@BehrouzBoochani [2/4/17]:  A Rohingya refugee with epilepsy in Lorengau police station in #Manus for past two days. Anything happens to him Australia is responsible

 

 

... After five days at sea, their boat reached Australian waters, but the engine failed as they struggled to make their way closer to Christmas island.

The Rohingya desperately waved to the crew of a passing Australian Navy vessel, which Mr Abdul said did not respond.  ...  [The Straits Times - 1/2/16]

 

 

Asylum seeker boat deaths avoidable, West Australian coroner rules [Sydney Morning Herald - 24/2/12]:

 

The West Australian state coroner has criticised the federal government for failing to provide rescue vessels on Christmas Island despite the likelihood a marine tragedy would occur as increasing numbers of flimsy wooden boats carried hundreds of asylum seekers into its dangerous waters unmonitored.

The coroner, Alastair Hope, said the SIEV 221 disaster, which killed 50 asylum seekers on December 15, 2010, was ''generally foreseeable'', and another tragedy remained an ''ongoing risk while these boats continue to travel to Christmas Island''.

He has called for visual and radar surveillance to be used.

It was island residents who first spotted SIEV 221 before it was dashed against jagged rocks, killing 50 of its 89 passengers, including 15 children.

The navy had argued to the eight-month-long coronial inquest into Australia's worst maritime accident in 115 years that it wasn't the responsibility of Border Protection Command to monitor people smuggler vessels for safety reasons. ...

 

 

'Evil Smugglers' tag nicely hides our own political evil and toxic debate [Project SafeCom Inc. - 17/12/10]:

 

... "Just five QANTAS Boeing-747's, flying in darkness under a media ban to Jakarta in collaboration with Indonesia, will stop the boats - if that's indeed the agenda of our Canberra politicians. I'm absolutely confident that Indonesian authorities on all levels of government would be only too keen to help collect everyone from around the country and help us," Mr Smit said.

"Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and everyone else who's peddling spin, smoke and mirrors around boat arrivals need to stop the continuous feed of the hungry spin machine monster, and reporters in the Press Gallery and everywhere else need to refresh their own clogged-up brains and go back to basics: we should all acknowledge that the only thing we should be talking about is refugees desperately wanting to be assessed by Australia under UN Convention terms, who are stuck, and abandoned by Australia as the UN country of the region. ...

 

 

People attend anti-corruption march in Colombia [Xinhua - 2/4/17]

 

 

After a month of intense rainfall across Colombia, tragedy struck Mocoa, the capital of the Putumayo department around 1:00 am Saturday when three major rivers broke their banks causing an avalanche in which 154 people have died.

According to department’s governor Sorrei Aroca the natural disaster caused by the overflow of the Mocoa, Mulato and Sancoyaco rivers has left at least 400 injured, destroyed neighborhoods and collapsed bridges.

Emergency teams in the disaster-hit city claim many persons may have been swept away with the mudflow and are looking for possible survivors in the rivers. ...  [The City Paper Bogota - 1/4/17]

 

 

President Horacio Cartes fired Paraguay's Interior Minister and top police official on Saturday following the killing of a young opposition party leader and violent overnight clashes sparked by a secret Senate vote for a constitutional amendment to allow presidential re-election.

Dozens of people, including a police officer, were arrested Friday evening in demonstrations that saw protesters break through police lines and enter the first floor of Paraguay's legislature, setting fire to papers and furniture.

Police used water cannon and fired rubber bullets to drive protesters away from the building while firefighters extinguished blazes inside. ... [ABC News - 1/4/17]

 

 

An estimated 150,000 people packed the Argentine capital’s emblematic Plaza de Mayo on Thursday to denounce the economic program of conservative President Mauricio Macri. ... [Latin American Herald Tribune - 31/3/17]

 

 

On Friday more than 100,000 Brazilians hit the streets in 26 state capitals in the latest round of massive mobilizations against President Michel Temer's attacks on public pensions and the retirement system. ... [teleSUR - 31/3/17]

 

 

Brazil coup architect Eduardo Cunha sentenced to 15 years for corruption [teleSUR – 30/3/17]

 

 

US cries 'power grab' after Venezuela court ruling backs constitution [teleSUR – 30/3/17]

 

 

One year after Berta Caceres murder, US ties to Honduras endure, killings continue [National Catholic Reporter – 30/3/17]:

 

... Her murder was a message: If she could be eliminated, no one was safe. And yet, many have not heeded the warning.

There's a saying in Honduras that "Berta did not die. She multiplied."

And so the assassinations of indigenous leaders and environmental activists have continued unabated. Within four months of her March 3, 2016, assassination, two other prominent COPINH members were slain. Nelson Garcia Laínez was fatally shot in the face, and Lesbia Yaneth Urquía was found dead in a garbage dump, with machete blows to her head.

The latest assassination just occurred in February when gunmen fatally shot José Santos Sevilla, a professor who led the indigenous Tolupán people's fight against illegal mining and logging projects.

