Egypt deports Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste - Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, remain imprisoned [Al Jazeera - 1/2/15]
You told the truth up to a point, but a lie of omission is still a lie.
Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Lying by omission
Here's The Australian Open Protest Channel 7 Didn't Show You [Pedestrian TV - 1/2/15]:
Earlier tonight, play was interrupted at the Australian Open men's grand final after protesters temporarily took to the court.
Channel 7 chose to delay the telecast for four minutes, opting not to show any of the action, and alluding only to the protest that had taken place.
Photos have since begun to emerge of the incident, showing a group of protesters in the stands holding a banner reading "australia open for refugees #shutdownmanus", and at least one protester being removed from the court by security.
Demonstrators protest for refugees during the men's final match during day 14 of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 1, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) [Eurosport - 1/2/15]
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton continues punishing refugees on Manus Island while Australia's human rights organisations and media maintain their silence.
“IHMS has ceased all routine medical care and are only providing emergency care til further notice.”
The asylum seeker is still waiting to be sent to Port Moresby hospital. He has not been told when he will go.
The hunger strike ended on January 27. This letter is dated January 28. Asylum seeker is still waiting for his appointment.
A source has told me that there are still approximately 50 asylum seekers at Lorengau jail. They have not been charged. ...
Sources have told me some guys have been returned from Lorengau jail to #Manus. They are sent to Chauka then taken to different compounds.
Source says @TransServices to conduct internal investigation under direction of @DIBPAustralia into why asylum seekers taken to jail ...
Asylum seekers have told me they still have not had their property returned to them. property was taken during the searches last week ...
Xborder Statement on #hungerforjustice and the abuse of our name [1/2/15]:
... We are committed to closing down the detention camps.
Others are far more committed to recruiting for political parties or fundraising off the back of discomfort about the existence of detention centres.
We will not, however, trade on the misery of those in detention.
Tamil man fears torture if deported to Sri Lanka
Tamil Fight Back [1/2/15]:
A 25-year-old Tamil asylum-seeker fears he will be tortured if the Australian government goes ahead with its’ plan to send him back to Sri Lanka.
Puvaneethan is set to be moved from detention in Melbourne to Darwin tomorrow at 9 a.m. in what is believed to be preparation for his forced deportation.
Yesterday he pleaded with the Tamil Refugee Council to try to stop his move from the Melbourne Immigration Detention Centre, as he knows it’s the first step towards going back to custody in his homeland.
“As a Tamil my life will be in danger if I get deported back. Sri Lankan intelligence never forgets you. If I’m sent back, there’s every chance I will be tortured,” Puvaneethan told TRC convenor Aran Mylvaganam.
A vigil for Puvaneethan is planned to start at 6 p.m. today outside the detention centre at 53 Hampstead Road, Maidstone.
UN says violence in Iraq kills at least 1,375 in January [Daily Star - 1/2/15]
Al Arabiya [1/2/15]:
The anti-ISIS coalition carried out 27 airstrikes against 76 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets on Saturday, an official with the coalition said.
The targets included a factory where militants reportedly made car bombs in Tal Afar in addition to “large ISIL units near Kirkuk,” Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk said in a tweet.
Defense contractor says it employs Americans shot in Saudi
Daily Star [1/2/15]:
Two Americans who came under fire in Saudi Arabia this weekend are employees of a US defense contractor, the firm said Sunday, confirming the second attack in recent months against Vinnell Arabia.
"We can confirm that two Vinnell Arabia employees were involved in an incident Friday, in which they were shot at by assailants in the al-Ahsa province of Saudi Arabia," the company said in a statement issued through a public relations firm.
"Both employees were injured but are in stable condition at a local hospital," it added.
Saudi police said earlier that one American had been wounded in a shooting.
"A car carrying two American nationals came under fire from an unknown source," on Friday afternoon in al-Ahsa, in Eastern Province, source of most of the kingdom's oil wealth, police said.
Vinnell Arabia provides training for the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a parallel army.
The attack is the fourth against Westerners in the kingdom since October. It comes as Saudi Arabia participates in U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS in Syria, raising concerns about possible retaliation inside the kingdom.
In October, one Vinnell employee was shot dead and another wounded at a petrol garage in the capital Riyadh.
The interior ministry identified the suspected shooter as Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, 24, a U.S.-born Saudi who had been fired from Vinnell Arabia.
The ministry said at the time that the suspect,
who was shot and wounded in a gunfight with security forces, had no "prior
links" with extremist groups.
