We can't allow this cruelty to be normalised in public discourse.
Intervention is required at every point ...
Liberal Party HQ, Melbourne
Image: @akaWACA [22/5/15]
Australia keeps creatures in cages.
Tortures and kills them.
A female gorilla at Melbourne zoo has died from injuries caused by one of the zoo’s young male gorillas in an unexpected display of aggression.
Julia, a 33-year-old gorilla, died on Sunday after suffering extensive trauma from the attack on Friday, the zoo said in a statement.
Otana, a 13-year-old Silverback male had previously shown some aggression towards female gorillas but zoo staff said the social dynamic between the gorillas had appeared to be working well.
Indonesian environmental activist Jopi Peranginangin, 39, was stabbed to death early Saturday morning outside of a bar in South Jakarta. ... [teleSUR - 23/5/15]
Business as usual in Queensland: Bogus Community Cabinets and partisan stooges in a lather
A gauntlet of pro-gambling protesters has greeted Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk outside a Community Cabinet meeting in Rockhampton.
Ms Palaszczuk confronted hundreds of protesters outside North Rockhampton High School who were rallying about changes to net free fishing zones and supporting a gaming licence being awarded to a resort approved for Great Keppel Island, off the central Queensland coast.
There has been a groundswell of public support for a boutique gaming licence to complement a proposed multi-million-dollar resort development on the island.
At Community Cabinet, Ms Palaszczuk thanked Tower Holdings for its proposed resort project on the island.
"We want that project to go ahead ... because to us that means jobs," she said.
"The former government said that there will be three casino licences.
"We don't know at this stage if all three are going to get up."
Ms Palaszczuk said if one of the casino licences fell through the process would be returned to government and it would be opened up again for bids.
"And who knows, down the track there may be an opportunity to apply for that casino licence," she said.
Real news goes unreported. ----> Queenslanders rally outside State Parliament against invasive mining to save food, water and communities [Lock The Gate – 21/5/15]
Thousands of low-paid workers will be worse off under a deal struck between supermarket giant Coles and the shop assistants union.
SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said he was confident the workplace tribunal would approve the deal and said it "actually sets a new high water mark for conditions in the retail sector".
The Queensland branch of the Australian Workers Union is also a signatory to the deal, but represents far fewer workers at Coles than the SDA. ... [Canberra Times - 24/5/15]
Woman who stabbed partner in chest at Ipswich released without charge
Police have laid no charges against a 25-year-old woman who is thought to have stabbed her partner in the chest at Ipswich, west of Brisbane, early this morning.
Police and paramedics responded to reports of a loud disturbance at a house on Harold Reinhardt Drive at Redbank Plains about 12:30am.
Inspector Keith McDonald said when paramedics arrived they found a 25-year-old man with two stab wounds to the chest.
He was taken to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital with non life-threatening injuries and his partner was arrested.
Shortly after the incident, Inspector McDonald told the media the stabbing occurred after the couple became involved in a fight.
"There is a 25-year old female, who is assisting police with our enquiries; it would appear the incident has resulted from a domestic dispute that has occurred at the residence," he said.
"Indications from the Princess Alexandra Hospital are that the male should survive the wounds that he has received."
The man did not make a complaint to police, so the woman was released without charge.
Man charged over another laser incident targeting QPS Chopper
A Queensland police helicopter has been targeted by a laser light for the second time in less than a week.
The PolAir 2 chopper was coming in to land at Archerfield Airport at 12:30am on Sunday morning when a laser light was shone directly at the cabin crew.
Police said officers tracked a car to a nearby service station and arrested a 22-year-old man from Slacks Creek, south of Brisbane.
He was later charged with threatening the safety of an aircraft, possessing a restricted item and assault.
It follows an incident involving a police chopper flying over the Sunshine Coast hinterland on May 21.
A 53-year-old man allegedly pointed a laser beam at the chopper as it flew over Mountain Creek, forcing the crew to change course several times.
He will also face court charged with threatening the safety of an aircraft and possessing a restricted item.
Single-vehicle crash kills man in Central Queensland
A man has died in a one-vehicle crash in Central Queensland, which left a second man hospitalised.
The two men were travelling along the Dawson Highway on Saturday evening, with the crash occuring around 25km south of Springsure.
The 20-year-old Buckland man died at the scene, while a second man was transported to Emerald Hospital.
Pedestrian killed by car at Broken Head, northern NSW
A man has been killed after he was hit by a car at Broken Head on the New South Wales north coast.
The man, 25, was struck by a sedan on The Coast Road south of Byron Bay about 3:30am, police said.
"The 25-year-old man died at the scene," a NSW Police statement said.
"The male driver has been taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing; he is not injured.
"A crime scene has been established at the location."
Few other details have been released and the man has not been publicly identified.
No charges have been laid.
The road has been closed between Broken Head Hall and Bundaleer Road, with only residents allowed access.
Two airlifted after rodeo injuries
Brisbane Times [24/5/15]:
Two men injured at the Chinchilla Rodeo on Saturday night required an urgent airlift by the Toowoomba-based RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter overnight.
The first man, in his 40s, was crushed by a horse in a cattle race suffering suspected head, shoulder and limb injuries.
The second man had a fractured jaw after he fell from a bull in the feature bull riding event.
Both men were initially treated on-scene by Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics before being transported by ambulance to Chinchilla Hospital.
The RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter was then called in just after 6pm to transport both men to Toowoomba Hospital for further treatment for their injuries.
Robbery and assault charges, Southport
QPS Media [24/5/15]:
A 33-year-old man has been charged with several offences following an incident at a Southport shopping centre this afternoon.
It will be alleged around 3pm the man was observed to have allegedly stolen an item from a supermarket at the Scarborough Street shopping centre by two members of staff.
The staff members approached the man and he then allegedly pushed one of the staff members and left the centre.
It will be further alleged the staff members have notified police and continued to follow the man and that he has then assaulted both members of staff.
Police arrived and tracked the alleged offender to a residence in Lather Street where he was arrested and taken into custody.
The man was charged with attempted armed robbery, three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count each of assault or obstruct police, trespass and stealing.
He is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow.
The two female staff members were treated for the injuries with one transported to hospital for further treatment.
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, Innisfail
QPS Media [24/5/15]:
Two boys are assisting police with their investigations into the armed robbery of a drive-through bottle shop at Innisfail last night.
