Two German navy ships in Mediterranean to rescue refugees
Deutsche Welle [2/5/15]:
The German navy has sent two ships as part of efforts to prevent migrants from dying in the Mediterranean.
The EU was spurred into action after a migrant ship capsized, killing around 800 people a few weeks ago.
The two vessels, the combat support ship Berlin and the frigate Hessen, were dispatched from the Horn of Africa region and passed through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea on Friday.
A German navy spokesman in Rostock told the DPA news agency that the two ships were expected to dock at Souda on the Greek island of Crete on Saturday. There they were to pick up supplies such as blankets and food.
The frigate is equipped with a radar system that would allow it to locate migrant boats as far as 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. It would also be capable of picking up up to 100 people in distress.
The combat support ship, on the other hand, is equipped with a military hospital and has the capacity to treat 250 people for two days.
The ships are set to take up their work in the Mediterranean despite some reports that not all of the details of their mission had been cleared up. They had been part of the European Union's Operation Atalanta to combat piracy.
Citing a German army source, DPA said that the ships would be operating independent of the EU's border agency Frontex, which is focussed on securing the bloc's outer border rather than picking up migrants in distress.
The source also said that the two German ships would not be tasked with trying to catch human traffickers who take money from would-be migrants.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced a week ago that she had ordered the two ships to redeploy to the Mediterranean as swiftly as possible.
"This is first and foremost about helping people in distress in the Mediterranean, and saving refugees from drowning," she said.
France and Britain are among EU countries that pledged during last month's Brussels summit to send more ships to the Mediterranean cope with the problem. The leaders also agreed to triple funding for the Triton border protection mission.
The conflicts in Syria and Libya have contributed to a major increase in the number of migrants attempting the crossing. The emergency summit was called in light of the capsizing of one boat off the coast of Libya a few days earlier, in which an estimated 800 people lost their lives.
52 civilians killed in US air strikes, northern Syria [Al Jazeera - 2/5/15]
Canadian PM makes surprise visit to Iraq, pledges support for latest US invasion [Daily Star - 2/5/15]
Six Baltimore officers charged in death of Freddie Gray [Reuters – 2/5/15]
Saudi fighter jets have launched several airstrikes on the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, as Riyadh continues aggression against its southern neighbor. ... [Press TV - 2/5/15]
A rocket hit a medical center in Libya's eastern Benghazi on Friday, killing three people, medics said. ... [Al Arabiya - 2/5/15]
Two Burundi police officers and a civilian were killed in two separate grenade attacks in the capital of Bujumbura late Friday, a police spokesman said, as deadly political unrest continued to grip the East African nation.
More than 10 people were wounded in the two attacks, deputy police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said in a phone message. The three were killed in the Kamenge district of Bujumbura but another area was also hit, he said. One of the dead policemen was a senior officer. ... [France 24 - 2/5/15]
Maldives opposition leaders arrested after clashes [Al Jazeera – 2/5/15]:
... The protest came only hours after the United Nations criticised the jailing of Nasheed on March 13 on anti-terror charges as "arbitrary" and said the sentencing had followed a "vastly unfair trial".
Yameen came to power in late 2013 after controversially beating Nasheed in a run-off election despite trailing in the first round.
Nasheed, a climate change activist who was imprisoned during the three-decade rule of former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, became the archipelago's first democratically elected leader in 2008. ...
Malaysia frees civil rights lawyer and three opposition politicians arrested over GST rally [The Straits Times - 2/5/15]
Malaysia Airlines offloads A380 superjumbo fleet [CNN - 1/5/15]
Varoufakis: No new loan needed if Greek debt restructured
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Saturday that Greece could manage without a new "loan" if its debt was restructured, as the country waits to find out if it has secured critically-needed bailout funds.
Asked if the nation could do without one, Varoufakis told the Efimerida ton Sindakton daily in an interview: "Of course it can. One of the conditions for this to happen though, is an important restructuring of the debt."
