into flames and all three of its occupants died at the scene.
A remarkable Australian movie
According to the Internet Movie Database website, Dylan Parker is one of only two paper plane consultants to have ever worked on a film.
The other is his friend and fellow paper pilot James Norton.
Mr Parker, Maitland MP Robyn Parker’s son, was the inspiration behind a new Australian children’s movie called Paper Planes.
After a 2009 episode of Australian Story told Mr Parker’s story, a tale that includes surviving a brain tumour and then becoming the Australian paper plane throwing champion, Australian director Robert Connolly contacted him.
The filmmaker and screenwriter, whose work includes The Bank, Balibo and Three Dollars, saw Mr Parker’s experiences as perfect material for a children’s movie.
“It was about six years ago that [Robert] contacted me,” Mr Parker, who grew up in Duckenfield, said.
“And then it was only a year and a bit ago that he told me he had managed to get the funding and organise the hundreds of people that would be needed to make the film.
“Then he told me the actors he had lined up.”
Mr Parker is played on screen by 13-year-old Puberty Blues actor Ed Oxenbould, who also starred in the recent movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day alongside Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.
Paper Planes’ impressive cast also includes Sam Worthington, Deborah Mailman and David Wenham.
Though Mr Parker’s life has been fictionalised for the movie – his surname has been changed to Webber – he did come third in the distance category at the Paper Plane World Championships in 2009 in Austria.
Mr Norton also competed in Austria, but in the time aloft category.
“Robert spent a lot of time with me and James talking about our experiences, and I think he was focused on getting the energy that we had for paper planes and understanding the feeling of throwing them,” Mr Parker said.
“It is something that everybody identifies with because everybody has made a paper plane.”
The 27-year-old was involved in the production of Paper Planes, from making a cameo to designing and folding almost 5000 paper planes to be used on screen, and advising the visual effects team in their creation of CGI planes.
“We worked with the CGI guys to make sure that the planes seemed as real as possible when they had to animate them,” he said.
Although Mr Parker now works in Sydney in advertising, his passion for planes continues.
He and Mr Norton run a group called The Paper Pilots, gliding into schools and other events to help new paper plane fans spread their wings.
Hong Kong Occupy protest leaders arrested
The original founders of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Occupy movement were arrested and released Saturday as the city's police chief defended the investigation into mass protests, saying it was not "a show".
A number of protest leaders have been arrested and released without charge, with some calling the investigation harassment.
Occupy founder Benny Tai said that he, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming had been formally arrested on accusations of organising and participating in an illegal assembly, but were not charged. They were released after three hours.
"Three of us were showed some videos and articles we were released unconditionally," he said.
More than two months of street rallies calling for fully free leadership elections ended in December when protest camps were cleared, but police have vowed to investigate the "principal instigators".
Police chief Andy Tsang defended the investigation earlier Saturday.
"The police made the arrangements (for the arrests) in private and it was never made public. How can you say it's a PR show? Who told you they would go to a police station? We should be clear whose show it is," he told reporters, confirming that those released may be asked back as the investigation was ongoing.
While other protest leaders have questioned police motives, Tai said he "trusted" the rule of law.
"I still trust the police and the prosecution will strictly follow the requirements of Hong Kong laws in any investigation.
"The public can make their own judgment on whether there are any political motives behind their investigation," he said.
Dozens of supporters outside the station, including lawmakers, held up banners and yellow umbrellas -- the symbol of the democracy movement.
"I absolutely believe that Hong Kongers will not give up," Tai said in a speech to the crowd before he went in to the station.
"Put the LNP last" = a vote for the ALP
Queensland has Optional Preferential Voting
This means you can send the major parties a message on 31 January by not giving any of them your vote if you want
Palmer calls for Queensland Upper House [Media Release – 6/8/14]:
Federal leader of the Palmer United Party and member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, has called for the reintroduction of an Upper House in Queensland to restore necessary checks and balances to state politics.
Mr Palmer said it was essential a house of review was established to safeguard democratic freedom and provide the transparency sadly lacking under Campbell Newman’s leadership.
“Once again we have Mr Newman wriggling like a worm, this time he’s changed his mind on the need for an Upper House so he can utilise his huge majority to get whatever he wants and avoid proper scrutiny.
“As Lord Mayor in 2010, Mr Newman supported the idea of an independent body in Queensland government but now that he is Premier he has dismissed the idea saying an Upper House was not necessary.
“These look like the actions of a man with something to hide and are further reason that his activities need to be properly investigated,’’ Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer has announced that the Palmer United Party senators will move for a Senate select committee to investigate the activities of the Queensland Premier.
Mr Palmer said the Queensland police need to investigate Mr Newman, who has sought to politicise the Queensland Police Service and bring the state’s judiciary and legal process under his control.
“We live in a free state and Queenslanders believe in a fair go. The foundations of Queensland are based on the separation of powers between the political executive and the judiciary. This is the basis of stability and democracy.
“The Palmer United Party senators will move to establish a Senate select hearing against Campbell Newman.”
Select Committee into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration related to Commonwealth Government Affairs:
Upcoming Public Hearings 28 Jan 2015: Bundaberg, QLD
Possibly a more honest contest of ideas?
Gold Coast duplex displaying Palmer Party and Queensland Greens corflutes.
Confucius say: Politicians who demolish hospitals and inflict disaster capitalism on their constituents - for the benefit of their developer mates - are doomed.
Gold Coast "Chinatown" unveils Confucius statue [GCCC Media Release – 23/1/15]
Gold Coast beaches closed
Surf Life Saving Queensland [24/1/15]:
Gold Coast beaches north of Tallebudgera Creek remain closed. Beaches south of the creek may re-open at Patrol Captains' discretion.
Please respect lifesavers' decisions regarding dangerous surf conditions, and only swim at patrolled areas marked by the red and yellow flags.
@DarrenCurtis9 - journalist, Channel 9: All Gold Coast beaches closed due to storm runoff & debris in the surf,updates with @LukeBradnam #9News Saturday 6pm
Fatal traffic incident, Cairns
QPS Media [24/1/15]
Police are investigating after a pedestrian died after being struck by a vehicle at Cairns this morning.
Initial investigations indicate the woman was walking along Airport Avenue around 5.20am when she was struck.
The woman was taken to Cairns Base Hospital but later died.
One lane was closed whilst investigations were conducted at the scene but has since reopened.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
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.
Fatal traffic incident, Lowood
QPS Media [24/1/15]:
Police are investigating a fatal traffic incident that occurred on Forest Hill Fernvale Road, Lowood where a man has died.
At around 3.40am officers were called to the area following reports a man had been located by the side of the road.
Police arrived and discovered the man deceased at the scene.
Initial indications suggest a vehicle may have been involved in the incident and investigations are underway to locate the driver to assist with inquiries.
