Confirming the #LoveMakesAWay women were read their rights, placed under arrest, given printed notices, put in a police bus and dumped in the next suburb.

Image: @jarrodmckenna [24/11/14]

Baby Ferouz lawyers lobby Australia's real opposition as court reserves asylum decision

ABC [24/11/14]:

Lawyers for a baby born in Australia to asylum seeker parents are lobbying Palmer United Party (PUP) senators and newly independent MP Jacqui Lambie to help secure his asylum.

The Federal Court is deciding whether to grant one-year-old Ferouz Myuddin a protection visa and allow him to remain in Australia.

Ferouz was born in Brisbane's Mater Hospital after his mother was transferred from the detention centre on Nauru due to concerns about her pregnancy.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison denied the infant a protection visa, saying Ferouz was an unauthorised maritime arrival, and last month the Federal Circuit Court agreed with that decision.

Lawyers representing Ferouz' family lodged an appeal, which was heard by the full bench of the Federal Court today.

It reserved a decision to a date yet to be fixed.

The decision will have implications for the 106 babies born in Australia who could be sent to Nauru.

Despite efforts by Ferouz' lawyers, the test case could actually prove fruitless.

Amendments to the Migration Act, yet to pass the Senate, would retrospectively see all babies born to asylum seekers who arrived by boat to be unlawful maritime arrivals, regardless of whether they were born in Australia.

Ferouz's lawyer, Murray Watt, said the laws were designed to scuttle the case.

He had been lobbying the PUP and all cross-bench senators to block the legislation.

"We've been calling on the Senate to block these amendments; they don't represent a fair go they don't represent the best of Australian traditions in welcoming people from terrible circumstances overseas to our country," he said.

"We are very hopeful that the Senate will block these amendments when the time comes to vote on them.

"The fate of all these babies lies in the hands of the Senate."

The family, including Ferouz's mother, Latifar, and his father and two siblings, arrived on Christmas Island from Myanmar three months before Ferouz's birth in September 2013.

They were fleeing persecution as minority Rohingyas in Myanmar.

The family are currently in detention in Darwin, where Ferouz had his first birthday.

In the House of Representatives today [24/11/14], Melissa Parke MP said she had been grossly misrepresented by Glenn Sterle MP

Sterle slams pro-BDS Parke [Jewish News - 7/11/14]

The Saturday Paper [27/9/14]:

... [Melissa] Parke plays a different role, as Labor navigates an awkward environment in which its options for criticising the government are circumscribed by its desire to be part of Team Australia.

She provides an alibi for Labor to avoid a loss of votes to the Greens as it joins the government in backing tougher terror laws and military action in the Middle East and continues to offer bipartisan support for offshore processing of asylum seekers. Some Coalition MPs argue Bernardi plays a similar role in placating those Liberal supporters who were disappointed that Abbott abandoned the 18C changes.

As Labor leader Bill Shorten stresses that he is “working very well together” with Abbott on national security, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one opposition MP putting an alternative view. It’s a fine line, though, as left-wing Labor senator Sue Lines discovered late last month when Shorten rebuked her for accusing the government of using the threat of terrorism to deflect attention from the budget.

Back in May when Parke and Burke first raised their intention to pursue a caucus motion on ending offshore detention, there was frustration among Labor MPs at the timing, distracting as it did from the backlash to the budget. The motion was destined to fail.

Some also feared that, by reopening the debate, Parke was risking exposing Labor to attack over whether it was strong enough to manage the electorally sensitive issue.

But Parke is not a loose cannon and her recent statements have been carefully worded. Even dissent in modern Labor is often tightly scripted. Although Dastyari’s remarks on refugee policy earlier this year were reported as pitting him against Shorten, his speech had in fact been vetted by the party’s leadership.


Police listened to lawyer-client phone call after Sydney counter-terrorism raid

Guardian [24/11/14]:

Police officers covertly listened to a phone call between a lawyer and a client who had been detained without charge under a preventative detention order (PDO) during September’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney.

Surveillance of calls is mandatory under the PDO legislation, but the orders had never previously been used since their introduction in 2005, and there is no mechanism for lawyers to be alerted to the fact that clients have been placed on a PDO.

Legal critics have described the covert surveillance as a serious breach of the client’s legal rights.

In September, police raided numerous homes across New South Wales, involving more than 800 officers.

Fifteen people were detained amid media reports that the raids had “thwarted a beheading plot”, although no evidence to support this has been publicly revealed. Eventually, one man was charged with a terrorism offence.

The raids were the first time PDOs had been used anywhere in Australia. They allow people to be detained for up to two weeks without charge. Three men were placed on the orders during the raids, but were later released without charge.

Guardian Australia can now reveal what happened to the three men when the orders were issued, although their identities cannot be reported because of a broad suppression order.

Nick Hanna, who represented one of the men when the orders were issued, told Guardian Australia the men were taken to a police station in Surry Hills, where they were held in a separate part of the building from other detainees.

Hanna had a phone conversation with one of the men shortly after he was detained. But when he spoke to his client a second time later that day, he learnt that the first phone conversation had been monitored by police.

In normal circumstances it is highly unusual for lawyers’ communications with their clients to be monitored by police because the confidentiality of the relationship is considered vital to protect the legal rights of a person accused of a crime.

“I called and I had a conversation with my client,” Hanna said. “I then called back about half an hour later and an officer said, ‘By the way, we’re listening to your conversations, we’re monitoring them live and you’re not allowed to speak in any language other than English.’

“I was only told the second time. I hadn’t dealt with this before because they had been so sparingly used, so that was disconcerting.”

Under NSW terrorism laws, all communications from people while they are held under PDOs must be monitored. Any information gained by police from these phone calls cannot be used as evidence against the man.

“The fact that it’s not admissible in proceedings does little to allay our concerns, because there are fundamental reasons for having legal professional privilege that extends far beyond what can be admitted in court, and this really undermines that,” Hanna said.

“At the very least they should be required to notify the lawyer and client that their communications are going to be monitored.”

Hanna said the police had still refused to provide reasons for holding his client, who has not been charged.

“Shortly after he was released we put in a formal request for the reasons to be provided for us,” he said.

“All we were ever told is that it is terrorism-related, yet nothing’s been produced. We’re not aware of anything adverse being found from when his house was searched.”

Hanna said his client had sustained injuries when he was detained, and he was considering whether to take action against the police.

Guardian Australia is unable to identify Hanna’s client because of a broad and indefinite suppression order issued by a NSW supreme court judge.

NSW Police sought and were granted 36-hour PDOs by the court the night before the raids. The order said the name of the parties, the evidence and the judgement could not be published. It is still in force and appears to apply indefinitely.

PDOs were introduced by Commonwealth and state governments after the 2005 London bombing, and were designed as a response to an imminent terrorist attack. However, the federal government’s former national security legislation monitor has described them as an “unnecessary” addition to existing police powers.

The PDO regime is so restrictive that the Australian Federal Police even refused to initially confirm how many people were being held shortly after the raids.

Hanna’s account of the use of the law has raised concerns with legal experts. Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said it was a serious breach of the client’s legal rights.

“It’s outrageous that security and police agencies are listening in on the conversation between clients and their lawyers,” he said. “It breaches a fundamental human right which is the right between a lawyer and their client, and it’s a breach of the rules relating to legal professional privilege.”

