Manus Island: Refugee bashed by guards for being a refugee
Security guards on Manus Island have reportedly assaulted a refugee for not returning to the East Lorengau transit centre by the 6:00pm curfew.
The Iranian man was at a local restaurant at around 10:00pm when guards from the transit centre assaulted him and took him back to the Australian-funded accommodation.
"Suddenly some PNG [Papua New Guinea] immigration people injured him and very forcibly they took him to car for going back to his accommodation," said a source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive matter of refugee issues on the island.
"[They] hit him and his face become dark blue."
Manus Island Provincial Police Commander Alex N'Drasal confirmed the assault took place and said he was interviewing the PNG guards believed to be involved.
The Lorengau General Hospital told the ABC it had not treated a refugee for assault-related injuries in the last 24 hours.
The refugee is one of a small group of men who have had their asylum claim processed, have left detention and are awaiting permanent resettlement [exile] in another part of Papua New Guinea.
However, the PNG Government has not formed a policy for resettling [exiling] refugees and is giving them no indication how long they will be kept on Manus Island.
While free from the Australian-run detention centre on the Lombrum Naval Base, the refugees are expected to return to the East Lorengau transit centre between 6:00pm and 6:00am.
"Where is [the] law, I don't know?" asked one refugee at the East Lorengau centre.
The ABC is seeking comment from PNG's Ministry of Immigration and Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Last week, PNG passed amendments to laws dealing with foreigners in immigration detention.
"The Migration [Amendment] Bill provides expanded powers to manage refugee relocation centres and places of immigration detention, and introduces for the first time a clear definition of immigration detention," Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato said in a statement released on May 28.
"Minister Pato also stated that the Government is working to ensure that public servants and officers, as well as contracted security staff, have the powers and legal certainty necessary to discharge these responsibilities."
The night curfew on Manus Island is part of wider restrictions for the refugees awaiting resettlement [exile].
In March, Iranian refugee Reza Mollagholipour was denied permission to leave Manus Island to attend job interviews he had organised in PNG's capital Port Moresby.
Earlier this year Mr Mollagholipour expressed optimism about finding a job and starting a new life in Papua New Guinea but in recent weeks has told the ABC he is losing hope.
PNG's prime minister Peter O'Neill said last month that 129 asylum seekers had been granted refugee status, while more than 400 had returned to their home countries.
To date, no refugee has been resettled [exiled] in PNG.
The lawyer representing a refugee on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says his client's constitutional rights have been been breached after he was barred from entering a court this week. ... [RNZI - 29/5/15]
Concerns mount over Nauru hospital conditions; Nauru doctor recommends treatment offshore [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 2/6/15]
A Holistic Approach to a Humanitarian Crisis, Erika Feller [New York Times – 2/6/15]
WikiLeaks issues call for $100,000 bounty on monster trade treaty
Today WikiLeaks has launched a campaign to crowd-source a $100,000 reward for America’s Most Wanted Secret: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Over the last two years WikiLeaks has published three chapters of this super-secret global deal, despite unprecedented efforts by negotiating governments to keep it under wraps.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren has said:
"[They] can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it."
The remaining 26 chapters of the deal are closely held by negotiators and the big corporations that have been given privilleged access.
Today, WikiLeaks is taking steps to bring about the public’s rightful access to the missing chapters of this monster trade pact.
The TPP is the largest agreement of its kind in history: a multi-trillion dollar international treaty being negotiated in secret by the US, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia and 7 other countries.
The treaty aims to create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country’s legislative sovereignty.
The TPP bounty also heralds the launch of WikiLeaks new competition system, which allows the public to pledge prizes towards each of the world’s most wanted leaks. For example, members of the public can now pledge on the missing chapters of the TPP.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said:
"The transparency clock has run out on the TPP. No more secrecy. No more excuses. Let’s open the TPP once and for all."
Note: The TPP is also noteworthy as the icebreaker agreement for the giant proposed ’T-treaty triad’ of TPP-TISA-TTIP which extends TPP style rules to 53 nations, 1.6 billion people and 2/3rds of the global economy.
"It is based on their wishes": Myanmar navy now says it is disappearing refugee boat to Bangladesh
The international community is allowing Myanmar to do this with impunity.
The Straits Times [2/6/15]:
Myanmar's navy is escorting a boat crammed with 727 abandoned migrants to the waters of neighbouring Bangladesh, four days after intercepting it in the Andaman Sea, the country's information minister said on Tuesday.
The migrants, who were found drifting on Friday in a converted fishing boat that was taking on water, wanted to go to Bangladesh rather than Myanmar and the navy was assisting them, said Mr Ye Htut, who is also Myanmar's presidential spokesman.
"The Myanmar navy will accompany them to Bangladesh waters. They will provide them with water, food and other things," he told Reuters by telephone.
"It is based on their wishes, we will cooperate with them to send them to Bangladesh." Ye Htut did not say where the migrants were from.
Huffington Post [31/5/15]:
Myanmar's navy has briefly detained journalists who tried to reach a remote island where more than 700 migrants were being held after their ship was found drifting off the country's southwestern coast.
Some were forced to hand over camera memory cards or to sign documents Sunday saying they would not try to make the journey again.