Pakistan may set up refugee camps near Durand Line
New camps may be set up near the Durand Line for Afghan refugees ahead of their repatriation at the end of the current year, a report said on Sunday.
Provincial authorities had been instructed to acquire land at suitable locations near the border for establishing new camps for refugees to facilitate their repatriation after December 2015.
Dawn reported the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions had recently circulated a letter in this regard to the chief secretaries of the four provinces and Afghan commissionerates.
The ministry also directed the provincial governments to make efforts to confine the movement of refugees to the designated camps.
The authorities already renewed Proof of Registration (PoR) cards of 1.6 million Afghan refugees and thereby legalised their stay in Pakistan until December 2015.
But authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where most of the refugees are living, believe that establishing new camps near the border was not feasible.
The Pakistani police forces have arrested at least 70 Afghan nationals as part of the ongoing operations which were launched following a deadly attack on an army-run school in mid-December last year.
According to the local media reports the Afghan nationals were held for illegally residing in the country.
The reports further added that the Afghan nationals were among 565 suspects arrested during house searches and snap checking at checkpoints.
This comes as at least 935 Afghan nationals were arrested by police in Punjab province of Pakistan over the past one month, according to local media reports.
The Afghan nationals were reportedly arrested for illegally residing in Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and DG Khan parts of Punjab province.
The Construction work of two new power grids worth $13 million and supported by the government of Germany kicked off in northern Samangan province of Afghanistan. ... [Khaama - 2/1/15]
Several Killed in Somalia Airstrike [Naharnet - 1/2/15]
Suspected Boko Haram fighters have launched an offensive against the key Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the largest city in Borno State, witnesses said.
Armed men on Sunday hit Maiduguri's south in a bid to gain entry to the strategically important city. ... [Al Jazeera - 1/2/15]
Argentinian Prosecutor: only Nisman DNA on gun
Buenos Aires Herald [31/1/15]:
Forensic tests on the gun that killed AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman has only found traces of his own DNA, prosecutor Viviana Fein said yesterday.
Traces of DNA found on the pistol, its ammunition and other items from the scene “undoubtedly” matched that of Nisman. That information was also accompanied by the unsettling revelation that a security camera in the service elevator of his apartment building was not working and there are no cameras in the stairwell.
Nisman was found dead in his apartment on January 18, hours before he was to detail allegations that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was involved in a plan to obstruct justice and cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials accused of orchestrating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre.
Nisman’s death remains unexplained and the prosecutor has not conclusively ruled out murder nor found overwhelming evidence that his death was a suicide. An induced suicide or suicide under duress is also a line of investigation.
Supporters of Nisman have insisted the prosecutor would not have killed himself and even Fernández de Kirchner has said that, contrary to initial findings, his death could not have been a suicide.
Chevron to Abandon Shale Natural Gas Venture in Poland
New York Times [31/1/15]:
Chevron said on Friday that it would abandon efforts to find and produce natural gas from shale rock in Poland, in perhaps the biggest setback yet to fledgling efforts to start a European shale oil and gas industry that might help replace the region’s dwindling fuel resources.
Shale development in the United States has been one of the reasons the American energy industry has experienced a renaissance in recent years — so much so that it has contributed to the global glut now depressing oil prices. But Europe, heavily reliant on imported fuel, has had trouble getting started with shale, for geological, environmental and political reasons.
Chevron announced it was abandoning the Poland project the same day the company reported that its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 fell nearly 30 percent compared with a year earlier, to $3.5 billion. The company blamed lower oil prices for much of the damage.
Among the international oil companies, Chevron made the largest commitment to shale efforts in Europe, focusing on the east. It drilled several exploratory wells in Poland and Romania, while also signing agreements in Ukraine and Lithuania.
Chevron said in a statement that it would not continue operations in Poland “as the opportunities here no longer compete favorably with other opportunities in Chevron’s global portfolio.” The company said it was still assessing the results of its exploration well in Romania.
Chevron, which had already pulled out of Lithuania, continues to maintain an office in Ukraine. But that operation is at an impasse with the government in Kiev.
Chevron’s withdrawal from Poland reflects the pressures on all oil companies to trim spending after the recent 60 percent fall in oil prices. But efforts in Europe also have been frustrated by obstinate geology and stiff public opposition on environmental grounds.
My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude: Journalist Barrett Brown looks back in anger at the government’s trumped up charges against him as he starts a 63 month prison sentence. … [The Daily Beast – 31/1/15]
Tweet that started the "Peter Greste is to be deported" rumour appears to have originated via ---> @BakryMP - Mustafa Bakri Mohammed - Egyptian political columnist, journalist [31/1/15].