It will be alleged two boys entered the Edith Street premises before producing a cane knife and threatening two male attendants.
The pair allegedly demanded staff hand over a quantity of alcohol before fleeing the scene with several stolen bottles of spirits.
No one was physically injured during the incident.
Two boys, aged 15 and 16 are currently assisting police with their investigations into this incident and several other property offences in the area.
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, Vincent
QPS Media [24/5/15]:
Police have charged a boy following an armed robbery that occurred at a service station in Vincent this morning.
Around 1am, a boy entered the service station on Fulham Road and police will allege that he produced a broken bottle and made threats to the attendant.
It will further be alleged that a quantity of cash was taken from the cash register.
The attendant wasn’t physically injured during the robbery.
A boy was taken into custody a short time later.
A 16-year-old boy has been charged with one count each of armed robbery, enter premises with intent to commit and indictable offence and serious assault police.
He will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justices Act.
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.
Attempted armed robbery, North Lakes
QPS Media [23/5/15]:
Detectives investigating the attempted armed robbery of a service station at North Lakes on Monday night have released CCTV images of the incident as they continue to seek public assistance with the matter.
Around 11pm on May 18, a man stood outside the Flinders Parade store before producing a knife and making gestures for the employee to open the doors.
The attendant refused to allow him access and the man fled the scene on foot.
He is described as being Caucasian in appearance, about 190cm tall with an average build. He was wearing a dark jacket, blue trousers or jeans, a blue shirt, light coloured beanie and was carrying a black bag.
Detectives are investigating whether the same man is responsible for any other similar incidents in the area and are appealing for anyone who may recognise him or his clothing to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Drug charges, Tingalpa
QPS Media [23/5/15]:
Three men have been charged following the discovery of an alleged illicit drug laboratory at a Tingalpa address yesterday.
Around 7am detectives executed a search warrant at a Laguna Circuit residence where they made the discovery.
[A] 35-year-old Thornside man has been issued a Notice to Appear for possess utensils or pipes that had been used. He is expected to appear at the Wynnum Magistratesc Court on June 15.
[A] 23-year-old North Maclean man has been charged with possessing dangerous drugs, possessing relevant substances or things, possessing/acquiring restricted items, unlawful possession of weapons (firearms) and possess utensils or pipe etc that had been used. He has also been charged on unrelated matters. He is expected to appear at the Cleveland Magistrates Court on 25 May 2015.
[A] 24-year-old Tingalpa man has been issued a Notice to Appear for two counts of possessing dangerous drugs. He is expected to appear at the Wynnum Magistratesc Court on June 15
52 dead in China floods
The death toll in China's latest round of flooding has risen to at least 52, including two schoolchildren aboard a bus carrying more than twice its authorized passenger load that plunged into a pond, authorities said.
At least six other people are missing in floods that have ravaged mountain districts of six provinces and autonomous regions in central and southeastern China. More than a quarter-million people have been moved to temporary shelters, and major damage has been inflicted on buildings and crops.
Apart from the two schoolchildren, 42 others have died due to floods and heavy rains, including 16 in the collapse of a nine-story building in the city of Guiyang following a landslide.
Eight other people were killed in the central province of Hunan when a bus skidded into a guardrail and overturned.
The Guangxi regional government said 21 other kindergarten students were sent to the hospital in the school bus accident on Friday, with three listed in serious condition. The bus was licensed to carry 11 people, but had a total of 26 on board.
The driver, teachers and school administrators have been taken into custody, the government said. Overloaded buses have been involved in accidents killing scores of children in recent years as local schools are closed and consolidated into larger campuses farther away from the children's village homes.
Seasonal rains cause major flooding around China almost every year. The worst in recent history was in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River.
The massive Three Gorges Dam has largely contained Yangtze flooding, but the problem persists in other parts of the country.
Foreign-affairs journalist denies charges he fabricated stories
Montreal Gazetter [23/5/15]:
Montreal-based international affairs news correspondent François Bugingo said he was “staggered” by an in-depth La Presse article Saturday that reported he fabricated many of his news reports over a period of several years.
In the report, which strongly attacks the journalist’s credibility, witnesses questioned the truthfulness of news reported by Bugingo.
On his Facebook page, Bugingo called the article “degrading,” saying his information is “always checked.” Bugingo added he will defend his integrity “in due course” before the appropriate bodies.
The La Presse revelations created shock waves in the media world. One of his employers, 98.5 FM radio, announced it had suspended its collaboration with him to have time to shed light on the events. Groupe TVA announced similar actions, saying the allegations are “important and taken seriously.”
The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec said it was “very concerned” by the situation and hopes to meet with Bugingo. The information reported about Bugingo, a member of the FPJQ, are “very serious (because) they have the potential to tarnish the credibility of the journalism profession,” the federation said in a statement released Saturday.
Because of the serious and “systemic” nature of the alleged mistakes, the executive of the FPJQ will put in place a procedure provided for in its bylaws to invite Bugingo to explain himself. In serious cases, the FPJQ can impose sanctions on its members that range from temporary suspension to expulsion.
In his Facebook posting, Bugingo didn’t say whether he would accept the FPJQ’s invitation.
Bugingo has a daily segment on international affairs on 98.5 FM. He also writes a blog, has a column in the Journal de Montréal, appears on TVA and has worked for Télé-Quêbec and Radio-Canada.
Reaction was swift and vocal on social media, in particular because the story touches on journalistic credibility.
The journalist who wrote the article in La Presse also reacted on her Facebook page to those who asked what sparked the investigation. Isabelle Hachey said serious doubts remained after reading Bugingo’s stories.
“Francois Bugingo has made a string of spectacular assertions in the Quebec media about his travels abroad. La Presse verified four of them,” Hachey wrote.
She explained by hearing and reading him, “she
had doubts about the truthfulness of his words.”
Chauvel's strange and problematic 'Jedda' returns to the Cannes Film Festival 60 years on
In 1955 an ambitious story about an Indigenous Australian girl's search for identity was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
"Jedda", by director Charles Chauvel, became the first Australian film to have a chance at capturing arguably cinema's biggest prize.
It ended up going to Delbert Mann for the US romantic drama "Marty". But "Jedda" had already made its mark.
"It was the first Australian film to ever be made in colour," explains Chauvel's grandson Ric Chauvel-Carlsson.
"What makes it memorable is my grandfather's great love of the Australian bush and his artistic expression in bringing "Jedda" to not only Australian audiences, but to international audiences," he said.