Life in jail for pair who strangled man with wire
Sunshine Coast Daily [2/6/15]
A man and a woman who were found guilty of murdering an Ipswich man and interfering with his corpse have been sentenced to life behind bars.
Warrick David Lindenberg, 29, and Valerie Jeanette Mullins, 47, were both sentenced to life imprisonment for luring Shaune Gibson into a house before assaulting him and strangling him to death with wire.
They then buried his body and went back five days later to dig up part of the grave to ensure he was dead.
The court heard Mr Gibson was fond of Ms Mullins [and] had called the convicted killer "mum" at times.
"That in many ways makes it even more despicable what you have done in relation to him," Supreme Court judge David Boddice said to Ms Mullins.
Ms Mullins is also known as Valerie Jeanette Chambers.
Justice Boddice said it would have been a frightening experience for Mr Gibson, 19, that night he died in August 2012.
He said there was only one sentence for murder, and that was life in prison.
Both Mullins and Lindenberg were also charged with interfering with a body, and received a concurrent jail sentence for those counts.
Charges against Yongah Hill detainees may be dropped
West Australian [2/6/15]:
Two New Zealanders and a Fijian accused of assaulting a man at an immigration detention centre could have charges against them dropped.
Matiu Puhipi Dunn, 40, Foaga Paulo, 26, and Ratu Seruqaranivalu, 42, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court via video link from Acacia and Hakea prisons on Tuesday.
It is alleged the trio assaulted a fellow detainee at Yongah Hill Detention Centre, northeast of Perth, at midday on March 5, injuring his face and head.
The 41-year-old victim was taken to Royal Perth Hospital in a critical condition after being assessed at Northam Hospital.
But the court heard the Commonwealth would have to decide whether to prosecute the men and it was expected the charges would be dropped.
Yongah Hill was set up in 2012 to house single male asylum seekers but now contains a mix of asylum seekers and convicted criminals, including those found to have overstayed their visas.
The victim and the three alleged offenders have had their visas cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act and are awaiting deportation.
All three men are scheduled to appear in court again on July 28.
Update: armed robbery, Redbank Plains
QPS Media [2/6/15]
Police have charged a woman following an armed robbery that occurred on May 22.
A woman entered a bank on Redbank Plains Road around 10am when police will allege that she produced a firearm, made threats staff and fled the scene with a sum of cash.
A 46-year-old Riverview woman has been charged with one count of armed robbery and is due to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court tomorrow.
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.
Drugs and elite sport don’t mix, warns judge [Sunshine Coast Daily – 2/6/15]
Australian lawyer to be interviewed over Bali nine judge bribery claim [Sydney Morning Herald – 2/6/15]
Ex-lawyer on fraud charges denied bail
A former solicitor facing allegations he swindled more than $1 million from the estate of two plane crash victims has been denied bail amid fears he could try to flee or commit further offences.
Former Biddle Lawyers solicitor Russell Biddle, 45, was remanded in custody in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday despite offering a $90,000 surety to secure bail on fraud charges.
Biddle was extradited from NSW last week over allegations he took $1.14 million from the estate of John and Carol Dawson, both 63, who were among six people killed in a 2012 vintage plane crash in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Eye doctor appeals $10m court ruling [Daily Mercury - 2/6/15]:
A Central Queensland ophthalmologist who was ordered to pay more than $10 million in compensation after a court ruled he breached a service agreement has appealed against the decision.
The Brisbane Supreme Court, in a judgment handed down last month, ordered Dr David Kitchen compensate Vision Eye Institute to the tune of $10,845,476 after it ruled he had broken a service agreement in place between the two parties.
The court heard Dr Kitchen, who worked at Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay and Bundaberg, agreed to stay with Vision for at least five years after it purchased his existing practices for a reported $22 million.
However, the court heard that three years into the agreement Dr Kitchen left to start his own practices in Rockhampton and Gladstone, claiming Vision had breached the agreement.
The court heard Vision's claim they it was forced to close their Gladstone and Rockhampton clinics as a result of Dr Kitchen's decision to walk away from the 2006 agreement.
But the leading ophthalmologist is looking to get the decision overturned after his legal team lodged an appeal in the Brisbane Supreme Court on May 19.
Man fined $1,000 after being tasered outside Rockhampton nightclub [Morning Bulletin - 2/6/15]
Police have apologised after two motorists were fined for sticking to the speed limit on a Queensland motorway. … [Yahoo – 2/6/15]
Queensland's government has defended its decision to end the freeze on car registration fee increases. … [Yahoo – 2/6/15]
PR for authoritarian, class and race based policing can never replace genuine respect. Easy to lose, hard to earn. ---> ... Bundaberg Road Policing Unit officer in charge Sergeant Marty Arnold said it was concerning drivers were deciding to run from police over what was generally a minor traffic offence.
"In choosing to evade police the motorist may drive in a dangerous manner using excessive speed, travelling on the wrong side of the road or driving without due care given to other motorists or pedestrians," he said.
"In these instances their relatively minor ticketable offence has now become the much more serious charges of evade police and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle." ... [News Mail - 2/6/15]
ACT Budget 2015: Domestic violence crisis workers welcome boost in funds [Canberra Times - 2/6/15]
Man crushed by Cherry Picker at his home
An 87-year-old man has died after being pinned between a cherry picker and a wall on a property north of the coast.