Guardian Australia put detailed questions about the circumstances of the use of the PDOs to NSW police. A spokesman said in a statement: “It is inappropriate for NSW police to comment.”

PDOs can be issued under NSW or Commonwealth laws. Laws allowing the federal police to seek the orders were due to expire in 2016, but have been extended by parliament as part of its second tranche of national security legislation.

Omarjan Azari, the only person charged with a terrorism offence following the raids, appeared in court in November. His lawyer told the court there had been a “glaring error” in the translation of an intercepted phone call at the centre of the case.

In case you missed today's anti muslim, war mongering propaganda:

Young Islamic State supporter abuses Christian school students prior to counter-terrorism raids [Sydney Moring Herald - 24/11/14]

Melbourne jihadi ‘enjoyed partying, nightclubs’ before joining terror group ISIL [Nine MSN - 24/11/14]

Anti fascists outnumber fascist protesters at Penrith mosque development meeting

Police going through order of proceedings

Image: @__rochellemarie [24/11/14]

A cash-strapped police force had to spend £500,000 to control an English Defence League protest over false rumours a pub was being turned into a mosque.

South Yorkshire Police drafted in 1200 officers from 15 different forces in order prevent the risk of disorder as right-wing protesters gathered in Sheffield. ... [Mirror - 21/6/14]

Police shoot man dead, Gold Coast

Brisbane Times [24/11/14]:

Police have shot dead a man in his 30s on the Gold Coast, the second fatal police shooting in south east Queensland in two days.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called to Nakina St, Southport, just after 7pm and were confronted by an armed man.

The two officers involved in the shooting incident were members of the dog squad. Each of them had several years of experience.

The spokeswoman confirmed that the dead man had been armed with a knife.

The man died at the scene.

The police spokeswoman said the shooting death would be investigated by the Police Ethical Standards Command, with oversight by the Coronor and the Crime and Corruption Commission.

There have been six police shootings in south-east Queensland since April, four of them fatal, the ABC reported.

A 51-year-old man died on Sunday afternoon when he was shot in the chest at Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast.

Deport wife-beaters to Antarctica: Queensland senator

Nine MSN [24/11/14]:

A Queensland cop turned federal politician has a novel approach for dealing with wife beaters - deport them to Antarctica.

The bizarre proposal from Nationals senator Barry O'Sullivan would see violent perpetrators of domestic violence shipped off to Australia's "uninhabited sub-arctic islands with active volcanoes".

"They'd be the perfect dumping ground for these deadbeat cowards. We can send them there without a coat," he said in a statement.

"This principle worked for England in the late 1700s and there is no reason it won't work again now."

Accompanying his statement was a bleak photograph of remote Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Antarctic territories more than 4000km southwest of Australia.

Senator O'Sullivan served for almost 20 years in the Queensland police, including as a homicide detective.

He said his experiences on the front line meant he'd lost all sympathy for "cowards" who abuse women and children, a scourge he warned had exceeded crisis point.

There was no option left but a hardline approach and governments should be considering "all possible measures and punishments".

Senator O'Sullivan joined other politicians and police commissioners in Canberra today to promote this week's nationwide White Ribbon campaign against domestic abuse.

Bar workers cleared over Cairns nightclub death

Yahoo [24/11/14]:

Five Cairns nightclub workers who were holding a man face down on a concrete floor when he died shouldn't face criminal charges, a Queensland coroner says.

State Coroner Terry Ryan handed down his findings on Monday following an inquest last year into the death of Stephen Arthur Nash at a Cairns nightclub in 2012.

"I have concluded that while the force used to restrain Mr Nash has likely contributed to his death it is less apparent that the security providers' conduct was a `substantial or significant cause of his death'," he said.

However, he said the men showed a lack of awareness of the risks of holding someone face down on the ground for lengthy periods.

Mr Nash, a Cairns truck driver and nursery assistant, was heavily intoxicated when he punched a security guard in the face at the Union Jack pub in Cairns on the evening of November 18, 2012.

Three security guards who were licensed crowd controllers, along with two other staff, restrained Mr Nash by holding him face down on the ground.

When police officers arrived 12 minutes later, he didn't have a pulse and died in hospital the next day.

In his findings, Coroner Ryan said Mr Nash died from a brain injury following a cardiac arrest but noted there was uncertainty over the cause of death by the three pathologists who gave evidence at the inquest.

None of the bar staff were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions because they didn't intend to cause Mr Nash serious harm, and it could be argued that the incident was either an accident or that the men acted in self-defence, the coroner said.

Coroner Ryan described Mr Nash as a strong man - he weighed 120kg and could bench press 160kg at the gym - and noted he struggled throughout most of the incident, adding that it was unlikely those involved knew he was unconscious at any stage.

A lawyer acting for the family submitted during the inquest that it was probable the force used to restrain Mr Nash contributed significantly to his death.

Coroner Ryan said it was ironic the Union Jack pub "encouraged" Mr Nash and his partner to drink significant amounts of alcohol with a two-for-one offer shortly before security "felt compelled" to remove Mr Nash from the premise because he was too drunk.

His girlfriend said the pair were taking full advantage of the pub's two-for-one offer and she was close to the most intoxicated she had ever been in her life.

Coroner Ryan recommended security guard training across the industry, and other relevant sectors, should include a module on the risks associated with restraint and positional asphyxia.

A copy of the coroner's recommendations will be handed to the Australian Skills Quality Authority who is currently reviewing security training.

Stephen O'Reilly, the lawyer acting for the nightclub, said the outcome of the incident was tragic but bar staff had acted professionally.

"The Union Jack is probably one of the most well regarded venues in Cairns, it's a popular venue, it's a safe venue," he said.

Man on trial for sex with teen swim star [Yahoo - 24/11/14]

Crash brings Gold Coast light rail to grinding halt

MYGC [24/11/14]:

A man has been taken to hospital after the van he was driving collided with a packed tram at Northcliffe.

The accident happened just before 4pm at the intersection of Gold Coast Highway and Wharf Road, outside the Crowne Plaza.

There are early reports suggesting the van may have been attempting an illegal U-turn at the time of the collision.

A 50-year-old man – believed to be the driver of the van – has been taken to Gold Coast University Hospital with a shoulder injury.

There’s been no injuries reported on board the tram. Emergency services are on the scene, as are light rail technicians.

Services have been suspended in both directions between Cavill Avenue and Broadbeach South stations.

There’s no further information available at this time.

Truck crash brings down power pole, Gold Coast Highway at Palm Beach [MYGC - 24/11/14]

Serious assault, Mackay

QPS Media [24/11/14]:

A 26-year-old man has been charged with one count of grievous bodily harm after a man sustained serious life-threatening injuries in an alleged assault at Mackay last night.

Around 11.30pm two men were involved in an altercation at a Victoria Street night club when one man allegedly punched the other man in the head, causing him to fall to the ground before continuing the assault.

A 28-year-old North Mackay man was transported to the Mackay Base Hospital with life-threatening head injuries.

A man from Andergrove is expected to appear in the Mackay Magistrates Court today.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers or Policelink.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

Australian figure skating championships to be held in Brisbane [Boondall] this month

Penrith City Gazette [24/11/14]:

Four local athletes are training hard for the Australian Figure Skating Championships to be held this month in Brisbane.

