Unfunny comedian, who has made a career out of pointedly ignoring the elephant in the room, plays Jupiter's Casino



 Surfers Paradise telephone booth [28/3/17]



China's military carried out drills along the border with Myanmar on Tuesday, in a show of force to highlight its resolve to protect its people, state news agency Xinhua said, following clashes between Myanmar security forces and ethnic rebels.

Fighting this month in Myanmar pushed thousands of people into China to seek refuge, prompting Beijing to call for a ceasefire between ethnic militias and the security forces.

Xinhua said the joint land and air exercises were part of planned annual drills, but did not say exactly where they took place. ... [Reuters - 28/3/17]



Myanmar army chief rules out Rohingya citizenship, defends ongoing genocide [Al Jazeera - 27/3/17]



Mullikulam villagers protest for sixth day amidst heavy surveillance [Tamil Guardian - 28/3/17]



Kilinochchi locals marched calling for the withdrawal of the Sri Lankan army from public lands, in particular from the Vaddakkachchi Agricultural Farm, which is currently being used as a military camp. ... [Tamil Guardian - 27/3/17]



Girl repeatedly placed in solitary confinement as punishment for self harm at Australian youth detention centre [NITV- 28/3/17]:


A girl who attempted suicide six times over five days at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre had just been returned from hospital for self harming and was put straight back into isolation.

The man in charge of Don Dale operations in March 2015, James Sizeland, told the Northern Territory Juvenile Justice Royal Commission he didn't have the authority to take the inmate out of lock down.

The girl, known as AN, had a history of trying to kill herself when placed in solitary confinement.

She had just arrived back at the jail from hospital after another self harm episode when she was put back in a cell for 34 hours with only a 30 minute respite, AN's lawyer Stewart O'Connell said.

Then "all hell broke loose" and the young offender was hospitalised three times over the next five days. ...



Former inmate of Australian youth detention centre placed in solitary confinement for 2 months at age 14 [Nine MSN - 27/3/17]:


A Northern Territory youth prison guard allegedly told a boy who threatened to take his own life while in isolation to "go ahead" and do it, an inquiry has heard.

The former Don Dale Detention Centre detainee known as BE has told the juvenile justice royal commission he was first kept in solitary confinement for two months when he was about 14.

Now 19 and in an adult prison, he says the filthy cells of the Behavioural Management Unit had no running water, fans or natural light.

"I often wanted to hurt myself and I would bang my head against the wall of the cell," BE wrote in a statement tendered on Monday.

When the teen told one guard he wanted to kill himself, the officer's alleged response was "go ahead then, do it".

BE said he wasn't allowed to talk to his family and he never saw a doctor or counsellor.

"That made me feel like no one cared about me. It made me feel like hurting myself more," he said.



... Mr Harmer said officers on a power trip regularly swore at kids, calling them "oxygen thieves", "camp dogs" and racial slurs like "black poofter".

Guards screened graphically violent movies, including ‘Grand Theft Auto’ for the kids, many of whom were in detention for stealing cars. ... [NITV - 24/3/17]



Juveniles arrested after Mount Isa crime spree [North West Star – 28/3/17]



Australia: Investigation finds 4,000 institutions implicated in child sex abuse [Asian Correspondent - 28/3/17]



Federal Court rules in favour of Victorian man over NDIS payment of transport costs [ABC - 28/3/17]



A 74-year-old man suffering from terminal prostate and bowel cancer did not get enough pain relief while at a private hospital, an investigation has found.

The case was detailed in a report released today by Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall.

It began when the man was admitted to a private hospital in 2013 for pain management and palliative care.

He remained there for 23 days.

Ms Wall said two registered nurses and the hospital, which was owned and operated by Bupa Care Services, made several mistakes about which drugs the elderly man received - and how often.

During the man's admission, staff stopped giving him the painkiller methadone.

They did not realise their mistake for six days.

The man's daughter said her father seemed overwhelmed by pain during this period. ... [RNZI - 27/3/17]



Cyclone Debbie threatens coal exports from Queensland mines [ABC – 28/3/17]



Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last! ---> Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday it will drill 161 new gas wells at its Queensland operations by the end of 2018, helping to underpin its promise to continue supplying 10 percent of the domestic gas market to help prevent a shortage.