Anyone who may have been in the area at this time or who may have information to assist investigators is urged to contact police.
The road remains closed in both directions as investigations continue.
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.
Serious assault, Mackay
QPS Media [24/1/15]:
A man has been charged following an incident at Mackay last night that has left a man with serious injuries.
It will be alleged an altercation occurred between two men at a Howard Street residence around 8.15pm.
A 47-year-old Mackay man was taken to Mackay Base Hospital with serious head injuries.
A 51-year-old Mackay man has been charged with enter dwelling with intent at night and grievous bodily harm.
He is expected to appear at the Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday (January 26).
It is believed the two men knew each other.
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.
Bomb targets people while celebrating Football Team victory in Baghdad
Two persons were killed, 11 injured as an Improvised Explosive Device exploded in south of Baghdad, targeting a crowd of people who were celebrating the winning of the Iraqi Football Team against Iran.
Security source told IraqiNews.com, “Two people have been killed and eleven were wounded as an IED blasted inside a café in Mahmoudiya district where the fans were celebrating the victory of the Iraqi Football Team and its qualification to semifinals of Asian Cup.”
@IraqiSMCEn – Iraqi Spring Media Centre [23/1/15]:
The government's forces have shelled Shuhada'a ,Nueimiya ,Jubeil and Risala in Fallujah......
US Marine snipers posed in front of Nazi flag in Afghanistan: report [NY Daily News - 9/2/12]
4 forced transfers with almost no notice last night. 2 to Manus, 2 to Nauru ...
"tweeted" by @HRP_org [24/1/15]
Jobs at Manus refugee death camp still being advertised. Establishment media/human rights class silence/inaction continues.
12th day of Manus refugee hunger strike: Evidently the now 24 hour long establishment media blackout extends to all of PNG
(Other than a few colonialist and contextually bereft "witchcraft" stories, which completely ignore what christian fundamentalists are up to in PNG.)
Youth fighting for his life at Port Moresby General Hospital [PNG Loop - 24/1/15]:
One victim of the police shooting in Hanuabada today is fighting for his life at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH).
Early tonight the youth was taken into surgery to contain internal bleeding sustained from a gunshot to the upper part of his right chest, just below the shoulder.
Family members, who refused to reveal the identity of the young man, told PNG Loop outside the hospital that he is one of four shot at by police.
One of them, Nicholas Rarua, was fatally shot.
They said one of the youths has been discharged after being cleared by the doctors. He sustained a bullet graze to the side of his head.
Another is still in the emergency section of the hospital. His condition is unknown.
Family of the youth in surgery says the incident today at Hanuabada is not the first as there have been other similar instances. However, this is the worst, they said.
Villagers have made demands to the Police for pay for the medical costs of those injured and the haus krai and funeral arrangements of the deceased.
They have also demanded a compensation of K10 million.
Other threats made are the blocking of access to the LNG Plant site and disruption of the July Pacific Games.
Justice Catherine Davani will decide on Monday afternoon whether to issue a restraining order against the Ombudsman Commission (OC) from publishing its investigation report into Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. ... [PNG Loop - 24/1/15]
Indonesia’s new envoy to PNG says the value of human rights is one democratic principle they uphold on which basis the relationship between two countries will become stronger and bring prosperity to the people. ... [PNG Loop - 23/1/15]
We've asked @UNDPasiapac - UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre and @UNDP_Pacific - UNDP Pacific and PNG - if the United Nations have managed to access the hunger striking refugees on Manus Island.
What We Do:
UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. In Papua New Guinea, UNDP works to improve the state’s ability to deliver public services to its people, and in doing so, plays a vital role in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), raise the standard of living and protect human rights for all Papua New Guineans. UNDP gives practical support to the government's efforts to become more efficient, effective, equitable and accountable. It attempts to foster greater participation in democratic and civil society and helps the government encourage private sector growth that makes use of the country's natural resources in a sustainable manner.
Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme: DAVOS Speech on Year of Tough Choices for World Leaders [22/1/15]
UNHCR calls for unimpeded access in eastern Ukraine [Media Release – 23/1/15]
'The Saturday Paper' conveys straightup establishment media "stop the boats" narrative ---> Inside Peter Dutton’s asylum-seeker endgame [The Saturday Paper - 23/1/15]
Where's the journalism, comrades? [Public forum: Asylum seekers and protection at sea. Held following the Annual General Meeting of the Refugee Council of Australia on Monday 24 November 2014 at the University of Melbourne, hosted by the Graduate School of Education.]
Premier Mike Baird and his media friends think the tired, old "good refugee/bad refugee" narrative distracts from the human rights atrocity on Manus Island and ameliorates an urgent need for leadership and journalism ---> NSW Premier Mike Baird tells Prime Minister Tony Abbott: 'do more' to help refugees [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/1/15]
Secrets of a powerful Family [The Age - 14/6/08]:
...They take that very literally. If you have power that's because God wants you to have power.
... Jeff Sharlet found an Australian association to The Family in his initial contact with the network: one of his fellow inhabitants at Ivanwald, who is unnamed in the book, said he was there on the recommendation of (now former) Liberal federal MP Bruce Baird.
The Family's links to Australia appear to run much deeper, however.
Australia has had a national prayer breakfast for more then 20 years, and the documents unearthed by Sharlet tell of a delegation of US congressmen in 1966 meeting "leaders in the Australian Parliament" to discuss breakfast groups.
Earlier still, in 1963, an Australian parliamentary group was reported as communicating regularly with a US Senate group. Another reference, in an undated telegram believed to have been sent around 1980, identifies a former immigration minister in the Fraser Government, Michael MacKellar, as an Australian contact for The Family's leader, Doug Coe.
And the Australian ambassador to the US immediately after World War II, former Labor MP Norman Makin, is identified in a 1948 newsletter as a key speaker to a meeting of the group, which was then known as the National Committee for Christian Leadership. A 1949 reference notes "Ambassador Makin starting groups there".
#HESTA, divest from Transfield & the detention industry | #Manus #Nauru [xBorder Operational Matters – 23/1/15]:
... It is unclear why HESTA recently followed Goldman Sachs in becoming one of the largest shareholders in a company that runs two of Australia’s largest concentration camps.
It is also particularly concerning that, given the publication of numerous reports about the predictable damage to the health and well-being that arises as a consequence of mandatory detention, that the retirement savings of people who work in the health sector has been delivered to the detention industry in the form of cheap loans. ...
800 strong crowd attend pro-Islam rally in Lakemba
Sydney Morning Herald [24/1/15]:
Hundreds of people have gathered at a rally in Sydney's west in protest over negative coverage of Islam and treatment of the prophet Mohammad.
While police said more than a dozen people were moved on from the rally for breaching the peace, the event was peaceful.