"He took many risks in making this film financially, and in the end was told he would never make a film in Australia again because he was using Aboriginal actors in the lead."
"Jedda" tells the story of an Aboriginal girl in central Australia who's raised by a white family following the death of her mother.
After years of being shielded from her heritage, Jedda (played by Rosalie Kunoth-Monks) is kidnapped by a renegade tribesman, Marbuck (Robert Tudawali).
The combination of being shunned by his tribe and running from Jedda's family sees Marbuck slowly go insane, leading to a spectacular and shocking conclusion.
Now, 60 years after French critics selected "Jedda" to compete at Cannes, Ric Chauvel-Carlsson has held a special screening as part of the Cannes Cinephiles collection.
The audience included Australia's Ambassador to France Steven Brady, and the President of Cinema Antipodes Bernard Bories.
Mr Bories said "Jedda" remains a powerful film in its own right, showing audiences around the world a unique side of Australia culture.
"It was a shock to discover this beautiful story with these Aboriginal people in this great landscape," he said.
"So I think it was not so difficult to select because you know you have a great film."
But for Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, the film has a much more personal meaning. She told SBS she remains proud of her involvement in "Jedda", whose resonance with the stolen generation adds another dimension.
"Our first nation's children were taken," she said. ""Jedda" has a softer edge on it where her mother dies. But even to this day children are brutally removed from their mothers and their tribal people.
"And I hope somewhere along the line they look and understand it's deeper than just the storyline itself."
John Doggett-Williams directed the documentary "The Big Picture: The Films of Charles Chauvel", which will also screen at Cannes. He said the impact Chauvel made at home and abroad with "Jedda" remains signficant.
"They selected it not because of Hollywood hoopla or large budgets, but because of the purity of the storyline," he said. "It says a lot about the depth of French culture to be able to recognise a story, even in a way that Australians themselves don't really value their own cinema."
'What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations, more will continue to die at sea'
... Nations stating the Rohingya is not their problem are violating international law, especially if they are signatories to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Those who are not signatories, however, still have a legal obligation under customary international law to prevent the return of people at risk of serious rights abuses. Saying “no” to asylum seekers does nothing to address the dangers, which force people to flee and demeans the power of international law.
As long as persecution continues, people will continue to seek asylum. The real crisis is not people smuggling or human trafficking. What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations or refuse to co-operate for domestic political gains, more will continue to die at sea.
Of course, the root problem is state sanctioned persecution and discrimination in Burma. The Rohingya is a distinct Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma who are not afforded any basic rights or citizenship status. This needs to be addressed in order to control the Rohingya from leaving, although this is a long-term strategy.
The short-term strategy is for nations to step up and provide humanitarian aid and temporary refuge to the Rohingya asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. Much like what the Philippines did when thousands of Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived their shores in the 1970s in areas such as Bataan and Palawan, and very much like what Malaysia did when my parents ventured on their harrowing and long journey to a better life before being granted asylum in Australia.
As I write this article, I question where my parents would be today if they were not resettled. Where would I be today if my parents’ boat had been pushed back to the nation that persecuted them? Where would many former Vietnamese asylum seekers be if sovereignty was the main priority?
You can't say you never knew ... in the "bosom of Australia" instant karma's gonna get you ... [Free Malaysia Today - 24/5/15]:
Police teams are investigating a mass grave reportedly containing the bodies of about 100 Rohingya migrants in Padang Besar, according to a news report.
The discovery of the mass grave, if confirmed, comes three weeks after at least 30 bodies of Rohingya migrants were found at an abandoned human trafficking camp in Sadao, Songkhla province, in Thailand.
The mass grave in Perlis is believed to be in a hilly and restricted area not accessible to civilians.
The location of the mass grave was not yet known, but federal police teams were at the scene on Friday evening, Star Online reported, quoting anonymous sources. Several police forensic squad vehicles were seen driving back to Kangar from Padang Besar, the border town nearest to Thailand.
It had been cordoned off, the report said. The Inspector-General, Khalid Abu Bakar, is expected to make an announcement later.
On May 1 a joint military-police task force in Thailand uncovered a mass grave at an abandoned human trafficking camp in Sadao district close to the border.
Many were buried in shallow graves, while others were covered with blankets and clothes and left in the open.
They had starved to death or died of disease while held by traffickers who were awaiting payment of ransoms before smuggling them into Malaysia.
Channel News Asia [24/5/15]:
… But four naval ships, two pontoons and a patrol aircraft have now been deployed in a search which started Friday evening, Indonesian military spokesman Fuad Basya told AFP.
"We have officially received an order from President (Joko Widodo) to carry out search-and-rescue operations, whether in the Indonesian territory or international waters," he said.
"We will save the migrants and take them to shore," he said, adding that as of Saturday evening, no new boats had been sighted.
The Malaysian government announced Thursday that its navy and coastguard would be mobilised for search operations but so far it has not reported any rescues either.
Libyans arrest 600 refugees [Ahram – 23/5/15]:
Libyan authorities on Saturday arrested about 600 illegal migrants from African countries who were planning to sail to Europe, a coastguard official said.
The migrants were rounded up during a huge crackdown in the Tripoli region during which telecommunications equipment was also seized, the official told AFP.
Hundreds of those who had been rounded up were seen sitting on the ground outside a detention centre in Tripoli, as authorities distributed food and drink. ...
As refugees attempt to cross the Aegean Sea to reach Europe, the Turkish Coast Guard tries to keep them from risking their lives on overcrowded dinghies and brings them back to Turkey. Here is series of dramatic photos by Anadolu Agency showing the on-sea struggle seen almost every night on the Aegean. [Hurriyet Daily News - 22/5/15]
Afghanistan: Five killed in separate security incidents in Ghazni
Shafiq Nang, spokesman for the acting governor of Ghazni province said that a group of armed rebels attacked a security check post in Khalokhil village of Qara Bagh District earlier this morning.
He said that Najmuddin, commander of the check post, lost his life in the attack.
Nang further said that other soldiers in the check post and civilians in the area did not receive casualties.
Also, a landmine explosion claimed the lives of four civilians in Gilan District of Ghazni province yesterday.
Shafiq Nang said that all four civilians were member of the same family, comprised of father, mother and two children.
No armed groups have yet commented on the reports.
