Australia's new corporate-imposed No Fly List
Sydney Morning Herald [2/3/15]:
Qantas has banned a Melbourne man from flying with them after he asked to be removed from a flight taking an asylum seeker from Melbourne to Darwin for deportation.
Paul Leary has filed a complaint with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal's human rights division, on the grounds that the ban discriminates against him on the basis of his political belief.
The 51-year-old was booked on a flight on February 2 this year and arrived at Melbourne Airport to find asylum seeker advocates handing out information about a Sri Lankan man who was on the flight.
The 25-year-old Tamil asylum seeker, known as Puvaneethan, was being flown to Darwin in preparation of being deported after the Refugee Review Tribunal found him not to be a refugee.
A female protester bought a seat on the flight and refused to sit down during take-off preparations.
Mr Leary said that while the protest was taking place, he and his business partner decided they wanted to leave the plane because they were not comfortable with the man's treatment.
"This occurred in the most polite way that you could - by standing up, pressing the call button and getting a Qantas steward to come over, who said 'what's the matter?'"
Mr Leary said his colleague told the steward she was not comfortable being on the flight and agreed to leave the plane.
"I stood up and just queried what was going on, the steward said 'well what would you like to do sir?' and I said 'I'm not comfortable either, I'll get up and I'll leave as well."
Mr Leary, who has worked as a human relations executive for 25 years and now works for a social justice organisation, said he and his colleague did not have any links to asylum seeker advocacy groups and did not know there would be an asylum seeker on the flight.
He said they at no point tried to disrupt or delay the flight and were not directed to leave the plane.
Mr Leary said they left the plane without anyone from Qantas speaking to them and spokes briefly to Australian Federal Police officers once they left the plane.
Four days later, having made it to Darwin with a different airline, the pair went to Darwin airport for their Qantas trip home to Melbourne.
Mr Leary said a Qantas manager told them they could not board their flight because they were subject to a no-fly ban and a security review.
In a letter sent a fortnight after the initial incident, Qantas informed Mr Leary that the ban would be in place until further notice while the security review was undertaken.
"Your actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated," the letter said.
The flight ban applies to all Qantas or Jetstar flights as well as any codeshare flight operated by another airline, such as Emirates.
Mr Leary's Qantas Club and Frequent Flyer membership has been also suspended.
The airline's conditions of carriage state that it can refuse to carry a passenger "if we have notified you in writing that we will not carry you on our services."
"The notice will give details of the period for which it will apply," it states.
Mr Leary said he did not receive any such notice
before he attended Darwin airport.
"Qantas have provided no details on their review process or how you can have a say," he said.
"There is a complete lack of natural justice and I find myself in a kafkaesque type scenario in which a decision will be reached and I will never be spoken to."
A Qantas spokeswoman said: "A number of passengers were identified as being involved in the on-board incident, causing the flight to be delayed by almost an hour.
"A no-fly notification has been issued by Qantas to those passengers while the incident is investigated by the AFP.
"As the incident is under investigation, it is not appropriate to comment further."
A date has not been set for Mr Leary's VCAT hearing.
The war planes have flown low over south of Baghdad areas since dawn ...............
"tweeted" by @IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [2/3/15]
At least 6 killed in US drone strike in Yemen
Press TV [2/3/15]
At least six people have been killed and three others injured in a US drone strike in Yemen's southern Shabwa Province.
The strike comes two days after a similar US drone attack targeted Shabwa’s Bihan region, killing three people.
Washington has continued its so-called fight against militancy in Yemen in recent weeks, despite the country’s current political crisis.
On January 22, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the cabinet of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah resigned. However, the Yemeni parliament rejected Hadi’s resignation.
Last month, Yemen’s Houthi Shia movement dissolved the Yemeni parliament and announced a constitutional declaration on the Transitional National Council following weeks of clashes with government forces.
Hadi recently sent a letter to the parliament, withdrawing his resignation.
He has also met with several tribal and provincial figures in Aden in order to find a solution to the current situation.
However, Washington says the political void in Yemen will not affect its so-called anti-terrorism campaign in the Arab country.
Washington claims that the drones target al-Qaeda militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the airstrikes.
According to Human Rights Watch, the US drone strikes in Yemen have led to the deaths of many civilians over the past few years in a blatant violation of international law.
EURO News [2/3/15]:
Iranian airline Mahan landed its first plane at Sanaa airport in Yemen on Sunday after the two countries signed a civil aviation deal allowing up to 14 flights a week in both directions.
The deal is a possible reflection of Tehran’s support for the Shi’ite militia that now controls Yemen’s capital.
Iranian Red Crescent workers arrived on Sunday’s flight along with Red Crescent medical aid.
Afghanistan: 2 school children killed in Jalalabad explosion
Two school children were killed and two others wounded following an explosion in Jalalabad city on Monday.
Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, spokesman for the Police Headquarters of Nangarhar Province says that the explosive materials were placed in a can and exploded as the students were passing through the area to attend the school.
He added that the incident took place around 080: AM in Farm-i-Hada area of Jalalabad city.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion the occurred in the 2nd Police District of the city but police say they have initiated an inquiry in regards to the incident.
Last month also an explosion in Jalalabad city killed a school kid and injured two others.
That explosion took place in close to Afghan-Turk school in the 1st Police District also in the morning when students were arriving at the school to study.
The explosive materials were planted close to the school which detonated around 07:30 AM.
No group including Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility either.
More than this, a couple of schools have been bombed or burned in the eastern Afghanistan in the past few months.
Taliban insurgent reject hand in these types of acts saying that are not against the education.