Among the 800-strong crowd in the Muslim enclave of Lakemba, placards were held up with the slogan: "Je Suis Muslim" or "I am Muslim", evoking the same sentiment that became a touchstone for many in the wake of attacks in Paris.
Organisers of the Our Prophet, Our Honour rally said it was intended to be "a peaceful and respectful event" to counter negative coverage of Islam and the lampooning of the Prophet by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Speaking at the rally, outside the Lakemba train station, local Muslim leader Sufyan Badar told the crowd it was also in response to the waves of protests in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Mr Badar said the protests in the name of free speech had nothing to do with freedom.
"We also gather to place the politics of the events in France in the correct context," he said.
"Freedom is the smokescreen with which Western politicians and media conceal the underlying issues.
"In reality free speech is one of the many political tools that are used to maintain dominance over the Muslims."
Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned against the rally being used to incite terrorism, saying he hoped few people would attend.
Mr Abbott said called on more Muslim leaders to distance themselves from "evil things that are done in the name of Islam".
Hamzah Qureshi, a spokesman for the controversial group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which helped organise the event, questioned the prime minister's comments and the suggestion the event could incite violence.
"No one should be asked to apologise for or distance themselves from something they are not responsible for," Mr Qureshi said.
"I would, however, mention that it's interesting that the question of whether a Muslim event will be peaceful or violent consistently seems to come up."
Police later said in a statement that the event had been concluded peacefully, although 14 people were removed for breaching the peace. No charges were laid.
Thousands protest against French satirical magazine in Kabul [Khaama - 23/1/15]
Wife of blogger sentenced to 10 years in Saudi Arabia and 1,000 lashes, says he is a "peaceful person"
Al Jazeera [23/1/15]:
Raif Badawi, a 31-year-old Saudi blogger who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticising the country's religious leaders, was due to receive his second set of 50 lashes.
A committee of Saudi doctors recommended the lashes be suspended this week because of health reasons.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from her home in Canada, Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, says her husband is a "peaceful person" who deserves to be freed.
Al Jazeera: Tell us about your husband and how this happened to him.
Ensaf Haidar: My husband is an activist and the founder of the "Free Saudi liberal network". Raif believed in the freedom of speech and the respect of other beliefs. The main reason he launched the network is to promote debate and discussion about lots of topics in Saudi society.
He is accused of lots of things. In my opinion, Raif's detention is unjust and they should re-try him and set him free. All he was asking for was freedom of speech. And because he wrote that down, he was thrown in jail.
AJ: Have you heard from him at all? Do you speak? Are you able to communicate?
EH: Yes, we talk to each other. It's been four years since the kids and I have seen him, but we talk over the phone through official channels when he gets permission from the jail administration.
AJ: What do you know about his physical condition? How is he bearing up in this ordeal?
EH: His physical and psychological state is bad. Last week he was supposed to be flogged for the second time, but the jail doctor said that his body was not up to it. You know, when someone gets 50 lashes and knows he's going to receive another 50 lashes next week, he is certainly not going to feel good.
AJ: Is there any hope in the fact that the king had asked the Supreme Court to examine your husband's case? Any hope of a reprieve, a relaxation in the situation?
EH: The Office of the Saudi King filed Raif's case to the Supreme Court, but this did not help Raif because even after doing so, he still received the 50 lashes and that indicates that there's no change in his case.
AJ: Canada, the United States and other countries that are making these appeals for your husband's freedom, also have close relations with Saudi Arabia and in some cases sell them arms and other items. Do you have any hope that these appeals will work on the Saudi government?
EH: I don't think that this will make a difference and will not affect Raif's case. Raif's jailing is unjust and the governments of the world should call for his release on a humanitarian basis, but I don't think political relations with the Saudis will help.
AJ: What do you think the world can do to help? Tell us what can be done to help your husband.
EH: All that I can do is to raise my voice and make countries listen and help Raif. Raif is a peaceful person, his own man. He is a great dad and husband, and I call on all countries to stand by our side and call for the release and freedom of Raif.
Saudi blogger's flogging postponed [Al Jazeera – 22/1/15]
US journalist sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, must pay $890K in restitution
Boing Boing [22/1/15]:
A court in Dallas has sentenced Barrett Brown to 63 months in federal prison, minus 28 months already served.
For count one in the case, he receives 48 months. For count 2, he receives 12 months. And for count 3, he receives 3 months. He is also ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution.
The government's charges against the intelligence and security reporter stemmed from his relationship with sources close to the hacker group Anonymous, and the fact that Brown published a link to publicly-available copies of leaked Stratfor documents.
Brown read a statement to the court during the sentencing hearing, and you can read that statement in entirety here.
"Journalists are especially vulnerable right now, Your Honor, and they become more so when the FBI feels comfortable making false claims about them," Brown wrote:
Deny being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, and you’re still a spokesperson for Anonymous. Deny being a journalist once or twice, and you’re not a journalist. What conclusion can one draw from this sort of reasoning other than that you are whatever the FBI finds it convenient for you to be at any given moment. This is not the “rule of law”, Your Honor, it is the “rule of law enforcement”, and it is very dangerous.
@shanebazzi [23/1/15]: Source says the asylum seeker has swallowed 4 razor blades. ... #Manus
The information from #Manus has been quite distressing. If you need to talk to anyone: @LifelineAust 13 11 14. @beyondblue 1300 22 46 36
Video from #Manus
Uyghur Refugees Go on Hunger Strike in Thai Detention Center [RFA - 22/1/15]:
More than 100 Uyghur refugees held in a southern Thailand prison who are awaiting their fate after entering the country illegally from China 10 months ago have started a hunger strike, one of the detainees said.
About 140 Uyghurs, Muslims who fled persecution in northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang region, began the hunger strike on Wednesday at a facility in Hat Yai near the Thai border with Malaysia because of worsening conditions and poor food quality, resulting in illness and one death, the detainee told RFA’s Uyghur Service.
“We don’t know whether our protest will have an effect or not on our current conditions,” said the man who requested anonymity for personal security reasons. “However, we decided that we will continue our hunger strike until the Thai authorities give us a positive response. We have no other choice.”
He said that conditions in the Hat Yai facility had grown worse since last month when a three-year-old boy who had contracted tuberculosis at the center died at a local hospital.
Furthermore, the detainees do not have beds or restrooms at the government-run center, he said.
“There are a lot of people who have become sick with various diseases,” he said. “Two days ago, an elderly woman lost consciousness in the section of the prison that houses female inmates, but as I heard, she has still not recovered to her normal condition.”
Migrant dies after rescue, another two critical, 20 migrants reports to have perished at sea [Times of Malta - 22/1/15]:
A migrant has died at Mater Dei Hospital, hours after being rescued this morning.
The man was in a group of 87 migrants picked up from a drifting dinghy some miles off Mellieha.
Three were found to be in critical condition, having swallowed sea water after suffering dehydration.