Emily Imber, Chelsea Osaghae, Lowanna Gibson and Sasha Graham are representing Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, fielding the largest team the club has sent to the nationals in years.

Graham, 33, is competing in the Adult Ladies' Division, while Imber, 13, Osaghae, 16, and Gibson, 22, are competing in the Ladies' Primary, Intermediate and Senior Divisions respectively.

All four competitors qualified for the nationals after competing in the state championships over the October long weekend.

Osaghae came second in her division, while Gibson and Imber came third and seventh in their categories respectively.

For Imber, this will be her first national championships.

"I just want to do what I've been practising to do," she said.

Gibson has been to a number of national champiponships and hopes the preparation pays off.

There are 17 ice skating divisions in Australia and the top five divisions compete at the national championships.

The 25 competitors in each division must perform a four-minute routine, including tricks.

While ice skating is a winter sport, the national championships are being held in summer to be part of the international season and the northern hemisphere winter.

Competitors dream of going to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Right-wing ABC personalities who get paid $190,000+ PA to suffocate journalism won't lose their jobs

Tweed Daily News [24/11/14]:

About 400 ABC staffers - 10% of its workforce - face redundancy under massive changes to the public broadcaster announced to staff a short time ago.

Five regional radio outposts will be cut including Gladstone in Queensland.

The other outposts include Wagin, Morwell, Port Augusta and Nowra.

"They are expensive to maintain, there are no content implications and minimal staff impact,'' the ABC said in a statement published online.

Closures also include an Adelaide television production studio.


Sydney Morning Herald [24/11/14]:

... "We are talking about staffing and inefficiency but the elephant in the room is News 24," Ms Percy said.

"I am not saying they should be cut but we have not even had a conversation about it," she said.

She said she had raised the issue of the budget cuts on four separate occasions including with Mr Scott, with editorial management, with a board member and at a staff meeting, but these had come to nothing.

Ms Percy said most staff would be able to suggest ways to cut the budget by 10 per cent. She cited inefficiencies like the heavy cost of running ABC News 24 and in-house magazines as a starting point for looking at efficiencies.

She said journalists at the coalface of reporting were well-placed to discuss ways to cut costs.

Many of those journalists were tight-lipped about the cuts, saying they feared management retribution if they spoke about the cuts.


#LoveMakesAWay team are inside the office of @SenatorCash

Image: @lovemakesaway [24/11/14]

11 women; church & charity leaders & a former senator in a #LoveMakesAWay in Michaela Cash's office. While outside...

Image: @jarrodmckenna [24/11/14]

Love Makes A Way Media Release [24/11/14]:

Eleven women Church Leaders have entered the electoral office of Senator Michaelia Cash at 44 Outram St, West Perth.

They are refusing to leave until Senator Cash gives a date when 726 children and their families will be released from Immigration Detention Centres on Christmas Island, Nauru and the Australian mainland.

This prayerful sit-in is part of the Love Makes A Way movement which has seen more than 100 Christian leaders arrested this year.

Senator Michaelia Cash is the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, and the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

In her maiden speech to the Senate, Senator Cash quoted Catholic Theologian Theodore Hesburgh who said: ‘My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make decisions because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they are popular; you make them because they are right’.

The Church Leaders are calling on Senator Cash to ‘do the right thing’ and support the urgent release of children from immigration detention centres.

In August, Senator Cash boasted to the Senate that the former Coalition government released all children from Immigration Detention prior to the 2007 Federal Election. The Church leaders are calling on Senator Cash to become a champion for this proud Liberal Party tradition, and to strongly advocate against imprisoning children and families.

Sit-in participants noted that tomorrow’s White Ribbon Day to put a stop to violence against women is an ideal time for Senator Cash to take leadership to stop violence against women and girls in Immigration Detention Centres. There have been multiple instances of rape, child abuse and sexual harassment against women and girls in Immigration Detention.

Participants in the sit-in include women Priests, Deacons, Pastors, Elders and lay members from a range of traditions including Salvation Army, Australian Christian Churches, Baptist, Catholic, Quaker, Anglican and Churches of Christ.


Sophie Scholl: A Protest that Turned the World [VIDEO]:

Sophie Scholl was a WWII German activist who spread information about German atrocities by spreading leaflets across Germany with her groups known as the White Rose. This video was recognized as a state finalist (CA) in the 2013 National History Day competition. A special thank you to USC's Professor Gruner (Jewish and German Studies) and UC Santa Barbra's Dr. Harold Marcuse (Modern German History Professor).

Cambodian Prime Minister defends his government's decision to "house" Australia's exiled refugees

Cambodia Daily [24/11/14]:

Prime Minister Hun Sen has once again defended his government’s decision to resettle asylum seekers intercepted by Australian authorities and detained on the tiny island nation of Nauru, this time in a letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

In the letter, dated November 17 and obtained Sunday, Mr. Hun Sen says the September 29 deal inked by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison follows international and humanitarian standards.

The letter came in response to a letter of inquiry sent by National Assembly Vice President Kem Sokha, the country’s deputy opposition leader, via Mr. Samrin in late October.

“[T]he housing of refugees in Cambodia is based on a voluntary and humanitarian foundation,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote. “Thus the refugees who come to Cambodia must agree via a written document without any coercion.”

Mr. Hun Sen says in the letter that Cambodia is currently home to 85 refugees from places including Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, the Congo and Somalia, and that any refugees who agree to be transported from Nauru would be supported by the Australian government.

“In accepting the refugees, the Australian side will be responsible for the costs, including the transport of refugees to Cambodia, temporary shelter, food, daily clothes, language interpretation services, health insurance within five years, and the provision of support for one year during their integration into Cambodian communities,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote.

“If any refugees want to return back to their home countries or to resettle in any country after they leave the shelters within a year, Australia will provide support for their departure to their original countries or any countries where the refugees want to resettle,” the prime minister writes.

The letter concludes by saying that a large number of prominent Cambodians were previously resettled as refugees by countries around the world, including Australia, and that Cambodia is now in an appropriate position to return the courtesy.

Israeli cabinet approves Jewish state bill

Al Jazeera [23/11/14]:

The Israeli cabinet has approved a bill declaring Israel a Jewish state in a controversial move seen as intensifying discrimination against Arabs residing in occupied territories.

Ministers voted 14 to six in favour of the bill, which is threatening the unity of the governing coalition.
The bill will now be referred to the Knesset, or parliament, where legislators will see it for the first time on Wednesday.

The Times of Israel, which described the bill as "controversial", said it was debated by cabinet members behind closed doors but their screams were "loud enough for reporters in the hallway to hear much of the discussion".

Addressing his cabinet, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said: "Israel is the Jewish, nationalist state for the Jewish people with equal rights for all citizens."

"The reason why the bill is so divisive is this language of defining Israel as a home state for the Jewish people alone," Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyeb, reporting from Jerusalem, said.

"What is problematic about the law in its current form is that if it does get passed, and is enshrined in Israel's legal system, it would effectively mean that those who do not self-identify themselves as Jews become second class citizens," he said.

The law would grant the government the authority to strip all rights off any Arab resident who took part in, or incited, violence, even stone-throwing.