This is via google translate:
I learned that a republican was made just to relay Australian journalist "Peter" which sentenced former imprisonment in the case of Marriott and cell Al Jazeera
The resolution will be implemented tomorrow morning and will be deported to his native Australia.
Jailed Al Jazeera staff mark 400 days in Cairo prison
Al Jazeera [1/2/15]:
One of the world's leading human rights lawyer has condemned Western governments for failing to put enough pressure on Egypt to free three Al Jazeera journalists who have now spent 400 days in a Cairo prison.
Geoffrey Robertson told Al Jazeera on Saturday that it was hypocritical of so many leaders to stand up for media freedoms over the Charlie Hebdo magazine killings in Paris while turning a blind eye to the same issue in Egypt.
"The success of the Egyptian tactic of locking up these journalists with lickspittle judges who do whatever the government wants and are keeping them in jail is likely to be followed by other autocratic regimes," the British lawyer said.
Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy have been falsely accused of colluding with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in a case that has sparked international condemnation.
After their conviction in June last year, the men were sentenced to between seven and ten years in jail.
Greste has written a letter saying that 400 days in prison "feels far too long".
"In our case, freedom is a continual fight. On January 1, the court overturned our convictions and ordered a retrial. We still have no idea when that might begin or how long it may take," said Greste.
"So, while we remain strong and determined to do whatever it takes to clear our names and win our freedom, 400 days still feels far too long to correct an injustice."
Egypt's Court of Cassation ordered a retrial one month ago, but there is still no indication of when that trial will begin.
That court examined the procedures of the initial case but we are still waiting for its full written judgement to be published.
Meanwhile Fahmy, who has Canadian-Egyptian citizenship, and Greste, who is Australian, have both asked to be deported under a new decree announced in November, but it is unclear if their requests will be successful.
@Vida1B: Imprisoned journalist @PeterGreste quotes FW de Klerk in poignant letter. Freedom is precious #FreeAJStaff :
[This was printed in Rupert Murdoch's 'Australian' on 31 January 2015, so it may not be the full and accurate text of Greste's letter, but it does not appear to be available anywhere else.]
Freedom is a constant struggle
As I began to think about our 400 days in prison, I wondered what I'd say in this letter.
Despite all the talk, all the recognition of the injustice of our arrest, trial and conviction, all the diplomatic and political pressure, we are still in prison with an indeterminate stretch behind bars ahead of us.
Certainly, when we were arrested on December 29, 2013, none of us or our families seriously believed the ordeal would last this long. The absence of evidence that we had committed any crime was complete, and we were all convinced that common sense would prevail sooner rather than later.
Very few Australians would understand what it's like to be innocent but still spend 400 days in a Middle Eastern prison. It is incredibly emotionally draining and infuriating. My primary hope is that one day something good comes of this.
In a recent letter, a friend and colleague told me of a speech she once heard from the former South African president FW de Klerk, who won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Nelson Mandela for his role in ending apartheid.
De Klerk told his audience that peace and freedom do not simply land in our laps. They are things that must be fought for, and not just to win but also to protect. It is, de Klerk said, a hard, constant, daily struggle, and if we are not prepared for the long run, if we take these things for granted and assume that they are natural givens that will always be there, we risk losing them.
This point seems particulary pertinent and poignant in light of the recent massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris and the subsequent debate about the freedom of speech.
I'm not going to add much to that discussion here. Far more articulate and intelligent writers than I have condemned the attack and defended the right to freely challenge ideas and issues without fear of violence or retribution either by individuals or the state.
But it is worth underlining the fact that we cannot protect the things that define a free society – whether they be freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to protest or to organise – by legislating limits to these very things.
Too often the instinct of those in authority seems to be to erode them for the sake of “security”, forgetting that those ideas are the same ones that helped forge stable, tolerant, open and peaceful societies in the first place.
As long as those freedoms are in place, they fade into the background, taking on an almost abstract character, as familiar but also as uncontemplated as the air we breathe. But the moment they are threatened or even taken away, they become as real, urgent and necessary as oxygen.
And as the Charlie Hebdo massacre underlines, they are also far more fragile than we might suppose. I do not want to suggest that Australia or any other free society is in imminent danger of collapse or that a few radicalised extremists are capable of unravelling them. But, equally, we cannot ever forget that these things must constantly be protected, nurtured and indeed celebrated over the long haul.
In the case of we three journalists – myself and producers – Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, along with the four others detained in our case and our colleagues convicted in absentia – freedom is a continual fight.
