Children in Myanmar face a ‘double catastrophe’ as floods hit the most vulnerable, UNICEF says
Media Release [3/8/15]:
Vulnerable children in Myanmar face a ‘double catastrophe’ as floods add to the hardship faced by children living in poverty and those recovering from violence and conflict, UNICEF has warned.
Myanmar has suffered heavy rain for weeks, with winds and rains from Cyclone Komen that made landfall in Bangladesh on 30 July, adding to the damage in recent days.
According to the Myanmar Government, 36 people have died and over 200,000 people across the country are in need of lifesaving assistance. 12 out of Myanmar’s 14 states and regions have been affected by the rains.
The Government has declared natural disaster zones in four regions – Chin, Magwe, Sagaing and Rakhine. Information on the number of people affected in the worst affected states, including Rakhine, is still limited, as assessment teams have been unable to reach affected Townships due to flooding, road blockages and landslides.
“The floods are hitting children and families who are already very vulnerable, including those living in camps in Rakhine State,” UNICEF Deputy Representative in Myanmar Shalini Bahuguna said.
“Beyond the immediate impact, the floods will have a longer term impact on the livelihoods of these families.”
The Government of Myanmar is leading the response, and UNICEF together with other UN agencies is working closely with the Myanmar authorities to assess the urgent needs of children and provide support.
The organisation has dispatched assessment teams to affected areas which can be reached, to identify the priority needs of children and families in terms of water and sanitation, health care, and nutrition.
“UNICEF has already supported the distribution of water purification tablets and hygiene kits to the affected areas,” Ms Bahuguna said. “We are working with the Government to get emergency messages out to local communities through radio, to tell people how to prevent water borne diseases.”
Myanmar is prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and earthquakes. There is a need for more resources to scale up disaster preparedness, and to improve community resilience. The heaviest affected areas are among the poorest states in Myanmar, a country where nearly 70% of people live close to the $2/day poverty threshold, and children make up 34% of the population.
In Rakhine State, 140,000 displaced children and families living in camps are particularly vulnerable. Shelters, latrines, bathing facilities, learning spaces and other facilities in the camps were constructed for short-term use, and damage is expected because of heavy rains and winds.
Earlier this year, UNICEF appealed for $24.9 million USD to help children affected by violence and conflict in Rakhine State. The organisation has received $5.6 million, leaving a $19.3 million shortfall, even before the needs of flood-affected families are taken into account.
“The impact of these floods makes the need for funding, particularly for displaced and vulnerable families, even more urgent,” Ms Bahuguna said. “The poorest children and families are going to be the hardest hit, and we need to build their resilience so they can cope with these kinds of crises.”
Myanmar: UN Special Rapporteur starts official visit [Media Release - 3/8/15]
ABC's weekly reminder that good refugees are 1. Christian 2. Not Rohingya 3. Respectful to geezers 4. Arrived a while ago ---> Seven years ago, a small group of refugees arrived in the Western Australian town of Katanning to start what has become a story of success for the displaced Karen people of Myanmar. ... [ABC - 3/8/15]
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
Geraldton man charged with killing woman
WA Today [3/8/15]:
A 60-year-old man has been charged with the killing of a woman in Geraldton on Saturday.
Police say officers were called to a property on Chapman Road around 7.20am where they found the body of a 38-year-old woman.
A Geraldton man has been charged with breaching of a violence restraining order, and aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm.
The charges will be reviewed after a post-mortem examination is completed this week.
The accused has been refused bail and will appear in the Geraldton Magistrates Court on August 3.
West Perth shooting: Woman dead, two men in custody [West Australian - 3/8/15]
Irony: ABC report on GP guidelines addressing relentless media promotion of mutilating and unnecessary medical procedure ----> The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RANCGP) has introduced world-first guidelines to respond to the increasing number of women visiting GPs to ask about female genital cosmetic surgery. ... [ABC - 3/8/15]
New Zealand: New domestic violence charges being considered [RNZI - 2/8/15]
Update 2 – Suspicious death, Coonarr
QPS Media [3/8/15]:
Police have arrested a man in relation to the suspicious death of a 44-year-old man at Coonarr on Saturday.
Police were called to a Coonarr Road address just after 2am, after a man received what appeared to be stab wounds during an altercation with another man.
An appeal to locate a 42-year-old man who may be able to assist with enquires was issued yesterday.
The man handed himself in to Logan police this morning.
Investigations are continuing. 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.