Greece, which needs a deal to unblock 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) from its EU-IMF bailout before state coffers run dry, last week resumed talks with its international creditors.
In the interview published on Saturday, the maverick Greek Finance Minister also took a swipe at the eurozone warning that if it "doesn't change it will die", adding that "no country, not only Greece, should have joined such a shaky common monetary system."
Nevertheless, he said it was "one thing to say we shouldn't have joined the euro and it is another to say that we have to leave" because backtracking now would lead to "a unforeseen negative situation".
Asked about reported insults from fellow Eurogroup finance ministers during a tense meeting in Riga on April 24, Varoufakis was also dismissive.
Media reports said he had been branded a "gambler", an "amateur" and an "adventurist" by his peers.
"Those would have surely been heavy offences if they had been expressed. But they were not," Varoufakis said.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' hard-left [social democrat] government, elected in January on an anti-austerity agenda, is struggling to pay salaries and pensions without the promised loans.
Greece needs to repay almost a billion euros in debt and interest to the IMF by May 12.
Unless an agreement is reached to unlock the remaining EU-IMF bailout money, the debt-ridden country faces default and a possible exit from the euro.
Technical experts from the Eurogroup and the Greek delegation are due to be in contact all weekend, trying to resolve differences concerning sweeping reforms required by Brussels and the IMF to secure the package.
German President Gauck raises prospect of World War Two reparations for Greece [Deutsche Welle – 1/5/15]
UK Protesters Occupy Parliament Square Calling for Proper Politics
Sputnik News [1/5/15]:
As the election campaigning by the mainstream political parties in Britain reaches fever pitch - over on Parliament Square, a "festival of democracy" is underway and running throughout the next few of days.
Two statues have been captured by protesters in support of the Occupy Democracy movement in front on the Houses of Parliament in London. Basing themselves on Winston Churchill and Lloyd George, they are each holding a sign calling for and demanding democratic reform.
The messages are clear:
"Reform of party funding, so that members of parliament act in the interests of those who elect them rather than the one percent who bankroll them."
"Major democratic reform of the media — to break the stranglehold of vested interests.
"A fundamental overhaul of lobbying and the way powerful economic interests inhabit the corridors of power within government.
"The introduction of proportional representation so that everyone's vote counts.
"MPs should not have conflicts of interests from either paid employment or corporate shareholdings.
"And [the demand for] a citizen-led constitutional convention for real democracy."
Five years ago, in the 2010 general election, only 44 percent of people aged between 18 and 24 turned out to vote.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of people aged over 65 did. Statistics like this suggest that young people in Britain are disengaged with politics — but it may be that they're disengaged with mainstream politics — not necessarily politically inactive.
Actively standing on one of the statues outside the Houses of Parliament is Occupy Democracy activist George Barda, who says:
"Democracy means more than putting a cross on a ballot paper every five years. History shows us that the extension of our democratic rights has not been led by politicians, but has been forced onto the agenda by the actions of mass movements such as the Chartists and the Suffragettes. We are asking people to join us and help build such a movement."
This is a movement supported by comedian, turned political commentator and anti-capitalist Russell Brand, who recently treated students at the London School of Economics to a screening of his new film "The Emperor's New Clothes", about the growing gap between the rich and poor.
Russell Brand's YouTube channel, The Trews, has over a million subscribers. So, it comes as no surprise that Labour leader Ed Miliband agreed to do an interview with Brand. Miliband didn't escape unscathed — and popping a shot at the Labour leader, Prime Minister David Cameron labeled the former comedian 'a joke'.
Russell Brand has 9.58 million Twitter followers. David Cameron has 3.5 million. Ed Miliband has 459,000.
But Britain will have to wait until May 7 to see who will be laughing last.
German intelligence deleted 12,000 NSA spying requests report
Deccan Chronicle [1/5/15]:
The German intelligence service BND, which is accused of helping the United States spy on EU leaders and companies, had actually "deleted 12,000 requests" targeting European officials, according to Saturday's edition of the Der Spiegel weekly.