2 ANA soldiers, 32 "insurgents" killed in security forces operations [Khaama - 2/3/15]
Israel Launches "Surprise" Drill in Occupied West Bank [Al Akhbar - 2/3/15]
ISIS blew up runway of Mosul International Airport last Thursday
On Thursday, the ISIS elements blew up the runway of Mosul International Airport and booby-trapped a number of main bridges, in an attempt to separate the right coast from the left coast of the city, a local source in Nineveh province stated.
The source said in an interview for IraqiNews.com, “Elements of the ISIS group detonated the runway of Mosul International Airport after booby-trapped it with a large number of improvised explosive devices.”
The source added, “They emplaced explosive devices under a number of main bridges in the center of Mosul in preparation for detonation,” noting that, “This aims at isolating and separating the left coast from the right coast in case the security forces launched an attack on the city.”
It is noteworthy that Mosul International Airport, located 5 kilometers away from the city of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad), is Iraq’s third-largest airports and was developed according to the international safety standards.
It opened in 2008 after had been used by the US forces as a military base since 2003.
US backed Syrian opposition reject UN envoy's proposal for a temporary ceasefire in the northern city of Aleppo [Al Jazeera - 2/3/15]
A new U.N. report says Libya's ability to prevent the flow of weapons into and out of the chaotic country is "almost nonexistent," and it calls for the tightening of an arms embargo that the government says must be loosened so it can defend itself.
The report by a panel of experts also recommends the creation of a maritime monitoring force to help Libya's government prevent both the flow of weapons and the illegal export of the country's oil. The country has Africa's largest proven reserves of crude. ... [ABC News - 2/3/15]
More than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago that has led to a "merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure," the U.N. human rights office said Monday. ... [Daily Star - 2/3/15]
Al Arabiya [1/3/15]:
A bomb explosion killed at least two people on Sunday night in Aswan, a major tourist town in southern Egypt, police said.
The blast, caused by a device placed near a police station, also wounded five people including a policeman, they said.
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty. ... [Independent - 1/3/15]
Hong Kong Lawmakers Arrested over Democracy Protests
Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested and then released Monday over their involvement in mass protests for free elections, the latest step in a widespread investigation that has been accused of seeking to intimidate activists.
Police have vowed to investigate the "principal instigators" of the street blockades that ended in December when rally camps were cleared.
Albert Ho and Helena Wong, both of the Democratic Party, voluntarily turned themselves in at Wan Chai police headquarters Monday morning on the request of the police.
Both were holding small paper yellow umbrellas -- the symbol of the democracy movement -- as they went into the police station while supporters carrying umbrellas and placards shouted "We want universal suffrage".
"Today Albert Ho and myself were formally arrested," said Wong after she was released.
She said that during questioning police showed her a video and two Facebook photos taken during the protests to illustrate that she had participated in an "unauthorised assembly". Ho said he was questioned over the same allegations.
Both Wong and Ho said the possibility of future charges remained.
"I think this is a kind of political prosecution against those who fight for true democracy," Wong added.
Police had no immediate comment.
A number of protest leaders have already been arrested and only to be released without charge -- including prominent student leaders Joshua Wong and Alex Chow -- in a controversial procedure which some say is harassment.
The street protests, which began in September and lasted for more than two months, kicked off after Beijing said that candidates for the 2017 vote for Hong Kong's next leader would be vetted by a loyalist committee.
Campaigners have described the decision as "fake democracy", but Hong Kong's leadership says that any public vote must take place within Beijing's framework and has granted no concessions over the election process.
Police have said they reserve the right to prosecute those who have been released.
"These pre-arranged arrests are a waste of resources and money," former lawmaker Audrey Eu, who will turn herself in later Monday afternoon, told supporters.
"The police are trying to intimidate Hong Kong people," she added, saying that she was being brought in for inciting and organizing an unauthorized assembly.
Former lawmaker and veteran campaigner Martin Lee handed himself in Monday morning to shouts of "Go, Martin, go" from supporters, and was later released.
Lawmaker Charles Mok also turned himself in to police.
Father, daughter among triple fatal shooting
Three people are dead after a shooting at Biddeston, west of Toowoomba.
The trio, an older man, his teenage daughter and a young boy, were discovered in the family's low-set brick home by another family member, the man's daughter.
She had come to the property to collect belongings and check on the family's dogs.
Police rushed to the scene about 7.20 pm after the daughter raised the alarm.
They cordoned off the scene and set up a road block.
Scenes of crime officers are combing through the house and surrounding yards.
The house was situated on the corner of the Toowoomba Cecil Plains Rd and the Biddeston-Southbrook Rds.
Residents described the family as well liked although there was often police at the residence.
Biddeston Store owner Paul Farmer said the home owner was a nice chap who often volunteered to help around the community.
"He used to mow my lawn. He was just a quiet friendly guy," Mr Farmer said.
"He would often come into the shop and book things up like milk and bread and tobacco.
"But he would always pay."
The dead man had a large extended family who often visited and stayed.
Snowden's leaks contributed to Daesh's victory in northern and western Iraq, the enslavement of the Yazidis, the mass rape of women, the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah and all of the antiquities in the museum in Mosul, as well as the horrible persecution of Christians and people who live in that area. What a dubious achievement! Well done, Mr Snowden, and his apologists!
House of Representatives Hansard [2/3/15]:
Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) … The Christian Science Monitor's Middle East editor, Mr Murphy, drew my attention to the fact that Snowden and his various champions support the release of material about how the Five Eyes—the Western intelligence services—intercepted telecommunications in northern Iraq prior to Daesh conquering that area. Snowden's release of this data was completely inimical to the safety of Western societies and civilians and, of course, it was to the great detriment of the people who live in that area. I question the motivation of someone who would leak this information on the interception capabilities of telecommunications of al-Qaeda in the Mosul and western and northern Iraq regions. This bastardry—and I use that word advisedly—has nothing to do with privacy. This simply undermines the ability of the West to assist Iraq in northern Iraq to prevent al-Qaeda or IS's spread.