Fatal traffic crash, Moorooka
QPS Media [3/8/15]:
A man has died following a fatal motorcycle crash in Moorooka today.
Initial investigations suggest that around 5pm a motorcycle travelling south on Ipswich Road collided with a utility turning near Forest Street.
A 31-year-old man was transported to the Princess Alexandra hospital and where he was later pronounced deceased.
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.
Fatal traffic crash, Bilinga
QPS Media [3/8/15]:
Police are investigating a two vehicle crash in which two people died at Bilinga last night.
Initial investigations indicate the crash occurred around 7pm on the Gold Coast Highway near the intersection of Coolangatta Road when one car travelling south crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming car.
A 53-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, both from Bilinga, travelling in the south-bound car died at the scene.
Two occupants of the second car, the driver a 47-year-old Wongawallan man and an 88-year-old New South Wales man were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
A third occupant, a 23-year-old man was uninjured.
The Gold Coast Highway was closed for more than three hours.
The Forensic Crash Unit are 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.
Robbery with violence, Brisbane City [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
Armed Robbery, Eight Mile Plains [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
Armed Robbery, Holland Park [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
UPDATE – Armed robbery, Gowrie Junction [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
Armed robbery, Waterford [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
Enter with intent charges, Annerley [QPS Media - 3/8/15]
Piggie the echidna found safe and well after being returned to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
An echidna stolen from a wildlife sanctuary on Queensland's Gold Coast at the weekend has been returned. Police said the echidna was found safe and well at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary about 6:00pm (AEST).
Two men took Piggie, a four-year-old breeding female, from her enclosure during a break-in at sanctuary on Saturday night.
The theft was caught on camera and sparked a public appeal for information.
One of the men cut away netting to gain access to an enclosure containing a number of echidnas.
The first man attempted to remove three different echidnas from nesting boxes without success.
The second man then entered the enclosure and removed Piggie from her nesting box.
Police said a
24-year-old man was assisting with the investigation.
Cairns hotel foyer fish speared and filleted [Yahoo - 3/8/15]
... The track's closure will leave between 200 and 300 dogs without a venue, forcing local dog owners and trainers to relocate, re-home or euthanise their dogs.
It will place further strain on re-homing organisations, already at capacity in the region. The RSPCA operates a re-homing program, working alongside charities and the national Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) to find owners for retired race dogs.
"It would be difficult for the rescue and re-homing organisation with the numbers involved ... Townsville is totally full," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.
"We'd definitely do our best to assist but the task would simply be too big. ... [Yahoo - 3/8/15]
... About a dozen lions in the region were killed illegally in recent years, Stapelkamp said, and no one was caught.
"I think this was just the final straw," Stapelkamp told The Associated Press in a phone interview from the Hwange reserve.
"Everyone locally just thought, no ways, we're not letting anyone get away with this anymore."
Cecil had an intriguing story, making him a celebrity in Hwange. He arrived as a kind of lion refugee, alone and wandering after being displaced from another territory.
Cecil befriended another male lion, Jericho, and together they grew and watched over two prides, one with three lionesses and seven cubs and another with three lionesses.
The satellite collar on Jericho has been sending normal signals, indicating the lion is alive and moving around, Stapelkamp said.
But Cecil's killing will have an impact on the area, explained Stapelkamp, a field researcher for an Oxford University study on lions.
Jericho may not be able to hold their territory alone and could be chased away by rival lions. Unprotected, the lionesses and cubs would then be under threat and also move away or be killed.
Safari operators who invested millions of dollars in the area would lose one of their biggest attractions for tourists.
"They're burning fire breaks. They're grading roads. They're pumping water," Stapelkamp said.
"They're spending a lot of money in the management of lions and then someone just draws it across the railway lines having not paid a penny in its management and shoots it and runs away with its skin. It's unacceptable. ... [The Jakarta Post - 2/8/15]
Spain: Bats helpful in the protection of crops – particularly grapes [RTVE - 2/8/15]
Birds and bats vital and valuable for natural pest control [University of New England Media Release - 1/5/15]
Another turd peddling false choices
The Victorian Government is promising to establish a $200 million "agriculture infrastructure and jobs fund" to drive economic growth.
But it is contingent on the passage of legislation through Parliament next week, of the sale of the lease of the Port of Melbourne.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the four-year fund would create jobs, boost exports and "support Victorian farmers from paddock to plate".
"Whether it's education, transport infrastructure, water infrastructure, biosecurity just to name a few, this fund... will be a real boost to what is such a significant part of Victoria's story and such an important part of Victoria's future," he said.