They were rushed to hospital, where one of them passed away. Another five migrants were also taken to hospital for urgent medical care.
The migrants, all men, said their group had originally consisted of 100 people but 20 perished during the voyage.
No bodies were found on the boat or at sea.
The migrants claimed to be Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. They said they started their trip from Libya and had been at sea for days.
After rescue by a patrol boat, the migrants were taken to Haywharf, the AFM maritime base where they were received by AFM personnel in bio-hazard suits because of the risk of Ebola.
Disembarkation started about three hours after the patrol boat arrived, with officials having awaited the arrival from Mater Dei Hospital of a decontamination tent which was set up purely as a precaution.
A Health Ministry spokeswoman insisted that there was no cause for alarm.
The migrants have now been moved to Safi Detention Centre where they are being held in quarantine, monitored by the AFM and public health authorities. Those in hospital were immediately tested for Ebola. The tests were negative.
Ebola has a three-week incubation period and the risk that the migrants carry the disease is low, especially considering that the migrants spent time in Libya before heading over to Malta, the spokeswoman said.
The rescue was the first in several months and came at a time when the number of migrants in detention had slipped to a low of just 29. At one time there were over 2,000.
UN Libya Mission condemns attack against Central Bank in Benghazi [Media Release – 22/1/15]
At least five people were killed Thursday in a suicide car bombing at a hotel in Mogadishu on the eve of a visit to the Somali capital by Turkey’s president, police said. … [Daily Star – 23/1/15]
Mother of Isis Japanese hostage pleads for son's life as 72 hour ransom deadline expires [Independent – 22/1/15]
Afghanistan: Child among 5 injured in Wardak bombing
Five civilians, including a child, were injured in a roadside bombing in central Maidan Wardak province late on Thursday, an official said.
The blast took place in Karimdad area of the Nirkh district shortly after 5pm, the governor’s spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Attaullah Khogyani said the injured, including a six-year-old boy, had been brought to the central hospital in Maidan Shahr, the provincial capital.
He said the condition of two wounded persons was stated to be critical.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing
Egyptian authorities on Thursday closed the Rafah crossing after it had been temporarily opened for three days.
Palestinian crossing officials told Ma'an that 830 Palestinians in Gaza used the crossing, which was reopened on Tuesday.
There was no indication from Egypt when it will be reopened again.
The crossing has been closed almost completely -- save for a few days -- since it was closed in October after an attack on Egyptian police by militants in Sinai.
The Palestinian Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 25,000 humanitarian cases are on a waiting list to use the crossing for medical treatment and to continue their studies abroad.
During the first six months of the year when the crossing was almost entirely open except for 22 days, an average of 6,400 people crossed each month, according to the UN.
The jointly-enforced Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the tiny territory has led to frequent humanitarian crises and armed conflicts with Israel, and is currently limiting the entry of construction material for the devastated Strip's post-war reconstruction, promised by the international community.
Logan man on "terror charge" following Murdoch beatup and AFP raid, denied bail
A Queensland man charged with terrorism-related offences has been denied bail for a second time.
Logan man Omar Succarieh, 31, has been in custody since last September.
He was charged with making funds available to terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra between August 2013 and September 2014.
Jabhat al-Nusra has been linked to Al Qaeda.
Succarieh was also charged with preparing for incursions into a foreign state.
Succarieh's lawyer, Kerri Mellifont QC, told the Supreme Court his client denied being a member or supporter of any terrorist group and offered a comprehensive range of bail conditions, including a $100,000 surety, home detention and surrendering his children's passports.
She said he would not approach any form of departure point, would report to police and would accept restricted access to television and the internet.
"He is offering up quite extraordinary conditions," she said.
Ms Mellifont said it would be a complex case and a difficult offence for the prosecution to prove because they were relying on circumstantial evidence.
But Commonwealth prosecutor Glen Rice argued Succarieh was a serious flight risk and telephone intercepts recorded him expressing disdain for Australia and support for Jabhat al-Nusra.
"While he has lived and worked in this country, he is not affiliated with it," Mr Rice said.
"He hates living in this country.
"He himself declares himself a supporter of Jabhat al-Nusra.
"But for passport restrictions, he would be with his brother testing his mettle on the battlefield."
In rejecting the bail application, Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth said there were no exceptional circumstances that justified Succarieh's release on bail.
"I don't have a high degree of assurance that he would observe a condition of house arrest," Justice Applegarth said.
Brisbane Times [23/1/15]:
Court documents have revealed how an undercover police officer infiltrated a Logan Islamic bookstore community, gaining the trust of three members who were later charged with terrorism offences.
The Australian Federal Police agent known as UCO317656 met Omar Succarieh, Agim Kruezi and Robert Louis Maestracci in June 2014 at the iQraa Islamic Centre, according to material filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week.
iQraa, which was run by Mr Succarieh, was raided on September 10 last year by AFP anti-terrorism police.
Harbour City Ferries admit device which caused Sydney lockdown was their own property [ABC – 23/1/15]
Gunman told Sydney siege survivor she had 15 minutes to live [Canberra Times - 22/1/15]
Al Jazeera Investigates - Informants [VIDEO – 20/7/14]:
Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit takes you inside the shadowy world of FBI informants and counterterrorism sting operations. Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI set about to recruit a network of more than 15,000 informants. Al Jazeera's investigative film tells the stories of three paid FBI informants who posed as Muslims as they searched for people interested in joining violent plots concocted by the FBI.
Eight police officers needed to arrest Townsville man [ABC -23/1/15]
Death investigation, Inala [QPS Media – 23/1/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Helensvale [QPS Media – 23/1/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Labrador [QPS Media – 23/1/15]
Drug Charges Gold Coast [QPS Media – 23/1/15]
Three vehicle traffic crash, Bracalba [QPS Media - 23/1/15]
Canberra: Police car chase ends in Anzac Parade crash
Canberra Times [21/1/15]:
Police have taken a 36-year-old man into custody after a police chase ended in a crash on Anzac Parade on Wednesday.
Roads around Anzac Parade and Parked Way have been re-opened to traffic as of 5.15pm.
An ACT Policing spokeswoman said police were called to Majura Park just before 4pm to investigate reports of a black Holden car driving dangerously toward Pialligo.
Police found the car on Moreshead Drive and identified it as stolen. But when signalled to stop the driver accelerated.
Police chased the car along Parkes Way until it crashed into another car at the Anzac Parade intersection.
The man ran away from the crash site but was chased on foot.
The Anzac Parade and Parkes Way intersection was closed and eastbound traffic diverted while the car was removed.
Police are urging anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via act.crimestoppers.com.au.
Worker hit by 40kg falling boulder at North West Rail Link site
A Sydney construction worker has been hit by a falling boulder while working near the entrance to the North West Rail Link tunnel.