All of us are deeply frustrated by the time this is taking to be resolved. We have made a significant step forward in demonstrating to the Court of Cassation (Egypt's High Court equivalent) that our original trial was deeply flawed.
On January 1, the court overturned our convictions and ordered a retrial. We still have no idea when that might begin or how long it may take, though in Egypt's clogged judicial system it will certainly be months rather than days or weeks.
So, while we remain strong and determined to do whatever it takes to clear our name and win our freedom, for however long it takes, 400 days still feels far too long to correct an injustice.
12.00 AM 2 February 2015, Queensland's unpopularity contest: 43:40
It ain't over 'til it's over and the best outcome for democracy would be a hung parliament.
... Labor may be the beneficiaries of an austerity backlash in Queensland, but it’s not because they have renounced economic orthodoxy, or sought to oppose its consequences. Just as Newman was elected because he was not Bligh, Annastacia Palaszczuk is relying on disaffection with the incumbent. All over Australia, the electoral see-saw is accelerating, with short or nonexistent honeymoons, and more governments in trouble within a single term.
Politicians and large sections of the media are still desperately trying to pretend that this does not signal a deeper problem. Australia may not be deep enough into its own version of economic crisis to produce a radical alternative party of government. But there are signs to suggest that here, as in other parts of the world, the idea that the era in which we could imagine no alternative to doctrinaire economic liberalism is coming to an end.
Thousands march through the streets of Hong Kong returning focus on the city's pro-democracy movement. … [SBS - 1/2/15]
Greece's new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis interviewed on 30 January 2015 on BBC's Newsnight. [ICH]:
"As a fan of the BBC, I must say I was appalled by the depths of inaccuracy in the reporting underpinning this interview (not to mention the presenter’s considerable rudeness). Still, and despite the cold wind on that balcony, it was fun!"
Greece: The End of Austerity? 
More than 20% of Queenslanders voted NO to the ALP/LNP duopoly
Queensland 2015 Live Results [ABC]
Queensland election won't affect mine: Adani [Yahoo – 1/2/15]
Tropical Cyclone Strengthens Near Australia [Accuweather – 31/1/15]:
Tropical Cyclone Ola developed on Saturday, local time, to the northwest of the island of New Caledonia, several hundred miles to the east of Queensland, Australia.
Through the start of the new week with warm water and relatively light wind shear, further strengthening is expected.
Ola is expected to drift to the south or southwest through Sunday bringing bands of heavy rain and strong wind to New Caledonia. However, the center of the cyclone, along with the worst of the conditions, are expected to remain to the west of the island.
Despite this, 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain and wind gusts near 80 kph (50 mph) are expected to pound the Island, especially western areas. Rough surf and dangerous rip currents will affect all coasts.
As Ola drifts to the south through the start of the week it is expected to move into an area of increased wind shear. This wind shear will work to stop any ongoing strengthening and will eventually weaken the cyclone.
While the track of the system is still unclear during the middle of the coming week, with the wind shear expected to increase and weaken the system, the threat for significant impacts from the cyclone will greatly lessen.
With the significant weakening expected, the coast of eastern Australia is expected to remain free of significant impacts. However, beachgoers and boaters from northern New South Wales into southern Queensland should remain alert for rough surf and rip currents through the middle of the week.
With the exact track of the storm still unclear during the middle of the week, anyone with interests in the Coral Sea or along the coast should keep alert for updates.
Cyclone 370km northwest of New Caledonia, flooding in Samoa [Solomon Star – 31/1/15]
Man jumps off burning sailboat off Queensland's Gold Coast
A man has jumped overboard from a burning boat after its engine caught fire in waters off the Gold Coast.
The fire started on the 40-foot boat just after 11:00am about 25 kilometres off Surfers Paradise.
The man, in his 50s, suffered burns to his hands, face and legs before being forced to jump into the water.
He was rescued by a nearby boat and taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officer Neil Dover said the vessel was gutted.
"They contacted Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and we responded with crews with VMR Queensland we then extinguished the fire and the boat sank in its location off shore," he said.
Customers left high an dry as Bankwest system crashes Bankwest ATMs and eftpos services across Australia crashed on Sunday, leaving many customers without a means to pay for goods. ... [WA Today - 1/2/15]
Once again, Brisbane misses out
CITIZENFOUR Screenings with Scott Ludlam [Greens Media Release - 20/1/15]:
Join Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam for screenings of the Oscar nominated documentary feature, CITIZENFOUR, which gives audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald's encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he releases classified documents disclosing indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The film opens in Australia on February 12, as the Abbott Government continues its push to entrench the surveillance state in Australia via mandatory data retention, despite widespread condemnation from industry, digital rights organisations and advocates right across the political spectrum.