Mr Andrews said the Government had advice that the lease would bring in more than the $5 to $6 billion originally expected.
"We think it's only fair that there be a proper sharing of that additional revenue beyond the election commitments we made," he said.
The port will be leased to private interests for 50 years to raise billions of dollars for transport projects including the plan to remove the state's 50 most dangerous railway level crossings.
The Port of Melbourne is Australia's busiest container port, visited by more than 3,000 ships each year.
IMF approves new loan tranche to Kiev, plays down debt and security concerns [RT – 1/8/15]
A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy, Professor John Weeks [31/7/15]:
... Expect no "just peace" for the country posing a radical threat. The suffering imposed on the Greek people by the Third Bailout will not be "collateral damage". On the contrary, since Greek voters rejected Troika rule by a landslide, the Hellenic citizenry presents a threat far greater than the government it elected.
It must be punished to prevent a repeat of such democratic impertinence. I am in distinguished company in applying the word "punish" to extremism of the terms imposed on Greece. Germany's most famous intellectual and long time supporter of European integration, Jürgen Habermas, has described the conditionalities as "an act of punishment".
The European Commission has become the vehicle for preventing the anti-austerity uprisings that Mr Tusk considers so radical. By his reactionary clarion call for action to prevent democratic revolt, the president of the European Council harks back two hundred years, to 1814 when the monarchies of Europe gathered for the Congress of Vienna.
These powers convened to construct a barrier to the spread of republicanism, creating the so-called Concert of Europe, in effect a Concert of Monarchism, to maintain a united front across the reactionary states of the continent. Mr Tusk seeks a twenty-first century version to prevent progressive change in the European Union, a Concert of Neoliberalism.
As atomic bomb survivors age, Japanese pass storytelling to young
Japan Today [3/8/15]:
On a recent weekend, an 84-year-old survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing retraced his movements on a map: the inferno during his 20-kilometer (12-mile) walk home, the “black rain” of falling radioactive particles and how he felt sick days later.
His audience of eight listened intently, some asking questions and taking notes. They hope to tell his story to future generations after he is gone, to take their listeners to the scene on Aug. 9, 1945, the way Shigeyuki Katsura saw and felt it.
In a government-organized program in the western Tokyo suburb of Kunitachi, 20 trainees ranging from their 20s to their 70s are studying wartime history, taking public speech lessons from a TV anchor and hearing stories from Katsura and another Kunitachi resident who survived Hiroshima.
“It’s been 70 years since the bombings, and we survivors are getting old. Time is limited and we must hurry,” said Terumi Tanaka, the 83-year-old head of a national group, the Tokyo-based Japan Confederation of A and H Bomb Sufferers’ Organizations.
In a way, they are going backward in this digital age, learning face-to-face from their elders in order to carry on a storytelling tradition. It is not unlike Kabuki actors inheriting their seniors’ stage names and performing their signature pieces.
The same stories may be in video and text on the Internet, but organizers feel that in-person storytelling adds an invaluable human touch.
The Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing in Hiroshima killed about 140,000 people from injuries and immediate effects of radiation within five months, and another one dropped on Nagasaki three days later killed 73,000.
The death toll linked to the attacks and their radiation effects has since risen to 460,000, with the number of survivors declining to some 183,000, according to the latest government statistics.
Most survivors live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Katsura said about 20 survivors live in Kunitachi, but only a few, including himself, are healthy enough to make public appearances.
Tanaka, a retired engineering professor, survived Nagasaki but lost five relatives there when he was 13. He said it would be almost impossible for storytellers to describe the horrors as vividly as the survivors, but hopes their imagination, compassion and commitment to peace will make up for any shortfall.
Mika Shimizu, a 32-year-old high school teacher, hopes to do just that, by putting a survivor’s experience in language her peers and others as young as her students can relate to.
“Even if we hear the same story, the way each of us retell it would be different, because we all have different sensibilities,” she said.
Another trainee, Sachiko Matsushita, missed her chance to find out directly from her father, who hid his exposure in Nagasaki for most of his life, and largely kept the story to himself. Initially she wanted to revisit her father’s path, but now is devoted to passing on Katsura’s.
“I’d much rather hear the stories directly from people, and pass them on to people,” the 47-year-old company worker said.
Katsura was 14 when he and his schoolmates, put to work for the war effort, were delivering a cartful of weapons parts from school to a factory when the “Fat Man” plutonium bomb exploded over Nagasaki.