The BND has come under fire after German media reported that it spied on officials from the French presidency, French foreign ministry and the European Commission from its Bavarian post Bad Aibling.
But the Spiegel said that in fact, a BND agent had in August 2013 sifted through requests made by the NSA to the BND, as part of the two agencies' anti-terror cooperation agreement, and found 12,000, which he referred to his managers.
The requests related to "a certain number of senior officials from the French foreign service", as well as members of "EU institutions and several European countries," said Spiegel.
On August 14, 2013, the agent raised the issue with his manager, asking what should be done with these requests.
"Delete them," he was told, according to the news weekly.
The daily Bild had reported Monday that the German secret service had helped the NSA to spy since 2005 on EADS, which became Airbus and Eurocopter, known today as Airbus Helicopters.
The German chancellor's office has known since 2008 of US economic espionage targeting European companies such as Airbus but did not react, said Bild, citing intelligence agency documents.
The claims were compounded by further allegations on Wednesday that the eavesdropping also extended to the French presidency and the European Commission.
Airbus to file complaint in Germany over alleged NSA spying [France 24 – 1/5/15]
In an historic ruling, a British intelligence tribunal has ordered UK spy agency GCHQ to destroy communications it collected unlawfully from Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi.
Saadi’s legal representatives say it is the first time in its 15-year history that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has upheld a complaint against the security services.
The human rights charity Reprieve add it is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security agency to give up surveillance material.
Documents which the IPT ruled must be destroyed are legally privileged communications belonging to Saadi, a former opponent of ousted Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who claims he was “rendered” by UK spies to Libya, where he was tortured. ... [RT - 29/4/15]
Life and Death of an Al Qaeda Spokesman [The Intercept – 29/4/15]
"Australia is a crime scene" @OccupyDemocracy [2/5/15]: Nice couple of images by @PriorConstruct from yesterday ...
Brisbane Anarchist Direct Action & Solidarity Syndicate [VIDEO - 2/5/15]:
The actual storming of Brisbane City Hall. [Utterly breathtaking and inspiring!]
Media interview. [Protesters called for justice and a fair hearing in the media - as well as an inquiry into the closure of remote communities. They dismissed political parties as useless and demanded State Governors and the Governor General to commence inquiries.]
Start of police negotiation. [Evidently SEQ mainstream media were present but this significant local event wasn't deemed to be newsworthy. And who cares? We have our own media now!]
@forevertoremain: #Brisbane: you CAN fight City Hall - and occupy it! ...
Brisbane City Hall Occupied!
National Day of Action to Stop Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities. [Brisbane march was postponed to 2 May due to yesterday's bad weather]
@cliffordstott: A small few remain holding out for the Governor's attendance. Negotiations continue
@SwedishProtests: Still about 25 ppl occupying Brisbane City hall ...
@SwedishProtests: After about an hour of #occupying Brisbane City hall the protesters came out ...
@welbowy: Brisbane city hall taken over #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA #Sovereignityneverceded #bringthemediaoftheworld
@cliffordstott: Demonstrators not leaving until media allowed entry 'Let the media in' the chant
@delishfriend: Where's the media?!!! ! ...
@SwedishProtests: Brisbane City Hall
@bonneycorbin: Brisbane city today... #SOSBLACKAUSTRALIA #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA
@ItalianNavy [2/5/15]: #UltimOra nave Bersagliere #MarinaMilitare ha iniziato i soccorsi al natante con numerosi #migranti a bordo
Refugees exiled to Nauru by the Australian government continue their protest
Image: Refugees on Nauru [1/5/15]
As if the Australian media blackout and dehumanisation of exiled refugees is not enough, the Nauruan government is now attempting to censor their internet communications - and their cries for justice - by shutting down Facebook.
Where is the international condemnation of this blatant attack on refugees' ability to communicate?
Why is the Australian human rights establishment silent?
Where are the internet freedom activists?
Australia needs a Syriza style party.
We need experts and humanitarians in parliament.
REJECT BIPARTISAN FASCISM AND THE INFANTILE MEDIA.