A January 2017 report by the London-based watchdog group Global Witness called Honduras the deadliest place on the planet to be a land or environmental activist.

More than 120 activists, it said, have been murdered since the 2009 military coup that overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, ushering in a succession of corrupt right-wing governments that have overseen "shocking levels of violence and intimidation suffered by rural communities."

The activist murders, the report said, "are part of an epidemic sweeping the country, which has its roots in corporate greed, corruption, and impunity for business-backed aggressors. They constitute a systematic campaign to terrorize local communities into accepting the theft and industrialization of their land."

The 2009 coup that toppled Zelaya was led by Gen. Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez, a two-time graduate of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA), now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC. Another SOA graduate, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, the head of the Honduran Air Force, had Zelaya flown into exile.

The Obama administration refused to stop the training of Honduran officers at WHINSEC despite federal law requiring military aid and training be suspended when a country undergoes a military coup.

And then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resisted international pressure to help reinstate Zelaya, a wealthy rancher who'd alienated fellow elites by such things as raising the minimum wage.

During her presidential campaign last year, Clinton denied that a military coup had ever taken place, despite documents released by WikiLeaks showing she'd received cables from U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens stating unequivocally that there had been a military-led coup. ...

 

 

Arkansas asks court to block order on execution drugs [ABC News - 31/3/17]:

 

Arkansas prison officials asked the state's highest court Friday to stay a judge's order that they must disclose more information about one of the drugs they plan to use in the executions of eight men over a 10-day period in April.

The attorney general's office asked the state Supreme Court to issue a stay of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's order requiring Arkansas to release copies of the package insert and labels for its supply of potassium chloride, one of the three drugs used in its lethal injection protocol.

The state said it had released the documents, but had redacted information on the labels that it says could lead to identification of the drug's supplier.

Steven Shults, the attorney who sued the state for the information, declined to comment on the case Friday. ...

 

 

Hacktivist Martin Gottesfeld is facing 25 years in a US prison, accused of illegally accessing a Boston hospital’s network.

... 

Their story centers on Justina Pelletier, who has a rare blood disease.

Back in 2013 the hospital diagnosed her symptoms as psychological, and blamed her parents.

She was taken into custody and reportedly didn’t receive essential medical aid.

This, according to her parents, amounted to torture. ... [RT - 30/3/17]

 

 

A teenager is dead after the car he was in smashed into an airport shuttle bus, which is believed to have occurred after a police pursuit through Perth on Saturday night. ... [ABC - 2/4/17]

 

 

Vehicles smashed during Melbourne CBD police pursuit [The Age - 2/4/17]

 

 

Cairo Court nullifies Egypt's sovereignty over Red Sea islands [Egypt Independent - 2/4/17]

 

 

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday, after he carried out a stab attack that left three Israelis lightly injured, with witnesses asserting Israeli police could have easily detained the boy without killing him.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a written statement that a 17-year-old Palestinian armed with a knife stabbed and lightly injured two "Jewish young men" -- aged 18 and 23, at around 3:30 p.m.

Israeli forces chased after the teen, who ran inside a building that had its door left open, al-Samri said.

As Israeli police struggled to detain him, one policeman was lightly injured, according to al-Samri.

More Israeli police officers arrived to the scene and opened heavy fire on the boy, killing him. ... [Maan - 1/4/17]

 

 

Palestinian prisoners pledge to join Fatah-led mass hunger strike [Maan - 2/4/17]

 

 

Israeli forces raze land in Bethlehem for establishment of new settler outpost [Maan - 1/4/17]

 

 

On Thursday night, the Israeli security cabinet unanimously voted for the establishing of a new settlement in Emek Shilo to house the Amona settlement evacuees.

After the High Court of Israel in 2006 ruled the Amona settlement illegal and later in 2014 ordered the complete evacuation of the settlement, Israel has now approved a new settlement close to the already existing Shiloh settlement.

The new settlement will house the previous residents that were evacuated from Amona.

This comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a promise to the Amona evacuees about building them a new settlement. ... [PNN - 1/4/17]

 

 

We speak to former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk about whether Rima Khalaf was forced to resign over their report that accused Israel of establishing an 'apartheid regime' in Palestine. ... [RT - 27/3/17]

 

 

UK universities cancel talks by co-author of UN report accusing Israeli of apartheid regime [Independent - 24/3/17]

 

 

@elliotg23 [29/3/17]:  Refugee Seder in Holot 2017! ...

 

... On Thursday, April 6 (a few days before the first day of Passover, also known as “Sedar night”) we will celebrate Passover, which is the Jewish Festival of Freedom, at the “Holot” detention center.

The purpose of this event is to become familiar with the detention center and the detainees, through an eventful and interesting evening.

The event is a call to close the detention center and to release the asylum seekers.

While correlating with Passover and the meaning of freedom and liberty in Israel. ... 

 

 

The custodian of a shrine and two others have been arrested after murdering 20 devotees in Pakistan's Punjab province, police said.