“Having witnessed what the man-made nuclear weapon did to humans, I must condemn it as absolutely wrong, and the mistake should never be repeated,” he said. “That’s what drives me to tell my story, and I’ll continue to do so as long as I live.”
The course in Kunitachi is modeled on one started in Hiroshima in 2012. The first group of 50 Hiroshima storytellers debuted this year, with some 150 others underway.
Kunitachi official Mamiko Ogawa said storytelling requires a deep understanding of both the historical background and the survivors’ emotions, along with a touch of the teller’s personality. That’s what makes it different from digital archives.
“I think the stories
are best conveyed when told by real people,” she said. “I hope the trainees
would fully absorb the survivors’ experience and feelings, so they can tell the
stories using their own sensibilities.”
Okinawan Gov Takeshi Onaga and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga plan to hold more talks this month to discuss the planned relocation of a contentious U.S. Marine air base from Futenma to Henoko. ... [Japan Today - 3/8/15]
Bomb blasts outside two New Mexico churches disrupt Sunday services [Reuters - 2/8/15]
Egypt cabinet approves amendment over trials in absentia
The Egyptian cabinet approved on Sunday an amendment to the criminal procedure law meaning that defendants tried in absentia would be considered as present if a lawyer represents them.
Prior to the amendment, defendants tried in absentia were granted retrials after either being arrested or turning themselves in.
The amendment to Article 50 of the criminal procedure law – originally issued in 1950 -- stipulates that defendants can avoid being tried in absentia even if they are at large, providing that they have a lawyer, Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim El-Heneidy told Al Ahram Arabic news website.
El-Heneidy said the cabinet approved the amendment because there are a large number of fugitives who have been sentenced in absentia. They are to retain the right of appeal to any verdict when they are present before a court of law.
“The amendment aims to speed up the procedures to put many fugitives on trial. This way, the sentence won’t be dropped quickly”, El-Heneidy explained.
Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, hundreds of his supporters have been sentenced in absentia.
In June 2015, 93 people were sentenced to death in absentia over the infamous 2011 prison break during the January uprising.
27 Muslim Brotherhood members acquitted over storming police station [Ahram - 2/8/15]
Traditional Rights and Freedoms—Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws (Australian Law Reform Commission Interim Report 127) [3/8/15]
Magistrate Jane Bentley said she couldn't grant Murrumu bail because "this person, he says, is not him".
An indigenous man who renounced his Australian citizenship to head a self-declared sovereign nation has been remanded in custody in Queensland after refusing to acknowledge his former name.
Murrumu Walubara Yidindji - formerly press gallery journalist Jeremy Geia - was charged at Gordonvale in May after police allegedly caught him using number plates and a licence issued by the unrecognised Yidindji government.
When asked whether he was the man known as Jeremy Geia at Cairns Local Court on Monday, he replied: "I am Murrumu in the appropriate persona."
The man, who faces a number of charges, including breaching bail, said he had been detained and held in captivity against his will.
"I think the matter is of jurisdiction," he said.
"The Yidindji were excluded from the Commonwealth constitution act of 1901."
A picture posted to Twitter in May indicated at least seven sets of plates had been made.
Magistrate Jane Bentley said she couldn't grant Mr Geia bail because "this person, he says, is not him".
She remanded him in custody to reappear on Tuesday morning.
Miss Dhu Campaign - I year on! No Justice! No Answers!
A customs officer at Sydney international airport confiscated a mobile phone from a passenger during a baggage search and then secretly used it to send and receive messages without the passenger's knowledge.
The man told Fairfax Media he was stopped when leaving Australia for a holiday in Turkey and Cyprus visiting his parents.
He was taken to a room where Customs and AFP officers were present. They took his phone and computer and demanded the access codes and then took his phone into another room where he could not see what was happening.
During the time he was detained and searched, the man said he was asked weird questions including how many times a day he prayed? Was his family religious? And did they have a lot of money? ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 2/8/15]
@HAS_Blog [3/8/15]: Father killed by Taliban, son by Australian detention centre #auspol Mohd Nasim Najafi's photo appeared on @smh
Solidarity and indefinite detention forever
Whadda we want?
Extra allowances for the torture, exile and deportation of refugees!
When do we want it?
Greens Media Release [3/8/15]:
Greens employment spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today supported airport public sector workers taking industrial action and called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to drop his hardline bargaining policy.
“The Prime Minister previously relented his hardline bargaining policy and gave real pay rises to ADF personnel. Now it’s time he did the same for airport public sector workers,” Mr Bandt said.