The major parties are beyond reform and have made it clear they are not going to budge on refugee policy.
Lobbying them is a waste of energy.
Mums 4 Refugees
via RRANWA [1/5/15]:
Today Mums 4 Refugees Reid constituents met with the Liberal Party's Craig Laundy MP, Federal Member for Reid. It was a productive conversation about how the Federal Government can move toward the fair and peaceful treatment of Asylum Seekers. We thank Mr Laundy for his forthright dialogue. He was unambiguous in his concern about the government's current policy settings.
Greece Releases Migrants from 'Barbaric' Detention Centres
[teleSUR - 17/4/15]:
… The Greek government said Thursday it was releasing detainees in its neglected immigration centers.
“The people that were there, were living an indescribable barbarity,” said Greek Immigration Minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou.
According to Christodoulopoulou, many of the detainees were illegally being held indefinitely.
The decision to release migrants is a stark contrast to the former conservative government of Antonis Samaras, which oversaw mass round-ups of undocumented migrants in 2012.
According to Christodoulopoulou, Samaras' hardline anti-immigrant policies were both expensive and inhumane.
“The center(s) did not (fulfill) basic needs,” she explained.
Critics of the new government have argued that released migrants have nowhere to go, and no support from the state. However, Christodoulopoulou said the government has no other choice.
"It's true the infrastructure does not exist but it's not the fault of those being held, and nor can they face this agony for the rest of their lives," the minister said.
Greece is a major transit route for migrants from Africa and the Middle East heading to Europe. According to a 2011 European Court of Justice finding, as much as 90 percent of undocumented migrants that arrive in Europe do so through Greek borders.
This is not a #migrant.
This is a child, someone's son.
He deserves our care and protection. ...
Image: @MSF_Sea [1/5/15]
MSF and MOAS – Answers to some frequently asked questions [24/4/15]:
... Why has MSF decided to intervene in the Mediterranean?
MSF has decided to take to the Mediterranean because we see that people fleeing some of the worst humanitarian crises of our time are taking deadly risks and dying at sea in their attempts to escape. Last year more than 3,500 men, women, and children died trying to reach Europe, and we find that fact both tragic and completely unacceptable.
The numbers of people already reported missing and dead in the first quarter of 2015 represent a historical record for the Mediterranean. We know that our operation by itself is not enough, but we have the capacity to act and we will do what we can to save lives.
Where are these migrants and refugees coming from?
Available data suggests that there are high numbers of asylum-seekers fleeing conflict and humanitarian crises in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. It is essential to understand that these people take great risks and their decisions are often influenced by extremely dire circumstances in their home countries.
If MSF is apolitical, why is the organization entering into the realm of European politics?
We feel compelled first and foremost to assist people who are dying in the Mediterranean right now. We have the means and, for us, ignoring the problem is not an option. Of course, we are aware that by doing this we are entering a very contentious political debate in Europe. However, we believe that inaction cannot be justified on ideological grounds and that, in fact, as a medical organization that takes its cues from medical ethics, we must take action.
Aren’t search-and-rescue operations encouraging asylum-seekers to take risks and making the job of people-smugglers easier?
The availability of rescue ships is not what is driving people across the sea. Safe and legal routes to reach Europe have been closed, forcing men, women, and children to make extremely difficult and dangerous choices. Smuggling is a symptom of this problem, not the cause—it is a business that preys on people’s misery and desperation and thrives under restrictive immigration policies.
The only thing that can put people-smugglers out of business is the opening of safe and legal routes to Europe for those fleeing their countries. No matter how high European governments build their fences, people will continue to come.
Aren’t search-and-rescue operations like the MOAS/MSF collaboration a pull factor that could encourage people to risk their lives in the Mediterranean?
People have been fleeing wars, inequality, and misery in search of better lives for themselves and their families for thousands of years. More specifically, people have been crossing the Mediterranean in vessels not fit for the journey for more than a decade. Over that period more than 20,000 have lost their lives on Europe’s doorstep. We do not want to see that number climb.
