Protected and unaccountable Dutton speaks - only after Hanson-Young highlights his inhumanity
Sydney Morning Herald [2/8/15]:
An Afghan asylum seeker who died on Friday at a West Australian detention centre was dreaming of a better future with his wife and two children, a detainee has said.
The comments come as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was accused of being missing in action for failing to respond to the tragedy more than 24 hours after it occurred.
Refugee advocates have called for an immediate investigation of the incident and warned on Sunday that further protests by asylum seekers at the Yongah Hill Detention Centre were likely.
Mohammad Nasim Najafi, who was in his mid-20s, is believed to have died from a suspected heart attack.
There are claims he had been denied medical treatment for two weeks.
It is understood that Mr Najafi arrived at Christmas Island four years ago by boat after his family was killed by the Taliban.
"He was a very sweet guy," the detainee said.
"He had two boys and his wife was in India, illegally. He always talked about his family.
"His dream was to have a better future."
Fellow detainees have said they were denied an opportunity to say goodbye before authorities removed Mr Najafi's body from the centre.
"They just took Nasim and go. We didn't even see him," the detainee said.
"We have to say goodbye to the body in the Muslim way.
"[But] they bring the police and they make like a wall, they stand in front of us and we couldn't see anything."
After protests at the centre on Saturday, the Australian Refugee Action Coalition said the number of unanswered questions about Mr Najafi's death warranted an immediate inquiry.
"There needs to be an immediate investigation, instead of waiting for the coroner," spokesman Ian Rintoul said.
"The lack of medical staff available in Yongah Hill amounts to medical neglect."
He added that protests at the centre were due to anger among detainees about the lack of care offered to Mr Najafi.
Fairfax Media put questions to Mr Dutton's office and received a statement from the Immigration Department in response.
"There is no indication of suicide or suspicious circumstances at this stage. The WA Police attended the centre and will now conduct an investigation as per normal practices in such cases," a spokeswoman said.
"Detainees have access to appropriate health care and medical treatment at a standard at least comparable to the health care available to the Australian community generally."
Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Dutton, as minister, "is ultimately responsible for the care and welfare of the people his government keep in detention".
"And yet today he is missing in action," Senator Hanson-Young said.
"It is his job to ensure there is a proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding this man's death.
"The silence from the minister and the lack of sympathies expressed, again show how unfit Peter Dutton is to be the man responsible for the lives of so many vulnerable people."
Mr Dutton later responded and said Senator Hanson-Young was trying to "exploit the death of this young man for her own political reasons and it is disgusting."
"She seeks a headline through confected outrage and trades in the difficulty of others."
He said police were investigating the death and a statement would be issued once more detail was known.
The detainee, who knew Mr Najafi, said they had protested for five hours on Saturday, standing in the centre's yard.
He said more than 100 men were expected to hold another protest on Monday when immigration authorities were expected to visit the centre.
But, he said, everyone was too scared to do anything as it might harm their refugee applications.
"If the Serco [security guards] see you ... they make a report and send it to Immigration Department," the detainee said.
"The mood is black.
"Everyone is silent ... maybe if they had looked after the guy, he wouldn't have died."
The detainee said their lives were in limbo while they waited for the application process to be completed.
"We are suffering every day here," he said.
"I want one of them [the government] to come and live here for day.
"We are dying here, we are missing the future."
PNG: Eight "rescued" from slavery vessel being "accommodated in a safe location" says O'Neill (probably on Manus Island) [PNG Loop - 2/8/15]:
PM Peter O’Neill has just confirmed that a foreign fishing vessel has been detained in Papua New Guinea waters carrying eight people who are believed to be the victims of forced human trafficking.
He expressed disgust that human trafficking takes place in the Asia-Pacific and has committed Papua New Guinea’s support to develop regional solutions to put an end to this exploitation.
“The Government was alerted by our partners of the possibility that vessels were in Papua New Guinea waters with forced labor on board,” the Prime Minister said.
“We mobilised assets of Papua New Guinea security agencies to conduct a search which located the fishing boat, the Blissful Reefer.
“This boat was boarded by our Defence personnel on Monday morning, July 27.
“Our personnel rescued eight people who had been enslaved on the vessel, and held the remaining 19 crew for questioning.
“The people rescued from the vessel are of Cambodian and Myanmar nationality and are now being accommodated in a safe location until arrangements can be made for them to return them to their homes.
“The Blissful Reefer and its 19 crew, including the captain, are being brought to Port Moresby for further processing.
“There are other vessels of interest in the area and we are following lines of inquiry into their activities.”
The Prime Minister has expressed his concern at the operation of human traffickers that appear to be expanding their activities.
“The forced trafficking of humans, slaves by any other description, is one of the most disgusting practices in the world today.
“The challenge for the region is to not only arrest the captain and crew of such vessels, but to find the organisers of this disturbing trade in human suffering.
“Papua New Guinea will engage our regional partners with a view to establishing a more formal network to track and detain vessels with slaves on board.