The project at its QGC operations in the Surat Basin in southeast Queensland has been planned for some time as existing wells decline, with the new wells due to be drilled this year and next. ... [Reuters - 21/3/17]



Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching restarts (for second year in a row) [CleanTechnica - 20/3/17]



Blame the corrupt ALP and LNP - not the Chinese - for thieving the commons ---> Tensions boil over on Gold Coast with angry residents fighting plans for a Casino on The Spit. ... @9NewsGoldCoast [26/3/17]



Local feedback has prompted the State Government to expand the community consultation area on The Spit’s Parklands rejuvenation to include two small areas of parkland.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced that the two areas known as Phillips Park and Muriel Henchman Park on the Gold Coast Spit would now be covered by the current consultation process. ... [Queensland Government Media Release - 24/3/17]



Barkly Highway truck rollover necessitates recovery operation involving crane [North West Star – 27/3/17]



Person hospitalised after car crashes into house at Ashmore [MYGC - 28/3/17]



An out of control car has crashed into a shopfront at Kirra this afternoon, leaving one person in a serious condition.

The accident occurred outside a strip of popular cafes on Musgrave Street around 1.20am.

Police said initial investigations suggest the car failed to negotiate a bend and drove onto a footpath and outdoor dining area where it struck a male pedestrian.

The man, whose age is not known, was treated at the scene by paramedics before being rushed to the Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious condition.

The male driver of the car was also taken to hospital with seat belt injuries.

The forensic crash unit is investigating. [MYGC - 27/3/17]



A man has been killed after losing control of his car and smashing head-on into a bus near the Gold Coast Airport. ... [MYGC - 26/3/17]



Gold Coast man charged over brutal bashing in Surfers Paradise [MYGC - 26/3/17]



US Supreme Court refuses to hear Vimeo music copyright dispute [Reuters - 27/3/17]



The Ministry of Defence’s former cyber security chief has accused the Government of trying to “use” the devastating Westminster attack to grab unnecessary and intrusive surveillance powers.

Major General Jonathan Shaw said ministers were attempting to “use the moment” to push for security services having more control, despite there being only a weak case for it. 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has turned up the heat on internet firms, saying it is “completely unacceptable” that authorities cannot look at encrypted social media messages of attacker Khalid Masood, but her words come as debate continues over allowing spy agencies further intrusive powers – only last year Parliament granted them sweeping new capabilities.

After Ms Rudd demanded access to encrypted messages on sites like WhatsApp, Major General Shaw said unlocking the data would also allow other parties – like criminals and foreign spies – to access it, and said legislating for such a move would not necessarily make it easier to stop future terror attacks.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I think there’s a lot of politics at play here.

“There’s a debate in Parliament about the whole Snooper’s Charter and the rights of the state and I think what they are trying to do is use this moment to nudge the debate more in their line.”

Major General Shaw argued that if the Government does push through laws to decode messages on sites like WhatsApp, terrorists would quickly use other secure methods of communicating. ... [The Independent - 27/3/17]



 @wikileaks [27/3/17]:  WikiLeaks' editor Julian Assange on Russia & Snowden ...


... Anyway, it is quite odious that Snowden is being beaten over the head with Russia by The Guardian—a publication he ought to have been able to trust.

Snowden has to be in Russia.

Russia is now the only place asylum for him can be meaningful.

If he is anyone's captive, he is a peculiar kind of captive of the United States, which, having canceled his passport, will not allow him to safely leave Russia's borders, trapping him there. ...



UN holds talks on banning nuclear weapons without Russia, US [TASS - 27/3/17]:


... On February 28, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov spoke out in favor of boosting cooperation between the nuclear powers commenting on the upcoming consultations in the UN.

"We proceed from the assumption that nuclear weapons are a factor of maintaining stability, a factor that ensures international security, guarantees our security and protects the world from the most horrific conflicts," he emphasized.