Abdul Waheed, custodian of the Ali Muhammad Gujjar shrine, drugged the devotees before beating them with sticks and stabbing them to death late on Saturday, local police officer Shaukat Manzoor told Al Jazeera.

He then handed himself over to authorities, the official added.

The incident occurred in the small village of Chak 95, just outside the city of Sarghoda located about 160km west of Lahore. ... [Al Jazeera - 2/4/17]

 

 

"11 Pakistani insurgents" killed in airstrikes in Ghazni province of Afghanistan [Khaama - 1/4/17]

 

 

A heavy explosion was reported in southeastern Khost province of Afghanistan late on Saturday leaving a number of the security forces and civilians dead or wounded.

The local officials confirmed the incident took place in the vicinity of Domand district in northern part of the province.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Mubariz Mohammad Zadran said the government has received reports regarding the six students who suffered injuries in the attack. ... [Khaama - 2/4/17]

 

 

President Ghani leaves for state visit to Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia [Khaama - 2/4/17]

 

 

Afghans deported from Europe arrive home, to war and unemployment [Reuters - 31/3/17]:

 

... Shams Ahmadi, a 24-year old ex-policeman, said he landed in Kabul on Jan. 24 after his asylum application, pending in Germany since 2011, failed a second time and police arrested him.

He said he had left Afghanistan after the Taliban blew up his house in the province of Ghazni, killing his father, and that his family had fled to Iran.

He plans to go to Europe again.

"I cannot live in Afghanistan. If I leave Kabul I will be shot by the Taliban," he told Reuters at a non-governmental organization office in western Kabul helping him with cash for lodgings and medicine to deal with mental health problems. 

Another recent returnee, Reza Alizada, said he had lived in Norway for about 18 months before police raided his hostel and detained him.

He said he was 17 years old but Norwegian authorities had found him to be in his early twenties.

"I have nobody here to help me, and I have no networks to help me find a job," he said, reflecting broader worries among returnees in a country with an unemployment rate of 40 percent. ...

 

 

A 17-year-old boy is in serious but stable condition after being brutally attacked by a gang in the British capital for being an asylum seeker.

The Kurdish-Iranian refugee was waiting at a bus stop with two friends in Croydon, south London, on Friday, when he was approached by about eight people. ... [Al Jazeera - 1/4/17]

 

 

Europe keeps its rescue ships far from the coast of Libya — where thousands of refugees have drowned [The Intercept - 2/4/17]:

 

... These are preventable deaths. Since 2014, the European Union has deliberately chosen to keep their coast guard patrol boats far from where the shipwrecks happen, a decision detailed in an internal letter obtained by The Intercept and other leaked documents.

Saving more lives, the logic goes, will only encourage more refugees to come.

The result is that rescue boats are kept away from where rescues are actually needed.

...

Like any other vessels at sea, Frontex ships are obligated under maritime law to respond to distress calls when ordered by the relevant national authorities.

For the Italians, an overloaded boat with an untrained captain was a distress situation by default.

Typically, someone calls the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome by satellite phone from a boat or from the Libyan coast, and Italy initiates search and rescue.

But for Frontex, at the time, that was not enough proof.

“Frontex is of the opinion that a satellite phone call is not per se a SAR [search and rescue] event and strongly recommends that actions should be taken to investigate and verify and only afterwards, and in case of distress, activate other maritime assets,” Roesler wrote, referring to a distress call via satellite phone.

“Frontex doesn’t consider the [Operational Patrol Vessel] for such initial investigations outside the operational area as necessarily operational and cost effective activities.”

He continued: “General instructions to move to an area outside [European Patrol Network] Triton operational area are not coherent with the operational plan and unfortunately will not be considered for the future.”

In other words, Frontex knew it had to respond to emergency calls.

But it was deliberately patrolling in the wrong area and quibbling with definitions of distress, meaning that its ships would almost certainly arrive late, if at all. ...

 

 

Top US General urges ‘military means’ against Iran [Antiwar.com - 31/3/17]

 

 

North Korea is moving in a "very reckless manner" with its nuclear and missile programs, while Russian activities in Afghanistan are also of concern to the United States, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said here today as he discussed cooperation and security concerns with his British counterpart. ... [US Department of Defense - 31/3/17]

 

 

@wikileaks [1/4/17]:  First claimed cyber-war attack was CIA blowing up a Russian gas pipeline to Europe ...  