Netanyahu said the proposed bill would complement the policy of demolishing the family homes of those involved in attacks on Israelis which his government adopted in annexed Arab East Jerusalem earlier this month despite condemnation by human-rights watchdogs.

"It cannot be that those who attack Israeli citizens and call for the elimination of the state of Israel will enjoy rights such as national insurance, and their family members as well, who support them," Netanyahu said.

"This law is important in order to exact a price from those who engage in attacks and incitement, including the throwing of stones and firebombs," his office quoted him as saying.

But critics see it as a bid from the PM "to score cheap points now that he is sensing that the elections are nearing," Al Jazeera's correspondent said.

Yesh Atid, finance minister and head of the Yair Lapid party, said: "This is a law that Ben-Gurion and Jabotinksy would have opposed."

Local media said several ministers accused Netanyahu of "wanting a religious state", and proposing a legislation that "will ruin our democracy".

The debate, which took place during the cabinet's weekly meeting, happened at the same time as Gilad Erdan, interior minister, used existing powers to revoke the residency of a Palestinian who had already served 10 years in prison for his role in a 2001 bombing.

Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem has been hit by months of unrest, which has spread across the occupied West Bank and to Arab communities inside Israel.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem have residency rights but not Israeli citizenship. Their residency entitles them to freedom of movement as well as social benefits, such as national insurance or health insurance, and its revocation entails loss of those benefits.

Driver trapped in car for over an hour after police pursuit in Sydney

Nine MSN [24/11/14]:

A driver has been trapped in his car for over an hour after crashing during a police pursuit in Sydney’s west this morning.

The 31 year-old lost control of his Hyundai Excel and crashed into a pole on the M4 Motorway at Prospect around 12.30am.

The male driver was trapped in the vehicle for over an hour following the incident.

He was taken to Westmead Hospital where he is being treated for leg injuries and will undergo mandatory blood and alcohol testing.

Police continue to investigate the incident and are urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Serious explosion at water bore, Hopeland

Lock The Gate [24/11/14]:

A serious explosion at a water bore in Queensland shows farmers and communities should be very concerned about coal seam gas, despite government and industry reassurances to the contrary.

Shay Dougall of the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group said a water bore at Hopeland, near Chinchilla on the Western Downs let out a loud bang about 6.30 on Thursday (Nov. 20).

She said a huge gush of water and gas spouted metres into the sky and continued to release water for another day. There is a thin white crust around the bore, the eerie sound of gas rushing out of it and a side-to-side movement to the casing.

Mrs Dougall said the bore had been disused but stable for at least 30 years. The bore is in the Walloon coal measures on prime agricultural land. The Gearon’s property is on an Arrow tenement but Origin is the coal seam gas company with a gasfield about 10 kilometres away.

“Bores are the lifeblood of farming out here to water stock and to supply an alternative water source to the farmer in times of drought,” she said. “This reckless practice by mining companies must stop now or we’ll lose our livelihoods,” she said.

It is understood the State Government’s CSG Compliance Unit had visited the property.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton said the bore blow-out should signal the end of underground water being drawn from the Walloon Coal Measures in the whole region.

Mr Hutton said the blow-out was “undoubtedly the result of de-pressurisation in the gasfield” which then allows gas to be released across the area.

“Gas is being released from the coal seam as it is being de-pressurised with the removal of water from the coal seam aquifer and that gas is coming up across the Western Downs – inside and outside bore casings, through cracks in the ground and in the water itself,” he said.

“In 2008 we saw one water bore blow out at Hopeland, another in 2010 and in 2012 the Condamine River started bubbling.

“These events are occurring because of the coal seam gas activity in the area but all we hear from the companies and the government is spin.

“The companies are supposed to ‘make good’ for all bores that lose water but farmers on the Western Downs are reporting great difficulty in negotiating satisfactory outcomes.

“This is hardly surprising since the Walloons are being drained and there is almost no water left in the system to allocate to farmers.

“If farmers cannot get underground water to replace what they have lost, then they have no choice but to walk off their properties. This is a potential social disaster.”

Mr Hutton said the blow-out reinforced the research findings from the Southern Cross University who found very high levels of methane across the gasfields in the area between Chinchilla and Tara and that the isotopic ‘fingerprint’ of this gas showed it came from the coal seam.

“Until the State Government is prepared to act to fully protect landowners, then every farm gate should be locked to coal seam gas,” he said.

Fears escalate as another teen refugee assaulted on Nauru

New Matilda [23/11/14]:

Serious concerns about the safety of asylum seekers [refugees] currently settled [exiled] on Nauru have again come to the fore after another violent incident left a young man hospitalised earlier today.

Unaccompanied minors on the Island have been left shaken by an attack on a teenage refugee who was followed back to his accommodation while returning from a shopping trip.

A local pursued the young man by bike, taunting him as they returned to the housing. Once they arrived the local man became violent, punching one refugee in the chest and another in the face, breaking his nose in the process.


While the young men involved in today’s incident are now in consultation with Save the Children and Australian Immigration officials, it is not clear what long term plans are in place to ensure their safety.

Both the Department and Save the Children have been contacted by New Matilda for comment.

Appeal set to be heard in Federal Court Brisbane for Australian-born baby Ferouz

News Boost [23/11/14]:

A Federal Court appeal will be heard tomorrow in Brisbane, in a landmark legal case for a one year-old Australian-born baby currently living in detention, who is seeking the right to apply for a protection visa.

Baby Ferouz, who was born in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, has just spent his first birthday living in detention in Darwin, having spent his entire life in detention centres on the Australian mainland.

Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Murray Watt said the situation was becoming more critical for baby Ferouz and the 106 other Australian-born babies the firm is also acting for, all of whom are living in detention.

“We remain firmly of the view that Ferouz has the right to apply for protection here in Australia: he and the 106 other babies we act for are Australian-born babies and we should let them stay,” Mr Watt said.

“We respectfully believe that an earlier court decision was wrong, in finding that Ferouz came to Australia by sea, because he was, in fact, born in Brisbane.

“That’s why we are appealing the court’s decision to the full bench of the Federal Court tomorrow.

“This is an important test case that, at its heart, is only arguing for these babies to be given a fair go, and to be offered protection by Australia.


Jamaican judge elected to International Court of Justice

NY Carib News [23/11/14]:

Renowned Jamaican and international jurist Patrick Robinson has been elected to serve a judge in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a nine year period beginning in February 2015.

Both the United Nations General Assembly and the fifteen-member United Nations Security Council are required to record a majority vote for the winning candidate.

In Monday's elections, Robinson received 185 votes in the General Assembly and 15 votes in the Security Council.

Robinson is the only Jamaican and the second Caribbean national to serve on this body since its establishment 70 years ago.

He will join four other candidates from Australia, Morocco, Russia and the United States of America, who were elected to serve on the Court.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in welcoming the results, said Robinson's elevation marks a historic moment, not only for Jamaica but the entire Caribbean.

"The overwhelming support that he received throughout the rounds of voting from the UN membership is a reflection of the excellence of the Jamaican candidate, and the high regard with which the country is held in the international arena," she said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade AJ Nicholson said the outcome is an indication of the level of respect that Jamaica enjoys for its principled and balanced foreign policy and the result of an effective and strategic campaign waged by the foreign ministry and overseas Missions, particularly our Mission to the United Nations in New York.