Careflight say the 39-year-old was hit by the 40-kilogram boulder while welding at Baulkham Hills in Sydney's west shortly before 6:30pm (AEDT).
He was treated by paramedics at the scene for cuts and lacerations before being taken to Westmead Hospital.
"A rock had become dislodged on the surface and tumbled about 25 metres down a concrete embankment and struck him from behind," said Mark Lever from Careflight.
"He suffered a number of injuries and was treated at the scene for lacerations and cuts and then carefully raised to the surface."
Palmer United Party to Appoint Minister for North Queensland
PUP Media Release [23/1/15]:
The State Leader for the Palmer United Party, Mr John Bjelke-Petersen today said that Palmer United Party government would appoint a Minister for North Queensland when elected on January 31, the party’s Queensland leader John Bjelke-Petersen says.
Mr Bjelke-Petersen said North Queensland had been forgotten and neglected by successive LNP and Labor state governments, who were too Brisbane-centric.
“Townsville is a long way from Brisbane and Cairns is even further from the state capital,” he said.
“There needs to be a Minister for North Queensland in the cabinet from the state’s north.
“The Minister for North Queensland will be vocal in representing the views of our northern neighbours in all critical decisions of government.
“The minister won’t be bunkered down in Brisbane but will be active in the state’s north talking to community leaders.
“This will ensure all areas of Queensland are working together as one and supporting each other.
“Too many times North Queensland has been forgotten by previous governments.
“The region has long been neglected yet it continues to act as a major economic centre and contributor to the Australian economy.
“The Palmer United Party would work closely with the region’s local governments to ensure the best outcome for businesses and residents.”
Campbell Newman sues Alan Jones for defamation 'over Acland mine comments' [Guardian – 23/1/15]
More LNP MPs, including Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, have joined the defamation action against broadcaster Alan Jones. ... [Brisbane Times - 23/1/15]
Australian Open: Bernard Tomic beats Sam Groth to advance to fourth round
Bernard Tomic has upstaged Sam Groth in a high-quality serving duel to storm into the fourth round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
In a rare all-Australian third-round match, Tomic trumped the tournament's ace leader 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 to book a last-16 showdown on Sunday with seventh seed Tomas Berdych.
Top-ranked Australian Nick Kyrgios is also through to the fourth-round after a straight sets win over Tunisia's Malek Jaziri.
With a coveted place in the second week up for grabs, Roger Federer's removal from the Australian pair's quarter of the draw earlier on Friday raised the stakes even higher.
Australia Calls for MH370 Recovery Tenders as Search Goes on
The Australian agency leading the search for missing airliner MH370 is calling for expressions of interest for the recovery of the Malaysian jet, if it is found, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said Thursday.
The passenger aircraft was carrying 239 people when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 and there has been no sign of it since, despite a massive air and sea operation.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is heading up the hunt in the remote Indian Ocean off western Australia, has so far scoured 26 percent of the 60,000 square kilometer (23,000 square mile) priority underwater search area.
"While no wreckage from the missing aircraft has yet been found, preparations are being made so a recovery operation can be mobilized quickly and effectively when needed," Truss said in a statement Thursday.
"Responses to the request for expressions of interest will allow the ATSB to assess which organisations are able to supply the equipment and expertise required for any recovery operation."
The expressions of interest are due February 18, a spokesman for Truss told AFP, with any recovery decisions to be jointly made by the Australian and Malaysian governments.
Three specialist search vessels, with a fourth on the way, are probing the isolated region. The ATSB believes the plane may be sitting on the ocean floor at depths of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet).
The search of the priority area is expected to end in May.
The ATSB told AFP last week that a recovery plan, which has been drawn up and is being assessed by authorities, would use technology and techniques similar to those deployed to recover Air France flight AF447. The French flag carrier crashed in the Atlantic en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009, killing all 228 on board.
Marshalls hit by flooding from king tides
A king tide has caused widespread flooding in the capital of Majuro and at least four remote outer islands in the Marshall Islands.
Locals are being warned there could be more seawater flooding over the next week.
A six-day forecast for possible wave inundation in Majuro Atoll shows that high tides at the end of the week and over the weekend could see flooding, particularly if there are any storm surges or high winds in combination with the high tides.
Marshall Islands Coastal Management Extension Agent Karl Fellenius says the reason the weekend's risk of flooding is higher is due to predicted wave swells from the northeast.
Acting Chief Secretary Justina Langidrik says they've received reports from the remote islands of Kili, Utrik and Ailuk of inundation from the high tide, and were provided photos of flooding on Mejit, though they have not received an official report.
Ms Langidrik says there are no reported injuries, but some people's homes were flooded and some were evacuated to school buildings.
In Majuro there are no reports of damage aside from large volumes of debris blocking some roads.
Police, Public Works and Local Government heavy equipment operators remain on standby.
Watch how after a heroic rescue during flash flooding on the Gold Coast, media try to blame and discipline the victim [ABC - 23/1/15]
North Dakota saltwater spill is largest since oil boom began
Cleanup is underway after nearly 3 million gallons of brine, a salty, toxic byproduct of oil and natural gas production, leaked from a pipeline in western North Dakota, the largest spill of its kind in the state since the current energy boom began.
The full environmental impact of the spill, which contaminated two creeks, might not be clear for months. Some previous saltwater spills have taken years to clean up. A contractor hired by the pipeline operator will be on site Thursday, assessing the damage.
Operator Summit Midstream Partners LLC detected the pipeline spill on Jan. 6, about 15 miles north of Williston and informed North Dakota officials then. State health officials on Wednesday said they weren't given a full account of the size until Tuesday.
Inspectors have been monitoring the area near Williston, in the heart of North Dakota's oil country, but it will be difficult to assess the effects of the spill until the ice melts, said Dave Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Department of Health's environmental health section.
"This is not something we want to happen in North Dakota," Glatt said.
The spill presently doesn't threaten public drinking water or human health, Glatt said. He said a handful of farmers have been asked to keep their livestock away from the two creeks, the smaller of which will be drained.
Brine, also referred to as saltwater, is an unwanted byproduct of drilling that is much saltier than sea water and may also contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations.
The new spill is almost three times larger than one that fouled a portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in July. Another million-gallon saltwater spill in 2006, near Alexander, is still being cleaned up nearly a decade later.
Florida toddler dies after shooting himself with dad's gun
A 2-year-old boy died hours after he shot himself in the chest Wednesday.
Police said the toddler, identified as Kaleb, found a .380-caliber weapon that belonged to his father in the family vehicle and fatally shot himself.
According to authorities, the family was getting ready to leave home in the father's car about shortly before 5 p.m., when Kaleb got into the vehicle, where the gun was in the glove box.
"Two and a half-year-old Kaleb was able to get a gun, turn the gun to his chest, pull the trigger and shoot and kill himself," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
The boy's father, Kevin Ahle, heard the gunshot, turned around and saw the wound, Gualtieri said.