The Government's plans amount to the imposition of a surveillance tax on all Australians: forcing us to pay for unwanted and unnecessary Government intrusion. .
Screenings of CITIZENFOUR will include an introduction from Scott Ludlam and a short audience Q+A, including a discussion of the film and its implications for Australia.
Sydney & Melbourne screenings are presented in coordination with Madman Entertainment, the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria and Electronic Frontiers Australia.
Tuesday 3rd February, 6.30pm
Dendy Cinemas, 261-263 King Street, Newtown
Tickets are free - RSVPs essential
Wednesday 4th February, 6.30pm
Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street, Carlton
Tickets are free - RSVPs essential
Adelaide and Perth details coming soon.
Queensland election 2015 [Guardian - 28/1/15]:
… Here we have a Melbourne blow-in trying to play up to outdated, elitist and plain wrong southern perceptions that Queensland is full of hicks.
Deputy leader of the Greens and federal Melbourne MP, Adam Bandt, is in Brisbane campaigning on daylight savings.
It’s a contentious issue in Queensland, the only state on the east cost of Australia not to change their clocks as summer comes on. Those in the densely populated southeast (who are also close to the beach) would like daylight savings to be brought in but the majority of Queenslanders who live in the country and the north do not want it for a host of varied and complex reasons, mainly to do with farming and how hot it gets in parts of Queensland.
To illustrate the Greens campaign for daylight savings, Bandt, is playing up to stupid stereotypes that Queenslanders are so dumb they’re afraid their curtains will fade if daylight savings is introduced.
Burglary with violence, Molendinar
QPS Media [1/2/15]:
Police are investigating after two people were awoken early this morning by two armed men who broke into their Molendinar home.
At around 4am, two men dressed in dark clothing entered a Sturt Street residence.
One of the men was armed with a piece of wood and the other was armed with a hand gun.
The men threatened a 52-year-old man and a 37-year-old man, before a scuffle broke out.
Both offenders fled the scene.
No one was physically injured during the incident.
Investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Serious assault investigations, Fortitude Valley
QPS Media [1/2/15]:
Police are investigating a serious assault that occurred on Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley earlier this morning.
It is believed that an altercation between two men began in a hotel at about 1am. During the altercation, one of the men assaulted the other, causing him to fall to the ground.
He then continued to assault the man while he was on the ground.
An 18-year-old man sustained serious, but non-life-threatening injuries to his mouth and face. He was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for treatment.
Investigations are continuing and there is no further information available at this stage.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Armed robbery, Noosaville
QPS Media [31/1/15]:
Sunshine Coast detectives are investigating an armed robbery at a residence in Noosaville this afternoon.
Preliminary enquiries indicate that about 3.25pm, two men are believed to have forcibly gained entry to a residence on Goodchap Street. While inside they have both produced bladed weapons and demanded cash from the man and woman who were inside.
The two men have then tied both the man and woman up and assaulted the man, before leaving with a sum of cash and other personal property.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have any information in relation to this incident, or who may be able to identify the two men.
The men are described as being around 20-30-years of age, one being around 183cm tall and the other slightly shorter. Both were wearing back packs.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Fatal traffic crash, Natural Bridge [QPS Media – 1/2/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Buderim [QPS Media – 1/2/15]
Serious assault police charge after fare evasion, Mount Isa [QPS Media – 1/2/15]
Final charges against Joseph Weekley, a police officer who shot dead a 7-year-old girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, in Detroit in May 2010, were dismissed on Friday, leaving a family bereft and raising serious concern among national groups over an increasingly militarized police force. ...
On 16 May 2010, Aiyana was shot dead by Weekley in the middle of the night, as she slept on a sofa inside her home on the east side of Detroit. Her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, was close by.
The home was the target of a midnight Swat-style operation designed to arrest her uncle – who was living in the apartment upstairs and was the main suspect in the murder of a teenager a couple of days before. Weekley was the first officer to enter the home, seconds after a flashbang grenade – a war device created by the British SAS in the 1960s to disorient with a blinding flash and a temporarily deafening noise – was lobbed into it.
Outside, a television reality television crew filmed the events for A&E. ... [Guardian - 1/215]
PNG: Plans to end police, army ops in Hela
PNG Loop [31/1/15]:
Plans are in place to stand down the three hundred personnel on ground for the Hela Joint police and army operations.