The reality is that people will not stop attempting to cross the Mediterranean because Europe has turned its back on them. In fact, data shows that, following this year's discontinuation of the Mare Nostrum program, arrival numbers are even higher than in 2014, which was the biggest year on record for boat arrivals in the Mediterranean.
If these people are fleeing crises at home, wouldn’t MSF’s resources be better-spent in their countries of origin?
For us, it is not one or the other. MSF is present in more than 60 countries across the globe, including in many of the countries from which those who flee across the Mediterranean have come, as well as their countries of first refuge, transit countries, and destination countries in Europe. Our operations in these places will continue. These are people who require medical attention—they are on the move, so we too must be on the move in order to continue assisting them. We will not abandon them at their most vulnerable and our other operations will not stop.
Why has MSF decided to partner with MOAS?
MSF has chosen to partner with MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) because they have expertise in search and rescue on the Mediterranean Sea. As we have seen with some of the latest tragedies, the process is dangerous and trained crews are necessary to ensure that a rescue goes as smoothly as possible.
Refugee boat sinks in Aegean Sea, killing at least one [Hurriyet Daily News - 1/5/15]:
A small boat with eight migrants has sunk in the Aegean Sea, killing one migrant and leaving one missing after sailing from Istanbul’s Foça district in İzmir province to the Greek islands.
Meanwhile, 160 more migrants were caught by Turkish security forces elsewhere in the country on April 30.
Two boats and one helicopter from the Turkish Coast Guards staged a search and rescue operation after the boat sank. They rescued six people from the sea soon after the sinking and later found the body of one migrant. Searches continued for the one missing person on May 1.
Security forces also captured 130 migrants in the town of Bodrum in the Aegean province of Muğla on April 30.
Bodrum Coast Guards and District Security Directorate collaborated on a joint operation after they learnt that many migrants were attempting to travel to Europe from the Gümbet Bay Haremten neighborhood.
Turkish security forces caught 100 migrants with Syrian, Palestinian and Iranian nationalities on six-meter inflatable boats in the sea before they set sail for the Greek island of Kos. The migrants, which included women and children, were sent to Bodrum Security Directorate for deportation after medical examinations in a state hospital.
Meanwhile, the Turgutreis Coast Guards also captured 30 migrants, including many Syrians, in the Akyarlar neighborhood of Bodrum before they sailed.
Thirty migrants were also detained by Gendarmerie forces in the northwestern province of Edirne. The detained migrants had Syrian, Georgian, Afghan, Moroccan, Palestinian and Burmese nationalities and were captured in the Bosnaköy and Kemalköy villages in Edirne’s Meriç and İpsala districts on April 30.
Coast guard teams have rescued 303 migrants in operations launched in the western Aegean Sea region over four days between April 27 and 30, local officials said.
Four people, including a Turkish citizen and two Georgian nationals, who were found aiding the illegal migrants have been detained, the İzmir Governor’s Office said in a statement.
Among the migrants, 148 were of Syrian origin and 98 were of Afghan origin, the statement said.
#UltimOra #MarinaMilitare Nave Bersagliere termina il soccorso al gommone trasbordando 106 #migranti su CP904 @guardiacostiera
#UltimOra #SAR Stretto Sicilia Nave Bersagliere #MarinaMilitare inizia soccorsi a natante con numerosi #migranti
Number of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia passes 200,000 mark [UNHCR Media Release - 1/5/15]:
The number of South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Ethiopia since fighting broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013 has passed the 200,000 mark and more are expected amid fresh conflict across the border.
Some 199,000 of the refugees are in western Ethiopia's Gambella region while about 3,000 are in neighbouring Benishangul-Gumuz region.
UNHCR field staff have observed a sharp increase in new South Sudanese arrivals from some 1,000 people a month in the first quarter of this year to more than 4,000 refugees registered in April. The UN refugee agency is currently registering more than 10,000 new arrivals at various entry points in the Gambella region.