 

 

On April’s Fool day, Russia’s Foreign Ministry offered Western politicians to help interfere in election campaigns, make a diplomat’s call to opponents and provide services of Russian hackers, the ministry said in a prank of "the Russian embassy’s answering machine" posted on its Facebook page on Saturday. ... [TASS - 1/4/17]

 

 

Moscow puzzled by Tillerson's statements about ‘Russian aggression’ in Ukraine [TASS – 31/3/17]

 

 

Elaborating on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson‘s comments yesterday that the Syrian people should be the ones to decide the future of President Bashar Assad, the White House today insisted that it was just the US accepting the “political reality” in the country.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that there was a “lack of options” for the US to force President Assad out of office anymore, blaming President Obama for having missed the opportunity to do so back when he was in power. ... [Antiwar.com - 31/3/17]

 

 

United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 1/4/17]

 

 

‏@sol2refugees [1/4/17]:  Shame #Greece: After #Kos #island, next #Deportation centre will be open soon in #Chios. Next step of #EuTurkeyDeal is a massive deportation

 

 

Spanish NGO rescues more than 200 migrants off Libya’s coast [TVC - 1/4/17]

 

 

Additional EU funding accelerates IOM plans to coerce 10,000 migrants from Libya in 2017 [Libyan Express - 1/4/17]

 

 

Swedish Doctors for Human Rights statement on Julian Assange and his right to asylum @wikileaks [1/4/17]

 

 

Australian media, opinionators, "advocates", legal "experts", and human rights organisations still protecting Dutton's final solution to the ALP's anti-refugee policy [RNZI - 31/3/17]

 

Australian funded provider of "health care" services at Manus Island refugee concentration camp kicked out of PNG [RNZI - 1/4/17]:

 

... In audio recorded on Friday by the Kurdish journalist and Manus Island detainee, [refugee, and political prisoner of the Australian government and opposition] Behrouz Boochani, an Australian Border Force spokesperson told the centre's roughly 900 inmates that in the absence of IHMS, Paradise Private Hospital in Port Moresby would prioritise all essential health services.

Mr Boochani said detainees had lost confidence in IHMS after refugees died under its watch.

He said the company should be held accountable for facilitating Australia's offshore detention of refugees and for not providing adequate services.

"Hundreds of refugees are seriously sick and need medical treatment. We have a logical fear of our medical needs being neglected again. "

 

 

Fatal cases of Dengue reported on Nauru [Crikey - 24/3/17]

 

 

Specially selected Australians to represent refugee rights movement at New York Times' pro-Clinton conference [Sydney Morning Herald - 2/4/17]

 

 

Australia's refugee concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island were reopened by the ALP under the watchful guidance of the United States (i.e. Hillary Clinton's State Department) [Buzzfeed - 4/6/16]:

 

Star Labor candidate Peter Khalil has confirmed he acted as a protected source for the US government, feeding them information about Labor’s asylum seeker policy.

Khalil served as a foreign policy adviser to former prime minister Kevin Rudd back in 2007 and was also director of national security policy for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from 2003-04.  ...

 

 

Desperate Australian media - and now former Obama State Department official Anne Richard - perpetuate myth of an actual US refugee "deal [ABC - 22/3/17]

 

 

In her former role, Anne Richard conveyed a fanatical ideological opposition to the genuine resettlement of refugees from South East Asia.  --->  ... Anne Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for population, migration and refugees, said resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States would entice others to leave their homeland.

"The answer to the issue is peace and stability and citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine state, and that is the solution," she said at the end of a three-day visit to Malaysia. ... [CBS - 1/6/15]

 

 

This fanaticism has been a consistent theme of regional forums on migration such as the Bali Process, and was echoed by Australian officials, the IOM and UNHCR at the 2015 Bangkok Rohingya refugees boat crisis meeting. [Guardian - 3/6/15]:

 

... Goledzinowski [Australia’s ambassador for people smuggling issues, Andrew Goledzinowski] said resettlement was raised during the Bangkok meeting on 29 May.

“All who spoke on resettlement said that this was not a durable solution for the Rohingya problem and that it would constitute a pull factor,” he told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday.

“The UNHCR was the most articulate on this point.”

He engaged in bilateral meetings with representatives from some of the other 16 countries in attendance, and is adamant that at least one will seek further briefings on adopting Australia’s key asylum seeker measures.

“We also were able to talk a little bit about our own experiences during operation sovereign borders where we’ve been very successful in disrupting people trafficking and smuggling networks,” Goledzinowski said.

 

 

In this press conference at the conclusion of the 2015 Bangkok summit, Anne Richard fobbed off concerns about Myanmar human rights atrocities and the regional refugee bottleneck.  She also signalled boat turnbacks as an acceptable course of action - thus condemning 1,000s to detention, refoulement or death [3/6/15]

 

 

Six army officers who were charged and remanded in custody over the abduction and assault of the Sri Lankan journalist, Keith Noyahr in 2008 were on Thursday released on bail. 

The magistrate in Mount Lavinia released the officers, who include one army major, on surety bails of 1 million rupees each, Colombo Page reported.  

Keith Noyahr, an associate editor of The Nation was abducted from just outside him home in Colombo and tortured before being released in May 2008. [Tamil Guardian - 1/4/17]

 

 

Tamil journalists threatened by Sri Lankan soldiers while reporting on protests by families of the disappeared [Tamil Guardian – 30/3/17]

 

 

Sri Lanka appoints accused war criminal Major General Silva as new Army Adjunct General [Tamil Guardian - 31/3/17]

 

 

Myanmar security forces attacked Rohingya village in Northern Maungdaw and arrest dozens of Rohingya [The Stateless - 31/3/17]

 

 

Police open Rakhine rape investigation amid concern for victims [Frontier Myanmar - 31/3/17]:

 

Three Muslim women who alleged they had been raped by soldiers during last year’s security crackdown in Maungdaw Township were detained for several hours by Border Guard Police after speaking to the media on Thursday, Frontier has been told.