Four policemen killed in militant ambush in Farah [Khaama – 24/5/15]
Two civilians killed, six wounded in explosion in Maidan Wardak [Khaama – 24/5/15]
A bomb exploded late Saturday in a road tunnel in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya, killing one person, in the latest of a wave of bombings across the country, state news agency MENA said. ... [Ahram - 24/5/15]
Israeli forces open fire on fishermen, farmers in Gaza [Maan – 24/5/15]
Sitting ducks. [NZ Herald - 24/5/15]:
… Dr Ron Smith, University of Waikato research associate, is now questioning his earlier support for the Kiwi deployment.
"Knowing what I know now, do I think it was a good idea to go? No I don't."
The sight of Iraqi troops fleeing Ramadi and the increased use of Shia militias to fight Isis had made him rethink his support.
Dr Smith said anti-Isis coalition leadership under the US had been "feeble", limiting the usefulness of the Kiwi contribution.
It was important New Zealand supported its longstanding allies but the deployment was "almost in the nature of gesture politics," Dr Smith said.
"We've got special forces which are reasonably well-maintained, trained and equipped. Beyond that, we've got no defence forces. We've got no air force."
This was paradoxical, given the aerial focus of coalition attacks on Isis so far.
Dr Smith said any upcoming battles would be "very nasty" and he was worried Shia paramilitary forces would have little more respect for the laws of war than ISIS had.
West's death squad strategy: How and why ISIS, Al-Qaeda became ‘shock troops’ of global powers [RT – 23/5/15]
A plot to level a village isn’t news–when targets are Muslim and plotter is Christian [FAIR - 19/5/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense Media Release [23/5/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted five airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tank and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL semi-truck.
-- Near Kobani, an airstrike struck a large ISIL large tactical unit, destroying six ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tadmur, an airstrike destroyed six ISIL anti-aircraft artillery systems and an ISIL artillery piece.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Beiji, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL command and control facility, an ISIL structure and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Haditha, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL structure and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL building and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL checkpoint, destroying two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL building.
-- Near Ramadi, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying multiple heavy machine guns, two ISIL vehicle bombs, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL fighting position, and three armored vehicles and a tank in ISIL-controlled territory.
-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL buildings and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck two
ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL buildings
and two ISIL fighting positions.
US to deliver 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq, says Pentagon [IraqiNews.com - 23/5/15]
The [New Zealand] Labour Party says it would support any decision by the Government to withdraw troops from Camp Taji in Iraq.
Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson, David Shearer, said IS forces were now little more than an hour's drive away on the open road from Camp Taji, where more than 100 members of the New Zealand Defence Force are based.
"I hope that it hasn't got to the point where we are keeping them there for political reasons rather than for what they can actually do," he said.
"I would hope that the Government, should they see that they are in danger and that we're not able to fulfil the mission that they're been sent for, would make that decision to pull them out and certainly we would applaud the Government for doing that."
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday he was satisfied New Zealand defence personnel were in as secure a position as they possibly could be.
Yemeni air defense forces have shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the northwestern province of Sana’a in Yemen as it was conducting airstrikes against the country.
The Saudi F-16 fighter jet was shot down and subsequently crashed in the Bayt Khayran area of the district of Bani Harith in the northern part of Sana’a. ... [Press TV - 24/5/15]
Saudi-led air strikes hit three military bases in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Saturday and the Yemeni government in exile expressed reservations about United Nations-led talks aimed at ending the eight-week war.
Residents said the air raids hit a munitions store in one of the bases, setting off a large explosion which sent rockets flying into the air and crashing down on civilian areas.
There was no immediate word on casualties. ... [Reuters - 23/5/15]
Yemeni relatives of US drone strike victims bring case to German court [Al Arabiya – 24/5/15]
Dozens of fighters from the armed group al-Shabab have attacked two towns in southern Somalia, sparking clashes with government troops that left at least 18 dead, according to a Somali military official. ... [Al Jazeera - 23/5/15]
Police arrested demonstrators in downtown Cleveland on Saturday night following the acquittal of a police officer who stood trial in the 2012 shooting death of two unarmed people.
CNN video showed police in riot gear moving down East Fourth Street, a strip of restaurants, and pushing back protesters. The officers yelled, "Move back!" in unison as they advanced.
A CNN crew saw at least 15 people being taken into custody by police in riot gear, accompanied by troopers. They were loaded into vans and taken away. ... [CNN - 24/5/15]
Israel jails Palestinians for Facebook comments [Al Jazeera – 23/5/15]
The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to “cynically manipulate” the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.
The now-failed final document of a landmark treaty review conference had called on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the Middle East conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.
Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program. A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it. ... [Al Arabiya - 23/5/15]
... I remember you by, thunderclap in the sky ...
'Six Months In A Leaky Boat', Split Enz 
European plans to launch military operation in a bid to tackle smuggling cause widespread concerns
European Council on Refugees and Exiles Media Release [22/5/15]:
Member State Ministers meeting at the Defence and Foreign Affairs Council have this week approved a military operation in the Mediterranean in order to “break the business model of smugglers and traffickers of people in the Mediterranean”.
This decision follows the adoption of the broader European Migration Agenda by the European Commission last week which will be put to the Council for approval at the end of June.
The first phase of the military operation will be focused on gathering intelligence on smugglers’ networks and the following phase will include searching, seizing, disrupting and destroying the vessels of smugglers.
This move has been met with broad criticism from NGOs, including ECRE, some MEPs as well as members of the Italian Coastguard due to the even greater risk to which the operation may expose refugees and migrants.
ECRE has raised concerns that this operation can lead to refugees and migrants taking even more dangerous routes to reach Europe. “The solution to putting the smugglers out of business is to increase safe legal channels for migration,” Michael Diedring, ECRE Secretary General stressed.
Human Rights Watch has also pointed to the potential dangers of such an operation.
“Smugglers and traffickers often show a complete disregard for human life and dignity, and they should be held to account, but military action could expose migrants and asylum seekers to seriou risks,” said Judith Sunderland from Human Rights Watch.
Members of the Italian Coastguard, leading search and rescue operations, have also called for more focus on saving lives of people in distress at sea and the use of European navies in search and rescue operations, instead of military activities. Leopoldo Manna, who heads the emergency response at the Guardian Costiera has urged “European navies to give him more control over their boats in order to streamline Mediterranean search-and-rescue activities”.