The new arrivals tell of walking for several days through the bush with little or no food and water and carrying few or no belongings. They are being relocated to the Pugnido Refugee Camp, which currently hosts nearly 60,000 South Sudanese refugees, and the Tierkidi Refugee Camp, which hosts about 50,000. These camps are being enlarged to cope with the new influx.
The refugees are mainly women, children and older people. Most are fleeing from renewed fighting in Upper Nile and Jonglei states or as a precautionary measure. Some young men say they are fleeing from alleged forced conscription.
A young mother told UNHCR that she fled her home when nine months pregnant and gave birth on the way. She crossed into Ethiopia with her family at the Pagak entry point, where more than 7,000 new arrivals are being registered before being transferred to camps.
Three members of the Libyan Red Crescent died today and seven were injured when a mortar smashed into their building in Benghazi . ... [Libya Herald - 1/5/15]
Israeli gunboats violated Lebanon's territorial waters three times on Friday, according to a Lebanese army statement.
“At 8:50 am, a military vessel belonging to the Israeli enemy breached Lebanon's territorial waters off Ras al-Naqoura by 300 meters before leaving at 9:00 am towards the territorial waters of occupied Palestine,” an army statement said.
“And at 10:07 am, a similar vessel violated Lebanon's territorial waters by 278 meters off Ras al-Naqoura before leaving at 10:12 am,” it added.
A third Israeli gunboat penetrated 260 meters into the Lebanese waters off the same area at 11:10 am, the army said.
The military announced that it is following up on the issue of the violations with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). ... [Naharnet - 1/5/15]
Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 teens near Ramallah [Maan – 1/5/15]:
Three Palestinian teenagers were shot and injured with live rounds on Friday when Israeli forces opened fire on them during clashes in al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah.
They were taken to hospital for treatment with light to moderate injuries.
Several others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Al-Jalazun camp is the site of frequent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths.
In April, Israeli forces injured 12 Palestinian youths in the camp, three with live fire and a further nine with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Two weeks before that, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral in al-Jalazun of a young man who succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli forces during a protest near Ramallah.
At the time, the head of a popular committee in the refugee camp, Mahmoud Mubarak, said that the camp was being "systematically and unnaturally" attacked by Israel, and that there were nearly daily clashes and injuries taking place.
West Papua: 160 arrested in Manokwari crackdown [PNG Loop – 2/5/15]
Moscow denies agreeing deployment of peacekeepers in Ukraine [RT - 1/5/15]:
Russian President Putin did not agree to a possible deployment of peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, his spokesman said in response to Kiev’s claims to the contrary.
Moscow insists that all points of the Minsk agreement are fulfilled first.
The peacekeeper initiative was discussed on Thursday in a phone conversation between the so-called Normandy Four - the leaders of France, Germany Russia and Ukraine - which brokered the ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian government and rebel forces.
The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed in a statement that Russia’s “President Putin agreed to an opportunity of deploying peacekeeping contingent in Donbass.”
“That is not true,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.
“The Russian side never challenged the idea of peacekeepers but neither Russia nor any other party guaranteeing the Minsk deal can agree to it, because first of all the parties in the conflict, i.e. Kiev and Donbass, have to agree on it.”
Egyptian NGOs condemn ruling which criminalises public servant strikes [Ahram - 1/5/15]
Protesters took to the streets of Tunis Friday demanding to know the truth about the fate of two journalists whose execution-style killing in Libya was claimed by the Islamic State group.
"Give us back Sofiene; give us back Nadhir," the crowd of almost 200 demonstrators chanted as they brandished pictures of Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari.
Journalist Chourabi and photographer Ktari went missing in eastern Libya last September, after being seized by an armed group.
An IS affiliate in Libya claimed in January that it had killed the two men.
But on Wednesday the Libyan government said that five detainees had admitted to killing five reporters from a local television station as well as Chourabi and Ktari.
Relatives of Chourabi and Ktari accuse Tunisian authorities of failing to obtain the release of the journalists when they were seized, and of inaction after their murder.