“The people who deal in human trafficking must be stopped.
“Papua New Guinea will play its part to prevent the deplorable activity of human trafficking, be these criminals who take asylum seekers to their deaths in the Indian Ocean, or the criminals who hold slaves on fishing vessels as forced labour.”
Additional information on the current operation to intercept and board vessels believed to be involved in human trafficking will be released as this becomes available.
No dead human bodies found on illegal fishing vessel off Bougainville [PNG Facts - 1/1/15]:
Reports of dead bodies being stored in a wrecked fishing boat off Bougainville have been found to be erroneous, Papua New Guinea investigators say.
The bodies discovered in the freezer of the fishing vessel were in fact large tuna, a team of officers from the National Fisheries Authority, National Agricul-ture and Quarantine Inspection Authority, Health Department, environmental officer, police and the Bougainville disaster relief office has found.
They have just completed their assessment on the alleged illegal fishing vessel that ran aground on Paona Island in Bougainville.
The island is one of the many smaller islands in the remote Nuguria atoll areas and is used as the wildlife sanctuary for the people who live on the other mainland island about 45 minutes by boat and an eight-hour boat ride and 264 kilometres from Buka.
The abandoned vessel, Liao Yuan Yu 68 was first discovered by locals on December 17 when they went to dive for turtles in preparation for the opening of their new health centre.
Paramount chief Robinson Himata of the Perulani clan, which is responsible for looking after the Paona wildlife area, said the 54m vessel has been torched before being abandoned, leaving behind its tuna catch. Village youths who went to investigate reported seeing human-like figures in the freezer compartment which was reported to the Bougainville disaster relief office.
The assessment team which travelled to the island on Monday has found that the suspected bodies on the freezer trays were large yellow fin tuna that were the size of adult humans.
The top of the vessel was completely burnt out from the wheel house to the rear of the ship and still contained diesel and oil that the locals were taking from the front tanks but the rear fuel tank is mixed with sea water, which the youths cannot take and this will pose a risk to the environment.
Tumor Boise of the National Fisheries Authority said the vessel hasd been engaged in illegal fishing and is an illegal unreported unregulated (IUU) long liner fishing vessel and is not listed to fish in Papua New Guinea waters.
Myanmar floods: UN says death toll to rise
The death toll from floods in Myanmar is expected to rise over the coming days, the United Nations has warned.
Four western regions have been declared disaster zones after heavy floods , caused by monsoon rains, left at least 27 people dead.
But rescue teams have not yet reached many areas and are still awaiting reports on the worst-hit regions.
In the neighbouring eastern Indian state of Manipur, a landslide buried a village, killing at least 21 people.
Heavy rains are normal in monsoon season, but many people in Myanmar - also known as Burma - told the BBC that the rains were particularly strong in recent weeks.
Wind and rain from Cyclone Komen added to damage.
On Sunday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said some 156,000 people were affected by the floods in 12 districts but the total could be "significantly higher".
The UN also said:
- There was "extensive damage" to camps housing 100,000 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state
- The city of Kalay, with 400,000 people, is accessible only by air
at least 100 houses were destroyed by landslides in Chin state
- Haka town in Chin state, with a population of 40,000, is inaccessible by road due to landslides
On Saturday, Mg Mg Khin from Myanmar's Red Cross told the BBC the country was facing "a big disaster".
Heavy rains are expected in many states, including Chin, Rakhine and Magwe, over the next two days, forecasters say.
Thousands of people are sheltering in Buddhist monasteries, but one report said people from the Rohingya Muslim minority were turned away from some shelters.
The Burma Times said security forces turned away Rohingya Muslims from abandoned schools and community centres in Rakhine.
More than half a million acres of rice paddy fields have been flooded, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said.
The landslide in Manipur state hit a remote village in Chandel district, bordering Myanmar, early on Saturday.
Rescue teams are expected to reach the area only on Sunday because of heavy rains and landslides, a local MP said.
Continuous rain in recent days has washed away bridges and roads and left thousands homeless, India's NDTV reported.
Elsewhere, floods in Vietnam left at least 17 people dead and in western Nepal, some 36 people were killed after torrential rain triggered landslides.
What a turd.
"I don't apologise, I say we shouldn't have done those things."
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
The federal government's intervention into central Australian Aboriginal communities was a "gross imposition" and the Labor Party was wrong to extend the policy, Labor MP Warren Snowdon said.
The coalition first mounted the intervention in 2007 in response to allegations of widespread child sexual abuse in central Australia, claims which remain highly contested.
Former Indigenous health minister and member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon said that within the party he fought the decision to extend the policy.
"I argued and argued and argued against it," he told the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land on Sunday.
"The decision was taken to support it, therefore as a trooper and a part of the team that's what I did. But at the same time I was extremely critical of every element of it, and I remain critical of it."
He said things would have been very different had there been any consultation with communities before the intervention policies were implemented.
"It was just a gross imposition on the rights of individuals, their communities and families," Mr Snowdon said.