It is not coincidental that some months after Snowden's revelations of how the West intercepts what they are doing, that al-Qaeda and IS encrypted all of their telephone traffic in a way that made what they were doing invisible. And that is the big answer to the mystery of what happened in northern Iraq. How did IS roll into northern Iraq and Mosul without Western secret services being able to pick this up? What on earth does disclosing Western interception methodology have to do with the privacy concerns of Western publics in Melbourne, Manhattan or Manchester? Snowden's leaks contributed to Daesh's victory in northern and western Iraq, the enslavement of the Yazidis, the mass rape of women, the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah and all of the antiquities in the museum in Mosul, as well as the horrible persecution of Christians and people who live in that area. What a dubious achievement! Well done, Mr Snowdon, and his apologists!
I want to contrast that with the measured and balanced way that the members for Holt and Isaacs have approached this. They have cited Professor George Williams of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, having accepted the need for metadata retention. They have quoted Professor Gillian Triggs, of the Human Rights Commission, who acknowledges there is a need for data retention. The member for Holt said in his speech this morning:
We cannot have a discussion about national security laws without acknowledging the growing threat that our country faces from the terrorist menace. What needs to be contemplated by those that have some resistance to this metadata regime is that they can be reassured that the committee looked very extensively at the case for and against. You can rest assured that some of the safeguards that have been put into this report—that hopefully will be enshrined in legislation—are amongst the strongest safeguards in the Western world for any data retention regime. You can be reassured that we will continue to monitor the implementation of this data retention regime.
Snowden and those who support him have little or no appreciation of the threat that Australian and Western civilians face. They have nothing compared to the carefully balanced efforts that Labor, together with the government, have made to protect the citizens of this country. The Greens are all about protest and rarely constructive. Labor, by contrast, will insist on legislation with sunset causes, parliamentary oversight, data breach provisions and—should Mr Turnbull provide sensible legislation that will adequately protect Australian's interests and privacy—Labor, I am sure, will pass it.
Glass jaws, thin skin and condescending sexism at the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties.
QCCL - Watching them @LibertyQLD [2/3/15]:
Actually dear I found out it here this afternoon and saw it this evening. Did you get the facts or subscribe to fox #auspol
In response to:
Megan @GraffitiExpert [2/3/15]:
Media blackout re Brisbane screening of #CitizenFour But so called civil liberties groups have also buried? http://www.dendy.com.au/Movie/Citizenfour …
Queensland government, councils let free market save communities in cyclone aftermath
Morning Bulletin [2/3/15]:
... After Cyclone Marcia hit on Friday, February 20, he and his staff membership of up to 20 workers went into action.
He makes ice at his Alexandra St site. However, he decided to start trucking in ice from Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Bundaberg, Emerald and other regions.
He didn't have to, but he decided he wanted to because he said there would "simply be anarchy".
"I thought, what if I decided to shut the gate (to his ice business) to clean my house or fix all my trees, because the place I live is decimated... what would've happened?" he said.
"The health service would've been overloaded because everyone would've got sick, food would've gone off quicker and that makes people sick. And I haven't put my hand up."
Mr Bye had been accused recently of price gouging, because he had to increase the cost of his ice. Truth be told, he said he was selling his ice at $10 for three bags.
When he decided to have ice from across Queensland brought in to help with the relief effort, he asked Rockhampton and Livingstone councils for financial support.
He also approached Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne and Capricornia's Michelle Landry.
Rockhampton Regional Council responded to him saying "it will be at your discretion as to whether you want to continue to import ice and/or increase the cost for the ice to cover your costs".
Mr Bye was dealing with cold rumours (he claimed were made by competitors from other areas) that he had increased the price of his ice to simply make more money. "This wasn't the case at all," he said.
"All I wanted was help for freight costs," he said. "The councils basically said to me, 'you're a commercial business, we can't help you'."
Calwell murder accused also charged with breaching domestic violence protection order
Canberra Times [2/3/15]:
The mother of a week-old baby sought court protection from her ex-partner just one day before he allegedly killed her and attacked two other people in Calwell on Saturday.
Tensions ran high on Monday when alleged killer Marcus Rappel, 40, appeared in a court packed with distressed family and friends of victim Tara Costigan, 28.
An axe-wielding Rappel is alleged to have forced his way into the Duggan Street villa on Saturday afternoon, killing Ms Costigan, inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting a man in the same attack.
An axe was found next to Ms Costigan's body in the laundry of the home.
It is understood she had only given birth to a baby girl a week ago, and had two sons, aged nine and 11.
Few details about the allegations emerged from the brief appearance in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday.
But it can be revealed that Ms Costigan sought the help of the court system to protect her against Rappel on Friday, just one day before the alleged murder.
An interim domestic violence order – designed to immediately protect those at risk from further violence – was granted by the court.
Magistrates or registrars are generally able to make an interim domestic violence order without the perpetrator being present.
But police are then required to serve the target with the temporary order as soon as practicably possible, generally between 24 to 48 hours later. That includes telling the perpetrator the details of what the other party has accused them of.
It is not clear whether Rappel received such a notification before the killing.
Rappel was charged with murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, and contravening a protection order by Magistrate Robert Cook in a brief court appearance on Monday.
He made no application for bail, entered no pleas, and will remain in the Alexander Maconochie Centre until March 17, when his case returns to court.