Gunmen have shot dead a Somali journalist working for a pro-government radio station in the southern city of Baidoa, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
Citing local journalists and news reports, the New York-based group said Daud Ali Omar was shot overnight on Wednesday at his home in Baidoa, 270km southwest of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
The gunmen broke into Omar's house at around 1am local time in the Bardaale neighbourhood while the journalist and his wife, Hawo Abdi Aden, were sleeping, the CPJ said.
The gunmen shot the two dead and fled the scene before the police arrived. Omar and his wife leave behind three children, the CPJ said. … [Al Jazeera – 1/5/15]
Daily Star [1/5/15]:
The U.S. military signaled Friday it may allow warships to accompany other nations' vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran's seizure of a container ship this week prompted the Navy to start accompanying U.S.-flagged vessels.
"Our current plans are for accompanying U.S.-flagged ships, although there are discussions with other nations to include their vessels as well," said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman at the U.S. military's Central Command, declining to identify the other countries.
Security Council demands immediate end to hostilities in Mali, urges parties to abide by ceasefire [UN Media Release - 1/5/15]
UN Security Council declines to back Russia's Yemen appeal [Channel News Asia - 2/5/15]
Here we go again: Queensland authorities and Murdoch controlled, victim blaming political and media establishment lying about people deliberately driving into flooded waters.
To assert that deaths were "avoidable" after yesterday's tragegy is despicable.
In the face of an increasing threat of more and more climate change related extreme weather events, Australian politicians have done nothing but blame the victims and encourage personal responsibility for things that are beyond their control.
All our so called leaders and authorities and media can do is shake their fists at the citizenry.
We wrote this in 2013. It is just as applicable today.
There Are No "Rubbernecking Sightseers" Or "Curious Residents" Hampering Emergency Rescue Efforts, But There Are An Awful Lot Of Personal Responsibility Crusaders Who Have Learned Nothing From The 2010/2011 Queensland Floods
Reportage of the current extreme weather event in Queensland appears to indicate media, politicians and some authorities have learned nothing.
Do you understand that mixed messages, withholding of vital information, fear mongering and beatups (eg broadcasting extensive footage of canoeists in Bundaberg) are intended to provoke anger, keep you confused and deflect attention from who the real fraudsters, vultures, looters, scammers, rumour mongers, profiteers and rubberneckers are?
Are you fooled by politicians making strong warnings
about driving through flooded roads and swimming in stormwater drains as they
sell off your schools, hospitals and underfund emergency services?
If you can get people to hold two contradictory ideas in their head (eg when a media outlet says send us your images/videos and stories then says don't go anywhere, stay at home, 'rubber-neckers' are evil), you can get people to believe anything.
You can get them to hate their neighbours and you can get them to support wars of aggression on a lie.
If you practise logical consistency, you might start demanding logical consistency from your politicians and they might have to start governing rather than managing.
A well informed, united and unafraid electorate is the enemy of the neoliberal juggernaut.
Are you going to allow Queensland's politicians and media continue their war on rationality and the ability of the citizenry to critically analyse?
Triple-0 operator chastises flood victims [ABC - 19/4/11]:
ALI MOORE: The Queensland flood inquiry has heard a triple-0 operator chastised a mother and her son, shortly before they were swept to their deaths.
Two emergency calls made by Donna and Jordan Rice were played to the inquiry as their family wept quietly in the courtroom.
Francene Norton reports from Toowoomba.
FRANCENE NORTON: Survivor Blake Rice and his father John Tyson were surrounded by family, as they prepared themselves to hear the final recordings of their loved ones.
The calls were made on the 10 January as floodwaters swept away their car in Toowoomba's CBD. In the first call, the police operator demanded three times: "Why did you drive through floodwaters?"
"You shouldn't have driven through floodwaters in the first place."
The family of Donna and Jordan Rice wiped away tears as they listened to the rising panic in the second emergency call. In the background, Donna Rice could be heard yelling at her sons to jump on the roof, while Jordan Rice pleaded with the operator to hurry up because they were about to drown.