During a plenary session in Strasbourg this week, some MEPs also raised concerns about the plans to launch the so-called EUNAVFOR Med naval operation.
"Military action in order to sink refugee vessels would entail collateral damage - the death of people, refugees, ships' captains and others,” MEP Gabriele Zimmer stated.
“All we are doing is pushing these people back across the Mediterranean, behind the Libyan border, where refugees are arrested, mistreated and deprived of human dignity. We push them out of sight and out of mind.”
MEPs have also voiced concerns over some of the items in the recently publish European Migration Agenda, particularly with regards to the quota system for the distribution of asylum seekers within Europe and the low number of resettlement places (20,000) proposed by the Commission. Speaking about the relocation scheme, MEP Cecilia Wikström stressed that asylum seekers cannot be distributed based solely on quantitative data, but that factors such as family ties and language should be taken into account.
“Factors such as ties to a member state – such as a family member residing there, existing language abilities and the strength of the existing ethnic community – should be taken into consideration to promote effective long-term community integration,” ECRE’s Michael Diedring has also argued.
The quota scheme for distribution of asylum seekers among Member States has been already dismissed by a number of EU countries such as the UK, France, Spain and Hungary.
Top UN official says Europe must open borders, appeals for more aid to help Lebanon [Naharnet - 23/5/15]:
The head of the U.N. refugee agency appealed on Saturday to the international community to boost development aid countries hosting Syrian refugees such as Jordan and Lebanon.
"They are the first line of defense for global collective security and they are pillars, essential pillars, for regional security," Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press at a regional World Economic Forum conference held in Jordan.
"If they fall, the consequences will be dramatic for the whole world," he said.
Borders must be "open to Syrians everywhere," including in Europe, to help ease the burden of the Middle Eastern countries that have absorbed close to 4 million Syrian refugees, he told the AP.
Close to 15 million people already have been uprooted by conflicts in Syria and Iraq, Guterres said, adding that "many of those displaced live in absolute misery."
At the same time, international aid agencies and governments of refugee host countries struggle with a growing funding gap for efforts to alleviate the crisis. They requested $8.4 billion for this year, including $2.9 billion for work inside Syria and $5.5 billion for refugees and their host countries.
Both programs so far have received only about one-fifth of the needed funds, U.N. officials have said.
Guterres said the world can show greater solidarity by giving more support to host countries and by opening borders.
"We cannot ask these countries to keep their borders open and to close other borders," he said. "So it is also absolutely essential that borders are open to Syrians everywhere, that more legal avenues are created for people to come to Europe," such as resettlement and family reunification programs.
He said this would be a "clear expression of burden-sharing with these countries to ... allow them to feel that they are not alone with this tragic impact of the Syrian crisis in their own lives."
European governments are sharply divided over the issue, including proposals to set country quotas for absorbing refugees as a way of sharing the burden more evenly. Only a few European countries, including Germany, have taken in Syrian refugees.
5 Tunisian refugees drown, 49 rescued in Mediterranean [Naharnet - 23/5/15]:
The bodies of five Tunisian migrants trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa were recovered from the sea Saturday while 49 others were rescued, Tunisia's coast guard said.
The coast guard station in Teboulba said the five migrants who had drowned were recovered and the others rescued in the night off the town's coast.
The migrants, most of them in their mid-20s, had set off on Friday night on board two boats which had quickly taken on water.
Migration emergencies and human rights in Haiti: Paper prepared for the Conference on Regional Responses to Forced Migration in Central America and the Caribbean, Patrick Gavigan [Organisation of American States - September 30-October 1, 1997]:
The 1991-94 Haitian Refugee Crisis
The US and the Crisis
The 1991-94 Haitian refugee crisis was the culmination of political tensions that had been building in Haiti for at least 20 years around the cruel dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier, his son and the series of military governments which followed them. Haitian refugees had actually begun arriving on the US mainland in 1972, but their efforts to flee the Duvalier dictatorship only led to arrest, jail, the denial of asylum and swift expulsion as successive US governments refused to recognize the repression in Haiti and branded them economic migrants. US policy shifted in 1980 when the Carter Administration found itself confronting simultaneous influxes of both Haitian and Cuban refugees. Unable to overtly treat the two refugee populations differently, Carter created a new immigration classification: 18,000 Haitians and 125,000 Cubans became neither refugees, nor asylees, but simply 'entrants,' whose fate was to be decided at a later date by legislation. The Reagan Administration shifted US policy once again, establishing the interdiction-at-sea program in September 1981, and promising that Haitians able to escape the Coast Guard boats would face lengthy detention in federal prisons and INS centers. According to the US immigration service, 433 boats were intercepted and 25,551 Haitians returned to Port-au-Prince under the interdiction program from 1981 to 1991. Only 28 persons were permitted to enter the US to pursue refugee claims.
Baby Doc Duvalier was forced out of Haiti in 1986 and four military governments preceded the elections that brought Aristide to the presidency in February 1991. After Aristide's election, refugee flows dropped dramatically: fewer than 1,200 took to the seas in 1990, one-third of the number of refugees intercepted in each of the years 1987, 1988 and 1989.
The surprise coup in September 1991 opened the refugee floodgates. Within six months of the coup the US Coast Guard had intercepted more than 38,000 Haitians at sea; 10,747 were eventually allowed to pursue asylum claims in the US following screening by immigration officials on board ships or at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay. An estimated 10% of the population of Port-au-Prince and Haiti's other large cities fled into the mountains, generating an internally displaced population of perhaps 300,000. 3 A further 30,000 crossed into the Dominican Republic.
Initial US reluctance to repatriate Haitians plucked from the sea withered in the face of the refusals of other Latin American states to share the refugee burden. A temporary legal rebuff to the Bush Administration's repatriation plan led to the establishment of camps at Guantánamo Bay and the establishment of an in-country refugee processing program at the US embassy in Port-au-Prince. When Guantánamo filled up with 12,000 refugees, President Bush ordered the summary return of all Haitians picked up at sea. He had been given the liberty to do so by a US Supreme Court ruling that the Refugee Convention did not apply on the high seas.