"At its core, the intervention was wrong."
He said Aboriginal organisations were gutted by the intervention and Aboriginal men were demonised, which has caused ongoing problems in communities, but he did not apologise for Labor's decision: "I don't apologise, I say we shouldn't have done those things."
Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris said the aftershocks of the intervention continue to vibrate.
"It changed the face of how Australia sees Aboriginal people because we were painted with the one bloody brush stroke and that's still what happens, we've never recovered from it," she said.
Yolgnu artist Yananymul Mununggur said the intervention brought nothing to Aboriginal communities.
"Intervention brought more anger, more sadness, more sorrow ... government just came in and took away all our rights and left us with nothing," she said.
"Intervention was another way of alienating Yolngu people from this country, we were like aliens to the government who were treating us like second class citizens."
Alan Tudge, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, said the nature of the emergency response meant there wasn't the time to do necessary consultation with indigenous communities, which he said should have been done.
West Australian [29/6/12]:
Aboriginal leaders have declared a day of mourning after federal parliament passed legislation to continue the Northern Territory intervention for another decade.
Labor and the opposition teamed up to pass the controversial laws in the Senate in the early hours of Friday morning after a marathon debate, which started early Thursday evening.
The laws were amended to reduce the review period from seven to three years.
Attempts by the Greens to heavily amend the laws, including cutting the sunset clause from 10 to five years, were defeated.
The Greens accused the government of sneaking the laws through in the shadow of the media storm over asylum seekers on the final day before parliament's winter break.
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said Labor was trashing its proud history in indigenous affairs, particularly the goodwill from former prime minister Kevin Rudd's apology and Paul Keating's Redfern speech.
Labor NT senator Trish Crossin, a former school teacher in remote communities, praised the controversial SEAM program that would work with families to get kids to attend school, with cutting welfare payments only as a last resort. [SEAM trial did not work: Qld Education Minister - 18/6/12]
But she was scathing of provisions that stop a court taking into account customary law or cultural practices.
"We are making a very big mistake ... this is a backwards step," she said, adding she was considering referring this issue to a Senate inquiry.
Liberal senator Marise Payne said Labor had dropped the ball on overcoming indigenous disadvantage since the original intervention.
"The government is more focused on process rather than outcomes," she said.
Indigenous leader Dr Djiniyini Gondarra from East Arnhem Land and Rosalie Kunoth Monks from Central Australia have jointly declared a day of mourning for Aboriginal people following the passing of the laws.
"For those of us living in the Northern Territory the anguish of the past five years of intervention has been almost unbearable," Dr Djiniyini told AAP.
The package also expands income management for people on welfare to five trial sites outside the Top End. These are in Bankstown in NSW, Playford, South Australia, Shepparton, Victoria, and Rockhampton and Logan in Queensland. The program begins on July 1.
The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Amnesty International and indigenous leaders have raised concerns the laws breach Australia's international obligations.
The measures have been widely opposed by NT Aboriginal communities, which say they are racist and that they weren't consulted properly.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin released a human rights assessment of the laws on Thursday.
"The policy objectives of the bills are compatible with human rights because they advance some rights and to the extent they may limit any rights those limitation are reasonable, necessary and proportionate," she said.
Former Family Court chief justice Alastair Nicholson said the government's use of special measures could fail a High Court challenge.
He said Ms Macklin's response was "entirely predictable" and maintained the consultation process had been a "travesty".
"They speak about these wonderful consultations, I guess if you say that often enough it sounds good, but in fact it isn't," he told AAP.
National Congress of Australia's First People spokeswoman Jody Broun was disappointed the government did not allow a parliamentary committee to subject the laws to a human rights test.
Australian Lawyers Alliance national president Greg Barns said the Stronger Futures laws were further disenfranchising indigenous communities.
TONY EASTLEY: There was one final push in the early hours of this morning for Parliament to again debate a bill to reinstate offshore processing.
At half past three the Independent MP Andrew Wilkie tried to bring on debate about an Opposition bill.
Our political reporter Naomi Woodley joins us now.
Naomi, good morning. I'm surprised MPs were still in Parliament at that hour.
NAOMI WOODLEY: Yes Tony, the Lower House MPs were waiting for the Senate to finish its sittings so they could approve some amendments made to other bills. But as you said, when the House resumed Andrew Wilkie tried instead to suspend standing orders to debate the Opposition's offshore processing bill, and that calls for asylum seekers to be sent offshore but only to countries which have signed the refugee convention. Now the Government won't support it because it rules out its Malaysia plan so we had another short debate along those lines and we can hear a bit of that now.
CHRIS BOWEN: And what we need to do is offshore processing within the regional framework, and we need to do that offshore processing with proper resettlement.
BRONWYN BISHOP: The Government has two choices which would allow a solution to be reached tonight - not another talkfest but a solution to be reached tonight.