"I wish to thank Argentina for their very gracious gesture to withdraw from the process in the interest of Latin American and Caribbean unity. I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to the numerous countries that supported Jamaica in the process and to assure them and the entire international community that they will find in Judge Robinson a jurist of highest integrity, professionalism and objectivity," Nicholson said.

250 Syrian refugees rescued off Cyprus

Naharnet [23/11/14]:

Some 250 Syrian migrants crammed onto a fishing boat were rescued off the northern coast of Cyprus on Sunday as the vessel hit rough seas in the Mediterranean, Turkish media reported.

Turkish Cypriot authorities were able to rescue the passengers, who were aboard a Tanzanian fishing boat with a number of children among them, after an operation lasting several hours in bad weather and rough seas, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

The boat had signaled for help some 300 meters off Cyprus.

The passengers were transferred to another vessel and later transported to a gymnasium in Kyrenia in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, Turkey-based Dogan news agency reported.


More than half of Syria's population has been forced to flee their homes since war began in their country in March 2011.

Some 3.2 million have fled beyond the country's borders, and more than 7.2 million have become internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Afghanistan: US drone strike leaves 6 dead in Nuristan province

Khaama [23/11/14]:

At least six militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition security forces in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

According to local security officials, the airstrike was carried out earlier today in Kamdish district.

A spokesman for the Afghan National Army 201 Silab Corps Haroon Yousufzai confirmed that the militants were targeted in Chenar Khor area on Sunday morning.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

Nuristan is among the volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

Dozens of Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on an Afghan National Army (ANA) military base in Kamdish district early on Saturday.

According to local security officials, at least 22 militants were killed along with two Afghan army soldiers following the clashes.

Afghanistan: Suicide blast targets volleyball game in Paktika, at least 45 killed

Khaama [23/11/14]:

At least 45 people were killed and over 60 others were injured following a suicide attack in Paktika province.

According to local government officials, the suicide bomber targeted a volleyball game in Yahya Khel district around 4:30 pm local time.

Provincial governor spokesman Mukhlis Afghan said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives in gathering of hundreds of spectators who were watching the game.

The Minister of Interior Mohammad Umar Daudzai confirmed that 45 people were killed and 56 others were injured following the blast.

In an online statement, Daudzai condemned the barbaric attack and said the victims included elders, youths and children were among those killed or injured.

This was the second deadly blast targeting eastern Paktika province within the past five months.

At least 42 people were killed and scores were injured following a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack in Orgun district earlier in July this year.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Afghan parliament unanimously approve security pacts with US and NATO [Khaama - 23/11/14]

District police chief injured following explosion in Herat [Khaama - 23/11/14]

World War Three conference concludes

Centcom [21/11/14]:

A counter-ISIL operational planning conference featuring military planners from 33 nations and hosted by U.S. Central Command from Nov.12-21 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. concluded here today.

The conference included nearly 200 coalition participants who worked together to synchronize and refine coalition campaign plans designed to degrade and defeat ISIL.

"This conference brought the very best plans officers from nations within the Central Region and coalition partners from around the world," said British Army Brig. Gen. Gary C. Deakin, Deputy Director of U.S. Central Command Strategy, Plans and Policy.

"What I experienced, as the officer tasked to lead the planning effort, was the strength, level of determination, and scale of commitment of these 33 nations to defeat ISIL. This is perhaps the strongest coalition I have had the privilege of serving in. Our regional partners were particularly impressed by the depth of coalition support and collective will to prevail against ISIL in order to stabilize the region."

A major focus of the 10-day conference was the further development of Coalition plans to help train, advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces so that Iraq is better able to regenerate its combat power, counter ISIL and ultimately provide for its own security.

Attendees were able to solidify plans and discuss how best to synchronize and reinforce mutual efforts to aid the Iraqis. Additionally, the conference provided a unique opportunity for attendees to share their regional insights and perspectives on how best to combat ISIL and ultimately defeat the terrorist group.

"The strength of our regional campaign is the broad Coalition that has come together with the common goal of defeating ISIL," said Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Central Command commander.

"Over the past week, the best military planners from 33 nations met and developed plans to train, advise and assist Iraq's security forces. Today, I received their outbrief and was very pleased to see the enormous progress made. I am confident that their hard work will pay significant dividends going forward. It is through these kinds of collaborations and our continued cooperation that we will achieve our shared objectives, further strengthen relationships between our nations, and improve stability and security in that strategically important region of the world."

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Saturday ordered more air support for the security forces and allied tribal fighters battling jihadists in the western province of Anbar. ... [France 24 - 23/11/14]

IS kills at Least 23 Iraqi Tribesmen Near Ramadi [Naharnet - 22/11/14]

Unidentified warplanes bomb Western Libya

World Bulletin [22/11/14]:

Unidentified fighter jets on Friday bombarded several sites in western Libya belonging to Brotherhood allied militias, according to eyewitnesses and a source affiliated with the "Dawn of Libya" militant group.

The bombardments did not result in any casualties or material damage, according to witnesses.

"On Friday, unidentified air units targeted four sites where Dawn of Libya forces have been stationed, near the towns of Bir al-Ghanem and Shakshouk [located roughly 100km west of capital Tripoli]," a Dawn of Libya source told The Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity.

Friday's airstrikes did not result in any casualties, nor had there been any damage to military equipment, the source said.

Earlier this week, Libya's military command – appointed by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives – provided the Al-Watia military airport with fighter jets.

In August and September, unidentified warplanes bombarded several sites in western Libya associated with the Dawn of Libya.

At the time, militant leaders had accused both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates of launching the airstrikes, although both countries later denied any involvement in the attacks.

Meanwhile, a Libyan official on Friday denied reports that airports in western Libya had been shut, asserting that all of the country's airports were operating normally.

"All reports claiming that airports in the western region had been closed are false," Mohamed Beit al-Mal, the head of Libya's Airports and Civil Aviation Authority, told The Anadolu Agency.

"Traffic in all airports is proceeding as usual," Beit al-Mal said.

"Closing down airspace and airports is the prerogative of the [civil aviation] authority, and we haven't received any official request to do so," he added.

Earlier Friday, several Arab news outlets reported that airports in the cities of Tripoli and Misurata had been closed, citing "military sources" loyal to former Libyan army chief Khalifah Haftar.

AA was unable to obtain immediate comment on the reports from pro-Haftar forces.

Libya has been dogged by political instability since the 2011 ouster and death of long-ruling strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

In the three years since, rival militias have frequently locked horns, often bringing violence to the country's main cities, especially capital Tripoli and Benghazi.

The central government, meanwhile, has appeared largely absent from the scene.

50 farmers killed in Nigeria raid

Al Jazeera [22/11/14]:

Suspected Boko Haram fighters have attacked a village in Nigeria's Borno state, close to the border with Chad, Al Jazeera has learned.

The attack on the northeastern village of Doron Baga is the latest in a string of attacks in the area involving Boko Haram, an armed group claming to be fighting Western influence and for the creation of an Islamic state.

Doron Baga has been repeatedly attacked and, in August this year, was the scene of intense battles between Boko Haram and both the Nigerian military and multinational security forces operating in the area.

The latest attack took place on Friday, leaving at least 50 people, mostly farmers, dead, reports say.