“Tony Abbott is ultimately responsible for today’s industrial action. For 17 months now, he has been unfairly pushing cuts in real wages and conditions for public servants that they have rightly refused to accept.”
“The Prime Minister cannot afford to shirk his responsibility to these people any longer. He must now do for airport public sector workers what he has done for our defence personnel and offer pay deals with real wage rises that don’t attack their conditions.”
CPSU Media Release [30/6/15]:
… *Customs officers can receive allowances for a range of workplace situations including being at sea, using firearms, meeting high fitness standards, working long hours, unusual shifts and performing dirty and/or dangerous work. Some of the allowances at risk in the new agreement include:
•Use of Force Allowance: for officers required to maintain specified fitness level so they can carry firearms
•Marine and Marine Accommodation Allowances: for officers deployed at sea for up to 36 days at a time
•Detector Dog Unit Allowance: for officers who work with dogs detecting controlled substances
•Removals Allowance: for officers required to escort deportees anywhere in the world, including high risk environments
•Extended Commitment Allowance; for immigration officers working for long periods in isolated locations (e.g. Christmas Island)
“Go Back To Where You Came From: The coloniser’s story” [Rise Refugee – 30/7/15]
‘Fearless’ filming at Fleet Base East [Navy Daily - 13/7/14]:
Headlines were created when Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Clearance Diver Able Seaman Paul De Gelder was attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour in 2009, and the story of his survival, recovery and return to Navy service captured the attention of people around Australia, and around the world.
Able Seaman De Gelder continues to serve as diver in the Navy Reserve, but has also found a new calling as the host of the unscripted series ‘Fearless’, produced by Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ) Productions.
Jimmy Carter: The US is an “Oligarchy wih unlimited political bribery” [The Intercept – 31/7/15]
March to Washington begins with civil rights rally in Selma
NAACP leaders launched a 40-day march across the U.S. South on Saturday with a rally in Selma, Alabama, drawing on that city's significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America.
Organizers of "America's Journey for Justice" want to build momentum behind a renewed national dialogue over race relations prompted by the killing of a number of unarmed black men by police officers over the past year.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leaders at the rally urged marchers to honor the memories of New York's Eric Garner and Cincinnati's Samuel DuBose, two of the unarmed black men killed in the police confrontations.
The march, which would cover nearly 900 miles, began on Selma's historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police beat peaceful marchers with clubs and doused them with tear gas in 1965.
The infamous confrontation was a catalyst for the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago this week.
After two aborted attempts, civil rights activists led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. eventually marched to the state capital of Montgomery to build support for the legislation, which seeks to protect the rights of minority groups to cast ballots.
"We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter," said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP, one of the oldest and largest civil rights groups in the United States.
"Let us march on, let us march on, let us march on till victory is won," Brooks chanted before leading the crowd, two by two, across the bridge.
Organizers say the outcry triggered by the recent police killings, including the shooting of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, needs to be channeled into a long-term commitment to bring about change.
"We can continue to be serially outraged, or we can engage in an outrageously patriotic demonstration with a commitment to bringing about reform in this country," Brooks said before the rally.
The march will feature "teach-ins" and other events in five states - Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia - as it makes its way to the nation's capital, where organizers hope to draw thousands at a final rally on Sept. 16.
The NAACP aims to bring attention to racial injustice across issues like policing, public education, incarceration, voting rights and income inequality.
Brooks said the NAACP will look to mobilize thousands by the time it arrives in Washington, working with organizations representing labor unions, environmentalists, women's advocates and Judeo-Christian religious leaders.
9 injured in shooting in Brooklyn [New York Times - 2/8/15]
Civil society activists protest against Taliban in Kabul [Khaama - 2/8/15]:
Dozens of civil society activists took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday in protest against the militant group of Taliban.
Protesters were carrying banners with different slogans condemning Taliban attacks and the organization’s existence.
Protesters were carrying banners mocking the late Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
A turban was drawn on the head of Mullah Omar made of the US flag.
“Mullah Omar was a stooge of US and Pak Governments and perpetrator of these crimes!” a slogan read.
Another banner was reading a slogan seeking prosecution for Taliban.
“Mullah Omar and his crime partners must be prosecuted a thousand times for destroying of Buddha Statues!” the slogan read.
The protesters were shouting slogans saying that any deal with the group is betray to the nation.
Protesters also displayed a role play purportedly showing the Taliban regime.