Paramedics arrived at the home in Yatala this morning at 11.30 but were unable to revive him.
It appears the man might have been painting his home when the accident happened..
Arson suspected after three Brisbane businesses destroyed in fire at Salisbury industrial complex [ABC – 2/6/15]
Roadtrain trailer rollover between Mitchell and Amby [Chronicle – 2/6/15]
Woman hospitalised after two-vehicle crash, Toowoomba [Chronicle – 2/6/15]
Man hurt as car leaves road, ploughs through fences [Chronicle – 2/6/15]
Firies rush to Toowoomba city car fire [Chronicle – 2/6/15]
Morning Bulletin [2/6/15]:
There were no injuries after a single vehicle rollover near Bajool this afternoon.
The crash happened on the Bruce Hwy between Mt Larcom and Gracemere just before 4.30pm.
The driver managed to get out of the vehicle after the crash.
Common medicines could cost more under pharmacy payment changes [Canberra Times – 2/6/15]
Southern Cross Automotive goes into receivership [Chronicle – 2/6/15]
Arizona mosque holds 'love not hate' event
An Arizona mosque where hundreds gathered last week for an anti-Islam demonstration, with counter-protesters shouting "Go home, Nazis," was the site of a "love not hate" event on Monday to promote peace and inclusiveness, participants said.
The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix said it was hosting a gathering that includes a multi-faith prayer service and speakers to "show that when one of us is mistreated, our community responds with a message of Love and Not Hate."
"We ask that you bring a FLOWER as a symbol of love and care," the event organizers said on Facebook. "We are better together, and together we are strong."
Monday's event, organized by more than 20 groups, comes four days after an anti-Muslim event held outside the mosque drew more than 200 protesters, some armed, who berated Islam and its Prophet Mohammed.
The rally was held at the mosque in part because two Texas gunmen who opened fire outside an anti-Muslim event in Texas last month had worshipped there, said rally organizer Jon Ritzheimer, an Iraq war veteran.
As that event unfolded, demonstrators on both sides screamed obscenities at each other as police in riot gear separated the two groups.
On Monday evening, about 200 participants filed into the mosque, some carrying roses, tulips and daisies.
"There's been a lot of effort to divide the faith community and set us apart from one another and we want to demonstrate a strong message of togetherness," Reverend Erin Tamayo, executive director of Arizona Faith Network, which helped to organize the event, said. "I am praying we don't get any negative response."
Most of those who attended had left by Monday night with no reports of violent flare-ups or arrests.
Among other co-sponsors of Monday's were the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona, Arizona Interfaith Movement and the Anti-Defamation League, according to the Facebook posting.
Australia's Education Minister attacks Islamic schools under the pretext of financial mismanagement concerns. [West Australian - 2/6/15]:
The nation's peak Muslim body says a Commonwealth audit into its schools will clear up the "outrageous claims and allegations" levelled at its institutions.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said on Tuesday the education department would investigate allegations of financial mismanagement and governance at the six Islamic schools run by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.
The crackdown comes after mounting complaints of financial mismanagement and fundamentalist practices in the schools.
"We totally agree with Mr Pyne that the audit will get to the bottom of things," said AFIC spokesman Amjad Mehboob.
"All the claims of financial mismanagement and the other outrageous claims have no truth whatsoever and so we welcome this opportunity to end all of the innuendo and allegations.
"We have nothing to hide."
Mr Pyne said last month that he would look into media reports around school curriculum and separation of male and female students at the Islamic College of SA following a protest led by parents at the school's gates.
These concerns have been decried by the AFIC and Islamic school principals as lies that have had a detrimental impact on students.
"This college is far from hardline anything, it's a top school and performs with the best in Queensland," said the principal of the Islamic College of Brisbane, Dr Ray Barrett, who also presided over Sydney school Malek Fahd in 2013/14 when the school was audited by KPMG.
He described the probe as a "knee-jerk reaction to media attention" about Muslim schools.
"The non-state schools board hasn't got any questions about curriculum, the teaching, uniforms or mixing of boys and girls, none of that has ever come into question," Mr Barrett said.
"If anybody came into this school on any day you'd just see business as usual."
Elite private schools use Potentiality software to track parents' wealth [Sydney Morning Herald – 2/6/15]
Typical establishment media PR for unwanted, divisive fundamentalist Christian proselytisers in Australia's public schools ---> ... Principal John Byrne said Ms Francis was an asset to the school.
"She provides that support for students and makes them feel a part of the school," he said.
"She provides for all of the kids, but especially for those students who have fallen on hard times."
Year 6 student Meshva Patel said students loved their "Chappy". [Sunshine Coast Daily - 2/6/15]
We need to reclaim our parliament from these bigoted morons ----> People wanting to become citizens in Australia should have to undertake an English language test, Liberal MP Sharman Stone says, in a push to overhaul the current citizenship requirements. ... [Canberra Times - 2/6/15]
A community group has been barred from meeting at a Logan football club, after Rochedale Rovers officials found out they were planning to host anti-Islamic speakers. ... [Brisbane Times - 2/6/15]
Australian woman denied compensation after London bombings [Canberra Times – 1/6/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [1/6/15]:
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.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, nine airstrikes struck eight ISIL tactical units, destroying seven ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL airfield.
-- Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying 13 ISIL fighting positions.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage, destroying an ISIL resupply vehicle.
-- Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL staging areas, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device facility, destroying two ISIL buildings, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL rocket launcher.
-- Near Ramadi, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL crane.
-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL buildings and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and two ISIL mortar positions, destroying two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL building.
Islamic State (IS) group militants on Monday drove an armoured tank laden with explosives into a police base northwest of Baghdad, killing at least 37 officers in the blast, officials said. ... [France 24 - 1/6/15]
In Iraq, UN reports insecurity and violence taking ‘terrible toll’ on civilians from all communities [Media Release – 1/6/15]
May deadliest month of 2015 in Syria with 6,657 killed: Report [Press TV – 2/6/15]
Baby dead in huge fire at Bekaa Syrian refugee encampment [Naharnet – 1/6/15]:
A major fire broke out Monday at a Syrian refugee encampment in the al-Jrahiyeh area near the Bekaa town of al-Marj, killing a baby and injuring several people.
The flames gutted dozens of tents and pieces of furniture as well as drinking and household water tanks.
Children and elderly people were quickly evacuated by residents and crews from the Social Affairs Ministry, the Civil Defense and security forces, NNA said.
"We transported the body of a baby, less than two years old, which was fully burned. It was not possible to tell if it was a girl or boy," a Lebanese Red Cross official told AFP.
"An additional five people suffering from suffocation due to smoke inhalation were transported from the camp, but none were in severe condition," he added.
He said the baby had not yet been identified and the cause of the fire remained unclear.
Local municipal chief Nazem Dib Youssef said the blaze had ravaged the camp, which he said housed around 2,500 people in some 250 tents.
"Half the camp is burned down," he told AFP.
"We don't know what caused it yet, but there is no reason to think it was arson, relations with the local community are good."
The incident is not the first time that fires have ripped through the often overcrowded and poorly constructed informal housing in which many Syrian refugees in Lebanon live.
Lebanon is hosting nearly 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees, though the total number in the country may be even higher.
The influx has placed strains on Lebanon, which has just four million citizens.
The Lebanese government has prevented the establishment of official refugee camps, giving rise to informal shanties known as "tented settlements" in rural areas.
In recent months, the government has all but closed its door to new refugees saying the country can no longer bear the strain produced by the influx.
US journalist freed as Saudis continue bombing Yemen [SF Gate - 1/6/15]:
Yemen’s Houthi rebel group on Monday released an American freelance journalist who had been in its custody for about two weeks, according to the journalist’s family.
The release of the journalist, Casey Coombs, one of several Americans believed to be held by the Houthis, came as the abductors of a Frenchwoman seized three months ago published a video online of her pleading with the presidents of France and Yemen for her rescue.
The Frenchwoman’s captors are not believed to be Houthis, and may be aligned with al Qaeda militants in Yemen.
Coombs, who lived in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, was arrested by Houthi militiamen there in mid-May and traveled to neighboring Oman on Monday. He was scheduled to undergo a medical evaluation there before flying home to Seattle, his mother, Jill Marie Hammill, said.
Hammill said she had received a call from the International Committee of the Red Cross early Monday saying that Coombs was at the Sanaa airport and was preparing to leave Yemen. She was able to speak to her son Monday afternoon, after he arrived in Oman.
“I cannot describe how happy I am,” she said.
Coombs has written for publications including the Intercept, the American Prospect and Time magazine.
The Obama administration has said a number of Americans have been detained by the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital and forced the U.S.-backed Yemeni government from power earlier this year.
Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, has long been a dangerous place for Westerners. In December, an American photojournalist, Luke Somers, and a South African teacher, Pierre Korkie, were killed by their al Qaeda captors after U.S. military commandos undertook a raid in an effort to free them.
Meanwhile, another wave of heavy explosions rocked Sanaa early Monday, with preliminary reports suggesting multiple civilian fatalities.
A wave of bombardment beginning around 1 a.m. local time targeted Shiite Muslim rebel positions including the area around the presidential palace and a base on Mount Niqum, on the city’s eastern outskirts.
The Saudi-led air offensive against the Houthis has been widely criticized by international human rights groups. About 2,000 people, many of them noncombatants, have died in the bombing campaign that began March 26.
... Political sources in Oman confirmed on Monday that diplomats were brokering talks between U.S. and Houthi envoys in the capital Muscat aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to a conflict that has killed over 2,000 people since March. ... [Reuters - 1/6/15]
Afghanistan: Militants attack Nangarhar police headquarters
At least five fighters were killed and nine policemen, six civilians were wounded and the sixth fighter was arrested when militants launched coordinated attack on police headquarters in eastern Nangarhar province, an official said.
The militants smashed their two cars into the gate of the police headquarters on Sunday night at around 11:00 pm.
The gun battle lasted till 3:30am on Monday morning.
Provincial police chief Col. Fazl Ahmad Sherzad told Pajhwok Afghan News that six fighters, with five of them Pakistanis, targeted the vehicle repairing center of the headquarters.
He said nine policemen, six civilians were wounded, five fighters killed and another wounded militant was apprehended by police after the firefight was over.
The health condition of one of the policemen was critical. He identified the arrested fighter as Dost Mohammad son of Hayat Shah, resident of Tera area of Pakistan.