The father called for help, someone called 911, the mother and an aunt started CPR, and then EMS arrived and took Kaleb to the hospital.
As investigators processed the scene, police said the incident is a stark reminder for gun safety.
There was no lock on the gun.
"They took reasonable steps, and you can lawfully keep a gun in a vehicle in the glove box," said Gualtieri. "It was secured in the glove box itself."
Doomsday Clock Set at 3 Minutes to Midnight
The world is "3 minutes" from doomsday.
That's the grim outlook from board members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Frustrated with a lack of international action to address climate change and shrink nuclear arsenals, they decided today (Jan. 22) to push the minute hand of their iconic "Doomsday Clock" to 11:57 p.m.
It's the first time the clock hands have moved in three years; since 2012, the clock had been fixed at 5 minutes to symbolic doom, midnight.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists doesn't use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe. Each year, the magazine's board analyzes threats to humanity's survival to decide where the Doomsday Clock's hands should be set.
Experts on the board said they felt a sense of urgency this year because of the world's ongoing addiction to fossil fuels, procrastination with enacting laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons.
"We are not saying it is too late to take action but the window for action is closing rapidly," Kennette Benedict, executive director of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said in a news conference this morning in Washington, D.C. "We move the clock hand today to inspire action."
For instance, if nothing is done to reduce the amount of heat-trapping gasses, such as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere, Earth could be 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 8 degrees Celsius) warmer by the end of century, said Sivan Kartha, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute.
Some people might not feel alarmed when they see those numbers; they might normally experience that kind of temperature swing in the course of a single day, Kartha said. But, he said a temperature increase of that magnitude was enough to bring the world out of the last ice age, and it will be enough to "radically transform" the Earth's surface in the future.
Sharon Squassoni, another board member and director of the Proliferation Prevention Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said nuclear disarmament efforts have "ground to a halt" and many nations are expanding, not scaling back, their nuclear capabilities. Russia is upgrading its nuclear program, India plans to expand its nuclear submarine fleet, and Pakistan has reportedly started operating a third plutonium reactor, Squassoni said.
She said the United States has good rhetoric on nuclear nonproliferation, but at the same time is in the midst of a $335 billion overhaul of its nuclear program.
Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army commander transferred to ICC in The Hague
A commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) wanted for war crimes was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Tuesday, a move welcomed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council.
Dominic Ongwen, a one-time child soldier who rose through the ranks of the rebel group, was among five senior commanders of the guerrilla movement indicted by the global court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005.
In a statement, the 15-member Security Council said Ongwen had arrived in The Hague and called on states to bring the remaining commanders wanted by the International Criminal Court to justice, including the group's leader Joseph Kony.
"The members of the Security Council demanded an immediate end to all attacks by the LRA and urged the LRA to release all those abducted, and to disarm and demobilise," it said.
Ongwen, 34, defected from the LRA in late December and handed himself over to the Seleka rebels who control swathes of the north and east of the Central African Republic. Seleka then transferred him to the U.S. forces supporting a regional anti-LRA task force.
He was transferred to ICC custody on Jan. 17. The ICC said earlier on Tuesday that on his arrival in The Hague, Ongwen would receive a medical visit and would appear as soon as possible before the court.
"The date of the initial appearance hearing will be announced soon," the ICC said in the statement.
Former war crimes suspect freed from Canberra prison, extradition collapses [Canberra Times - 22/1/15]
Australian Gov planning to move 4 asylum seekers from Wickham Point to Manus & Nauru tonight. ...
"tweeted" by @ASRC1 - Asylum Seeker Resource Centre [23/1/15]
... There is a reason for my writing this for you, and it is this. It is no easy thing to lodge such an application. I have been distressed about this as much as I have been about the issues at stake. But, I felt that it was my responsibility to do so. I thought that if I have the privilege of being in Canberra, if I have the privilege of being a barrister of the High Court, if I have the privilege of being abreast of the issues, then it is my responsibility to take the necessary steps.
Perhaps there are those of you who are also preparing applications for the High Court. If you are, it does not matter that I have also done so. There can be a number of applications – in fact it would be a good thing in my view, if the High Court were to be inundated with applications in such a public interest matter.
My limited experience with the judicial process has taught me that things happen in steps. One doesn’t necessarily know at the outset what the outcome will be. Against this is the certainty that if no steps are taken, then NOTHING will happen. ...
Legal action in respect of Manus Island - lalegale [23/1/15]
PNG Police Commissioner assures villagers an investigation will be conducted into shooting death [PNG Loop - 23/1/15]:
Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki has assured Hanuabada villagers an investigation will be conducted into the shooting death of a villager today.
He fronted angry villagers a short while ago who threatened to also block off the highway leading to the LNG plant at Papa/Lealea.
Two others remain in hospital with serious injuries.
Vaki assured the villagers that officers who shot the youths will be suspended immediately.
He says stores and roads have nothing to do with the problem so villagers must not block off roads or loot stores.
He appealed to villagers to cooperate by providing statements to assist with the investigations.
The villagers protested by presenting the body of the young man killed by police at police headquarters at Konedobu.
The body was later removed by relatives and transferred into the back of the car to be returned to the village.
Police officers are allowed to use guns when their lives are in danger, or in situations where the safety of people and properties are at risk, a senior officer says.
National Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent Andy Bawa was responding yesterday to concerns raised by the Police Association of PNG, representing police officers, on their safety while on duty. ... [The National - 23/1/15]
Totalitarianism happens when blind loyalty to the party trumps honesty and human rights.
Refugees at Australia's camp on Manus need lawyers, the United Nations and journalism.
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.
We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.
Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.
What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution.
The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
'Nineteen Eighty-Four', George Orwell 
Fifteen Iranian asylum seekers in Darwin hunger strike [Refugee Action Coalition – 23/1/15]:
... One of the asylum seekers told the Refugee Action Coalition, “Case managers told us, ‘You go back to your country or you stay in detention forever.’ ”
The plight of such asylum seekers has been highlighted by the Iranian asylum seeker, “Martin”, who has staged the longest hunger strike so far in the history of Australia’s detention regime.
“Martin” has said his hunger strike was for all those already in a similar situation to his in Darwin detention, and for all those in the community who potentially face the same fate.
Now, 15 more asylum seekers have begun their own protest. ...
... When the maddened king stamps his foot, slaves tremble in their quarters. ...
Arundhati Roy [September 2002]
The United States is calling on the Papua New Guinea Government to certify and gazette its anti-human trafficking legislation to eradicate modern-day slavery.
US Ambassador to PNG Walter North said his country welcomed the legislation on human trafficking passed in July last year which unfortunately PNG was yet to enforce.
“The Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 passed in Parliament six months ago would have amended the criminal code of PNG on issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling,” North said.