For its part, the US administration said it will try to persuade other UN member-counties to vote against the convention.

According to Christopher Ford, National Security Council’s Senior Director for weapons of mass destruction and counter-proliferation, this ban will not promote peace and security throughout the world.

Meanwhile, North Korea refused to take part in the conference.

The country’s Foreign Ministry said that Pyongyang "needs to step up its military deterrence capabilities, including nuclear forces," in the face of the threat coming from the US and South Korea.

The delegations of some non-nuclear powers, including Australia, will not take part in the forum either.

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the proposed convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons offers no practical ways towards effective disarmament, while nuclear deterrence continues to be the cornerstone of international security.



Lawyers acting for villagers claiming they were caught up in a 2010 raid involving New Zealand SAS troops have formally asked Prime Minister Bill English to hold an independent investigation. ... [RNZI - 28/3/17]



Kenyan troops in Somalia killed 31 Islamist al Shabaab militants in a raid on two of their bases in the southern Somali region of Jubbaland, the Kenyan military said on Monday. ... [Reuters - 27/3/17]



A Spanish court said on Monday it would investigate a criminal complaint against members of the Syrian security and intelligence forces related to alleged state terrorism and forced disappearance of people.

The complaint was brought by a Syrian-born woman of Spanish nationality who says her brother disappeared after being arrested and was tortured and executed in 2013 at a center in Damascus under the control of the Syrian security forces.

It is the first criminal case against Syrian security forces to be investigated by a foreign court, said Toby Cadman, a lawyer for London-based chambers Guernica 37 which is representing the woman bringing the charge. ... [Reuters - 27/3/17]



United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 27/3/17]



@ChiosMonitor [27/3/17]:  Two Algerians swam from Cesme to Chios. They swam in desperation for NINE HOURS. (Photo credit to @ChiosTeam) #refugeesGR #Chios #Refugees



Syrian man carrying asylum papers found hanged at Greek port [ITV - 27/3/17]:


A Syrian man carrying asylum application papers has been found hanged at Greece's largest port.

It comes as the country faces a major migrant crisis with more than 62,000 stranded including outside Piraeus in Athens where the body was found.

The man was discovered early on Monday morning near a passenger departure area at the port, local media said.

Hundreds of migrants including young children are camped in tents outside the ferry terminal.

The number of daily arrivals of migrants at Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast has risen slightly in recent days.

The coast guard said 75 migrants had arrived during the 24 hour period before Monday morning.



Amid criminalisation, delayed rescue, and mass dying, the struggle for freedom of movement continues [Alarm Phone/Watch the Med Report - 24/3/17]



... The barrister acting for the Home Office asked Laura, who appeared in the corner of the courtroom between two guards, whether she knew the name of her son’s nursery teacher.

Laura said quietly that no, she did not.

The point of this questioning was, of course, to persuade the judge that Laura was, as far as her children were concerned, superfluous to requirements, having been separated and effectively “replaced” by a foster mother.

Fortunately the judge decided that Laura should remain the mother of her children, and a few weeks later, following a bail hearing, Laura and Victor were released from Yarl’s Wood.

The family remain split up, fighting for suitable accommodation while the children remain in care, but at least they are able to see the children more freely now.

Of being separated from her children, Laura says now: “It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It was like my world had come to end. I was lonely, frustrated, hopeless and very anxious.”

Since her release, Laura has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. Laura feels that the children have also suffered due to their parents’ detention.

“The children’s rights were violated,” she tells me.

“They were forced to live with a person who they didn’t know. I can still remember the transition process, it was a nightmare for them. Emotionally and psychologically they are severely affected.”

Of course it is a good thing that children are no longer routinely detained in the UK – but we have to ask, at what price do we separate children from their parents for the purposes of immigration control? ... Too many women will spend this Mother's Day trapped in a British detention centre [Independent - 26/3/17]



Mexican man’s widow sues over Otay Mesa immigration detention centre death, says pleas for medical care ignored [The San Diego Union-Tribune - 23/3/17]:


... The lawsuit names the federal government, as well as CoreCivic — the private company contracted to run the Otay Mesa Detention Center and many others across the nation — as well as a CoreCivic guard identified as C.O. Langdon.