This is because funding for the operations has been exhausted.
Hela Provincial Police Commander Mark Yangen says he will recommend to the Highlands Divisional Command to stand down the MS 5 personnel to return to their home base in Mt Hagen.
He says that these officers formed up the Investigation Task force team which he will now need to withdraw or face going into debt with the service providers on ground.
To date Yagen says that the operation has run a cost of more than K3.5 million over the past two months.
He says that while he would love to push for an extended operation period, the prerogative will be with the ACP Highlands Command, the Police Headquarters and the provincial administration.
Meanwhile the operation was effective in reducing fighting in the area with just the usual pay back killings still taking place.
He commended the hard work of the police personnel who stood their ground and carried out their duties despite community members being hostile and uncooperative.
Man dies after lightning strikes family, including newborn and toddler, on Gold Coast
A man has died after being struck by lightning while leaving a polling station with his family on the Gold Coast.
The man aged in his 30s and his family - a woman, a baby aged 12 weeks and a boy aged 18 months - were sheltering from an electrical storm in a park near Worongary State School on Delta Cove Drive just before 4pm when they were hit.
The school was being used as a polling booth for the state election, situated in the seat of Gaven.
Paramedics attended to the man at the scene before he was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a critical condition.
He died about 7pm.
The woman and children were still in hospital in a stable condition with minor injuries.
Chile's Bachelet takes on conservatives with plan to ease abortion ban [Reuters - 31/1/15]
Greece's new leftwing government has asked the heads of the state privatisation agency to resign after halting state asset sales agreed under the international bailout programme, the agency's chief executive Paschalis Bouchoris said on Friday. ... [Reuters - 30/1/15]
Senate Inquiry: Certain Aspects of Qld Govt Administration Next public hearing 4 Feb: Brisbane
Palaszczuk: ... "We are going to restore good government to this state ... We will govern for all of you." ... [Yahoo - 1/2/15]
Newman: ... "I pledge to you that we will conduct ourselves with dignity, grace and humility and we will work for all Queenslanders regardless of their vote tonight." ... [ABC - 24/3/12]
In some electorates, the number of exhausted votes (i.e. voters who rejected both the ALP and LNP) could have changed the outcome.
Queensland's unpopularity contest update
As at 12.40 PM there are several "incorrect candidate selected" entries with reference to several electorates on the ECQ 2015 election summary.
Presumably this means that with preferences these electorates are too close to call: Condamine, Gaven, Gladstone, Gympie, Hinchinbrook, Lockyer, Nanango and Noosa.
Reports one person has been badly burnt in a fire on board a boat about 4-5 NM off the #GoldCoast @7NewsBrisbane [1/2/15]
Boat fire off the #goldcoast reports of patient with significant burns being transported to shore, all others off the vessel. #7newsQ @Jonnygearing
Explosion on horizon @Sechysdiary
Boat on fire on the horizon. Taken from Broadbeach on Gold Coast. @GlennoNZ
Suspicious fire, Marsden
QPS Media [1/2/15]:
Police are investigating a fire at a school in Marsden, which occurred earlier this morning.
At about 1.30am, an alarm was activated at a school on Hickory Street.
When security officers attended, they found a two classroom block well alight.
Police and emergency services personnel attended and were able to extinguish the fire, however the block sustained significant damage.
Police will continue to guard the scene, until further investigations take place later today.
The fire is being treated as suspicious until the cause of the fire is determined by investigating officers.
There is no further information available at this stage.
A million documents damaged in Russian library blaze
France 24 [31/1/15]:
A fire that ripped through one of Russia's largest university libraries is believed to have damaged over one million historic documents, with some describing the fire as a cultural "Chernobyl."
The blaze, which started Friday and was still not completely out on Saturday evening, ravaged 2,000 square metres (21,500 square feet) of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION), which was created in 1918 and holds 10 million documents with some dating back to the 16th century.
"It's a major loss for science. This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the (United States) Library of Congress," Vladimir Fortov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences was quoted as saying by Russia press agencies.
"One can find documents there that are impossible to find elsewhere, all the social sciences use this library. What has happened here is reminiscent of Chernobyl," he said referring to the 1986 nuclear catastrophe.
Fortov said about 15 percent of the collection had been damaged at the library, which includes one of the world's richest collections of Slavic language works, but also documents from Britain, Italy and the US.
The fire broke on Friday evening on the library's second floor and continued burning all day Saturday despite 200 firefighters efforts to douse the blaze.