“The attack was planned in a foreign country. The attackers were not ordinary fighters but they were well-trained by intelligence agency of a foreign country,” Sherzad said without naming any country’s intelligence.
However, when asked about the possible involvement of foreign intelligence, Sherzad responded that intelligence circles were hatching attack in Afghanistan from the Durand Line.
He said that two suicide bombers smashed their explosive-laden cars into the gate of police vehicles repairing workshop.
Other militants forced their way inside the police headquarters and then locked in firefight with police force for four hours. Public health officials did not provide details about the people wounded in the incident.
But provincial civil hospital director Dr. Hamayun Zaheer last night said that five wounded children were shifted to the hospital for treatment.
The children were wounded when windowpanes of their houses smashed as a result of explosions, he said. Asif Bahadari, an eyewitness and resident of the area, said the headquarters was first targeted with two suicide bombers while other fighters entered into the compound.
“We could not sleep last night. Me and my two brother-in-laws and three children in my neighborhood are injured,” he said.
He added that heavy, small weapons and hand grenades were used during the attack.
Ehsanullah a police officer who was wounded in the incident said:
“We did not let the fighters to come out of vehicles’ repairing center to the police headquarters. They were hiding behind parts of destroyed cars but police shot them dead one by one.”
He added that nine policemen were also wounded in the fight. A police ranger was completely destroyed as a result of gunfire while some other vehicles were partially damaged.
As usual, Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying several policemen suffered casualties in the firefight.
The Lebanese Army has received a shipment of anti-tank missiles from the U.S. government, the military said in a statement Monday, in the latest show of U.S. support for the Army which is engaged in a relentless war against terrorism. The statement said the shipment included an undisclosed number of BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles and their launch pads. They were received at the Rafik Hariri International Airport late Sunday. ... [Daily Star - 2/6/15]
US military lab shipped live anthrax samples to Canada, report says [The Globe And Mail - 1/6/15]
Nearly 70 killed in Nigeria fuel tanker blaze [Deutsche Welle – 1/6/15]
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned the Government of South Sudan's decision to expel his Deputy Special Representative and the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer. … [UN Media Release – 1/6/15]
The new head of the United Nations relief arm today released a fresh tranche of crisis funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in order to support life-saving relief work for thousands of Burundian refugees dispersed between Rwanda and Tanzania, the Organization has announced.
Since early April, nearly 100,000 Burundians have fled across the borders, seeking safety in neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A cholera epidemic striking refugees gathered along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania has only added to the miseries of the unfolding humanitarian crisis. ... [UN Media Release - 1/6/15]
‘Persistent and grave’ human rights violations in eastern Ukraine – UN report [Media Release – 1/6/15]
NATO hosts a briefing on Azerbaijan critical energy infrastructure [News.az – 1/6/15]
Azerbaijani President issues order on conscription [News.az – 30/5/15]
Kremlin surprised by response to publishing list of foreigners denied entry to Russia [TASS – 1/6/15]
Greece plans to sign a document on political support for Gazprom’s Turkish Stream project at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, its Energy Minister announced on Monday. ... [RT - 1/6/15]
European, IMF leaders agree to work intensely in Greek debt talks [Reuters – 1/6/15]
South Korea announces first two MERS deaths [Channel News Asia – 2/6/15]
US states enlist prisoners, plan biosecurity to combat avian flu threat [Reuters – 31/5/15]
Hundreds unaccounted for after tourist ship capsizes on Yangtze River, China [Al Jazeera – 2/6/15]
A passenger boat sank shortly after it left Koh Lan heading back to the Pattaya shore Sunday evening, police said. All of its 82 passengers were safely rescued by two other passenger boats. ... [Thai Visa News - 1/5/15]
Solomons minister to look further into NZ spying claims [RNZI – 2/6/15]
Grave concerns for Manus hunger striker
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [1/6/15]:
The Refugee Action Coalition has serious concerns for the welfare of an Iraqi hunger striker on Manus Island.
The 31 year-old man has been on hunger strike for 53 days and has lost 19 kgs. He can no longer walk and is transported in a wheel chair.
“We are extremely concerned at the mistreatment he has received at the hands of Wilson security guards,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“He was held in isolation for two days from Saturday to Monday with the air-conditioner turned down – a technique that comes straight from the Guantanamo Bay torture manual.”
“We believe that such techniques are being used to try to break his hunger strike and to force him to eat and drink. It seems that such torture techniques are being sanctioned by IHMS, the detention medical provider. His treatment and his detention are gross violations of his human rights.
“The scene is being set for yet another tragedy on Manus Island. Immigration, Transfield and IHMS have a duty of care for the asylum seekers but they are complicit in his torture.”
The lawyer representing a refugee on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says his client's constitutional rights have been been breached after he was barred from entering a court this week. ... [RNZI - 29/5/15]
The travel ban on Australians visiting the Autonomous Region of Bougainville has been lifted.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato yesterday announced the lifting of the ban he imposed three weeks ago, triggered by Canberra’s announcement to set up a diplomatic post in Buka without consulting Port Moresby. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill discussed the issue last week in Japan with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.
Pato said they had reached a “common ground” on issues relating to the ban.