Health care at the facility is provided by ICE’s Health Service Corps and the federal Public Health Service, according to the lawsuit.


Cruz-Sanchez was healthy when he was arrested but contracted pneumonia soon after, according to the complaint.

“He would be alive today if authorities had honored their legal and moral duty to care for their own witness,” the lawsuit states.

“This lawsuit seeks justice on behalf of Gerardo Cruz-Sanchez and the family that he left behind.”

 The illness began with flu-like symptoms, and Cruz-Sanchez’s many requests for medical attention were rebuffed, according to the complaint.

He then started coughing up blood, “saturating his clothing and bed sheets,” the lawsuit says.

He pleaded with Langdon and medical staff members for intervention but received none, the suit says.

His condition deteriorated so that he could not talk, move or swallow food, and he suffered from respiratory distress and wheezing, the suit says.

His cellmate, Alejandro Chavez, called the Mexican consulate 20 to 30 times asking for assistance, and on Feb. 22 a Spanish interpreter visited Cruz-Sanchez.

It is unclear from the lawsuit if the interpreter tried to take action.

The cellmate repeatedly begged Langdon — a Spanish-speaking officer — for help for Cruz-Sanchez, but Langdon mocked him, told the two to stop “complaining,” and told Cruz-Sanchez to “man up” and “stop being a chicken,” according to the lawsuit.

On the morning of Feb. 26, Cruz-Sanchez’s mattress was soaked in blood from the coughing, and detainees moved him to a table in the common room to try to get him to eat, the lawsuit says.

Langdon is accused of scolding them and forcing Cruz-Sanchez to get on the ground.

The others were ordered back to their cells, the lawsuit says.

Later that day, Cruz-Sanchez was taken to the emergency room at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, where he died Feb. 29. ...



... J was sent to Riker’s, a prison in New York City.

His dad could have posted bail, but J’s lawyer advised him against it.

The moment J was processed, he was flagged for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because he’s undocumented.

So if he had posted bail, he would have been immediately detained by ICE, regardless of whether he was guilty or not.

J was adamant that he was innocent. He refused to plea to anything.

So he sat in prison waiting for a court date for almost a year.

“I still to this day, I have no words to describe how that made me feel,” J explains.

“You know it’s like, that’s what I hate, being blamed for something you didn’t even do. Why, why, why, am I even spending time here? Why I am I being accused of this at all?”

After more than 11 months, J got a trial in front of a jury.

Unlike most defendants, he decided to testify.

“I told the story that I am telling you, and they heard. They listened. They didn’t saw tattoos. They saw who I was,” J remembers.

The jury found him not guilty. J was free to go. He went home and back to work. ... Falsely accused and facing deportation [NPR - 24/3/17]



Vietnamese asylum seeker commits suicide after being held nearly 20 years in Japanese immigration detention centre? [Reuters - 27/3/17]:


A Vietnamese man held in a solitary cell at an immigration detention center in Japan committed suicide, a Vietnamese community leader said, raising fresh questions over conditions in the country's detention facilities.

Nguyen The Hung killed himself on Saturday at the East Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of the capital, Tokyo, said Tam Tri Thich, a Buddhist nun who said she received the information from the Vietnamese embassy in Tokyo.

The Vietnamese embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the man's identity.

Nguyen, born in 1969, arrived in Japan in 1998 to seek asylum, Tam Tri told Reuters on Monday.

He was one of more than 11,000 refugees Japan took in during the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Tam Tri, who heads a Vietnamese Buddhist group in Japan, said the embassy had asked her to arrange funeral services for Nguyen, which she aims to fund through donations raised from other members of the community.

The death of Nguyen, who also went by the name Van Huan Nguyen, takes to 13 the toll since 2006 in Japan's immigration detention system, a figure that has sparked criticism from activists that authorities have not done enough to improve conditions at the centers.

Mental health problems are rife, with many detainees held for periods ranging from months to years and falling into depression.