Earlier that day, the women had spoken to village elders and members of a state-backed media delegation through an interpreter about their experience at the hands of security forces in the aftermath of October’s attack on police and border guard posts in the district. ...

 

 

... The shameful inaction of the international community will go down as a stain in our shared history of safeguarding human rights and religious freedom.

Indifference to one's plight is akin to complicity. ... Time is running out for Myanmar's Rohingya [The Hill – 30/3/17]

 

 

Deepwater veering toward frontier regions [Offshore – 14/3/17]:

 

… Woodside Energy plans to start drilling two appraisal wells by mid-year on its deepwater Thalin gas discovery offshore Myanmar.

The program will incorporate coring and drillstem testing. …

 

 

EU diplomats tour Rakhine to check on progress of Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide against the Rohingya [Ummid - 30/3/17]

 

 

Japan provides $2 million to sustain immiseration of Rohingya refugees trapped in Bangladesh [The Daily Star - 31/3/17]

 

 

Japanese loan to develop agri businesses in Myanmar [Myanmar Times - 30/3/17]:

 

... Myanmar agricultural products are mainly exported to China and domestic prices are affected by market conditions there.

During the last rainy season, before the paddy was harvested, China restricted rice imports from Myanmar and that resulted in domestic paddy price plummeting, causing great losses for farmers.

“It is not that China banned rice imports. From the beginning, it was not an official arrangement. Actually they arrested Chinese rice importers. So that indirectly affected rice imports,” said U Maung Aye, a rice mill owner from Nay Pyi Taw.

As such, Myanmar is keen to promote value-added agricultural products manufacturing using Japanese loans.

A total of 93.970 billion yen will be obtained for financing value-added agricultural products, more electricity distribution, rural roads and bridges construction and upgrading Yangon-Mandalay railway.

Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank (MADB) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will get a loan of about 15.135 billion yen from the loan package which will be used to extend loans to farmers.

The project period is from June this year to September 2020 and it will begin in Nay Pyi Taw, Ayeyarwady, western Bago and Mandalay regions, said U Myo Tint Tun.

The project will be extended to Yangon Region, Mon and southern Shan states in the 2018-19 fiscal year. ...

 

 

 

Cartoon By Qutub Shah ‏@RohingyaVision [16/12/16]

 

 

North Korean murder suspects go home with victim's body as Malaysia forced to swap [Reuters - 31/3/17]

 

 

Ousted South Korean leader behind bars after arrest on bribery charges [Reuters - 31/3/17]:

 

Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye was behind bars in the Seoul Detention Centre on Friday after her arrest, on charges including bribery, in a corruption scandal that has brought low some of the country's business and political elite.

In a dramatic fall from power, Park, 65, became South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office.

She is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure big businesses to contribute funds to foundations that backed her policy initiatives.

She and Choi, who is already in custody and on trial, deny any wrongdoing. ...

 

 

At least 27 people were still missing feared dead until Saturday afternoon in a landslide in the regency of Ponorogo, East Java.

The landslides, triggered by heavy rain, buried a number of houses in the villages of Banaran on Saturday morning.

"There are still 27 people missing," head of the Ponorogo Disaster Control Agency (BPBD) Sumani said in the village of Banaran. Sumani said there were 17 people injured and now being treated at a local health center.

The landslides hit when most of the people were harvesting ginger in the fields and other were still in their houses, Sumani said. ... [ANTARA - 2/4/17]

 

 

Twenty years since grenade attack on opposition rally marked [Phnom Penh Post - 31/3/17]:

 

As Buddhist chants resonated around Wat Botum Park yesterday, the CNRP marked the 20th anniversary of a grenade attack on a rally, led by former party president Sam Rainsy, that claimed at least 16 lives and injured scores, but has still yet to see perpetrators brought to justice.

At a small memorial adorned with flowers and incense sticks, Cambodia National Rescue Party officials, supporters, victims and their families were led in prayer by a dozen saffron-clad monks.

Party leaders Kem Sokha, Eng Chhay Eang and Pol Ham lit candles at the memorial and made offerings for those killed in the attack on March 30, 1997.

The event, which has been organised over the past 20 years, makes an annual call for a thorough investigation into the attacks and to bring the still-unidentified perpetrators to justice.

The exiled Rainsy, speaking via Skype, made a rousing call to supporters to never forget the events of 1997 and to continue to push the government to find and convict the perpetrators – likening the wait to the 40 years it took to set up the Khmer Rouge tribunal to prosecute the brutal regime’s senior leadership.