“The bill would have given PNG law enforcement agencies and prosecutors the necessary tools to address trafficking crimes.
“Unfortunately, six months later, this important legislation is not yet in force in PNG. The US government urges swift certification and gazettal of this legislation.
“This amendment to the PNG Criminal Code is a significant step towards combating modern-day slavery.
“As we said six months ago, Parliament’s action and vigorous implementation of the new legislation offer hope that the scourge of human trafficking can be eliminated in PNG.”
North said the US Department of State was funding a project to combat trafficking of human beings in PNG through the International Organisation for Migration.
“The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the PNG government to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims of trafficking,” he said.
“The US works actively with the government and people of PNG not only to combat trafficking but to help implement programmes to combat corruption, increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries, and improve the rule of law.”.
Australians run death camp as United States, Japan siphon resources out of PNG
More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 wounded during perhaps the most significant battle fought by Australians in World War II. ... During those gruelling days, the Papuan men employed as carriers played a vital role in the battle. They carried supplies forward for the troops and then, as the number of troops who were wounded or fell sick increased, carried back to safety those who were unable to walk ...
Kokoda [Australia's War: 1939 - 1945]
Women’s Development Agency Director Helen Hakena shakes hands with Japanese Ambassador Morio Matsumoto and US Ambassador Walter North following the grant singing
US and Japan Support Bougainville’s Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency [Bougainville News - 23/1/15]
A K70 million grant was signed today between PNG and Japan for the reconstruction of two bridges along the New Britain Highway. ... [PNG Loop - 23/1/15]
AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS APDP ELECTION OBSERVATIONS IN THE SOLOMONS AND BOUGAINVILLE [20/1/2010]:
... Both DFAT and AusAID participants admitted that Papua New Guinea and Solomons officials and citizens might prefer election observers from regional countries other than Australia because of a shared history of Australian rule and influence. ...
Repatriation Of Simon Taralala [18/6/2009]:
Simon Taralala, the 16 year-old adopted son of Papua New Guinea Deputy PermRep Mathilda Takaku, has been in foster care under the control of New York City's Administration of Children's Services (NYC-ACS) since January 2007 when he was the victim of child abuse. As his adoptive mother is not able to care for him, NYC-ACS has asked Papua New Guinea PermRep Robert Aisi to repatriate Simon. If Aisi or his Mission/Government do not provide NYC-ACS with a plane ticket by Friday, June 19, NYC-ACS will fund Simon's repatriation themselves and seek Department assistance in ensuring that Simon is returned to his birth mother on his arrival in Port Moresby, perhaps as early as the week of June ...
United States continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On Jan. 21, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 10 airstrikes.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted 21 airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Jan. 21, and 8 a.m., Jan. 22, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
* Near Kobani, nine airstrikes struck six ISIL tactical units and destroyed 17 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
* Near Ar Raqqah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.
* Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
* Near Mosul, 16 airstrikes struck two large ISIL units, two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL building, and an ISIL mortar team, and destroyed six ISIL culverts, two ISIL bridges, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL artillery system, 11 ISIL vehicles, an ISIL fighting position, six ISIL staging positions, two ISIL heavy weapons, an ISIL VBIED, and four ISIL armored vehicles.
* Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck a large ISIL unit and an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL fighting position, and an ISIL armored vehicle.
* Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL VBIED.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
... In preparation for this war, the United States and our partners set the stage for an extraordinary alliance. It was a coalition of the willing with no formal treaty binding the parties together. ... Vice Adm. John Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces [Centcom - 22/1/15]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back his meeting with Congress to March, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday on his verified Twitter account.
Boehner's tweet stated that the scheduling change was meant to accommodate Netanyahu's request to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C. The new date -- March 3 -- is also two weeks before the Israeli election.
The meeting with Congress was originally scheduled for Feb. 11.
Netanyahu has raised alarm bells about nuclear talks between the Obama administration and Iran. In the U.S., the Iran talks are a topic that has pitted President Barack Obama against senior Democrats in the Senate, one of whom accused the administration on Wednesday of using talking points "straight out of Tehran."
Congressional leaders in both chambers are considering proposals to increase sanctions while international negotiators try to reach an agreement with Iran over nuclear capabilities. The sanctions would not kick in unless certain benchmarks are met by June 30, but the White House has argued that a debate and vote now could derail the talks.
Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in March, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Thursday.
Egypt's public prosecutor Thursday ordered the release of 100 students arrested in a crackdown on protests since late 2013, ahead of the fourth anniversary of a popular uprising. ... [Naharnet - 22/1/15]
Resumption of military aid to Egypt part of US spending bill for 2015 [Daily News Egypt - 14/12/15]
Jury at The Sun corruption trial discharged after failing to reach verdicts
Hacking Inquiry [22/1/15]:
The jury at The Sun corruption trial at Kingston Crown Court was today discharged after failing to reach verdicts on most of the 14 counts.
The Crown confirmed it will seek a retrial of charges against four current and past Sun journalists on charges related to payments to police officers and other public officials. A retrial is expected to take place at the Old Bailey within the next few months.
The Sun’s head of news, Chris Pharo, Graham Dudman, its development director, Jamie Pyatt, a district reporter, and Ben O’Driscoll, a former deputy news editor, had been on trial for four months accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Sun picture editor John Edwards and ex-reporter John Troup, who had been in the dock alongside them, were acquitted by the jury on Friday.
But at 12.15pm today the foreman confirmed he and his peers could not reach any verdicts on the remaining nine counts. The jury had been in retirement for 49 hours over eight days.
A male juror suffering from stress was discharged from the case yesterday, leading the jury foreman to ask for more time today to consider the evidence. But two hours deliberation today failed to break the deadlock and all parties were called back into court to hear the news.
Asked by the court clerk whether the jury had reached any verdicts, the foreman replied only “No”. Responding to the hung jury, Oliver Glasgow, for the Crown, told the judge “In the circumstances, the Crown seeks a retrial”.
Judge Richard Marks QC thanked the remaining 11 jurors for their efforts and excused them from doing jury service for the next 10 years. He said that they probably expected to spend two weeks trying a “relatively ordinary and mundane case”, adding “But it’s turned out very differently”.
The judge thanked counsel in the case, saying it had been “the best possible advertisement for the English legal system and the English bar”.
Turning to the defendants, he said “I recognise it’s an unfortunate ending from their point of view.”
A hearing to discuss a retrial is due to take place the Old Bailey on Friday 6 February.
Coulson to face court in June judge decides [Hacking Inquiry – 22/1/15]
A first for Queensland?: Police criticise Murdoch Press
QPS Media [22/1/15]:
Over a number of years the residents of Chevron Rise, Highland Park and surrounding streets have been putting up with various types of anti-social behaviour and hoon related activities.