US drone strike kills 5 in southeastern Logar Province [Press TV - 2/8/15]
Armed gunmen have burnt relief items of Red Crescent (RC) for vulnerable in the Kajaki district in southern Helmand, an official said on Sunday. ... [Pajhwok - 2/8/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [2/8/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place yesterday, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Al Hasakah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL guard shack.
-- Near Kobani, four airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical units and two ISIL small tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL command and control center.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Al Huwayjah, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL bomb factory.
-- Near Fallujah, four airstrikes struck terrain denying ISIL a tactical advantage and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and two ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL bridge.
-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL bomb-making facility and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL weapons storage area and an ISIL staging area and destroyed an ISIL bunker.
-- Near Ramadi, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL sniper position and destroyed an ISIL cache, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL homemade explosives cache and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL heavy machine guns and four ISIL fighting positions.
Turkish military denies targeting civilians in Iraq [Al Jazeera - 2/8/15]
Pro-government fighters in Yemen have received weapons shipments in the war-torn city of Aden, as Shiite rebels scramble to deploy reinforcements, military officials from both sides said Sunday.
Military and port officials in Aden said new heavy and medium weapons and ammunition arrived there late last month by sea to support pro-government army divisions and militias against the Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units.
The officials said tanks, artillery, missiles and armored vehicles were included in the shipment from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been waging a U.S.-backed air campaign against the Iran-supported rebels since March. ... [Ahram - 2/8/15]
UN peacekeeper shot dead in Central African Republic [Naharnet - 2/8/15]
Nigeria said Sunday it had carried out air strikes in the northeast of the country to repel an attack by Boko Haram and had killed a "large number" of the Islamist extremists.
The air raids came as Nigeria and its neighbors prepared to launch a new multinational force to combat Boko Haram, in the face of the group's escalating violence in the region. ... [Naharnet - 2/8/15]
Boko Haram fighters kill 13 villagers in attack in NE Nigeria: Witnesses [Ahram - 2/8/15]
Israeli navy opens fire on Gaza fishermen, no injuries reported [Maan - 2/8/15]
Israeli forces allegedly beat Palestinian man in Hebron [Maan - 2/8/15]
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees on Sunday staged a sit-in in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City to protest a reduction in services provided by the UN agency.
The sit-in was the second Sunday protest in a row, as refugees in Gaza faces cuts to health and educational services.
Protesters waved flags and posters as they chanted slogans slamming the reduction of UN services.
“We want schools! Stop the policy of humiliation and contempt!” the protesters chanted. ... [Maan - 2/8/15]
French riot police have sprayed chemicals on migrants who attempted to cross the Eurotunnel from Calais into Britain, Al Jazeera has learnt.
More than 200 migrants tried to cross the undersea tunnel from Calais on Sunday.
The migrants broke down several levels of fencing by the tunnel's entrance but French riot police responded by moving them away from a motorway and spraying them with a chemical irritant. ... [Al Jazeera - 3/8/15]
Four refugees drown while attempting to swim to Spain's north African enclave of Ceuta from northern Morocco [Naharnet - 2/8/15]
Italian coast guard rescues 1,800 refugees
Italy's coast guard said about 1,800 migrants were rescued from seven overcrowded vessels on Saturday, while five corpses were found on a large rubber boat carrying 212 others.
The dead bodies were found on board at the time of the rescue, a coast guard spokeswoman said on Sunday.
The cause of death was not yet known, she said.
The Mediterranean has become the world's most deadly barrier for migrants and refugees, with 3,500 thought to have died at sea last year and almost 2,000 so far this year.
Many are fleeing poverty and violence in the Middle East and Africa.
While there was no breakdown by nationality of those rescued on Saturday, about a quarter of arrivals this year have come from Eritrea, followed by Nigerians, Somalis, Sudanese and Syrians, according to the UN refugee agency.
Italy has had about 90,000 sea migrant arrivals so far this year, after receiving 170,000 in 2014, the agency says.
Many of the newcomers look to move swiftly to wealthier northern Europe, including to England from Calais, France.
Nightly attempts by large groups of the estimated 5,000 migrants in Calais to force their way through the rail tunnel linking France and Britain have provoked public anger and severely disrupted the flow of goods between the two countries.