A Queensland man serving two life sentences for gunning down his ex-wife and trying to kill four others has made a new bid for freedom. ... [Yahoo - 2/3/15]
Video shows L.A. police officers fatally shooting homeless man [Seattle Times – 1/3/15]
Your son is deceased, Rachel Aviv [The New Yorker - 2/2/15]:
… Christie Apodaca, the eyewitness, found
herself minimizing the time she spent outside her house. The police department
had not contacted her, but she noticed a police car parked on the street in
front of her house almost every day for seven months. “He could have been there
for another reason,” she said. “But I found it very strange that when I walked
out to see what was going on he would drive away.”
The Torreses’ daughter-in-law, Nicol, their son Daniel’s wife, said she initially assumed that everyone was being skittish. Then she and her husband noticed that Albuquerque officers kept cruising around their small suburb, even though it was outside the city limits. She told me, “As a white person from the East Coast, with no run-ins with the law, I was very naïve.” Nicol is a research psychologist for the county’s juvenile-detention center, and she believes that her response to Christopher’s death—she was vocal at city-council meetings—has foreclosed the possibility of promotions at work. People avoid her in the hallways. “I don’t get invited to the meetings that I used to, because the mayor will be there or the chief of police will be there,” she said. “No one is going to come out and say, ‘Your career is ruined,’ but these are the signs.” One day after work, she found a note wedged underneath her windshield wiper. It said, “Shut up and watch what you’re doing.” ...
... We’re constantly bombarded with dire warnings about the grave threat of home-grown terrorists, “lone wolf” extremists and ISIS. So intensified are these official warnings that The New York Times earlier this month cited anonymous U.S. intelligence officials to warn of the growing ISIS threat and announce “the prospect of a new global war on terror.”
But how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the Internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate into joining? Does that not, by itself, demonstrate how over-hyped and insubstantial this “threat” actually is? Shouldn’t there be actual plots, ones that are created and fueled without the help of the FBI, that the agency should devote its massive resources to stopping? ... Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept - 26/2/15]
What a crock: "... This decision will be made on planning merit not politics. ..."
Business as usual in Queensland.
Proposed ‘call in’ for Cedar Woods development [Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade Media Release – 2/3/15]
Brisbane Times [9/12/14]:
... The group's specific task is to raise objections to Cedar Woods, the large new suburb of around 1000 homes being proposed for bushland between The Gap and Upper Kedron.
A final vote to approve the first two stages of this new suburb comes to Brisbane City Council on Tuesday afternoon.
Critics say the site is designed to promote Labor candidates Kate Jones and Mark Furner.
Since Sunday afternoon the Save The Gap website has published Labor Party strategy to oppose the council vote and to promote future actions of two Labor candidates in the 2015 state election.
"We have received word from Kate Jones and Mark Furner that they have received confirmation from Cr Milton Dick that all Labor Councillors will stand up and vote to support our Local Plan," the site reads.
The 2007 Ferny Grove Local Plan wanted less dense development over the cleared-bushland site.
Ms Jones is Labor's candidate for the crucial seat of Ashgrove, held by Premier Campbell Newman.
Former senator Mark Furner is Labor's candidate for the seat of Ferny Grove – where the new suburb would be – and is running against the LNP's Dale Shuttleworth.
Shane Bevis confirmed his family – including his father, brother and wife - had set up Save the Gap, but denied it was Labor election campaign vehicle.
Swimming Australia mines massive sponsorship deal with Hancock Prospecting [Brisbane Times – 2/3/15]
Australia says search for missing MH370 jet may
soon be called off
Jakarta Globe [2/3/15]:
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia’s deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks.
No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
MH370 vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, early on March 8. Investigators believe it was flown thousands of miles off course before eventually crashing into the Indian Ocean.
The search of a rugged 60,000 square kilometers patch of sea floor some 1,600 kilometers west of the Australian city of Perth, which experts believe is the plane’s most likely resting place, will likely be finished by May.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told Reuters that a decision would have to be taken well before then as to whether to continue into the vast 1.1 million square-kilometer area around the primary search zone if nothing has been found.
Discussions had already begun about what to do in that event, including the possibility that the search might be called off, said Truss, who is also transport minister.
“For many of the families onboard, they won’t have closure unless they have certain knowledge that the aircraft has been located and perhaps their loved ones’ remains have been recovered,” Truss said in an interview.
“We clearly cannot keep searching forever, but we want to do everything that’s reasonably possible to locate the aircraft.”
Truss compared the search, already the most expensive of its kind, with another great mystery from an earlier era, the hunt for missing aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who disappeared in 1937 during an early attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
Four vessels owned by Dutch engineering firm Fugro , equipped with sophisticated underwater drones, have searched about 40 percent of the previously unmapped expanse of sea floor that has been designated the highest priority.
de Kirschner: 'Don't use AMIA for political point-scoring'
Buenos Aires Herald [1/3/15]:
In an explosive last address to Congress, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner harshly questioned the political use of the AMIA bombing, blasted the “Judicial Party” for “parting away from the Constitution”, and assured she will not leave a country that submissively allows the new administration to modify the achievements she reviewed during her speech.
Ms Kirchner formally opened the 133th congressional period after Provisional Senate Chair Gerardo Zamora opened the Legislative Assembly at 11.30 am, and two Committees were appointed to formally welcome the President at her arrival.
Ms Kirchner started her address making a balance of her administration's economic achievements, highlighting first Argentina's national debt re-negotiation, saying kirchnerism has made a historic accomplishment in the matter.
"We have finally gotten the Republic out of the red. No longer will an Argentine government have to take debt to pay debt. If we decide to take debt, it can be for infrastructure works," she explained.
"In fact, we are the only country whose debt has been reduced to negative values," she added citing a report by McKinsey international consulting.