Meanwhile, in an ironically timed announcement, a Phnom Penh judge yesterday convicted Rainsy in absentia of incitement and defamation over his allegations that the assassination last year of political analyst Kem Ley was “state-backed terrorism”.

Party president Sokha yesterday struck a conciliatory note, asking supporters to not replicate any acts of violence or insults they may face.

“Justice can take place only when we reduce or eliminate mistreatment, the use of insults or violence,” he said.

On March 30, 20 years ago, four American-made grenades were lobbed into a group of Khmer National Party supporters rallying at Wat Botum to call for an independent judiciary.

The resulting carnage, which Rainsy narrowly escaped, killed at least 16 people and injured around 120. ...

 

 

The Hiroshima District Court on Thursday dismissed an injunction request from residents to halt operations of a nuclear reactor at the Ikata power plant, which was restarted last year.

The decision by the court came two days after the Osaka High Court revoked a lower court order to delay the restart of two reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture. ... [Japan Times - 30/3/17]

 

 

US Supreme Court refuses to review challenge to California ‘comfort women’ statue [Japan Times - 28/3/17]

 

 

A Japanese whaling fleet returned to port Friday after an annual Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals as Tokyo pursues the program in defiance of global criticism.

The fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, with plans to slaughter 333 minke whales, flouting a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand.

The fleet consisted of five ships, three of which arrived in the morning at Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the country’s Fisheries Agency said. ... [Japan Today - 31/3/17]

 

 

Singapore fish farms claim compensation limbo in wake of Johor oil spill [Channel News Asia - 31/3/17]

 

 

The Islamic religious teacher who made controversial remarks about Christians and Jews has apologised for his actions.

In February, a video emerged online of an imam at Jamae Mosque who, after a sermon, reportedly recited a prayer in Arabic that said "God help us against Jews and Christians", among other things.

On Friday, Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel, who made the remarks, apologised to a group of leaders of various religious groups, including those from the Christian faith, at a closed-door meeting organised at the Harmony in Diversity Gallery on Maxwell Road. ... [The Straits Times - 31/3/17]

 

 

Sirote Duangratana, General Manager of Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok has told reporters that a 32-year-old man holding Australian and Irish passports fell four floors to his death from an escalator at about 6.25 am on Thursday morning.

The man was identified the man as Alan Paul Grimes who held an Australian passport and an Irish passport.

Sirote said security guards were informed at 6.25am that a foreign man had fallen from an escalator on the fourth floor of the terminal to the first floor.

Medical staff gave him first aid and he was rushed to Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8.06am. ... [Chiangrai Times - 30/3/17]

 

 

Power cut to homes flooded by Albert, Logan Rivers [MYGC - 2/4/17]

 

 

Elderly man's body recovered as Queensland and NSW flood death toll rises to three [Nine MSN - 1/4/17]:

 

Three people have died and two others are missing in floodwaters in south east Queensland, as parts of the Logan River reached the highest peak in 43 years.

Authorities confirmed a man’s body, believed to be 77-year-old Nelson Raebel, was found just before 4pm, not far from where he went missing in Logan earlier today.

A woman’s body was found by a family member on a flooded property yesterday morning at Upper Burringbar, 20km south of Murwillumbah in northern NSW.

The body of another woman, aged 64, was found in a river in the NSW Hunter Valley yesterday after her car swept off a flooded bridge at Gungal, west of Muswellbrook the previous night.

Father of three Matthew Roser also suffered a fatal heart attack while dealing with floodwaters at his New South Wales home.

His son provided CPR, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Among the two people still missing is David Heidemann, 50, who failed to meet friends as planned after leaving his Mondure home near Murgon, northwest of Brisbane, on Thursday night.

The second man missing, in his 60s, hasn’t been seen since Wednesday after he went bushwalking at Lamington National Park.

Meanwhile, the Logan River peaked at 10m at Waterford, Logan about 1.40pm today, matching levels last seen 43 years ago. ...

 

Piss off Jenny Dowell.

 

In the face of an increasing threat of more and more climate change related extreme weather events, Australian politicians have done nothing but blame the victims and encourage personal responsibility for things that are beyond their control.

The abandonment of the citizenry (and lack of a co-ordinated response) - as was raised during the 2011 Queensland Flood Inquiry - has still not been addressed.

After Yasi, a handful of cyclone shelters were built up north by the Saudis (apparently).

Safe and secure in their ivory towers with no idea what it is like living in the bush having to secure your property - or having no choice but to go out in bad weather to pay the rent etc -  all our so called leaders and authorities and media can do is reprimand the general public.

During natural disasters the political and media establishment don't inform us about what is going on, or give basic information about support services.

Social media fills the void while politicians, media and authorities bullshit on about "resilience" and "pulling together".

If they're not doing that, they're concocting lies about folks driving through flooded roads, looting, rubbernecking and blaming Council etc.

This excuses further lashing out and the punishment of helpless people.

A well informed, united and unafraid electorate is the enemy of the neoliberal juggernaut (and this includes the former ALP Mayor of Lismore Jenny Dowell).