Many people have fled the village, which sits in a remote area of the country close to Lake Chad.

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from Abuja, said that due to the remote location of the villages that come under Boko Haram attack, news of the events often come days afterwards.

According to one source, Boko Haram fighters made their entry on motorbikes and people started running to escape from them.

Some of the villagers were shot while others had their throats slit, witnesses said discussing the killings.

Just days earlier at least 45 villagers were killed when Boko Haram stormed Azaya Kura, in the Mafa area of the same Borno state.

Witnesses reported that the fighters destroyed houses and took away food and livestock.

Earlier this month, Boko Haram seized Chibok, the Borno town from where 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped more than six months ago.

The group has started holding villages it takes for longer periods of time - often only leaving when forced out by local vigilante groups.

Egypt Court confirms jail terms for 85 students

Naharnet [23/11/14]:

An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday confirmed jail terms for at least 85 students convicted of illegal demonstrations and vandalism in protests backing ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, officials said.

Hundreds of students have been tried in civilian courts after violence on campuses, bastions of pro-Islamist activists following the army's overthrow of Morsi in July 2013.

His student supporters have clashed regularly with security forces on university campuses since a nationwide government crackdown left hundreds of people dead and thousands jailed.

More than 200 Morsi supporters have also been sentenced to death after speedy mass trials, which the United Nations criticized as "unprecedented" in recent history.

A Cairo appeals court upheld verdicts sentencing at least 85 students in separate cases to jail terms of up to five years after finding them guilty of illegal protests, illegal assembly, vandalism and joining a terrorist group, judicial sources and a lawyer said.

Defense lawyer Mukhtar Mounir, who represented nine defendants, confirmed the outcome to Agence France-Presse.

"A Cairo misdemeanor court of appeals confirmed the verdict against 85 students, including five female students for violent clashes in al-Azhar University," said Mounir, who attended Sunday's session.

The verdict can still be appealed at the Court of Cassation.

At least 14 students were killed in clashes with security forces during pro-Morsi rallies at universities across the country during the academic year that ended in April.

Morsi himself and several top leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement are also on trial on charges punishable by death.

The authorities blacklisted the Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization" last December.

Newly arrested Brotherhood member accused of collaborating with US, Norway [Ahram - 22/11/14]

Bomb blast near southern Egypt train station: Ministry [Ahram - 22/11/14]

Egyptian judge who imprisoned Al-Jazeera journalists now terrorizing attorneys [ - 22/11/14]

Lavrov accuses US of seeking to 'surreptitiously' topple Assad

Daily Star [22/11/14]:

Russia said Saturday that the US-led operation against ISIS jihadists in Syria could be a guise for trying to "surreptitiously" topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came days ahead of scheduled Moscow talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Syrian delegation.

"Possibly this is not so much an operation against Islamic State as the preparation for an operation to change the regime surreptitiously under the cover of this anti-terrorist operation," Lavrov told a forum of politics experts in Moscow, quoted by TASS news agency.

He accused the US of having "perverted logic" over Assad, saying Washington blamed the Syrian leader's regime for the flood of militants arriving in the region.

"The Americans say that Assad's regime is a very important factor that brings terrorists to the region to try to topple him. I think this is absolutely perverted logic," Lavrov said.

Moscow has been a staunch ally of Assad's regime throughout Syria's civil war and has repeatedly thwarted UN action against him.

Lavrov claimed that his US counterpart John Kerry told him that Washington did not get a mandate for the anti-ISIS operation from the US Security Council because this would require "defining the status of Assad's regime somehow."

"Syria is a sovereign country, a member of the UN. This is not right," Lavrov said.

"The Americans have talked and are talking even with the Taliban. When it needs to be, the United States is very pragmatic. So why is the approach to Syria still ideologized to the hilt?"

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Kerry held telephone talks Friday in which they discussed the need for "renewing as soon as possible the search for political and diplomatic ways to overcome the Syrian crisis and unite the efforts of the global community to fight terrorism on a stable basis of international law."

A Syrian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Walid Moallem is to meet Putin in Moscow Wednesday to discuss a possible relaunch of peace talks with the opposition.

Russia and Saudi Arabia said Friday that they backed a revival of the so-called "Geneva 1" peace plan calling for a transitional government which was the result of talks held in summer 2012 in the Swiss city.

Edward Snowden Receives Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014

Sputnik News [23/11/14]:

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has been awarded Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014, established by citizens’ initiative Die AnStifter, the group said Sunday on its website.

Snowden could not attend the ceremony, but sent a message via a video, urging to fight for the observation of human rights.

"If we are to live in a liberal society, we must stand and defend liberal values," Snowden said.

The whistleblower added that it was important to defend human rights and demand that even the most senior officials observe them, as government and democracy should be founded on people's trust.

In 2013, Snowden leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA), concerning electronic surveillance programs, conducted by US authorities around the world, which included eavesdropping on US citizens and foreign leaders.

Following the incident, the whistleblower was charged with espionage in the United States, with his passport being revoked. In August 2013, Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year. The asylum period was extended by the Russian government for three more years in August 2014.

Germany to drop investigation into US spying on Merkel - report

RT [22/11/14]:

Germany might decide to drop the investigation against the US tapping of Angela Merkel’s communications according to a German magazine report released Saturday.

German magazine Focus used sources close to the German justice ministry to back up their allegations. It quoted one source’s comments saying that basically nothing had been done despite the investigation starting six months ago.

“The result (of the probe) is almost zilch. A lot of hot air, but nothing done,” one source commented.

Investigators have thus far been unable to source any solid proof in order to give the case weight and have subsequently issued a recommendation that the case be dropped, according to the magazine.

Focus’ sources have said that it is likely that the recommendation will be adhered to and the probe will be dropped.

The case was opened in June after allegations were made that there had been spying operations conducted by foreign intelligence agencies on German soil.

Documents leaked to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed widespread habitual spying on the telephone and internet communications of German citizens.

The US and Germany were at odds after the government whistleblower revealed in October 2013 that the NSA had been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls since 2002.

The revelation of bugging of Merkel’s phone in publications based on leaks by NSA whistleblower a heated debate in Germany, which is cautious of government surveillance because of abuses by the East German Stasi secret police.

The German government wanted the US to sign a no-spy deal to address public concern, which Washington rejected.

The CIA’s European Division halted its operations in Western Europe in response to several spying scandals in Germany and the continent’s negative reaction to the revelations of spying by the National Security Agency on European leaders and citizens. The stand-down order has been in effect since July.

Germans give up on getting back their gold held in US [ - 23/6/14]

Why hasn't fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood been charged yet?

Mirror [22/11/14]:

John Prescott

All credit to Panorama for exposing the Fake Sheikh – News of the World and Sun on Sunday reporter Mazher Mahmood.

His underhand entrapment of ­innocent people was dubious at best and, at worst, illegal.

The secret footage showed him gleefully relishing the prospect of destroying the career of actor John Alford, holding out the offer of a movie deal if he supplied him with drugs.

You could see Alford didn’t want to do it. But the Fake Sheikh kept up the pressure until the actor cracked.

It was like watching a snuff movie – an innocent victim having his career killed on camera.

Mahmood tried the same thing with singer Tulisa Contostavlos. But when her drug case came to court, it fell apart after the judge said Mahmood had attempted to persuade a witness to change his evidence then lied about it on oath.