The government's "fight" against "vulture funds" has been fundamental in this administration's policy towards national debt restructuring, CFK said, while warning some opposition representatives have sided with hedge funds and tried to "jam" the government's intentions.
All in all, the President stressed international debt in dollars will drop progressively until 2033, and said federal debt with the private sector represents only 9.7 percent of the GDP. She also highlighted the Central Bank's reserves reached 31.4 billion dollars last Friday.
"Some people tried to make us think everything was going badly. And we had a great challenge in keeping our public policies in that scenario. But we made it through the crisis," CFK said.
Ms Kirchner then informed Argentina received 42 special mentions from multilateral organisms and non-governmental organizations rewarding the country for its achievements in labor, public health, science and technology.
Fernández de Kirchner also highlighted the Cepal mention awarded to Argentina for reducing inequality and setting the best minimum wage in the region.
"We decided to reindustrialize the country from day one. And thanks to active public policies we managed to keep industrial based employment through an international crisis."
The President remembered the nationalization of Aerolíneas Argentinas in 2008, saying the company was bankrupt but under the State's intervention it increased flight frequency by 102%, tickets sold by 80% and revenue by 71%.
"But no member of the judicial branch summoned someone from Marsans [the Spanish company that owned AA]. They called Julio Alak [Justice Minister] instead," CFK said, questioning federal judges, who have recently engaged in an ongoing battle with the government.
"The Judicial Party has lately parted from the Constitution and is trying to substitute both the Executive and the Legislative branch, which have been voted by the people," she lashed out.
Ms Kirchner then made a hiatus to mention the AMIA case investigation, which has been in the center of local and international politics again since the death of AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who accused the President of covering-up Iran's role in the atrocious attack.
"I have been talking about AMIA since 1994," she said, making a reference to the date of the bombing and also answering to opposition leaders who questioned her for not addressing the subject since the death of the prosecutor.
"I will continue speaking about AMIA at the UN, claiming for justice. The case has been diverted by intelligence services. It's been 21 years and we have no one charged, no one in jail."
"If there are delays in the case, look other way, not here."
The President then addressed late prosecutor Nisman's complaint, dismissing it while mentioning the decision of judge Rafecas to throw it out due to lack of evidence.
She expressed her condolences to Nisman's family saying she feels sorry for his death as she would feel sorry for "anyone's death", and mentioned two documents found in a safe that belonged to the late prosecutor that prove him wrong.
"These two documents are signed by Nisman and directly contradict his complaint. He acknowledged this administrations' will to find justice, refuting his latter cover-up theory."
CFK used the example to illustrate her government's commitment to justice and memory, recalling human rights achievements and concluded with a warning to whoever may win the upcoming October presidential elections.
"You will not have it easy, especially if you try to take back from the people the rights conquered during these years."
Why doesn't Nauru "government spokesperson" Lyall Mercer invite the Australian media to Nauru so they can see and report for themselves?
Aust refugee advocates behind Nauru refugee protests, stirring up trouble & violence & fabricating allegations for political agenda ...
"tweeted" by @LyallMercer [2/3/15]
Imaginary Australian journalist to Nauru "government spokesperson" Lyall Mercer: Who is stopping the UNHCR from visiting Nauru, and why?
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor. Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.
In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.
Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944. It was all an elaborate hoax. The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries. Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.
Police incidents, Caboolture
QPS Media [2/3/15]:
Police are currently searching for a man following a break and enter in Caboolture this morning.
Initial information suggests at 10.30am, a man entered a Cardinal Circuit residence and stole a machete.
Police notified neighbouring educational facilities as a matter of precaution.
At 12.06pm, a man of similar appearance was sighted at the back of a Hothenzell Road premises in Caboolture.
The dog squad and POLAIR 2 were involved in the search, with nearby educational facilities notified.
Investigations are continuing.
Local police have confirmed no known threats have been made against any persons or property in the area.
The community is urged to contact police on 000 if they see or hear anything suspicious.
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.
Conondale timber cutter flown to hospital after tree falls on him [Sunshine Coast Daily – 2/3/15]
Cyclist hit by car, Gold Coast
A woman has been taken to Hospital after a crash on the Gold Coast this morning.
The woman, believed to be aged in her 60’s, was injured when a car and bike collided on Tallebudgera Creek Road around 9:15am.
She has been transported to Robina Hospital with a suspected hip fracture.
A committal hearing has been set for June 18 and 19 for the truck driver accused of the hit-and-run killing of a cyclist.
Geoffrey Joseph Sleba, 43, was arrested in July last year in relation to an incident which claimed the life of cyclist Dr Martin Pearson on Millmerran-Inglewood Rd on April 25.
The date was set in the Warwick Magistrates Court this morning.
The male driver of a truck that crashed on the Millmerran-Cecil Plains Rd this morning has been transported by the RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter with suspected head and back injuries. ... [Chronicle - 2/3/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Kilcummin
QPS Media [2/3/15]:
Police are investigating following a single vehicle fatal traffic crash on the Gregory Developmental Road at Kilcummin approximately 80kms north of Clermont.
Around 6.15pm yesterday, a Toyota Landcruiser utility traveling along the road has left the roadway and rolled.
The driver and sole occupant, a 17-year-old Richmond man was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Traffic incident, Lanefield
QPS Media [2/3/15]:
Police are investigating a two vehicle traffic crash involving a motorbike and bus has occurred in Lanefield this morning.
Initial information suggests at 8.30am, a motorcycle collided with a bus at the corner of Rosewood-Laidley and Bassett Roads.
The 30-year-old male rider was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with rib and leg injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.
The occupants of the bus were not injured.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Serious traffic crash, Yorkeys Knob
QPS Media [2/3/15]:
Police are investigating a serious traffic crash that occurred on the Captain Cook Highway, near Yorkeys Knob yesterday evening.