ANNA BURKE: And the division required, ring the bells for four minutes at four am in the morning. (Laughter)
TONY EASTLEY: The Deputy Speaker Anna Burke there and before her the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and the Opposition frontbencher Bronwyn Bishop.
Naomi, 3.30, 4 am, how many MP's were in the House at that stage?
NAOMI WOODLEY: Well, Tony 97 out of the 150 had their votes recorded when that division was called - and Andrew Wilkie actually won the vote 51 votes to 46. But to suspend Parliament in this way you need an absolute majority, 76 votes, and with so many MPs already back in their electorates it was never going to succeed. Nonetheless, the Opposition's claiming it as a moral victory but still no legislative solution to the quandary.
TONY EASTLEY: Naomi Woodley in Canberra.
Sovereign Union [2/8/15]: MURRUMU ARRESTED AGAIN Police have again arrested and detained Murrumu - please help us ensure his safe and swift release from illegal detention - which is against the good faith discussions currently occurring regarding the Sovereign Status of Yidindji ... @flashblack or Yidindji @Gen__Y ...
Aboriginal Tent Embassy [2/8/15]
@Larita_lara_p [2/8/15]: #FreeMurrumu 9amMonCairns courts to show them they can't capture a peaceful Sovereign man& jail him just for being @murrumu #IamYidindji
Renouncing Australia: a dozen people to follow Murrumu by taking Yidindji citizenship [Guardian - 7/6/15]
Elderly woman dies after being run over by car at Ashgrove church in Brisbane
An elderly woman has died after being run over by a car at a church in Ashgrove in Brisbane's west.
The 86-year-old woman had just finished having lunch with friends in the Gap Uniting Church on Sunday afternoon when she was run over and pinned beneath a sedan leaving the car park.
The woman had sustained life-threatening injuries and ambulance paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Police Inspector Steve Flori said.
"Preliminary investigations reveal that an 89-year-old driver has reversed her vehicle out of the car park," she said.
"Three elderly females have walked in front of the car and for some reason unknown at this stage, the car has lunged forward and sadly has run over one of the females.
"People that attended this function were friends of hers and obviously she has family that we have notified they are all upset and our sympathies go to those family and friends for this tragic event."
Police said they were unlikely to charge the driver.
Man dies after being hit by car in Melbourne
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
A US tourist has died in hospital after he was struck by a car in Melbourne.
The 66-year-old man was hit while crossing busy Chapel Street, St Kilda about 10.30am on Saturday and was taken to the Alfred Hospital, where he died on Sunday morning.
The driver is assisting police.
The man's death takes Victoria's road toll to 148, one more than at the same time last year.
Siblings burnt by oil at Sydney market
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
A brother and sister have been burned by hot cooking oil at a food stall in Sydney's north.
The girl, 8, and boy, 5, both suffered burns to their legs while the boy was also burned on his abdomen at Berowra markets on Sunday.
The boy was airlifted to the Westmead Children's Hospital in a serious but stable condition and the girl was taken by ambulance to the same hospital, according to Careflight.
Queensland Police triage child abuse cases lost in Education Department IT outsourcing stuffup [ABC – 2/8/15]
Sanctuary Cove geezers begin kangaroo cull
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
... Five-star resort Sanctuary Cove has begun a cull up to two-thirds of its population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos after a contraceptive management program failed to maintain the population.
Animal welfare group Wildcare Australia has started a Change.org petition demanding state Environment Minister Steven Miles withdraw a permit allowing the resort to cull the animals.
“We believe that the kangaroos in the Hope Island and Sanctuary Cove precinct on the Gold Coast are highly valued by residents and visitors,” the petition read.
“We believe that Sanctuary Cove have been provided with an ethical solution to the manage the population.
“The initial culling of 100 Eastern Grey Kangaroos (with more planned) is cruel and unnecessary.”
The $2 billion resort is located in north of the Gold Coast and bills itself as Australia’s “leading and most successful masterplanned community”.
Wildcare Australia says resort management have failed to prove nonlethal population control measures are not effective.
It is believed the kangaroos would be tranquilised and given a lethal injection to painlessly end their lives.
Stolen echidna, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
QPS Media [2/8/15]:
Police are appealing for help from the public to return a stolen echidna safely to her home at a wildlife sanctuary at Currumbin.
Piggie, a female echidna, was stolen from her enclosure at the Tomewin Street sanctuary when it was broken into by two men after 10pm last night.
The men cut away netting to gain access to an enclosure containing a number of echidnas.
The first man attempted to remove three different echidnas from nesting boxes without success.
The second man has entered the enclosure and has been able to remove Piggie from her nesting box.
The two men have then left, taking Piggie with them.
Concerns are held for Piggie’s welfare as echidnas require very specialised care and feeding. Images have been released of two men who may be able to assist with the investigation.
One man is wearing a mask but has a distinctive diamond shaped tattoo on his inner left arm.
The second man is wearing a hooded jumper with the hood pulled tight around his head.
Anyone who saw a vehicle parked near the sanctuary boundary on Millers Street last night from around 9.30pm, or who may have any information about the theft, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.