President Clinton adopted his predecessor's policies shortly after taking office in January 1993, despite having severely criticized this same policy in the 1992 presidential campaign. Almost all of the Guantánamo refugees were permitted to enter the US to pursue asylum claims while those picked up at sea were returned to Haiti despite the horrid human rights situation in the country. Under intense political pressure, the Clinton Administration finally agreed to initiate on-ship refugee processing in June 1994, but the single naval vessel designated for the screenings was quickly overwhelmed. With the news prompting an outflow of more than 10,000 refugees in the 10-day period following the establishment of the shipboard screening process, the Clinton Administration recognized that even a re-opened Guantánamo Bay would prove incommensurate to the task. The Administration sought to obtain a network of safe haven zones for Haitians in the Caribbean; when Caribbean states refused to resettle the refugees, Clinton sent them to Guantánamo. With his options for controlling the refugee flood severely limited, the president committed the US to quickly restore democratic government to Haiti. The exodus of Haitian refugees slowed and finally stopped with the September 1994 invasion.
The end of the 1991-94 Haitian refugee crisis did not end serious concerns about Haitian migration flows. The most obvious concern has been the possibility that political and economic instability might generate a new outflow of migrants, perhaps set off by an abrupt increase in political violence. Such was the case in November 1995 when the US Coast Guard intercepted more than 1,100 Haitians at sea fleeing a rise in political violence and uncertainty prior to the December presidential election won by Rene Preval.
Just as seriously, the US response left the Refugee Convention in tatters in the Caribbean, its fundamental proscription of refoulement savagely violated, its contribution to the anti-immigration, anti-refugee mood sweeping North America and Europe clear and wide-ranging. US, regional and international attention turned to rebuilding Haiti's economy and political institutions. International donors have financed projects to disband the military and build a new national police force, reform the judicial structures, support the development of a democratic, rights-respecting civic culture, and rebuild the shattered economy. A US/UN military and police presence have provided security against political violence and a large Coast Guard fleet still guards the sea lanes against rafters.
The media think Australians would rather participate in the fetishisation of a cancer patient's tattooed breasts and hear about Eurovision, than have our politicians held to account for not helping in the rescue and resettlement of Rohingya refugees.
the Rohingya crisis, but a crisis of humanity, Harun Yahya
[Tehran Times – 24/5/15]:
“I boarded the boat because I had nowhere else to go. I don’t have a home or anything left. The Rakhine killed my mother and my relatives. The people in the village said they were going to Malaysia, so I made the decision to follow them.”
This quote is from a woman on a boat densely packed with starving people out in the Andaman Sea. Her words are plain, encapsulating misery beyond one’s imagination. The scene is, on the other hand, in one word, “horrific”, something no person with any shred of conscience would ever stand to see.
It is a boat where no human being in this world should ever end up. It is the kind of human tragedy with which any soul in this world would be challenged.
This woman is one of the members of a minority community who has been denied citizenship and voting rights by a country where generations of her family had lived in for centuries. Let alone having any civil rights, this community has been for many years persecuted by a regime that denies them any freedom and, above all, the dignity that every human being deserves in this world.
If you are someone not even remotely interested in the world news, you are probably by now familiar with these people, the Rohingya Muslims. During WWII, this Muslim community fought alongside the British Army against the Japanese, making them a hated community in Myanmar. Now their grandchildren - women, little children, men and the elderly – are forced to embark on a gruesome journey to look for a homeland for themselves. Contrary to any voyage we know of in our conflict-free world, these people have no luggage, no food or water, and in most cases, even no clothes to cover themselves.
Imagine yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere under desperate conditions with no friends or relatives from your life in your home country. Even hard to imagine in one’s worst nightmare!
However, with no rights of any kind and, more importantly, no hope for future in their own homeland, they, as a last resort, clamber on to a rickety boat, taking the risk of death.
With their vessels marooned out on the high seas by human traffickers and various navies cracking down on them, the ordeal they’ve gone through is unparalleled by any means. Their boats, “floating coffins” as they are called, are a reference to their horrendous situation.
According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the “most persecuted minorities” in the world. Now the situation has turned into the most ferocious form of human tragedy with the stance of the neighboring ASEAN countries bordering the Adaman Sea. Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have simply refused to accept these adrift people into their countries as refugees. Their navies simply provided some provisions of food and water and then pushed them out to the open sea.
Now that the world media has devoted space to the stories of these most helpless people, the international community is savvy about the existence of the Rohingya Muslims and their desperate situation. Yet the efforts of other countries, who should be sharing the spirit of humanity, have been so far very feeble, devoid of the strength that any conscience requires.
After weeks of not welcoming thousands of migrants stranded at sea, with Indonesia and Malaysia ultimately offering temporary shelter – and rather reluctantly at that - it seems that some solutions are on the horizon.
However this crisis has demonstrated something far more important; that this is not some isolated crisis that a minority group in one part of the world is going through, but rather a crisis of humanity.
The Rohingya boat tragedy is an indelible blotch on humanity. It is a human rights debacle. It is the manifestation of the moral bankruptcy of the human conscience and must be analyzed and pondered upon if we would like to create a world where every child has access to the same freedoms we desire for our own children.
In the case of the Rohingya Muslims, the neighboring countries’ concerns about taking care of the refugees can be overcome quite easily. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand are countries with vast lands and coastal areas.
The refugees can be introduced to a lifestyle where they can earn their living by fishing, agriculture or animal husbandry without being a burden on the host countries. Such a stance is what is more becoming to humanity, something that we most need in these times of ordeal.
This is a crisis that reveals how some lives are valued and appreciated while others are totally ignored. Human beings, no m
atter which race, nation, religion, ethnicity or tribe they may be from, are the core element of this world. All commercial, political, industrial, and artistic activities are carried out in this world because of human beings.
The reason why this world exists and why it was created are ‘human beings’. So everyone must enjoy the dignity and freedom they deserve as a human being. Once this scrupulous perspective is adopted by any politician or leader, any impaired morals would be purged at once, and thoroughgoing solutions will follow.
Australian politicians think we're stupid ---> The Federal Government is set to announce a crackdown on welfare cheats by appointing a senior police officer to lead the attack on welfare fraud. ... [ABC - 24/5/15]
The refugees could have probably been rescued by now if it wasn't for all the military training exercises and US interference. [Bangkok Post - 24/5/15]
The Indian Navy's indigenous offshore patrol vessel, INS Saryu, will participate in a week-long ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx), an offiial statement said on Saturday.
The vessel is commanded by Cdr Sreekumar Pillai and operates under the the Andaman and Nicobar Command.
Co-hosted by Malaysia and China, the exercise will kick-off on Sunday in Malaysia and see the participation of Thailand, apart from India.