Initial investigations suggest that around 6.40pm a car travelling north on the Captain Cook Highway, south of the Yorkeys Knob turn-off has left the road and crashed into a cement drain.
The driver a 35-year-old woman and a passenger, a one-year-old girl were transported to Cairns Base Hospital with serious injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating .
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.
I feel so much safer knowing these children have been charged following a police pursuit and being savaged by police dog, Fitzgibbon [QPS Media – 2/3/15]
Police are investigating an incident in Townsville tonight where a car has driven into a stationary speed camera vehicle. … [QPS Media – 1/3/15]
Anti rights arrests, Oxenford [QPS Media - 2/3/15]
A man who fired a shotgun at another man while the victim's children watched was sentenced to four years prison.
Paul Lyle Brown, 62, was in a heated dispute with another man at his Nanango home last year when he fired the weapon.
He pleaded guilty in Kingaroy District Court last week to a number of offences, including assault causing bodily harm while armed. ... [Chronicle - 2/3/15]
A young father was lucky to avoid time in jail after pleading guilty to trafficking methylamphetamines.
Justice David North agreed Robert Joseph Crutcher's circumstances were "exceptional" and granted him a wholly suspended sentence.
Crutcher became heavily involved in drugs after a breakdown in his family. ... [Daily Star - 2/3/15]
Gold Coast bus attack woman has sentence increased by Court of Appeal but remains out of jail [ABC – 2/3/15]
“The community has had a gutful of the industry and government ignoring its health concerns and property damage.”
Toxic gases detected in prime farmland soils; Call to act on unconventional mining [Lock The Gate Media Release - 2/3/15]:
News that a mixture of toxic gases has been found in shallow soils on prime farmland at Hopeland, near Chinchilla, has led Lock the Gate Alliance to call for action to suspend both underground coal gasification and coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the region.
The gases detected -in the Western Downs region of Queensland by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - included carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and hydrogen sulfide.
The gases are explosive and farmers in the Hopeland area have been advised not to excavate or disturb soils greater than two metres deep without talking to the department.
In a statement to the ABC yesterday the department admitted it “cannot rule out an underground fire as the cause”.
"It seems the mobilisation of toxic gases in soils at Hopeland is most likely to have been caused by the Linc Energy underground coal gasification project nearby - a project that is supposed to be in the process of being de-commissioned," said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
"This incident confirms that underground coal gasification is a dirty, polluting industry that should now be permanently banned in Queensland.
"The result of the discovery is an appalling imposition on farmers in the area and a threat to their livelihood.
"Hopeland farmers now simply cannot go about their regular business on the farm safely because if they were to disturb these soils there must be a serious risk of explosion or negative health impacts.
"The Hopeland area and surrounds is also being targeted for coal seam gas mining - an industry which poses similar threats to soil and water.
"Any CSG drilling in the Hopeland area now would be a massive risk to farmland, health and safety - there would be an enormous risk of explosion or mobilisation of these toxic gases.
"We're calling for a statewide, permanent and legal ban on underground coal gasification and an immediately halt to all plans for CSG drilling in and around Hopeland."
People at risk of CSG around Chinchilla met at a symposium on Saturday and vowed to stick together to fight unwelcome drilling.
The meeting was addressed by PUP Senator Glenn Lazarus who wants a Royal Commission established into the mining industry and its human impact.
Shay Dougall of the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group said locals had ‘drawn a line in the sand’ following the department’s warning not to excavate.
“The community has had a gutful of the industry and government ignoring its health concerns and property damage,” she said.
"Landholders and farmers from the region have joined forces and will fight this invasive mining that is ruining our farmlands, health, water and livelihoods.
"The government and the mining industry have a real battle on their hands with this issue and it's time for more politicians like Queensland Senators Larissa Waters and Glenn Lazarus to stand up for us."
Algeria: Police fire tear gas, detain shale gas protestors
New York Times [1/3/15]:
Protests against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale gas in southern Algeria turned violent over the weekend when the police clashed with demonstrators outside a base run by the American company Halliburton near the town of Ain Salah.
Tensions were still running high on Sunday, but no further violence was reported.
Antifracking protests against the government oil and gas company Sonatrach and its international partners have occurred almost daily for two months, but had been peaceful until now.
Clashes broke out when protesters approached Halliburton’s walled compound and burned tires in the roads.
The police fired tear gas and detained at least a dozen.
About 20 protesters were injured, three of them seriously, according to a local hospital. Algeria, which gets much of its revenue from the export of oil and gas, has been conducting a pilot project to test for shale gas near Ain Salah and announced in December that it was ready to start extracting gas by hydraulic fracturing.
Groups that oppose the government have joined the local protesters in Ain Salah to demand a moratorium on fracking, citing environmental concerns.
New Zealand: Disappearing pipi spark Whangarei Harbour fears [RNZI – 2/3/15]
Tweed residents protest telecommunications tower
Tweed Daily News [27/2/15]:
A group of Clothiers Creek residents have threatened to escalate their protests against a proposed 36m Ericsson wireless internet tower in the coming weeks.
The group of 20 gathered outside Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot's office and Tweed State MP Geoff Provest's office last week to draw attention to their fight to stop the tower going ahead.
Both parliamentarians were unavailable to speak to their constituents at the time.
After the rally, Mrs Elliot issued a statement which said she had a "long-standing prior commitment this morning in the electorate and was not available at the time that this group gathered".
"My door is always open and I have previously met with this group of residents from Clothiers Creek concerning the NBN tower and have made direct representations to the Minister for Communications in the Abbott Government," she said.