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
WA police dog savages driver following crash
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
Police dog Nacho has helped arrest a woman driver in Perth who allegedly failed to stop for officers before crashing into a fence.
The 31-year-old is accused of speeding away from police in Langford on Saturday night, crashing her car in nearby Jandakot, then trying to hide between two large sheds.
Nacho tracked her down and she has been charged with offences including reckless driving and failing to stop.
Auckland police confirm they fatally shot man
Police have confirmed they fatally shot a man in Myers Park in central Auckland.
They say they were called to the park by the man, who was known to them, at 7.23pm this evening.
When the police arrived the man told them he was armed, prompting them to call in armed officers.
They said they tried to negotiate with the man but he was shot when he indicated that he was about to use his gun.
Police said he was given immediate medical assistance but died at the scene.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.
The man's body is still in the park, which will be closed to the public until a scene examination is complete.
Assange: The untold story of an epic struggle for justice [John Pilger - 31/7/15]
Trial of Al Jazeera staff adjourned for tenth time [Al Jazeera - 2/8/15]
... Despite continuing human rights concerns in Egypt, the Obama administration is increasing military assistance to the country as it confronts growing threats from extremists, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula. On Friday, the U.S. delivered eight F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of a military support package. ... John Kerry meeting with Egyptian officials [Stripes - 2/8/15]
... Multiple witnesses said several deputies were on top of the 47-year-old white man; a knee was seen on his neck. ... Man dies after scuffle with deputies in Dallas jail lobby [USA Today - 1/8/15]
Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland had been warned over conduct [Yahoo - 1/8/15]
United States "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [1/8/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Coalition forces conducted an airstrike today to successfully destroy an ISIL staging area facility near Mosul, Iraq, officials said.
Officials also reported details of strikes that took place yesterday, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter-attack, attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, five airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical unit and three ISIL small tactical units and destroyed four ISIL motorcycles and an ISIL resupply area.
-- Near Aleppo, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two airstrikes destroyed two ISIL buildings and two ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical units and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Qaim, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL recoilless rifle.
-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL sniper position.
-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, six airstrikes struck five ISIL staging areas and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Ramadi, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL mortar system, three ISIL vehicles and ISIL bomb materials.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and two ISIL light machine gun positions and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
Turkish warplanes kill civilians in Kurdish region's Qandil [Rudaw - 1/8/15]
The President of Iraq's Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani urged members of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish government to return to peace talks, after the latest Turkish airstrikes killed at least six people in Iraq on Saturday morning. ... [Deutsche Welle - 1/8/15]
The Islamic State group has detained four journalism students in Mosul on charges of leaking information from the jihadist bastion to Iraqi and media organisations, a media watchdog said Saturday.
The four were taken from their homes in different parts of the northern city late Friday, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO), an Iraqi organisation, said in a statement. ... [Ahram - 1/8/15]
Eight more civilians die in Saudi airstrikes on Yemen [Press TV - 1/8/15]
Egypt extends role in Saudi airstrikes against Yemen [Press TV - 1/8/15]
A leader of Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood movement has died in jail due to what human rights groups call “deliberate medical negligence” by prison authorities.
Media outlets close to the political group said Saturday that Ahmed Hussein Ghozlan had died earlier in the day inside his cell in el-Aba’diah prison in the northern Beheira Province. ... [Press TV - 1/8/15]
The United States will deliver eight F-16 Block 52 aircraft to Egypt within the next two days, the U.S. embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Thursday, part of a military package that had been unfrozen earlier this year ... [Reuters - 30/7/15]
A private jet crashed in southern England on Friday, killing four people on board, a spokesman for Britain's Hampshire police service said, and Saudi and British media said the passengers were relatives of deceased al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. ... [Reuters - 1/8/15]
Settlers attempt attack on Palestinian farmers near Nablus [Maan - 1/8/15]
Thousands of Palestinians on Saturday attended the funeral of Laith al-Khaldi, 17, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes near the Atara military checkpoint in northern Ramallah the previous night. ... [Maan - 1/8/15]
Five bodies with their hands bound and some with apparent signs of torture were found in a home in Mexico City, police said Saturday.
The bodies were found Friday night in a home in a middle class area after a call from neighbors, said an official from the city prosecutor's office.
Police said the victims were three women and two men. Their hands were tied with tape, and some showed signs of torture. ... [Yahoo - 1/8/15]
Eleven Colombian military personnel killed in plane crash [Reuters - 1/8/15]
@MSF_Sea [1/8/15]: This 15 y/o has traveled alone from Somalia. She doesn't mind where she goes in Europe, she just wants a better life.
@MSF_Sea [1/8/15]: BREAKING: The Bourbon #Argos has rescued 111 people from this boat. The youngest? A two month old baby.