The exercise is being conducted in Penang, northern Malaysia, from May 24 to 28. ... [New Indian Express - 23/5/15]
BBC report that Indonesia has commenced refugee search and rescue missions - but where's the proof? [BBC - 23/5/15]
Saving migrant lives 'top priority,' UN chief says [Deutsche Welle – 23/5/15]:
... "When people are drifting on the sea, how we can search and rescue them and provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance, that is a top priority at this time," he told reporters during a visit to Vietnam.
He also called on nations that have taken in migrants "not to send them back to a dangerous circumstance or situation," and to address "the root causes of this issue, why people are fleeing." ...
Daily Sabah [22/5/15]:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday guaranteed that Turkey would pay $1 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslim migrants stranded at sea.
On Wednesday, President Erdoğan talked with Malaysian PM Najib Razak in a conversation though the phone and offered humanitarian aid and pledged to pay $1 million to the IOM and the UNHCR, according to a statement from his office.
The Turkish foreign ministry later said in a statement that it was exploring ways of organizing a humanitarian aid operation to reach Rohingya and Bangladeshi muslims stranded at sea.
Turkey, one of the largest sponsors of the IOM, already sent a navy ship to the coast off Thailand and Malaysia to carry humanitarian aid to the thousands of stranded Rohingya Muslims.
Here's some more disaster capitalism funding - hurry up and fix your country, Australians want to go diving: Bishop [Foreign Minister Media Release - 23/5/15]:
I am pleased to announce that Australia will provide additional support to the long-term recovery of Vanuatu from Tropical Cyclone Pam, the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in Vanuatu.
Australia will provide an additional $35 million long-term recovery package, developed in consultation with the Vanuatu Government. It will help to:
support livelihoods, economic recovery and the private sector;
repair and rebuild critical public infrastructure;
restore health and education facilities; and
support gender and disability inclusion.
... Petty Officer Phillips and the ship's company of Choules are looking forward their next challenge, Exercise TALISMAN SABRE ... [Navy Daily - 24/5/15]
Navy Daily [22/5/15]:
Two Sydney sailors drew on their first aid training recently in a real-life scenario just outside Fleet Base East, putting their ship's motto 'always prepared' into action.
The sailors, from HMAS Stuart, came to the assistance of a motorbike rider who had had the misfortune of being involved in an accident just outside the bustling naval hub.
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Todd de Bont was one of the first on the scene and provided initial first aid. He was soon ably assisted by Petty Officer Electronics Technician Daniel Hurst and other members of the public.
Stuart’s ships company are in the process of completing pre-workup training; including first aid training, which was instrumental in Able Seaman de Bont’s initial reactions.
"Once I arrived on the scene, my adrenaline was pumping and that my training kicked in," Able Seaman de Bont said.
"I was able to provide the correct first aid to the rider who was later taken to hospital for more tests.”
Petty Officer Hurst said Able Seaman de Bont's instinctive reaction was exactly what the crew trained for at sea, and was serendipitously what was needed alongside.
"It was impressive to watch and be a part of the response to a real life incident where we can help those in need of medical assistance – even though not Navy," he said.
Petty Officer Hurst, Able Seaman de Bont and the rest of ship's company of the 'Tartan Terror' will be able to put these and many more valuable skillsets into effect in Stuart’s upcoming Mariner Skills and Unit Readiness evaluations.
Raytheon Media Release [21/5/15]:
Raytheon Australia and its partners in the AWD Alliance [Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance] are celebrating the official launch of the Hobart, the first Air Warfare Destroyer.
The launch at Techport, South Australia, not only signals the next phase of fit-out and testing before Hobart is delivered to the Royal Australian Navy for operational duty, but will also enable the second destroyer, Brisbane, to undergo final block consolidation after it replaces Hobart on the hardstand.
Activity will also commence on the third ship, Sydney, as preparations are made for the upcoming keel laying ceremony.
Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward extended his congratulations to members of the AWD Alliance. “As the AWD mission system integrator, it is a source of pride for Raytheon that we have applied our unique engineering and project management skills to delivering a project that is integrated in Australia,” he said.
“The AWD’s combat system integration activities represents some of the most advanced engineering accomplishments yet undertaken in such a project in this country and will contribute to making the AWD the most sophisticated warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy,” Ward added.
“Along with our experience and US reachback, there has been a strong investment in local capabilities in systems architecture, engineering and program management which have all contributed to this launch milestone."
Housing for Australia's exiled refugees being prepared - but IOM says no-one's allowed to see it.
Nauru Facebook blackout enters 24th day
Phnom Penh Post [23/5/15]:
“Villa-style” temporary accommodation in Phnom Penh is awaiting four refugees approved this week for transfer from Australia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said yesterday.
Leul Mekonnen, who heads the IOM’s Cambodia office, said the villa would be used to house the refugees – who were previously held on the Pacific island of Nauru – “for up to three months”.
IOM caseworkers, he added, would work to find suitable longer-term accommodation “on a case-by-case basis” as “different people have different needs”. Mekonnen declined to reveal the exact location of the temporary accommodation, citing privacy and protection concerns, but said it would be in the capital.
In a statement, the IOM said that, while at the villa, “the refugees will receive intensive Khmer language and cultural and social orientation.”
Other support will include “education services, health services, [and] employment services”. Mekonnen said he was unsure when the group would be arriving.
Multiple officials at the Interior Ministry said yesterday that they had no information regarding the arrival date.
The refugees – one from Myanmar and three from Iran – are the first to arrive under a controversial deal signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Australia’s former immigration minister Scott Morrison on September 26.
The group was flown secretly from Nauru to Australia earlier this month, according to a refugee advocacy group and refugees still on the island.
A letter previously distributed on Nauru offered refugees joining the pilot scheme an estimated $15,000 each and numerous other inducements as well as mentioning that “villa-style” accommodation would be available on arrival.
Child-Welfare NGO Boss Guilty of Abusing Boys [Cambodia Daily - 23/5/15]:
The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Thursday sentenced former French judge and child-protection NGO director Philippe Broaly to 14 months in prison for sexually abusing five boys in his care, but will allow him to walk free within weeks after suspending five months of the sentence, officials said Friday.
Cambodia, Australia to promote more military cooperation [Khmer Times [23/5/15]:
Senior defense officials of Cambodia and Australia have agreed to further boost the military cooperation between both countries.