Library authorities initially said the documents were not in danger, but once the fire caused 1,000 square metres of the roof to collapse they were less certain about the risk to the collection.
A rescue service source told state-owned Russian press agency Ria-Novosti it was impossible to remove the books due to the intense heat in the building.
Iraqi Libraries Ransacked by Islamic State Group in Mosul [ABC News - 31/1/15]
Bangladesh plastics factory fire kills 13 in Dhaka
At least 13 people have died and dozens have been injured in a fire at a plastics factory in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, officials say.
The cause of the blaze in the multi-storey Nasim Plastic building is still unclear, but it may have triggered by a faulty gas cylinder or boiler.
The fire was later brought under control. Fire-fighters are now searching through the rubble.
Factory fires are common in Bangladesh, where safety conditions are often poor.
In 2012, 112 workers died in a fire in the factory just outside the capital.
The country suffered an even greater tragedy in 2013 when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing 1,135 people.
New Zealand: Climate refugee takes fight to Supreme Court
A climate refugee seeking asylum in New Zealand is taking his fight to the Supreme Court.
Ioane Teitiota has been battling deportation back to Kiribati since 2011 when he overstayed his visa.
He argues he faces indirect persecution from global warming in his home country.
Earlier appeals to the courts have been knocked back, but Mr Teitiota has now been given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
His lawyer Michael Kidd hopes developments in the past few months will work in their favour.
He said since the Court of Appeal's decision in May last year, the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported back, suggesting small island sea levels are rising at a faster rate.
Mr Kidd said he had asked the Supreme Court to consider the report as evidence.
Refugee resettlement is not possible without the participation of the United Nations.
These men have been exiled.
The ABC - and other Australian media outlets - are also ignoring the recommendations of last year's Senate Inquiry i.e. that the United Nations, Human Rights Commissioner, lawyers and journalists should have access to the refugees on Manus Island.
The ABC refuse to hold the IOM and Minister for Immigration to account.
They are protecting those responsible for committing human rights atrocities in the name of the Australian people.
ABC Current Affairs - @amworldtodaypm [1/2/15] Manus Island: behind the spin, secrecy and politics is one refugee who's just happy to be out of the detention centre http://ab.co/1ylHVek
This week's challenge: Call on the UNHCR Australia and Human Rights Commission to do their job and respond to human rights atrocities against refugees on Manus Island.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
14 Kendall La, Canberra ACT 2601
(02) 6281 9100
Australia for UNHCR is governed by a board of directors who generously volunteer their time and their expertise to the strategic management and governance of the organisation.
According to their 2013 Annual Report, 67,000 Australians donated to Australia for UNHCR, facilitating emergency responses in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, South Sudan and Syria.
Donations and gifts to Australia for UNHCR amounted to $22,716,276
Po Box 428 QVB Syd NSW 1229
Suite 601/ 66 King St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9262 5377
... Fill your senses with the sights, sounds and smells of Southeast Asia. ... Cycle for Refugees
"What We Do" UNHCR:
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly.
The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.
Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. …
Make a complaint:
Complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission must be in writing. To ensure that all necessary information is provided, we prefer that you complete one of our complaint forms provided below. You can complete and submit a complaint online or you can print a hard copy and send it to us.
About the Commission:
Leading the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia by:
•making human rights values part of everyday life and language;
•empowering all people to understand and exercise their human rights;
•working with individuals, community, business and government to inspire action;
•keeping government accountable to national and international human rights standards;
Our statutory responsibilities include:
•education and public awareness
•discrimination and human rights complaints
•human rights compliance
•policy and legislative development.