Suicide accounted for four of the cases before Nguyen's death, Justice Ministry data show.

Two men, one of whom had also been held in a solitary cell, died in 2014 at the same facility where he was held.

A spokesman for the East Japan Immigration Center confirmed that a Vietnamese man in his forties died on Saturday.

Asked if it was suicide, he declined to comment.

A guard who found the man unconscious in his cell at around 1 a.m. on Saturday called an ambulance and performed cardiac massage before the detainee was taken to hospital, where his death was confirmed 80 minutes later, the center added.

Authorities would hold an autopsy to determine the cause of death, the center said, but declined to say why the man had been detained, or for how long.

Nguyen did not have relatives in Japan, said a Vietnamese woman who knew him, adding, "He was a bright, fun person...I can't believe he committed suicide."

His family members are arranging to come to Japan to attend the funeral services, Tam Tri added.

A Reuters investigation into the death of a Sri Lankan held in a solitary cell at a Tokyo detention center revealed serious gaps in medical care and monitoring.

Doctors visit some of Japan's centers as infrequently as twice a week, with no medical professionals on weekend duty at any facility.

Four of the five most recent deaths took place when doctors were off duty.

On weekdays, visiting doctors are available for just four hours a day at the East Japan facility.

But the center will hire a full-time doctor from April, the first move of its kind in Japan, an official from the Justice Ministry overseeing immigration detention told Reuters.









The only way to end this inhumanity is to demand that both the ALP and LNP end their anti-refugee policy [Yahoo  28/3/17]:


Zaharah (not her real name) is a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar and her father Nayser has spent the last three and half years in limbo at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

Her family was split up when they were forced to board separate asylum-seeker boats from Indonesia bound for Australia in 2013.

Only 11 people could fit in the van which took them to the boat and her father was the 12th person, so the driver said he couldn't get in, Zaharah said.

The year 12 student has been in Canberra on Monday and Tuesday to urge federal MPs to lobby Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to use his ministerial discretion to allow her father, who has refugee status, to come to Australia.

Both Labor and the coalition governments have maintained no refugees will be settled in Australia if they arrived by boat after July 19, 2013.

 Zaharah's father arrived after this deadline, unlike the rest of the family. Zaharah loves life in Australia, enjoys studying maths at school and wants to study pharmacy at university.

But her heart aches for her dad, who used to help her with her homework.

"I miss his smile, I miss his voice, I miss his walk," she told AAP.

"We would always eat dinner together as a family - we rarely missed one for as long as I can remember. Now, dinner time is hard."

Her toddler niece was born in Australia and has never met her grandfather.

"He talks to her on the phone and tells her he wants to hug her," Zaharah said. ...



Media and "opposition" feign ignorance of Australian military's involvement in wars of imperial aggression in faraway lands (and on refugees) being the key reasons they are unable to defend and protect us during a natural disaster [ABC - 28/3/17]



Plibersek: People coming to Australia by boat should not expect to be accepted into our refugee & humanitarian intake ...


"tweeted" by @ABCNews24 [29/9/15]



Shorten: Offshore regional processing is an important part of defeating the crime gangs. ... ‏@ABCNews24 [4/2/16]



Labor will be supporting this legislation because it is our policy.  "Opposition" Leader, Bill Shorten speaking on the Migration Amendment (Regional Processing Arrangements) Bill 2015  [House of Representatives Hansard - 24/6/15]



The trial of a refugee who attempted escape to Fiji from Australia/PNG illegal "resettlement" regime is PRETTY FUCKING SIGNIFICANT.  But whatever happened at yesterday's Waigani District Court hearing appears to have been censored by both the Australian and regional media ---> The trial against Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari, who fled Papua New Guinea to Fiji in January and sought refuge but was deported, has been deferred to March 27 at the Waigani District Court. ... [Asia Pacific Report - 15/3/17]



Where are you Amnesty International?  Why do all these human rights organisations go silent at the most crucial times? Where is your followup since February? PNG: All charges against Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari must be dropped [Amnesty - 13/2/17]



28 March 2017