Nerang Police have been tasking patrols of this location in an effort to address the residents’ concerns with varying degrees of success in curbing the activities of those people intent on disrupting the lives of others.
In mid-December 2014 residents of the area met with the Officer in Charge, Nerang Police.
During this meeting the residents agreed with police that burying their heads in the sand and totally relying on others to resolve the issue would not work.
The residents indicated that they wished to work much closer with police and other government agencies to establish a long term solution to the problems affecting the area.
The residents began lodging formal complaints with police and further assisted in supplying CCTV footage of events and statements which assisted in the prosecution of a couple of regular trouble makers resulting in an immediate reduction in calls for service by police.
A resident of the area Tony Russell said, ‘this process works for our situation, and the Police should be given more credit for helping since we decided to help ourselves, this is the key, we need to act together’.
An article in today’s Gold Coast Bulletin does not fully represent the actions and results achieved by residents and police concerning this issue.
Residents of the area who had previously been misquoted in media outlets did not wish to be interviewed for this article and historic non-reflective quotes appear to have been used.
Journalist Harry Gordon dies, aged 89 [Canberra Times – 22/1/15]
The Poet's Obligation
To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to who ever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or dry prison cell,
to him I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a long rumble of thunder adds itself
to the weigh of the planet and the foam,
the groaning rivers of the ocean rise,
the star vibrates quickly in its corona
and the sea beats, dies, and goes on beating.
So. Drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my consciousness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the sentence of the autumn,
I may be present with an errant wave,
I may move in and out of the windows,
and hearing me, eyes may lift themselves,
asking "How can I reach the sea?"
And I will pass to them, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing itself,
the gray cry of sea birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will call in answer to the shrouded heart.
No legal planet brains out there who can help tortured, hunger striking men acquire access to the justice system?
Is there a PNG law which exempts "non citizens" (eg hunger striking refugees) from the constitution?
WE HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons in our country are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever their race, tribe, places of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the legitimate public interest, to each of the following:—
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law; and
(b) the right to take part in political activities; and
(c) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; and
(d) freedom of conscience, of expression, of information and of assembly and association; and
(e) freedom of employment and freedom of movement; and
(f) protection for the privacy of their homes and other property and from
unjust deprivation of property, and have accordingly included in this Constitution provisions designed to afford protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations on that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations primarily designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the acknowledged rights and freedoms by an individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the legitimate public interest.
Al Jazeera [20/1/15]:
Samar Alzeiny was hysterical, screaming so much that the neighbours rushed around to check she wasn't being attacked.
We'd arrived at her Sydney home to do an interview about her brother. Detained for more than a year on Manus Island after trying to come to Australia by boat, his sister says Faizal Alzeiny is now mentally unwell.
In protest at his detention, and possible resettlement in Papua New Guinea, last week he swallowed razor blades.
Samar had just come off the phone to him - "He is not well. He is not my brother" – and had started another call with Amnesty International in Australia.
From them, she was trying to get advice on what she could do.
Who could she speak to in the Australian government? What lawyers - or doctors - could help?
I could not hear the other end of the conversation, only Samar's. But it didn't seem like the options she was hearing were good.
She suddenly threw the phone down and screamed. And screamed, and screamed.
As far as I know, Faizal Alzeiny is still in the hospital in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, from where he'd talked to his sister.
As far as I know, he is still alive.
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
PNG judges surprised at lack of challenge to Manus Island detention centre [ABC – 5/2/14]:
... The judges also queried whether Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were aware they could apply for legal standing to bring a case on behalf of asylum seekers.
Mr Stephens says the comments are likely to "galvanise" activity by human rights groups on behalf of those detained in Manus.
"I don't know whether they've been deliberately deceived but it does seem that somebody has been making a serious error in not letting them know what their rights are," Mr Stephens [Transparency International PNG spokesman Lawrence Stephens] said. ...
Hundreds still protest on Manus island after eleven days of hunger strike [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 23/1/15]:
... “The withdrawal of medical assistance to asylum seekers is nothing short of barbaric. The Minister is refusing to comment on what is happening on Manus Island because the actions of the government cannot be defended,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Meanwhile fears are held for the welfare of the asylum seekers being held in the Lorengau jail.
“The people being held in Lorengau and in Chauka are particularly vulnerable,” said Rintoul,
“We know that people are being interrogated by Australian officials in Chauka. Given the history of the PNG police involvement in the violent attack on the asylum seekers last year, we need a guarantee of the safety of the asylum seekers in their custody.”
Sydney Morning Herald [4/9/14]:
... Several weeks ago, two of the asylum seekers who were housed in Mike compound had never heard of Chauka.
One of them was an eyewitness to the murder of Reza Barati during the night of violence that engulfed the centre in February.
All that changed when they voiced their opposition to changes to the detention centre policy covering phone and internet access, insisting the changes made it almost impossible to talk to family members in the Middle East.
In a graphic account subsequently posted on Facebook, the Iranian who witnessed Barati's murder said he had been taken to Chauka, fed bread and water for three days and made to sleep on the muddy ground. ...
Greens leader Senator Christine Milne calls on the Australian government to apologise to David Hicks. Maintains silence on tortured, hunger striking refugees. [Media Release - 23/1/15]
The case against suspended Manus MP Ronny Knight’s alleged misconduct in office continued this morning before a Leadership Tribunal at Waigani. ... [PNG Loop - 22/1/15]
"Guantánamo of the Pacific": Refugees hunger strike at Australia's offshore detention site [VIDEO - Democracy Now - 22/1/15]:
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Very quickly, Jennifer, what are the implications of the fact that this detention facility is run by an Australian company or private contractor?
JENNIFER ROBINSON: Australia is clearly liable, as is its corporation, for the human rights obligations taking place.
Prisoner’s Guantánamo Diary Details 12 Years of Abuse, Terror [VIDEO - Democracy Now - 22/1/15]:
This is the Oscar-winning British actor Colin Firth reading an excerpt from Guantánamo Diary.
... In the beginning, the U.S. government was happy with its secret operations, since it thought it had managed to gather all the evils of the world in GTMO, and had circumvented U.S. law and international treaties so that it could perform its revenge. But then it realised, after a lot of painful work, that it had gathered a bunch of non-combatants. Now the U.S. government is stuck with the problem, but it is not willing to be forthcoming and disclose the truth about the whole operation.
Everybody makes mistakes. I believe the U.S. government owes it to the American people to tell them the truth about what is happening in Guantánamo. So far, I have personally cost the American taxpayer at least one million dollars, and the counter is ticking higher every day. The other detainees are costing more or less the same. Under these circumstances, Americans need and have the right to know what the hell is going on. ...
This is the International Criminal Court.
#BREAKING: video from asylum seekers in Lorengau jail. "We are 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us" #Manus via @shanebazzi
23 January 2015