“Prime Minister O’Neill reaffirmed PNG’s position that the Government does not approve of the establishment of an Australian diplomatic mission on Bougainville,” Pato said. ... [The National - 2/6/15]
Letter to the Editor denounces attack on Polish missionary who was conducting "health patrols", blames a lack of services on community resistance to christian fundamentalism [The National - 1/6/15]
Fortunately there is resistance to US fascism: Refugee death rate slows after Mediterranean search-and-rescue boost
The rate at which migrants are drowning in the Mediterranean has slowed since the resumption of widescale rescue operations in May, with the death toll falling below the equivalent figure from the same period last year.
The number of deaths in the first five months of 2015 has exceeded 1,800 and is at least five times higher than the death toll for the same period of 2014, when 425 migrants drowned between Italy and Libya.
But the rate dropped significantly in May, after several EU navies sent ships to bolster rescue efforts and a private rescue mission run by Médecins Sans Frontières and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station returned to the high seas.
Fewer than 100 migrants drowned last month, down from 329 in May 2014, despite more migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the UN said. In each of the previous months of the year, the death tolls had far outstripped their 2014 equivalents.
Britain was among the European navies to send additional rescue ships to assist the Italian coastguard, after about 800 migrants drowned in a shipwreck in April. HMS Bulwark has been saving lives in the Mediterranean since the start of May. The EU border agency, Frontex, also announced plans last week to quadruple its area of maritime operations.
Campaigners say it is impossible to draw definitive causal links between the fall in deaths and the increase in rescue operations. But Will Turner, who leads MSF’s Mediterranean missions, nevertheless welcomed the rise in state-led rescue efforts and called for them to continue.
“We welcome all increases in search-and-rescue capacity – as long as it remains in place, and there isn’t a blurring of lines between military operations and the life-saving humanitarian work,” he said.
Turner said search-and-rescue operations were not the reason thousands of migrants were attempting to reach Europe.
“We still don’t feel that having search and rescue, which should be there regardless, is a pull factor. From what we see and from the people we meet from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia, people are willingly taking these journeys because there’s no safe alternative.”
More than 46,000 migrants have reached Europe by boat in 2015, according to the UN, compared with 41,243 between January and May 2014.
... We believe in the cold gray light we dream
There's a place for us ...
'Mediterranea', Duran Duran 
The empire needs a pool of entrapped stateless people, slaves and zones of lawlessness
A Vietnamese military band performed a rousing Star Spangled Banner as U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter arrived Monday for talks at the defense ministry in Hanoi. ...
[Bloomberg - 26/5/15]
Its business model is human misery: ... President Obama has argued that keeping countries like Malaysia in America’s economic orbit, rather than China’s, is geopolitically essential — especially when it comes to control of trade routes like the Straits of Malacca, where Malaysia’s cooperation is critical. Plus, the U.S. trade representative says that it’s hard enough for some of these countries to make the legal changes that the agreement will eventually require. ... [Washington Post - 1/6/15]
The Star [1/6/15]:
Female Rohingya migrants detained at a human trafficking transit camp in Padang Besar, Thailand, were treated like sex slaves.
Nur Khaidha Abdul Shukur, 24, who was held for eight days with her baby at the camp, said the women were also gang-raped by camp guards.
Nur Khaidha, who is from Maungdaw, Myanmar, resolved to cross the Andaman Sea on a boat to Malaysia with her child to follow in her husband's footsteps.
Several months earlier, her husband, Nurul Amin Nobi Hussein, 25, had boarded a boat from Maungdaw to Ranong, Thailand, in his effort to set foot in Malaysia.
Unknown to his wife, he was detained by a human trafficking syndicate at the transit camp in Wang Kelian, Perlis.
Her husband was detained in the camp at Bukit Wang Burma for 22 days before he made his escape.
Nurul Amin, who now works at a workshop in Alor Setar, said his desire for a better life made him and his family take a gamble to ride the “death” boats to Malaysia.
He also said that Rohingya women had been raped by the guards at the transit camp in Wang Kelian.
"In the night, several of the guards will go to the pens housing the women and take them to a nearby place.
"We heard the shrieks and cries of the women because the place they raped them was very close to our pens, but as it was at night, we could not see what was happening," he said.
A year on, Nurul Amin and his wife Nur Khaidha were thankful they were free of the misery of being detained at the transit camps of the human trafficking syndicates.
And they hope for a better future.
Thai general suspended after warrant issued for human trafficking [Channel News Asia – 2/6/15]
A Thai court has approved an arrest warrant for the Army's Major General Manat Kongpan, who becomes the most senior official in Thailand so far to be accused of smuggling Rohingya boatpeople.
Phuketwan first encountered the major general back in 2008, when he was a colonel based in Ranong and connected to the inhumane ''pushbacks'' of boatpeople from Thailand.
In January 2009, the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong published a photograph of the colonel on Koh Sai Dang - Red Sand Island - where Rohingya were held in barbed wire enclosures before being pushed out to sea in boats with no means of propulsion.
Hundreds are thought to have died before survivors washed up in two boats, one on the Indian territory of Andaman and Nicobar islands and the other in Indonesia. ... [Phuketwan - 1/6/15]
OGI Australia [25/3/15]
Chevron Corporation has followed in the footsteps of Woodside Petroleum after entering into a production sharing contract with Myanmar’s national oil company which will enable it to explore for hydrocarbons in the Rakhine Basin.