We are watching and noting the ongoing silence of Australian politicians, the UNHCR and human rights groups -----> After being detained for over two years, “failed” refugees are to be imminently deported from Australia's death camp on Manus Island. [Guardian - 2/8/15]:
... Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said the advocacy group would seek injunctions against the removal of any asylum seekers from PNG until a constitutional challenge to Manus Island detention centre is heard by the supreme court.
The challenge argues asylum seekers have been systematically denied due process and the protection of their rights under PNG law, and demands enforcement of their rights under the constitution.
Rintoul said the injunction would be sought when the case is back before the court on 17 August. ...
Hunger striking refugees beaten, thrown into dungeons - all overseen by an "adviser from the Australian government" [PNG Facts - 24/1/15]
"We are 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us" #Manus via @shanebazzi
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
Pleas from #ManusProtest ...
Image: @rranwa [16/1/15]
PNG judges surprised at lack of challenge to Manus Island detention centre [ABC – 5/2/14]:
... The judges also queried whether Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were aware they could apply for legal standing to bring a case on behalf of asylum seekers.
Mr Stephens says the comments are likely to "galvanise" activity by human rights groups on behalf of those detained in Manus.
"I don't know whether they've been deliberately deceived but it does seem that somebody has been making a serious error in not letting them know what their rights are," Mr Stephens [Transparency International PNG spokesman Lawrence Stephens] said. ...
WE HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons in our country are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever their race, tribe, places of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the legitimate public interest, to each of the following:—
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law; and
(b) the right to take part in political activities; and
(c) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; and
(d) freedom of conscience, of expression, of information and of assembly and association; and
(e) freedom of employment and freedom of movement; and
(f) protection for the privacy of their homes and other property and from
unjust deprivation of property, and have accordingly included in this Constitution provisions designed to afford protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations on that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations primarily designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the acknowledged rights and freedoms by an individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the legitimate public interest.
When it comes to asylum seekers, the major parties have conspired to conceal the identities of those who try to come here.
Letter to the Editor [The Age - 2/8/15]:
When one looks at Australia's appalling record since 2001, it is easy to despair at the apparent inhumanity of our fellow citizens.
The contrast with the Greek situation is stark – the impoverished residents of Kos care for the desperate strangers who land on their shores; in Australia both the government and opposition support turning boats back to sea.
"What a nasty, mean-spirited lot Australians are," one may well think.
Then one remembers the unstinting help Australians give at home to those suffering after natural disasters.
Of course, the victims are fellow Australians, so perhaps there is a racist element in this.
But maybe Australians really are kind at heart – once they recognise the humanity of those needing help.
When it comes to asylum seekers, the major parties have conspired to conceal the identities of those who try to come here.
They are demonised. They are locked up in prison-like camps on distant islands, where scrutiny by the media and NGOs is increasingly restricted. Inmates are addressed by numbers instead of names. Official information is scant.
I am reminded of the kind of statement we have all heard: "I don't like Jews/Arabs/Vietnamese etc ... but Sollie/Ahmed/Tran etc is OK. He's my mate."
When it comes to asylum seekers, will Labor or the Coalition ever give Australians the chance to display the decency that just may lie hidden inside them?
Mike Puleston, Brunswick
After completely discrediting themselves "Labor for Refugees" are still trying to co-opt the refugee liberation movement [Letter to the Editor, The Age - 2/8/15]:
Labor's national conference failed to deal with the men, women and children incarcerated on Nauru and Manus Island.
Delegates seemed unfazed by the act of taking people who have committed no crime, and locking them up on a remote island.
Conference also appeared unfazed with children on Nauru being abused and women being sexually molested so they are frightened to leave their tents at night to visit the toilet block because of fear they will be harassed by male security guards.
Delegates, shame on you.
Robin Rothfield, national co-convener, Labor for Refugees
… Meanwhile I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that Labor for Refugees is balking at putting the motion on turnbacks this afternoon.
Labor for Refugees actually set this whole torturous debate in motion by making it known some time back that this issue would be pursued at the national conference.
Given the factional balance at this conference, it was entirely possible that a motion prohibiting turnbacks could succeed. There was support on the left, and from elements of the right.
Bizarre, this semi retreat at the eleventh hour.
Gabrielle Chan Gabrielle Chan
No sooner had the Giles/Watt motion been agreed to then Labor for Refugees (brackets, question mark) has raised objections to the motion being put at all – according to party sources.
As they say in the classics, go figure.
New Matilda lays bare Labor for Refugees' shallow cynicism [New Matilda - 24/7/15]:
... Speaking to New Matilda today, Co-Convenor of Labor for Refugees Shane Prince, refused to confirm whether the group would even move a motion calling on the party to take an anti-turn back stand.
Instead, Prince argued that as turn backs were a breach of international law the party platform was in fact already opposed to them. The draft platform prepared for the conference says Labor will treat asylum seekers in accordance with Australia’s international obligations.
“Something we have to weigh up is whether we have to move such a motion to make something abundantly clear which we say is already abundantly clear,” Prince said.