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
US judge denies asylum for Afghan army officer who fled training [Khaama - 31/1/15]
Police commander killed with son in Herat explosion [Khaama - 31/1/15]
4 Afghan Border Police killed in Nuristan explosion [Khaama - 31/1/15]
Kurdish ground forces, helped by U.S. and allied air support, have retaken the Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State militants, U.S. Lieutenant-General James Terry said on Saturday. ... [Reuters - 31/1/15]
Second Japanese hostage 'beheaded' by ISIL [Al Jazeera - 31/1/15]
ISIL Chemical Weapons Expert Killed in Coalition Airstrike [Centcom – 30/1/15]
Islamic State seizes oil facility in north Iraq, 15 workers missing [Reuters – 31/1/15]
Tens of thousands of longtime Palestinian refugees in a camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital have been cut off from United Nations emergency aid for nearly two months by armed groups that are preventing access, a U.N. official said. ... [Daily Star – 31/1/15]
Palestinians say West Banker killed by Israeli soldiers [Ahram - 31/1/15]
The CIA and Israel's spy agency Mossad were behind an elaborate plot to kill Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in a 2008 car bomb attack in Syria, the Washington Post reported Friday. ... [Daily Star - 31/1/15]
Egyptian security forces attacked in Sinai Peninsula [Al Jazeera - 31/1/15]
US drone attack kills 4, Yemen [Naharnet - 31/1/15]
Houthi fighters in Yemen have used live ammunition to break up demonstrations against their takeover of the capital city Sanaa, witnesses have said. ... [Al Jazeera - 31/1/15]
Chad army says kills 120 Boko Haram militants in Cameroon [Reuters - 31/1/15]
Bahrain said Saturday it had revoked the citizenship of 72 people convicted of "harming the interests of the kingdom" in unrest by the Shiite majority since 2011. ... [Daily Star - 31/1/15]
No breakthrough as Ukraine peace talk parties meet in Minsk amid worsening crisis [RT - 31/1/15]
Thousands of Ukrainian troops thought to be trapped in Donbass [RT – 30/1/15]
UN relief agencies in Ukraine urge full access to affected populations in country’s east [Media Release - 30/1/15]
London Vigil in solidarity with Manus Island detainees:
Tuesday, February 3 at 5:30pm
Australia House, Strand, London
As part of a wave of international protest, we are holding this candle light vigil at Australia House, London, in solidarity with asylum seekers illegally detained by the Australian Government in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Earlier this month, asylum seekers in the Australian Government-managed detention center held a large scale hunger strike in protest against Australian plans to permanently settle refugees in PNG - one of the least resourced nations in the Asia Pacific.
Up to 700 detainees are reported to have participated in the protest, which was violently shut down by security guards.
We stand in solidarity with this protest against the ongoing, illegal, and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian Government, and with all those seeking asylum in Australia.
This vigil aims to let people inhumanely detained in Australia, Nauru, and PNG know that expatriate Australian and international communities stand in solidarity with them and call for them to be settled in Australia.
We call for Manus Island detention centre to be closed down and for an end to immigration detention.
Bring candles & signs.
Please share this invitation.
PNG profiting from human misery on Manus [Namarong – 27/1/15]:
... We may not have a history of slavery but our people have been Black Birded and kept against their will to make profit for the sugar plantation owners in Queensland. The only way I can describe what is happening on Manus is that it is like a rape victim helping the rapist to rape other people and getting pleasure out [of] it.
As black people with the collective experience of exploitation of blacks, we ought to be moral beacons of emancipation of humanity just like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jnr. Instead we collude with our oppressors to oppress others. ...
Cross Examination of Hermann Goering [18/3/1946]:
… MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And upon coming to power you also considered it immediately necessary to establish concentration camps to take care of your incorrigible opponents?
GOERING: I have already stated that the reason for the concentration camps was not because it could be said, "Here are a number of people who are opposed to us and they must be taken into protective custody." Rather they were set up as a lightning measure against the functionaries of the Communist Party who were attacking us in the thousands, and who, since they were taken into protective custody, were not put in prison. But it was necessary, as I said, to erect a camp for them one, two, or three camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you are explaining, as the high authority of this system, to men who do not understand it very well, and I want to know what was necessary to run the kind of system that you set up in Germany. The concentration camp was one of the things you found immediately necessary upon coming into power, was it not? And you set them u as a matter of necessity as you saw it?
GOERING: That was faultily translated- it went too fast. But I believe I have understood the sense of your remarks. You asked me if I considered it necessary to establish concentration camps immediately in order to eliminate opposition. Is that correct?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your answer is "yes," I take it?
... ''We need to be flexible enough to anticipate and match their actions to avoid the terrible consequences of this trade. No doubt there will be some people smugglers who now encourage asylum seekers to test our resolve. Be in no doubt. If people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a people smuggler, they are buying a ticket to a country other than Australia.'' ... [Rudd slams door on refugees - Sydney Morning Herald - 20/7/13]
Annastacia's stunning achievement for QLD women, stunning achievement for the daughter of a Polish migrant from war-torn Germany
"tweeted" by Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - @MrKRudd - who exiled refugees to their deaths on Manus Island.
PNG media report that guards at Australia's death camp on Manus Island deny taking mobile phones from refugees, silent on the disappeared [PNG Loop - 31/1/15]
The UK authorities must respond urgently to a statement today by a former Bush Administration staffer that interrogations of CIA detainees took place on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, Amnesty International said. ... [Media Release - 30/1/15]
1 February 2015