The new PSC area, Block A5, lies 200 km offshore northwest of Yangon, and covers more than 10,600sqkm.
Unocal Myanmar Offshore, will be the operator of the block with a 99 per cent interest. Royal Marine Engineering, a Myanmar company, will hold the remaining interest in the block.
Chevron said it was committed to exploring Myanmar's energy potential.
“The exploration of this block is aligned with Chevron's long-term strategy to find and develop resources that will help meet the growing energy needs in the Asia Pacific region,” said Brad Middleton, managing director, Chevron Asia South Business Unit.
Go back to where you come from: US to Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide
A senior U.S. official said Monday that resettlement in a third country is not the answer to the swelling tide of boat people in Southeast Asia and called for Myanmar to give citizenship to Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution there.
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.
"At the moment, there is tremendous persecution and oppression of the Rohingyas in Rakhine state. They do not have citizenship and we are concerned about their human rights," she said.
Since early May, more than 4,600 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been brought ashore from Southeast Asian waters. Several thousand more are believed to still be at sea after human smugglers abandoned their boats amid a regional crackdown.
Some are Bangladeshis who left their impoverished homeland in hope of finding jobs abroad. But many are Rohingya Muslims who have fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which has denied them basic rights, including citizenship, and confined more than 100,000 to camps. There are more than 1 million Rohingya living in the country formerly known as Burma.
Malaysia and Indonesia, which initially pushed away boats carrying the migrants, recently said they would give temporary shelter to the boat people on condition that they are resettled within a year.
Richard said 18-24 months would be a more realistic time frame for the United States to resettle refugees.
But she warned that only a small fraction of the world's refugees will be resettled, mainly including torture victims, widows and orphans or those with medical needs.
"Resettlement is not the solution for most refugees on Earth," she said. "The most important solution is people don't have to leave their country in the first place."
Richard earlier visited some 1,100 Rohingya and Bangladeshi immigrants who arrived in northern Malaysia by boats last month. She said the immigrants were detained in fairly modern and clean buildings at a facility in northern Kedah state.
"They are safe right now, but it was clear to me that those people have gone through a terrible, terrible experience. They are not in good shape in terms of their general well-being. They don't know what's going to happen to them next," she said, calling for their status to be reviewed quickly by Malaysian authorities.
Richard also said she was encouraged that Myanmar attended an emergency conference on the boat people in Bangkok that drew 17 regional countries on Friday. The meeting ended with no major breakthroughs in how to resolve the crisis, but was praised as a good first step in getting the countries to talk face-to-face about the crisis.
"One thing that was really good was that Myanmar was there and stayed for the whole meeting and was very engaged," said Richard, who attended the meeting. "We hope Myanmar will stay engaged."
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday the U.S. was urging Myanmar to work with the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration to assist hundreds of migrants who were rescued May 29, but remain held offshore.
"There's a group of 727 migrants off the coast of Burma and we believe that they need to allow them to disembark immediately and provide humanitarian assistance to them," Harf told reporters, referring to the alternative name for Myanmar.
Myanmar's navy briefly detained journalists who tried to the migrants Sunday.
US locates refugee boats, won't say what will happen to them. [The Rakyat Post - 1/6/15]:
... When asked whether it was important that Malaysia signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the status of refugees, Richard said everyone should, but in Malaysia’s case, the government was already working well in handling the issue.
Meanwhile, commenting on the US Navy conducting daily maritime surveillance flights out of Subang to locate boats carrying migrants, Richard said some vessels were identified.
“They have pinpointed vessels that might be smuggling migrants and they have provided that information to Malaysia. Other than that, I can’t tell you,” she added.
What's changed since Friday?
Jakarta Globe [29/5/15]:
... The United States said on Friday that thousands of vulnerable migrants adrift in Southeast Asian seas needed urgent rescue, as countries gathered in Bangkok to discuss the regional crisis.
“We have to save lives urgently,” US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters on her way into the meeting at a Bangkok hotel.
The gathering brings together 17 countries from across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and elsewhere in Asia, along with the United States, Switzerland and international organizations such as UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.
A total overhaul of all border security measures is on the cards for at least five law enforcement agencies that guard the Malaysian-Thai border. ... [The Star - 2/6/15]
Shahidan defends refugee camps comment, says for deterrent… not tourism [The Malay Mail Online – 2/6/15]
New Straits Times [1/6/15]:
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the migrant issue in the region must be resolved at the ASEAN level with the assistance from other countries and international bodies.
He expressed his concern over the discovery of graves of alleged human trafficking victims along the Perlis-Thailand border, and called for action to be taken against those responsible.
“I am deeply concerned by the plight of the Rohingya migrants trying to reach our shores.
“I was particularly shocked by the discovery of graves of alleged victims of people smugglers along the Perlis-Thailand border.
“The migrant issue should be resolved at the ASEAN level, with assistance from other countries and international bodies as needed.
He implored participants in the meeting to share their thoughts openly to help resolve pressing cases.
“Over the next two days, I encourage you to engage in frank and robust discussions about the key challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region,” he said at the official opening of 29th Asia-Pacific Roundtable at Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
Present were Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS) chairman Ambassador Yong Chanthalangsy and ISIS Malaysia chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa.