The female operator shouted: "If you don't tell me where you are we can't help you."
"Tell the woman beside you to stop yelling."
Donna Rice's widower John Tyson read a statement to the court about the impact the tragedy has had on his family's lives. And in response to the triple-0 calls, Mr Tyson said: "I fail to see what part of the call wasn't panic."
"What gave someone the right to decide that I have to bury half my family?"
Earlier the court heard from the chief executive officer and Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council about whether an SMS alert to residents before the flash flooding hit would have helped. Both told the inquiry that given the waters rose so quickly, an SMS may have created more panic.
KEN GOULDTHORP, TOOWOOMBA COUNCIL CEO: Would they have rushed outside? Would they have jumped into their cars and drive home? Would that have made it more dangerous?
PETER TAYLOR: We want to hear all of the good ideas that might come out of such a commission inquiry.
FRANCENE NORTON: The inquiry heads to Dalby tomorrow.
Francene Norton, Lateline.
Fatal incident, Caboolture [QPS Media - 2/5/15]:
Police have confirmed the death of a man on Beerburrum Road, Caboolture overnight.
This and the related release was initially reported as being on Dancers Rd, Caboolture.
Around 5.30pm yesterday, police received information that a vehicle had been swept away by flood waters.
Investigations revealed two separate vehicles were swept away by flood waters during the same incident.
Three people in the first vehicle were earlier pronounced deceased at the scene.
The second vehicle contained three people.
Two passengers, a 21-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy managed to escape the vehicle.
A third person, a man aged 49-years-old who was the driver of the vehicle was initially unable to be located.
Police and emergency services searched overnight for the man.
At about 6am this morning the man was located deceased. ...
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., April 30, and 8 a.m., May 1, local time.
In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted 11 airstrikes using attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft.
Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted seven airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
“The Coalition continues its commitment to defeating Daesh with airstrikes, surveillance, intelligence, advise and assist elements, and Build Partner Capacity trainers in Iraq and Syria, which enables Iraqi and Kurdish forces to counter Daesh, reestablish the border, retake lost terrain and restore stability and security,” said Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR Chief of Public Affairs.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
Near Al Hasakah, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL excavator.
Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle.
Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck an ISIL large and three small tactical units, destroying seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions.
Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL fighting position.
Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL defensive position.
Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position, and an ISIL resupply cache.
Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [1/5/15]:
Baghdad: A force of the government's army consisting of 1000 persons has overtaken and searched in Harthiya area to arrest Anbar displaced persons ......................
Baghdad: Agencies: 8 persons have been either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb exploded while exiting from the masjid in Mada'in district in south of Baghdad.................
Anbar: Violent shelling has targeted Fallujah neighbourhoods ..............
Anbar: Three children from one family have been killed and other members wounded as planes have shelled their home in Zankora area in Ramadi..................
The photos of massacre committed by the international coalition planes in Fallujah...................... [WARNING ... GRAPHIC]
The names of victims of Fallujah massacre are shown below :
Khamis Sifog Theyab Ashibeeb.............. His wife -Nahida Hilal Theyab-............... His mother- Najeiya Talal Hadid-........... His sister -Salima Sifog-....................... His child boy - Aws Khamis Sifog-...... His daughter -Bushra Khamis Sifog-......... His daughter -Khitam Khamis Sifog-........... His daughter -Jinan Khamis -and her son -Sijad Mohamad Ali-....
Trial fills in details of Colorado movie gunman Holmes [Reuters - 1/5/15]:
... In his opening statement, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler depicted Holmes as a craven killer of superior intellect who planned and carried out the massacre because of his "longstanding hatred of mankind."
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder after killing 12 people and wounding 70 at a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb of Aurora on July 20, 2012.
In court, Brauchler revealed that two court-appointed forensic psychiatrists had deemed that Holmes was sane at the time.
In one video shown to jurors, Holmes told a psychiatrist the wounded victims were "collateral damage."
"I only count the fatalities," he said.
2 May 2015