The Crown ­Prosecution Service has now decided not to go ahead with three cases in which Mahmood would have given evidence because the prospect of obtaining a conviction is deemed to be unrealistic.

So why the hell hasn’t Mahmood been charged yet? The judge’s claim that the reporter lied under oath was back in July. Four months have passed and there’s been nothing from the Crown Prosecution Service.

I am concerned the Met Police and the CPS are ­dragging their feet. I experienced the same inertia when I asked them to reopen the phone hacking case in 2009. Keir Starmer, who was head of the CPS at the time, said he’d contacted investigating officers and been told there was no new evidence. There were bags of it – including the hacking of murdered Milly ­Dowler’s phone. But Starmer took the word of senior police officers with long-standing links to Murdoch papers.

The original investigating officer Andy Hayman ended up on Murdoch’s payroll as a columnist. Former Tory MP Louise Mensch did too. She quit ­Parliament and became a Sun writer after voting against a phone hacking inquiry report that strongly criticised the media mogul.

The CPS and Met Police must make a decision on whether or not to charge Mahmood as soon as possible.

Otherwise their commitment to justice will be as fake as the sheikh.

The Daniel Morgan Murder: An Unsolved Mystery of the Murdoch Hacking Scandal [The Daily Beast - 10/5/13]

Brazil slams media 'manipulation' on Petrobras scandal

France 24 [22/11/14]:

Brazilian authorities Saturday blasted a news magazine for media "manipulation" as the government of President Dilma Rousseff battles an escalating kickbacks scandal at state-owned oil giant Petrobras.

Rousseff's press service lambasted Veja magazine for alleging that jailed former Petrobras director and whistleblower Paulo Roberto Costa had sent her email alluding to the payments in 2009.

Veja did not reproduce any evidence to back its claim but alleged Costa wrote to Rousseff as he sought to blindside attempts by the federal accountability office (TCU) to halt three Petrobras refinery projects, thereby preventing any possibility of kickbacks from those schemes.

Rousseff's press service slammed Veja's interpretation as "another episode of journalistic manipulation."

A statement read: "After trying to interfere in the results of the presidential election Veja is now trying to fool its readers by insinuating that, in 2009, the siphoning off of money by Paulo Roberto Costa, Petrobras director fired in March 2012 by President Dilma's government, was already known about.

"(But) the illegal practices of Paulo Roberto Costa only came to light in 2014, thanks to investigations carried out by the federal police and justice ministry.

"Once again, Veja is misinforming its readers and trying to manipulate the facts," the statement concluded.
Rousseff, a former Petrobras board chair, has vowed not to interfere in the investigation into Brazil's biggest company.

But Ronaldo Caiado, leader of Brazil's opposition Democrats, urged Rousseff and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to appear themselves before the congressional investigation.

On the eve of last month's presidential election which saw Rousseff secure a second term, Veja quoted detained money dealer Alberto Youssef as testifying that Rousseff knew about a kickbacks scheme which saw government allies scoop huge sums of cash creamed from overcharged Petrobras contracts.

Nobody has been convicted in the case but Costa and Yousseff are both in detention seeking a plea bargain whereby investigators would give them an eventual reduced sentence in exchange for telling all they know.

Detekt: New tool against government surveillance – Questions and Answers [Amnesty - 20/11/14]:

What is Detekt and how does it work?

Detekt is a free tool that scans your computer for traces of known surveillance spyware used by governments to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.

By alerting them to the fact that they are being spied on, they will have the opportunity to take precautions.

It was developed by security researchers and has been used to assist in Citizen Lab's investigations into government use of spyware against human rights defenders, journalists and activists as well as by security trainers to educate on the nature of targeted surveillance.


Anti bigotry response team established in Perth

ABC [23/11/14]:

A group of volunteers has come together to support Perth's Muslim community after a spate of recent graffiti attacks on places of worship.

The Anti-Bigotry Response Team has gathered outside a Sikh Temple that was mistaken for a mosque and spray painted with anti-Muslim messages three weeks ago.

That incident followed incidents at two Perth mosques and an Islamic school which were painted with slogans including "ban Islam".

The group's Victoria Martin-Iverson said they would be on stand-by to respond to any future attacks.

"What we want to do is show members of ethnic and religious minorities that not everyone in the Australian community is bigoted and that there is a group of concerned citizens that welcomes Muslims, Sikhs a multiplicity of religious and ethnic communities, we celebrate the diversity that immigration brings," she said.

"We want to ensure that our fellow citizens understand they are our neighbours, they are our friends, they are our fellow citizens and we will not tolerate these kinds of racist, bigoted, embarrassing attacks."

Ms Martin-Iverson said members of the Muslim and Christian communities had worked together with members of the Sikh community to remove the racist graffiti.

"We are quite connected now through the different religious communities and we've let them know we are more than happy to come out and roll up our sleeves, get a bit wet, get a bit grubby and make sure that members of our community understand that we are there with them and we will help," she said.

Youth for Cultural Diversity Group established in Gladstone [Gladstone Observer - 24/11/14]

As police, media jackals and evangelicals chase schoolies from the Gold Coast, thousands descend on Airlie Beach, Whitsundays

Daily Mercury [22/11/14]:

Schoolies organisers are preparing for an influx of more than 2000 school leavers at Airlie Beach, which is expected to inject at least $3 million into the economy.

The Whitsundays is the most popular location for Mackay school leavers.

Organisers say the majority of the Schoolies at Airlie Beach will come from the Mackay, Townsville, Moranbah and Whitsunday areas.

While organisers were unable to provide a complete breakdown on how many registrations they had received from Mackay school leavers this year, Queensland Government figures from last year show a total 2180 wristbands were handed out at Airlie Beach.

But there may be more this year. chief Matt Lloyd said their bookings showed about 3000 schoolies were expected to swamp Airlie Beach this year.

He said Schoolies usually spent about $1500 on everything including accommodation, food and alcohol.

With 2000-3000 schoolies expected at Airlie Beach, this will generate $3-$4.5 million.

Whitsunday Mayor Jenny Whitney said most tourist operators had reported being sold out.


Day Three of Gold Coast Schoolies 2014 [QPS Media - 24/11/14]

Robbery with violence, Broadbeach

QPS Media [23/11/14]:

Police are investigating after a man was assaulted and robbed at Broadbeach earlier this evening.

Preliminary information suggest around 7.30pm, an 18-year-old Upper Coomera man had been sitting on a stretch of beach near the intersection of Old Burleigh Road and Margaret Avenue when he was approached by a man.

They struck up a conversation before the man assaulted the 18-year-old, punching him in the head a number of times.

It is believed the man lost consciousness and awoke to find his mobile phone and shoes missing.

He was transported to the Gold Coast University hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening facial and head injuries.

Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

Armed robbery, Labrador

QPS Media [24/11/14]:

Police are investigating the armed robbery of a service station in Labrador last night.

Around 8.30pm, a man entered the Government Road business armed with a knife and demanded money from two male employees, before reaching over and removing the cash drawer from the cash register.

He then left the scene on foot with a sum of money and is described as being Caucasian, with a fair complexion and thin build, wearing a dark coloured hooded jumper.