Are we going to allow Australian politicians and media continue their war on rationality and the ability of the citizenry to critically analyse, or are we going to tell them to SHOVE IT?

 

 

Traditional Owners fear collapse of abandoned WA mine seawall will threaten coral reefs [NITV – 30/3/17]

 

 

Champion cyclist Mike Hall killed in accident during Indian Pacific Wheel Race [WA Today - 31/3/17]:

 

World-renowned long-distance cyclist Mike Hall has been killed in an accident south of Canberra while competing in an epic race from Fremantle to Sydney.

Hall, 35, was involved in a fatal collision with a car about 6.22am near the intersection of the Monaro Highway and Williamsdale Road.

...

Hall had previously talked about how dangerous he found Australian drivers in a world circumnavigation ride in 2013.

"Cars will go past you at 110, 120 kilometres an hour, leaving you about a foot gap, and there's a whole other lane free," he said.

"It's crazy ... It's been some of the worst driving with regards to safety that I've seen." ...

 

 

DNA doubt after Western Australia's leading forensic expert sacked for breaching protocol [WA Today - 31/3/17]

 

 

... Ms Bryant is among four women who have successfully campaigned to have the names of police officers who took their lives following trauma on the job included on the NSW Police Wall of Remembrance.

The women are the widows and mother of police who died between 1996 and 2013.

The wall, at Sydney's Domain, is still in the process of being etched but was opened on Wednesday to give the women an exclusive first look. ... [ABC- 1/4/17]

 

 

Andrew Scipione thanks community as he steps down as NSW Police Commissioner [ABC - 30/3/17]

 

 

Four injured in two separate violent attacks in Surfers Paradise [MYGC - 1/4/17]

 

 

A man is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in a home invasion on the Gold Coast overnight.

Police said a “group of people” stormed the Breakspear Road home at Molendinar just after 2am.

While inside the house, the intruders bashed, stabbed and demanded money from a 46-year-old man.

 Emergency services were called after the intruders fled the scene.

It is not known if they stole any cash or property from the house.

The victim was treated by paramedics before being transported to hospital for treatment.

It’s understood he’d been stabbed in the side of his body multiple times. ... [MYGC - 1/4/17]

 

 

Foreign fighter (and media darling) in custody over suspected murder of Brisbane man Samuel Thompson [ABC - 1/4/17]:

 

Anti-Islamic State fighter Ashley Dyball has been remanded in custody over the disappearance and suspected murder of Brisbane man Samuel Thompson.

Mr Thompson, 22, has been missing for more than three weeks and police believe he has been killed, but his body has not yet been found.

Dyball, 25, was arrested on Friday and charged with murder and interfering with a corpse.

He made a brief appearance in Brisbane's magistrates court this morning.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear in court next month.

Dyball travelled to Syria in 2015 to fight for the Kurdish YPG militia and is the second man to be charged over Mr Thompson's disappearance.

A 23-year-old Bald Hills man was also charged with murder and interfering with a corpse. ...

 

 

A judge has found a Sydney man who stabbed his wife to death should not escape a murder conviction, even though he was suffering depression at the time.

Lawyers for Haydar Haydar argued the attack on his wife Salwa Haydar at their Bexley home in March 2015 amounted to manslaughter, due to an abnormality of the mind.

A judge today accepted Haydar was substantially impaired by his depression, but said the attack was motivated by jealousy and anger and convicted Haydar of murder.

Haydar had falsely accused his wife of having an affair, after reading text messages on her mobile phone.

Mrs Haydar suffered 30 stab wounds. ... [ABC - 31/3/17]

 

 

Clients of a beautician attacked by estranged husband at Fountain Gate shopping centre raise funds for her recovery [The Age - 31/3/17]

 

 

Ausstralian women still being turned away from domestic violence shelters [ABC - 1/4/17]:

 

... Ms Thomas [Chief Executive Support Help Empowerment] said not being to provide immediate help to women fleeing domestic violence could be damaging.

"Probably the worst thing is that we are creating an expectation that if women are experiencing family violence, that there will be support for them," she said.

"We have an obligation to be providing that support." Shaney [recently fled a violent relationship] said not being able to get help immediately had a devastating affect on women fleeing family violence.

"You feel lost, you feel sad, everything runs through your mind in those few seconds because you think that you will end up back there," she said.

She said the worst-case scenario for women who could not be immediately helped was they were forced to go back to the abusive relationship.

"They go to caravan parks like I was going to do, or they live in their cars ... or they end up possibly in a worse situation, or they go back, because there is nowhere to go," Shaney said. ...

 

 

Bourke Street massacre: Sixth murder charge for Dimitrious Gargasoulas [The Age - 31/3/17]:

 

... Six people died after Mr Gargasoulas allegedly drove a car into the busy CBD mall and mowed down dozens of pedestrians on the afternoon of January 20.