... There is only one solution: a united EU response putting aside media-fostered xenophobia in favour of humanitarianism. It will take real leadership among EU politicians, and a change of heart among populations. As Renzi himself said: “Our real enemy is not right-wing politicians, our real enemy is fear.” ... Don't call Calais a migrant problem: it's a humanitarian crisis [Independent - 2/8/15]
“The net effect of this language system was not to keep these people ignorant of what they were doing, but to prevent them from equating it with their old, "normal" knowledge of murder and lies. Eichmann's great susceptibility to catch words and stock phrases, combined with his incapacity for ordinary speech, made him, of course, an ideal subject for "language rules.”
Hannah Arendt, 'Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil' [The New Yorker - 16/2/1963]
Signing the Strategic Partnership Framework
with @IOM_news Director General William Lacy Swing
Image: @PeterDutton_MP [28/4/15]
These men have been imprisoned by Australia for over 2 YEARS. Now they are stateless. WHERE ARE HUMAN RIGHT ORGANISATIONS, THE UNHCR AND GREENS PARTY?
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
Asylum seekers whose refugee claims have been rejected and face the possibility of being stateless could be sent to Papua New Guinean jails.
The warning is in leaked documents from PNG Immigration, circulated to about 50 asylum seekers, with unsuccessful claims, at the Manus Island detention centre.
Those who can be deported should prepare to leave while those deemed stateless will remain at the centre or be transferred to any location including "correctional institutions".
"If (Immigration and Citizenship Services) assesses that you cannot be removed to your country of origin, you will remain in custody until you are able to obtain a visa to lawfully enter and reside in PNG or another country," a document says.
Some PNG prisons have huge problems with overcrowding.
Asylum seekers who voluntarily agree to depart will be eligible for some financial help, the document says, but those who don't will miss out.
Asylum seekers will undergo departure planning interviews over the coming days and will have the opportunity to provide any last minute information about their claim.
The documents say they have a right to have a PNG-certified lawyer present but it will be difficult for the asylum seekers to arrange legal representation because of a shortage of lawyers on the island.
"If the lawyer charges a fee, this must be paid by you," a document says.
AAP understands August 20 has been slated as the possible deportation date.
The asylum seekers' removal could affect the availability of witnesses for a PNG constitutional challenge against the legality of the Australian-run detention centre being brought by lawyer Ben Lomai.
The case is due to return to the court later this month.
IOM: Regional Strategy for Asia and the Pacific 2012 - 2015:
... To undertake programs to facilitate the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons, migrants and other individuals in need of international migration services, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations, and taking into account the needs and concerns of local communities. ...
Minister for Immigration Media Release [28/4/15]
If there has been a reduction in funding ($13.6 million) to the IOM in the Australian budget, how many millions of dollars are they still receiving, and what are they doing with it? Where is the accountability?
US Embassy in Port Moresby awards two new grants totalling US$1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) [PNG Loop - 15/12/14]:
The US Embassy in Port Moresby has awarded two new grants totalling US$1 million (about K3.5 million) to its partner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to combat the global threat of human trafficking in PNG and Solomon Islands.
“These two grants will empower the people of the South Pacific by providing populations at risk of being trafficked with access to information and justice,” says US Ambassador to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Walter North.
The first grant awards $500,000 to IOM for a two-year project which will provide technical assistance to strengthen legislation, prosecution efforts, and protection measures to combat trafficking in persons in PNG.
Where is the evidence? Where are the "rescued" men now? And why is this organisation beyond criticism? IOM believes PNG bust linked to trafficking ring [RNZI - 3/8/15]: ... The chief of mission for the IOM in PNG, George Gigauri, says the rescued men were part of a larger group of forced labourers to be distributed to various fishing boats. ...
... Fairfax Media revealed in March 2014 that the numbers had grown to at least 1900, costing up to $190 million a year. ... Immigration spin doctors to lose special status [Canberra Times - 2/8/15]
Murdoch Press give Nauru PM a megaphone. ABC will amplify. No right of reply for opposition MPs, locals and refugees. [SBS - 3/8/15]:
Nauru's president has accused the Australian media and refugee advocates of bullying his nation.
President Baron Waqa, in an opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, has hit back at critics for mocking the "simpler lifestyle" of Nauruans and attacking his country's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
"Asylum seekers enjoy an open centre policy and are regularly seen swimming, dining out and enjoying a lifestyle that is safe - far safer than the lands they left," he said.
Doctor says transferring Nauru refugee to PNG for medical treatment is appalling and unethical [RNZI - 3/8/15]
Death toll expected to rise as more flooding to hit Myanmar
The National [3/8/15]:
With more storms forecast, the death toll from floods devastating Myanmar is expected to rise still higher over the next few days.