"I've also been contacted by other locals expressing a very positive view regarding the roll out of NBN in Clothiers Creek."
Group spokesman, pilot Josh Broom, said MPs were "ignoring" the group.
"You can't make a problem go away by ignoring it," he said.
"We're talking about a 36-metre tower within 500m of seven children."
"There are so many studies suggesting not only is microwave radiation harmful but that it is much worse for children because of their developing bone structure."
Weis ends 46 years of service
There was a sombre atmosphere as patrons and staff partook in the "Last Supper" for Weis Restaurant last night.
Restaurant owner John Pohlman said it was an emotional evening as customers came to grips that the closure was a reality. The restaurant was booked to capacity.
He said thousands of customers had enjoyed their last meals at the iconic restaurant after the news of the closure became public.
This morning, regular customers Heather and Donald Chisholm returned to take some final photographs.
They had their last meal yesterday morning.
Mr Chisholm said it was a sad meal for the couple, who have been attending the restaurant since the 1980s.
"It's a huge loss for Toowoomba," he said.
Mr Pohlman said memories of the restaurant - which was open for 46 years - would live on.
"People have had their anniversaries, engagements, weddings and birthdays here.
"They won't forget about Weis in a hurry."
Mr Pohlman said a number of businesses including nearby motels and suppliers were affected by the closure.
He recalled a story of a couple who flew to Toowoomba just to visit the restaurant.
He thanked the restaurant's loyal customers for patronising the establishment.
Abuse for profit business model expands across PNG
PNG Loop [2/2/15]:
It is believed that the two Fijian women who ended up in Papua New Guinea under dubious circumstances were allegedly physically abused.
The two had visible bruises on their body which was noted by Fiji’s Minister for Women, Rosy Akbar, when she visited them.
The two victims – a 14-year-old girl and a 21-year-old woman – were flown back to Fiji last week after the Fijian High Commission staff in PNG were alerted that the two, who had travelled with PNG nationals, could not be traced by their relatives in Fiji.
They are said to be cousins and the roles of their parents in sending them to PNG are also being investigated by police.
“It’s a very sad case that the two girls were subjected to some harsh conditions when they were taken to PNG,” Ms Akbar said.
“They have returned with some visible bruises and they have asked us to respect their privacy; we do take this case very seriously especially when it comes to the welfare of our children.”
The young girl had gone with a businessman to PNG last December and had failed to return.
The case was being brought to the attention of the Fijian High Commission to PNG last week by the 14-year-old girl’s mother where the search began and the plight of the 21-year-old was also unearthed.
The Ministry may also look at this as a case of human trafficking.
The Minister has issued a stern warning to parents who were being easily lured by foreigners.
“We would like to use this scenario to other parents who might be lured by families and others to take children out of the country,” she said.
“Parents are advised to please be very careful in letting their children travel abroad under any circumstances; it is the duty of the parents to ensure that the children who ever they go with are protected.”
It has also been revealed that the Ministry was alerted by some people that these two cousins were being sent to PNG with PNG nationals before they left the country.
“The sad thing here is we were alerted by a close relative right before they had left the country but unfortunately for us the paper work was already in order; and neither the police nor the Immigration could stop them,” Ms Akbar said.
The 21-year-old woman has returned to her family but the 14-year-old girl is still under government care and is living in an undisclosed location.
“Once we feel safe that she is safe and after getting assurance from the family we will return the child to her family,” Ms Akbar said.
It is alleged that they were lured to PNG by promises of money and a bright future.
... It's about acting for people who are in need ... who are threatened with deportation ...
How German churches are saving refugees from deportation [VIDEO - Deutsche Welle – 28/2/15]:
In the northern German town of Tostedt, a Lutheran congregation has given sanctuary to two African refugee claimants. They're in Germany “illegally”, but the police won't storm the church.
Australia: free the refugees - London solidarity vigil [2 March 2015]
Gillian Triggs is being used to create an illusion of difference, where none exists.
Refugees remain incarcerated in Australian death camps, and are being refouled, exiled and deported.
Did a murder trial begin in Lorengau District Court today or did ALP "refugee advocates" and the ABC lie?
... In July, police arrested security guard Louie Efi and soon afterwards arrested Salvation Army worker Joshua Kaluvia.
The Papua New Guinean men were both charged with murder.
The case has been listed in the Manus Island court for Monday. ... <---- WHERE? NO LINK, NO FAITH.
British media report on Nauru refugee protests: Nauru detention centre 'calm' says Transfield, despite self-harm and unrest [Guardian - 2/3/15]
New Zealand media report on Nauru refugee protests: Refugees continue protests on Nauru [RNZI - 2/3/15]
Australian media blackout continues.
You can catch the Academy Award winning documentary CitizenFour at Dendy Portside in Brisbane.
Arts Hub [11/2/15]:
... What CitizenFour delivers isn’t just a behind-the-scenes insight into a figure at the centre of a furore, or a recap of a complex issue already splashed across countless headlines, though the film does well with both. Even as Snowden remains front and centre, sincere, intelligent and determined as he always appears, the documentary presents the evolution of an insidious modern-day horror story.
His words are the accessible guide to a terrifying scenario of constant observation and investigation already likened to the works of George Orwell many times over. Accordingly, chronicling the process, paranoia, politics, ethics and legalities of the eradication of privacy, piece by piece, is CitizenFour’s primary function, and one it achieves in unsettling and thrilling fashion.
Data retention: we need this Opposition to oppose - but the opposition is busy - maintaining the status quo.
Senator Scott Ludlam [27/2/15]:
... You saw this coming, didn't you: Labor proposes to cave in. Tough talk about protection of journalists and their sources has come to nothing; evidence tendered by everyone from the Law Council to the Communications Alliance has gone unheard. Instead of stepping up as a party of opposition, Labor has thrown Tony Abbott a mass surveillance lifeline.