Those killed were three-month-old Zachary Bryant, 10-year-old Thalia Hakin, Matthew Si, 33, Jess Mudie, 22, an unnamed 25-year-old man, and Ms Patel.

At least 31 people were injured in the tragedy, but all the surviving victims have since been discharged from hospital. ...

 

 

Royal Commission told physical violence the norm in many Australian institutions [ABC - 31/3/17]:

 

Many children's homes ran on a regime of terror where physical violence was the norm, the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

After three-and-a-half years, the commission's final public hearing has been held in Sydney.

Vice President of the Care Leavers Australasia Network, Frank Golding, said offenders did not need to groom children who were living in institutions, because victims were readily available.

"Unlike church settings and the like where grooming took place necessarily to identify and isolate a victim, there was no need for grooming in the kinds of big institutions that I grew up in," he said.

"There was no need to conceal it or to make it happen in secret, because who would you talk to?"

Mr Golding said he witnessed the violent rape of a boy in his dormitory, and that experience was not uncommon.

He told the Commission these incidents generated a feeling of collective shame, but also relief.

"A lot of our members talk about living in a state of constant fear. That tonight would be their turn," he said. ...

 

 

The Northern Territory Royal Commission into the protection and detention of children has today handed down its interim report but it's made no recommendations.

The inquiry's delivered the report to both the NT and federal governments ahead of the final day of a three week hearing into juvenile detention, and it's expected to be tabled in parliament later today.

Co-commissioner Mick Gooda says the Commission still needs to hear from political leaders and those in charge at the time, to progress its inquiries into the care and protection system. ... [NITV - 31/3/17]

 

 

Alleged rape victim kills herself [PNG Loop - 31/3/17]:

 

The body of a young woman in her early 20s was recovered by police in Manus on Monday this week after she went missing on March 23.

Her lifeless body was discovered hanging from a tree at Kambos village, in the Penabu/Nalisopat Local Level Government, Lorengau, Manus Province.

Acting Manus Provincial Police Commander, Inspector David Yapu, said the woman was  identified as Akili Chris who recently completed her Grade 10 at Manus Secondary School.

The cause of death is yet to be determined by police at this stage but according to police reports, she was earlier raped by her uncle. ...

 

 

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ---> The 2017 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards were presented to 13 women at the U.S State Department on March 29.

First Lady Melania Trump, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, presented the awards to extraordinary women from across the globe.

These women have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.

The First Lady mentioned in her speech, “Each one of these heroic women has an extraordinary story of courage which must inspire each of us to also achieve more than we had ever imagined possible.”

Veronica Tamar Simongun, from East Sepik province is the East Asia and Pacific awardee for the 2017 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.

Ms. Simongun is the founder and director for the Family for Change Association, based in Wewak, that provides support for women and children affected by violence. ... [EMTV - 30/3/17]

 

 

Any way the wind blows ... ---> Australia's Ambassador to the US, former treasurer Joe Hockey, has praised the Trump administration as a "practical" and "credible" force that is finding its feet 70 days into its four-year term, and called for a halt to "constant" criticism of the White House.

In his first major speech to an Australian audience since Donald Trump took office, Mr Hockey said the Republican's rise reflected a citizenry that felt "impotent" and heralded "the arrival of disruption into the mainstream of American politics". ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 30/3/17]

 

 

Friday news dump. ---> Increased Passenger Security on flights from Middle East [Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Darren Chester MP Media Release – 31/3/17]

 

 

Conde Nast Traveller [31/3/17]:

 

... "Bag theft goes up tremendously during these bans, as does identity theft and intellectual property theft," says Price. ... [Professor specialising in aviation security at Metropolitan State University of Denver]

 

 

US helicopter maker rejects NZ Transport Accident Investigation Commission's crash report [RNZI - 30/3/17]:

 

A US-based helicopter manufacturer has hit back at a report by New Zealand officials into a fatal crash involving one of its aircraft.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission's report, out today, said mast-bumping, exacerbated by strong winds, was what caused a Robinson R44 helicopter to crash in a remote part of the Kahurangi National Park in 2014.

The pilot, Damian Webster, 37, died.

Mast-bumping is when the rotor blades strike the cabin, causing the helicopter to break up in mid-air.

The report said Mr Webster had 287 hours flying experience - and of that, 11 hours in total was spent flying the R44 model.

Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) manager of air investigations Peter Williams said, ultimately, mast-bumping was to blame but the pilot's limited experience might have been a factor.

"It is clear the pilot had slowed down under the conditions, which was a good thing to see.

"Whether he had handled the aircraft as optimally as one would hope under those conditions is completely unknown, because there were no recording devices on the [helicopter]."

He said the Commission was recommending to the US Federal Aviation Administration that all Robinson helicopter models - R22, R44 and R66 - be subject to the same safety restrictions. ...

 

 

Human error blamed for man forgotten in Masterton court cell [RNZI – 31/3/17]

 

 

Appeals court won’t release Guantánamo force-feeding videos [Miami Herald - 31/3/17]

 

 

2 April 2017

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