No one was injured during the incident.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

Australia's glamourous and empowering sex industry: Trawler fisherman accused of choking, robbing prostitute bailed

Tweed Daily News [24/11/14]:

... Jason Bowley had been in custody since he was arrested on Tuesday and charged with the attack of a 64-year-old woman.

His co-accused, Duddley Waterton, was returned to prison for allegedly breaching parole but Mr Bowley was kept at the Hervey Bay watch house pending the outcome of a mental assessment and confirmation of a bail release address.

Dressed in shredded pants and with his underwear fully exposed, an agitated Bowley appeared in court adamant he wanted to "just get out" to seek medical attention despite the absence of any evidence in the mental health report that he was suffering from a condition.

During an earlier appearance, Mr Bowley was heard to yell out "f**k this s**t" while waiting for the proceedings to progress.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell asked why he should still allow bail to which Bowley replied he was "sorry" for acting out.

His lawyer, John Milburn, told the court he planned to contest the charges.

Police Prosecutor Jeanette Grigoris strongly objected to bail on the grounds Bowley posed a risk to the community.

It was alleged Bowley had been identified by the victim on a photo board line up and one of his friends had admitted to police that his phone had been used to contact the sex worker.

Bowley's girlfriend told the court he could stay at her house. Bail was granted on the grounds Bowley submit to random alcohol and drug testing.

Bowley and Waterton are each charged with enter with intent and robbery with violence.

They will return to court in January.

Sunshine Coast protest slams farcical community consultation

Sunshine Coast Daily [23/11/14]:

Protesters have slammed "farcical" efforts at community consultation, as hundreds turned out to publicly reject proposed changes to the Town Plan.

Despite council delaying a meeting to consider amendments to the Town Plan until next year, Development Watch spokeswoman Julie Failor yesterday criticised the Sekisui House attempts to engage with the community over the proposed development at Yaroomba.

"As plans and things come to light, we're realising that all this is farcical," Ms Failor said.

Mayor Mark Jamieson remained steadfast in his position that council was doing the right thing by both the community and potential investors.

"Sekisui House approached Sunshine Coast Council with its Yaroomba proposition late last year when council was in the final stages of preparing the new Planning Scheme," he said.

"It would have been counter-productive and unreasonable to allow such a substantial change to the Planning Scheme, given the public consultation period was already completed.

"Council agreed to consider any proposal in the first round of amendments - a process which requires full community consultation and is the normal course of business for councils across the nation."

Ms Failor questioned why Sekisui House had chosen sites like Woolworths Maleny to seek community input, and why council continued to discuss matters behind closed doors.

A passionate address from former councillor Vivienne Griffin helped spark the crowd of about 500 to vent their frustrations, as they also took to mass text messaging various councillors to make their opposition to the Sekisui House proposal known.

Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy said she was disappointed at some councillors' continued ignorance of public opinion, as the community's attitude was clear.

"Sekisui need to develop in accordance with the current Town Plan and do it in sympathy to the environment," she said.

Cr Jamieson reiterated that any proposed amendment to the planning scheme would not equate to a set-in-stone decision.

"Any Planning Scheme amendment, if it were to be proposed by council, would need to go through a number of processes before an amendment is actually made," he said.

Goulburn: Police pursuit ends in crash, fire

ABC [24/11/14]:

Two men will face court today accused of stealing fuel and leading police on a chase that ended in their car catching fire in the New South Wales Southern Highlands.

The pair allegedly left a petrol station on Yass Street at Gunning early Sunday morning without paying for their fuel.

Not long after, police spotted their car on the Hume Highway in Goulburn.

Highway patrol officers tried to stop the car but it kept going.

They eventually stopped it by putting road spikes in the middle of the highway.

The car crashed into a drain, sparking a grass fire.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but the car was completely destroyed.

The men from Victoria were arrested at the scene.

An 18-year-old was charged with receiving stolen property, dishonestly obtaining property by deception, the police pursuit offence known as Skye's Law, driving a vehicle in a dangerous manner and driving while disqualified.

The 20-year-old was charged with receiving stolen property and dishonestly obtaining property by deception.

US: Twelve-year-old Cleveland boy dies after being shot by police [Reuters - 23/11/14]

Mother of baby boy abandoned in drain near Sydney's M7 charged with attempted murder [ABC - 24/11/14]

UN tells Australia: Sentencing children to life in prison without genuine possibility of parole breaches international law

Human Rights Law Centre Media Release [22/11/14]:

Australia is in breach of its human rights obligations by allowing children to be sentenced to life in prison without the genuine possibility of parole, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has declared.

The Committee – the world’s authority on civil and political rights – issued its findings in response to a complaint brought by Bronson Blessington and Matthew Elliott, who were convicted and sentenced for the rape and murder of Janine Balding in 1988, when they were 14 and 16 respectively.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Senior Lawyer, Ruth Barson, said the question considered by the UN was not whether Blessington and Elliott should be released, but one about the legality of a system that doesn’t allow for the consideration of rehabilitation.

“No one is questioning the terrible nature of the crimes committed, but an effective and lawful response to children committing such crimes requires more than simply locking them up and throwing away the key,” said Ms Barson.

Legislative changes in the years following their sentencing mean that Mr Blessington and Mr Elliott can only be released on parole when they are in imminent danger of dying, or incapacitated. The former Premier of NSW, Bob Carr, described the regime as being designed to ensure that Blessington and Elliott would be “cemented in jail and were never to be released”.

In its decision, the Human Rights Committee held that sentences imposed on children must allow for “a possibility of review and a prospect of release, notwithstanding the gravity of the crime and the circumstances around it.”

The Committee said in its decision that “this does not mean that release should necessarily be granted. It rather means that release should not be a mere theoretical possibility and that the review procedure should be a thorough one.”

Ms Barson said international human rights law, and indeed all Australian jurisdictions’ laws are clear that children should be sentenced differently to adults because of their developmental stages and unique capacity for rehabilitation.

“The prohibition on ‘life without parole’ sentences for young people is well established in international law and apart from some states in the USA, they have been eradicated around the world. As a society, we shouldn’t just slam the door on the possibility of rehabilitation. We shouldn’t just give up on children offenders, we need progress reviews built into our system – not retrospective laws that specifically prohibit them. Now a body of human rights experts have reminded Australia of this” said Ms Barson.

The Australian Government is required to respond to the Committee’s findings within 180 days.

A copy of the decision is available here.

Bodies of 500 sea lions found on Peruvian beach

France 24 [23/11/14]:

Peruvian authorities were investigating Sunday the deaths of some 500 sea lions whose rotting corpses were found on a northern beach.

Environmental police told the official Andina news agency that the decomposing bodies of adult and juvenile sea lions were found on a beach in Santa province about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Lima.

Police are investigating a complaint from the governor of the local Samanco district, who said the sea mammals had been poisoned by marine farmers and fishermen who harvest shellfish.

Sea lions come close to the shore to look for seafood and scallops to eat.

City workers hauled away the corpses, which risked posing a public health hazard.

In early November, the bodies of another 187 sea lions were found in the Piura region farther to the north of Peru, along with four dead dolphins and the corpses of sea turtles and dozens of pelicans.

Wildlife officials are investigating those deaths but have yet to announce their findings.

A range of possible causes are being considered, including disease, entanglement in fishing nets, the ingestion of plastic trash and hunting.

24 November 2014