The argument that we have to continually sacrifice rights and freedoms in order to maintain security will carry us to a very dark place indeed. By this logic, people living under martial law in authoritarian states would be the safest of all.
Queensland's so called "civil liberties" groups appear to have successfully buried the Brisbane screening of CitizenFour as assiduously as the media have blacked it out.
Why is this?
Are they serious about promoting civil rights? Are they merely fronts and propaganda mouthpieces for the ALP? Are they corrupt? Incompetent?
A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury. ...
There's no escape.
The big pricks are out.
They'll fuck everything in sight.
Watch your back.
Harold Pinter - February 2003
This looks like a purge.
On Sunday, commander of the federal police forces Raed Shakir Jawdat announced, that 9 battalions of the federal police have been deployed in Baghdad belt areas to liberate them from ISIS control.
Jawdat informed IraqiNews, “By the commander in chief of the Armed Forces Haider Abadi’s order and under the interior minister Mohammed Salem Ghaban’s supervision, nine battalions of the federal police were deployed in Baghdad belt areas to free them from the ISIS militants’ control,” noting that, “These areas are Arab Jabbour, Madain and al-Tharwa.”
“The deployment of battalions was based on information received about the existence of sleeper cells.”
Iraq says launches offensive on Islamic State north of Baghdad [Reuters – 1/3/15]:
... "The prime minister and armed forces chief announce the start of the security campaign to liberate Salahuddin," a statement issued by Abadi's office said as he met military leaders in the province, where thousands of troops and militia have gathered for battle.
In comments broadcast on Iraqi television, Abadi said the Islamist militants would be pushed out of all of Salahuddin and offered their supporters a final opportunity to hand themselves in. "I call upon all those who have been deluded and made mistakes in past to lay down arms today," he said.
"This is their last chance. If they insist on staying on their wrong path they will receive the fair punishment they deserve because they stood with terrorism."
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [1/3/15]:
Nineveh: The war planes have shelled Ghabat area at the left side of Mosul..........
Baghdad: The war planes have targeted Sayid Abdullah in Yusfiya nahiya south of Baghdad and sources reported that many civilian homes have been destroyed........
New Zealand government watchlist number grows [AUDIO - 2/3/15]:
... Meanwhile, a New Zealander held hostage in Iraq by Al Qaeda supporters for four months in 2005 says New Zealand should withdraw from the US-led coalition in Iraq.
Harmeet Sooden is heading back to the country to work with the humanitarian organisation Christian Peacekeeper Teams, and will be based in Iraqi Kurdistan, where he will help refugees.
He told Morning Report he was deeply concerned about the Government's decision to deploy defence forces to Iraq.
"As a New Zealander I feel responsible to some degree for my government's actions and I think, at least according to NGOs that this deployment, or at least this coalition is likely to increase the level of violence in the region."
Mr Sooden said US policies over the past few decades had had a devastating impact on Iraqi society.
Katter introduces Imported Food Warning Labels Bill 2015
KAP Media Release [26/2/15]:
KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon addressed the press gallery in Canberra today after the latest imported food scare in which four people are reported to have fallen ill with potentially deadly fish poisoning after eating tuna imported from Thailand.
“We have warned continuously that there are serious disease issues in the product coming into Australia,” Mr Katter said.
“The issue today is tuna. What we absolutely know is that the prawn and the fish farms in the countries north of Australia, where the vast bulk of Australian fish farming takes place, dump raw sewerage into the rivers and creeks and that water is put into the fish farms.
“It’s not only the bacteria, but to fight the bacteria, there’s the issue of antibiotics.
“Let us at least let consumers protect themselves. We want a label. They put it on cigarettes and hundreds of other items,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter announced that he and Hon. Andrew Wilkie, member for Denison, had co-sponsored the Imported Food Warning Labels Bill 2015 to be introduced into Parliament on Monday, which seeks that all imported food products carry the label:
“Warning: Imported food. This food has not been grown or processed under Australian health and hygiene standards and may be injurious to your health.”
The Bill mirrors legislation introduced by Mr Katter and Mr Wilkie in 2013.
“Had the Government listened two years ago, people would not be sick now,” Mr Katter said.
“The consumer should have a freedom of choice. He doesn’t have a choice at the moment as he doesn’t know where the product comes from.”
Mr Katter said that he Andrew Wilkie represented the vast bulk of what was left of the Australia’s prawn and fish market.
“My prawn farmers, an industry worth about $600 million a year, has been destroyed down to about $30 million a year. Why? Because we have hygiene and environmental standards that are not applied to overseas producers. It doubled our cost of production and we were wiped out.
“Our industries are being destroyed, because there is one set of rules being applied to our producers and an entirely different set of rules being applied to the imports.
“Our farmers have been paying the penalty. But today, consumers are paying the penalty,” Mr Katter said.
More questions over the Gemalto hack [VIDEO - Australian Greens – 24/2/15]
American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.
The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards.
Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.
Genetic testing standards should help patients
Leading pathologists are recommending standards for the analysis of genetic testing, to ensure more consistent and accurate information is provided to patients.
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia said the standards, which would be applied this year to professionals in Australia and New Zealand, were a world-first.
The chair of the college's genetics advisory committee, Melody Caramins, said that with a set of standards on which to base the accuracy of DNA testing, better advice will be given to patients.
"Given that, you know, the consequence can be pretty phenomenal in terms of 'yes, you have, an 80 percent inherited risk of getting breast cancer or no you're not', this is a pretty significant life decision. And you don't want to be at a point where potentially the same thing might be interpreted differently by two different labs."
2 March 2015