Human beings call on Minister to bring 11 year-old refugee to Australia to save his arm
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [1/6/15]:
Refugee advocates are calling for the Immigration Minister to act immediately to bring an 11 year old Iranian refugee to Australian for an urgent operation to reset his broken arm.
The 11 year old broke his arm when he fell off his bike on Nauru on 4 May. A cast was put on the arm on 5 May at the Nauruan hospital. But an x-ray two weeks later showed the bones were hopelessly out of alignment (see photo).
The boy is a victim of Australian government policy that provides different levels of care to those who are asylum seekers (and in detention) from those who are found to be refugees and living outside detention on Nauru.
When medical contractor IHMS thought Erfan was an asylum seeker, his parents had been told he would be sent to Australia for an urgent operation to reset his arm. However, when it was discovered that his family were refugees, they were told that Erfan would be treated on Nauru.
Australian doctors have expressed their concerns at the delayed treatment.
The Nauru government has now requested that a “a specialist medical team from Australia be sent to Nauru to treat this boy as soon as possible.”
This is implicit admission that Erfan’s medical treatment has so far been deficient and that the expertise for the necessary operation does not exist on Nauru.
“While providing an Australian medical team to Nauru would be a significant step forward, we have no confidence that Erfan can be properly treated in the conditions that exist on Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“There are serious questions marks over the risks of the operation itself and perhaps even higher concerns at the post-operative care including the risk of infection and rehabilitation. Hospital conditions are well below anything acceptable in Australia.
“The circumstances of Erfan only highlight the serious lack of medical care available for refugees on Nauru. The fact is that as refugees, they are at a distinct disadvantage, as the Australian government maintains the fiction that Nauru has responsibility for the refugees.”
There are others who need urgent medical care. A 36 year old Iranian female refugee, Tahereh, has been receiving morphine injections for over a year for a back injury suffered when she fell in the showers inside the detention centre.
Now doctors have recommended that she have an MRI – but there is no MRI facility on Nauru. How long is Tahereh expected to suffer?
Another Somali female refugee has had gynaecological problems for months and has an identifiable mass on her ovary but has been left untreated.
“The Minister must act urgently to bring Erfan and the others that need urgent medical help to Australia where they can receive the medical help they need,” said Rintoul.
Sydney Morning Herald [25/5/15]:
...The 23-year-old asylum seeker has told Fairfax Media that she was leaving the detention centre on a day release last Saturday when she claims that someone jumped out from behind her, put his hand on her mouth and forcefully pulled down her top.
She said she was then forced to give violent oral sex for over an hour as her assailant bit her breasts and shoulders.
After her attacker fled, the naked, distressed and disorientated woman managed to find a local police unit who put her in the back of their truck.
"They didn't take me back to the police station, they decided to take me with them to watch the fireworks for Nauru's constitution day," she said in a statement.
"It was not until hours later that the police asked for an interpreter".
She claims that she was asked to repeat the story of her assault three times without receiving medical attention.
Last week Nauruan police said that there was no suggestion that anyone had assaulted her.
In a statement they said the woman was found walking in a nearby street naked after failing to return to the the detention centre on Saturday night.
"There is no injury to her or any sign of other physical force or trauma," the Nauru Police Force said.
In an about face last week, the police force have since launched an investigation and promised to "find the person who did this".
Asylum seekers, including mothers and their children, are spending nearly five years in Australian immigration detention facilities, as the time in detention has soared to one of the longest rates in the world.
The Commonwealth and Immigration Ombudsman has slammed the government for its prolonged detention of asylum seekers after finding children are being born, and remain, in detention facilities waiting for their families' claims of protection to be processed or for their security assessments to be cleared.
A 37-year-old man spent 1827 days in detention, which is more than five years. He was released from immigration detention in December last year on a bridging visa without the ability to work.
During Senate estimates last week, it was revealed that longest time in detention for a child was 1774 days, which is nearly five years.
A spokesman for the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network, DASSAN, said he was aware of a number of families who had been kept at Wickham Point in Darwin for up to four years.
"Those families are not told why they are still in detention or what can be done to secure their release," Ben Pynt said.
Grant Mitchell, director of the International Detention Coalition, said Australia had one of the longest immigration detention rates in the world.
"The big problem in Australia is that there is no time limit to how long people can be kept in immigration detention," he said.
"Australia is unique that it lacks court oversight on decisions, leaving it in the hands of the minister's discretion, which is highly problematic," he said. "We are lagging far behind."
In Sweden, asylum seekers can be held in immigration detention for a maximum of five days, while a child can be held for only three days under Swedish law, Mr Mitchell said.
He also said New Zealand recently adopted laws that limit the duration of immigration detention to 14 days before a judge must make a decision. [Canberra Times - 2/6/16]
The Nauruan government has blocked a visa application from an Australian barrister involved in a high-stakes case that could see the Nauruan president Baron Waqa and justice minister David Adeang face contempt of court charges.
Australian barrister Jay Williams was seeking to appear in court to represent Rod Henshaw, an Australian who lived on Nauru and who was deported in controversial circumstances by the Nauruan government.
He also represents more than 1,000 asylum seekers on the island in an ongoing legal case surrounding their detention in the Australian centre on the island.
Weak: [Greens Media Release - 2/6/15]
2 June 2015