A five-year strategic plan to strengthen and expand Cambodia-Australia military ties have been signed here recently after the meeting between Chay Saing Yun, Secretary of State for the National Defense, and First Assistant Secretary International Policy Division at the Australian Department of Defense, Scott Dewar.
Chay Saing Yun said Cambodia and Australia will continue to work together on building military personnel’s skills, ensuring maritime security, and combating terrorism.
Protesters march against agribusiness giant Monsanto
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Toronto Saturday in protest of genetically modified organisms and agribusiness giant Monsanto.
In their fourth year, the protests were part of a global day of action calling for labelling of GMOs in stores and a permanent boycott of what some see as harmful agricultural chemicals like pesticides. According to organizers, there was 600 protests planned in 48 countries.
Demonstrators were joined by some Ontario beekeepers, who symbolically dumped a coffin full of dead honey bees in front of the crowd.
The bees were gathered from farms across the province where they died over the winter.
Significant honey bee mortality rates in North America have been linked to neonicotinoid pesticides used on corn and soybean crops.
Jodi Koberinski, who calls herself a food sovereignty activist, told CBC News that Monsanto and other corporations have not been open about their research into the potential health affects of GMOs and agricultural chemicals.
"People are here to take back control of the food system," she said. "We want government to hold these corporations responsible for the damage they are creating."
Last year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs revealed a plan to reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the province by up to 80 per cent by 2017. There's also a federal study underway exploring the possibility of limiting their use nationwide.
A message from Dr Vandana Shiva for International Biodiversity Day and March Against Monsanto [VIDEO - Navdanya - 23/5/15]
Prosecutors investigate possible criminal case in California oil spill [Reuters – 22/5/15]
Greek PM says on final stretch toward deal with lenders
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday his leftist-led government was on the final stretch of negotiations with its international lenders on a cash-for-reforms deal that would not involve further pension cuts and harsh austerity.
"We are on the final stretch of a painful period shaped by the government's negotiations with the institutions," Tsipras, back from an EU leaders summit in Riga, told his party's central committee.
He said the majority of Greeks supported the government in its talks with the International Monetary Fund and its euro zone partners, asking for a solution and not just an agreement.
Saying he would not yield to irrational demands, including on VAT tax rates and further labor market liberalization, he called on lenders to show willingness for compromise.
"We have made concessions but we also have red lines," he said.
The Irish Are Fighting Back [Truthout - 5/5/15]:
Syriza has taken power in Greece and Podemos is rising in Spain. And now, people in the Republic of Ireland are fighting back as well, notwithstanding the "model pupil" label ascribed to the country by European elites.
The austerity program imposed by the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund starting in 2010 stipulated that charges for households' water consumption should be introduced - a plan that the right-wing government now in power is implementing. Notwithstanding public pronouncements to the contrary, the plan is most likely to eventually privatize Irish Water, the public utility set up to charge citizens for water.
This has provoked a strong popular movement against water charges. Its importance cannot be overstated; it is simply "the largest and broadest, and most sustained, social movement in Ireland since independence in 1921," as an important new report concludes.
Communities have been attempting to block the installation of water meters in neighborhoods throughout the country.
Nationally, five demonstrations have gathered between 20,000 and 150,000 people. Relative to population, a protest of 100,000 in Ireland is equivalent to 1 million in Spain. Indeed, we are witnessing the "birth of a new civil society."
The movement has made important gains already. It has forced the government to reduce the average annual charges from 278 to 160 euros per household. But protesters want to abolish Irish Water entirely and keep water - which after all, is not in short supply on the Emerald Isle - free.
Fully one-third of households liable to pay the charge, or about 500,000, have refused to register to pay.
Protest groups hope that this boycott will force the government to cancel its plans, being unable to process such a high number of payment refusals.
Kiribati editor forced to take leave
Reports from Kiribati say the editor of the publicly-owned Te Uekera newspaper has been forced to take leave.
The Kiribati Independent says Ueratan Bauro was told in a letter by the board of the Broadcasting and Publications Authority that he was tired and needed a break.
A BPA board member, Bill Reiher, says the board has concerns with the editor's performance, citing numerous errors as the paper often publishes poor quality photos.
The letter reportedly has given no date for when Mr Bauro is expected to rerurn.
Last month, the BPA sacked the Radio Kiribati editor for the allegedly poor standard of reporting of the death penalty bill.
Pull the ladder up
Used in a sarcastic sense. When someone gets something, but only for themselves, while leaving the rest of the group waiting for a kind gesture that never comes...as in, man gets on the boat and pulls the ladder up while the rest stand on the jetty in confusion at this selfish act with no way to board.
One of Australia's best known refugees takes a tumble: The terrifying moment billionaire Westfield shopping mall mogul Frank Lowy, 84, tumbled off the stage as he presented the A-League Grand Final soccer trophy - Florida News Time - 17/5/15]
Westfield puts cash on table to develop Ground Zero retail centre [SMH via Stall – 11/6/09]
... Joe escaped many brushes with death - extreme hunger, freezing conditions and at gunpoint - before he was rescued by American forces and taken to a Displaced Persons camp until 1947 where he was reunited with his family.
His father and niece did not survive.
He was given the choice of migrating to one of seven countries and Australia seemed inviting - it was as far away from Europe as anyone could get. In October 1947, the American ship carried the first mass transport of post-Second World War migrants from Germany to Australia.
A month later the ship arrived at the docks of Port Fremantle in Western Australia. ... [Chronicle - 23/5/15]
Migration Heritage Centre NSW:
... On 28 November 1947, the first Displaced Persons – 844 young Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians – arrived on the General Heintzelman in Melbourne and were transferred to Bonegilla migration hostel. In exchange for free passage and assistance on their arrival, they agreed to work for the government for two years.
During the seven years this scheme operated, nearly 171,000 arrived. When this source came to an end, the Federal Government negotiated a series of migration agreements including with the Netherlands and Italy (1951), Austria, Belgium, West Germany, Greece and Spain (1952), and the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (1954).
In these immediate post war years Australia was second only to Israel in the proportion of migrants accepted.
As a result, Australian society became markedly less British and Irish in character. At the 1961 census, eight per cent of the population was non-British in origin with the largest group being Italians followed by Germans, Greeks and Poles.
Most migrants arrived by ship, disembarking in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. From there they were immediately taken to migration hostels in rural areas, often in former military barracks. ...
24 May 2015