At least 27 lives have already been lost, with an estimated 156,000 people hit by the floods and the UN warned yesterday the number of deaths could be “significantly higher”.
The country’s president, Thein Sein, who has been widely criticised for not acting sooner, has now called a state of emergency, with four western regions already declared disaster zones.
The persecuted Rohingya minority have been particularly badly hit and there are reports they have been assaulted and prevented from accessing safety and shelter by the security forces.
Adults and children have been forced to spend nights outside under the heavy monsoon rains that have wreaked havoc across Asia over the last few weeks.
In Pakistan, 81 people have died in floods with 300,000 severely affected while 26 people have died in flash floods in Western India and a further 20 killed at the weekend in a landslide in Manipur state which borders Myanmar.
Torrential rain has caused further landslides in earthquake-hit Nepal, claiming 36 lives, while flooding has killed at least 14 people in Quang Ninh provence in Vietnam.
Myanmar has been severely affected by this year’s monsoons with some areas hammered by heavy rain since mid July.
Thousands of acres of farmland, roads, bridges, railways and houses have been destroyed by the storms, with the crisis intensifying at the weekend as Cyclone Komen crossed the Bay of Bengal.
There are worries there may be a repeat of the 2008 disaster, when 130,000 people were killed in Myanmar by Cyclone Nargis. A slow response to the disaster by the then ruling junta caused an international furore but while the country’s new quasi-civilian government has pledged it will make flood relief its main concern, the infrastructure is still basic and much of it has been wrecked by the flooding, hampering relief efforts.
“We have only two boats for the rescue process,” said one local transport minister, Aung Zaw Oo. He added he had been told the government planned to send more.
The chief minister of severely hit Rakhine state, Maung Maung Ohn, said that even if helicopters flew emergency supplies to the flooded areas there was nowhere to store them and no way of distributing them as most of the roads were submerged and badly damaged.
It is feared dams could now collapse under pressure from the rains while livestock has drowned and hectares of paddy fields have been destroyed. An area of farmland of around 525,000 acres, roughly the size of Luxembourg, has been badly affected.
There are growing fears over the fate of the Rohingya of Rakhine state where more than 100,000 of the minority group live in apartheid-like conditions in makeshift camps which have been “extensively damaged” by the floods, according to the UN.
The Burma Times reported yesterday that while the army had “seemed very helpful” towards the Rakhine people, the Muslim Rohingyas were “assaulted” by the security forces and thrown out of schools and community centres where they had found shelter.
The newspaper said the Rohingya were told the empty buildings were for “those who belong to this country”, referring to the Rakhine Buddhist population.
The Rohingya are without shelter in atrocious conditions according to the paper.
An emergency appeal for their rescue has now been made by the European Rohingya Council who claim that the Myanmar government has deliberately left the Rohingya to die.
“The government of Myanmar was totally aware in advance of where and when Cyclone Komen would hit,” the council said in a statement yesterday. “However, they failed to give any positive signal and precaution.
“They could have evacuated all the affected people to a safer place if they had tried. But they didn’t.
“They just let the victims of Cyclone Komen drown and die helplessly. Till now, they have done nothing. The ultimate plan of the government is to depopulate the people, especially Rohingya.
“We, therefore, as concerned Rohingya living in Europe, are appealing to the Government of Myanmar and the international community, UN, ASEAN and other concerned NGOs, to come forwards to undertake an emergency rescue operation.”
The council added: “We are saddened by the loss of lives and damage to properties, infrastructures and camps.
“Impoverished Rakhine State is home to nearly 3.2 million people, including more than 140,000 Rohingya Muslims displaced by communal violence, who live in government-designated camps near the town of Sittwe. The worst-hit areas by tropical Cyclone Komen in Rakhine state include the Minbya, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw and Ann townships, where a total of 463 villages have been submerged, three have been washed away. The camps in Arakan State are now under water.
“As strong winds and heavy rain preceding Cyclone Komen swept the Maungdaw coastal area, Rakhine civilians were evacuated by the authorities and taken to safe shelters. Meanwhile, the authorities totally ignored the evacuation of Rohingyas in the area.
An emergency appeal to rescue the Rohingya affected by the floods in Arakan State [European Rohingya Council - 1/8/15]
South East Asia
CNMI's Saipan bares brunt of typhoon [RNZI – 3/8/15]
There are reports children have been injured, and homes and crops destroyed, following a volcano eruption on Papua New Guinea's Madang province. ... [RNZI - 3/8/15]
3 August 2015