“We’re not in the business of moving motions just for the sake of doing it. What we do not want to do, for obvious reasons, is to move a motion that then fails.
“Because that will confuse the party, it will lead to internal divisions on an ongoing basis, and it will be used as an argument to say that the platform allows turn backs and we say it doesn’t. We don’t want division within the party.” ...
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void [Counterpunch - 31/7/15]
Indonesian volunteers finish housing for Rohingya refugees
Australia helps cover up genocide ---> Australia in Myanmar! Australia looms large on this globe, spotted in Aung Myay Tha village, Kachin State, Myanmar. [Australian Embassy in Myanmar - 30/7/15]
Anadolu Agency [1/8/15]:
The government and volunteers from the Aceh community have finished a housing complex for Rohingya who arrived on Indonesian shores during the recent Southeast Asian crisis, with the intention of rehousing many of the regions more than 1000 refugees in the next 10 days.
The Integrated Community Shelter has been built in Blang Adoe Village in North Aceh's Kuta Makmur subdistrict by Jakarta-based organization Aksi Cepat Tanggap (Fast Action Response) with Rp 6 billion ($420,000) in funding from various parties, both inside and outside of the country.
Volunteer Zainal Bakri told Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the need was urgent, as the around 332 refugees to be housed in the new shelter had been placed in temporary accommodation in a village training center, in unhealthy and uncomfortable conditions.
"The North Aceh government is targeting their removal before August 10," Bakri said.
The complex stands on an area of 5 hectares, has 120 rooms and is divided into 15 blocks.
It is equipped with 46 bathrooms, two teaching rooms, a health clinic, a children's playground, a park and a mosque.
Bakri said each Rohingya family would receive their own room, while single refugees would be placed into two barracks - one for men and one for women.
This week, North Aceh Regent Muhammad Thaib described the green, white and orange rooms, and the connecting corridors dotted with plants, as heavenly.
"It's like being in heaven, yet this is real. Very beautiful," he said on visiting the shelters.
Organization Executive Director Sri Eddy Kuncuro said that community development programs will also be run inside the complex, not just for Rohingya, but also for Acehnese.
"It's also an opportunity for us to help the Acehnese people who live around the shelter," he told Anadolu Agency.
He said that data has been collected on the resources in each nearby villages, so as to decide the best programs to be taught in the shelter.
Training so far would including agriculture, keeping livestock and fishing, he added.
The foundation's Documentation and Advocacy Program Officer, Zulfadli Kawom, said that the intention was to help the refugees become self-sufficient.
"Now that the stage of emergency is over, they should be given training in order to be more independent," he told Anadolu Agency.
Kawom sounded a word of warning about the new center, however, saying that communities around the shelter also needed to be empowered so as to avoid jealousy.
Rohingya have been fleeing persecution in Buddhist majority Myanmar in the tens of thousands since sectarian violence erupted in 2012.
In May, a crackdown on people smuggling in Thailand - to which many of the Rohingya had traveled by boat in an effort to get to Malaysia and beyond - scared traffickers into abandoning up to 4,500 migrants on boats in the Andaman Sea.
Around 1000 of the Rohingya ended up in Aceh.
Rohingya refugee Mohammed Hussein was quoted by MetroTV as saying that he greatly appreciates everything the government and volunteers had done, and that they couldn't wait to stay in the new complex.
Many of the Rohingya have been staying in sports centers, warehouses, and fishing complexes since they first arrived.
"We ask to be immediately be moved there," he said.
Indonesia’s government - along with Malaysia - has offered to shelter the thousands of boat people, ascertain which are genuine refugees and which are migrants, and house them for one year.
After that, it has asked the international community to take the refugees in.
Myanmar: Rohingyas turned out of flood shelters
Burma Times [1/8/15]:
Flood victims have been turned out of shelters by the police and army in Kyauktaw township.
On Friday, many Rohingyas took shelter in abandoned schools and community centres only to be turned out by the security forces who rushed to the scene.
Many Rohingya men were assaulted by the security forces in the process.
They were told that these buildings were meant to shelter ‘those who belong to this country’ in a reference to the Rakhine Buddhist population.
The institutions were however lying empty at the time Rohingyas moved in. Later on the Rohingyas moved to the hilly areas where the flood water has not reached. The victims say these areas though free of flood water is extremely dangerous in the monsoon season and not fit for human habitation. Many including children are also spending the nights under heavy rain.
Throughout Arakan state, the army especially seemed very helpful towards the Rakhine people and helped many to escape the flood and reach safe zones.
In contrast, Rohingyas were blocked from going to safer zones.
India and Myanmar monsoon rains leave dozens dead [BBC – 1/8/15]
Woodside Myanmar Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, Nang Nge Nge Phoo visits two of Woodside's partners: The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The Fiona Wood Foundation.
... As a major investor in Myanmar, Woodside is committed to supporting development and reform in the country and deliver sustainable benefits to local communities. ... [Media Release - 14/7/15]
Woodside takes up more acreage in Myanmar with BG [Australian Financial Review – 23/3/15]:
Woodside Petroleum has emerged as the largest holder of exploration acreage in Myanmar's promising Rakhine Basin, formalising contracts with the government that will give it large interests in four additional permits.
The award of the permits was first flagged last year by Woodside's partner, BG Group, which said the partners would carry out 3D seismic in the blocks, with options for future drilling.
Myanmar has become one of the world's hotspots for exploration after political reforms introduced in 2011 saw sanctions lifted by the European Union and the US, allowing international players to re-enter the market.
The first award of exploration rights was made to international companies last year, with drilling due to get underway this year.
The country is estimated to hold an estimated 3.2 billion barrels of oil resources and 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, with unproven resources potentially vastly greater, attracting majors including Chevron and Shell.
Woodside said that its stakes in offshore blocks AD-2, AD-5, A-4 and A-7 increased its exploration acreage to about 46,000 square kilometres. It is set to commence exploration work in the permits this year.
Woodside is already working with South Korea's Daewoo International in another Myanmar licence, and with local national company MPRL in another, as part of its expanded effort to explore emerging petroleum provinces with high potential. Woodside's first exploration well in Myanmar, named Saung, is due to be drilled in late 2015 or early 2016, targeting a large gas discovery.
Woodside is taking the role of operator in two of the new offshore production sharing contracts, and will have non-operated interests in the other two. The under-explored Rakhine Basin lies off north-west Myanmar.
Executive vice president global exploration, Phil Loader, described the Rakhine Basin as "an emerging oil and gas province that fits very well with Woodside's proven capabilities in deepwater exploration and development."
Angelina Jolie, Suu Kyi meet women garment workers in Myanmar [Rappler - 1/8/15]
The CEO of Australian company Woodside, Mr Peter Coleman, and Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, HE Nicholas Coppel, met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss Woodside's investment in Myanmar on 12 May 2015. Australian Embassy in Myanmar
The Myanmar Global Investment Forum, September 2015
Half a million in need of critical aid in Myanmar [UN Media Release – 12/6/15]
It is almost as if this girl is being punished for the fearmongering overreaction of the media and authorities
A 15-year-old girl has been charged with abducting a child, a day after a little girl disappeared from her mother's home in Mackay, Queensland.
The five-year-old went missing in the early hours of Saturday morning, prompting a major police investigation.
An off-duty police officer found her and her alleged abductor in a shopping centre in the Mackay CBD about 12 hours later.
The teenager was also charged with committing an indictable offence and stealing, and will be dealt with under the Youth Justice Act.
Her alleged accomplice, a 22-year-old man, is due to face Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday.
He was charged with possession of dangerous drugs and stealing.
Detectives investigate suspected murder in Geraldton
WA Today [1/8/15]:
Detectives from the major crime squad are investigating a suspected murder in Geraldton.
Police say officers were called to a property on Chapman Road around 7.20am where they found a woman's body.
A man, who is believed
to be known to the woman, is being questioned by detectives.
Southport disaster capitalism: Construction of light rail to nowhere and demolition of hospital put locals out of business but offers opportunities for ruthless developers
Gold Coast Hospital, Southport [January 2015]
Gold Coast City Council Media Release [31/7/15]:
Investment in the Gold Coast’s CBD has reached new heights, with the value of potential developments lodged under the Priority Development Area (PDA) scheme now soaring to more than $2.5 billion.
This figure* includes the land value, cost of construction and all normal development costs for each development. A total of 47 development applications for Southport have been lodged since the PDA was declared, with approximately 6,700 apartments approved or being assessed to date.
Mayor Tom Tate said the declaration of Southport as the CBD would drive the population up, with its current population of 30,145 expected to more than double by 2036.
“The future of Southport as the city’s business hub is fast becoming evident in its job and commercial floor space figures.
“Southport already has the highest number of jobs in the city - 25,000 jobs – with this figure expected to grow to 60,000 by 2036. It also has the highest amount of commercial floor space in the city, with more than 150,000 square metres over 80 buildings,” he said.
“Our new CBD is clearly well on the way to becoming the hub for education, health, legal firms and business, along with valuable community assets like the Broadwater Parklands. It is now the home of the monthly Chinatown Street Markets which are proving very popular.
“All eyes will be on Southport when it hosts the swimming, diving, marathon and triathlon events for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™.”
Cr Tate said the new level of confidence reflected among the city’s developers was evident city wide.
There is no leadership in Australia - only white supremacy
Outspoken MP Clive Palmer says people shouldn't make too much of crowds booing Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes.
The Palmer United Party leader told ABC TV that when Goodes wore the Swans' jersey it was natural for fans from another club to boo him.
Goodes is on indefinite leave from the AFL following persistent vilification by opposing fans over several weeks and missed Sydney's 52-point clobbering of the Crows at the SCG on Saturday.
As usual, the people get it and the politicians don't: #IStandWithAdam: Sporting stars and fans support Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes [ABC - 2/8/15]
2 August 2015