United States, "allies" continue bombing Syria and Iraq
The United States and its allies have conducted 24 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Thursday, the coalition leading the operations said in a statement on Friday.
In Syria, coalition forces targeted Islamic State positions with nine strikes near the cities of Hasakah, Ar Raqqah and Tal Abyad, destroying tactical units, fighting positions, vehicles and structures, it said.
In Iraq, 15 strikes struck Islamic State targets near the cities of Al Huwayjah, Bayji, Fallujah, Haditha, Makhmur, Mosul, Rawah, Sinjar and Tal Afar.
They destroyed tunnel systems, bunkers, vehicles, tactical units, buildings and an excavator.
Bombings in Baghdad, town south of Iraqi capital kill 8 [Daily Star - 3/7/15]:
Iraqi officials say bombings in Baghdad and in a town south of the Iraqi capital have killed eight people.
Police officials say a bombing Friday near shops in the town of Madain, just south of Baghdad, left three people dead and wounded eight.
Also in Madain, a bomb struck a checkpoint manned by pro-government Sunni militiamen, killing two fighters and wounding five.
The officials say a bomb blast in a commercial street in eastern Baghdad killed three people. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.
Police said two bodies with gunshot wounds to the head and chest were found in eastern Baghdad. Dead bodies left in the street were a common occurrence during the "sectarian violence" that engulfed Iraq several years ago.
Saudi-led planes attack Yemen capital, six reported killed [Reuters - 3/7/15]:
Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition bombed targets in the Yemeni capital on Friday, residents said, and sources in the country's dominant Houthi militia reported at least six people including a woman and child were killed.
Six people in Sanaa's al Jaraf neighborhood were wounded in the air raid, the Houthi sources added.
The warplanes staged a further attack on the city around noon, but there was no immediate word on casualties or damage.
In the dawn attack, warplanes also hit the ministry of communications building, the Houthi-controled Saba news agency reported, setting it on fire and destroying nearby buildings.
They also bombed Faj Attan mountain overlooking Sanaa, home to a military base and a weapons depot that have been a frequent target of raids in the course of the three-month-old war.
The coalition has been bombarding the Iran-allied Houthi militia and allied army units since March in a campaign to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
US drone strike kills 4 in Yemen [Naharnet - 3/7/15]
Afghanistan: Army, Taliban clash kill, injure family in Helmand
A severe clash between Afghan National Army and Taliban militants has left a civilian killed and three others wounded in southern Helmand province.
Mohammad Sharif Khan, governor of Musa Qala District said that the clash took place in Kani Manda area late yesterday.
He said while both sides were exchanging fire, a few rounds landed on a civilian house in the area leaving one person killed and three others wounded.
Khan further said that those wounded include a woman, adding that all of the victims belong to the same family.
But the district governor said that it is unknown whose shells landed on this house.
Israeli commander kills Palestinian teenager near Ramallah [Maan - 3/7/15]
Boko Haram gunmen have killed more than 140 people in three separate attacks on mosques and villages in Nigeria's northeast Borno State.
A government official said that several mosques were attacked in the town of Kukawa on Wednesday night, with at least 97 men, women and children among the victims.
Two other villages were also attacked, with women and children again among the dead. ... [Al Jazeera - 3/7/15]
Law Council of Australia's unsatisfactory response to democratic crisis on Nauru
The Law Council of Australia says regional stability is at risk if an apparent breakdown in democracy in Nauru is not addressed.
The peak legal body has added its voice to New Zealand lawyers' and academics' concerns about recent moves in Nauru particularly against opposition MPs.
The council's president-elect Stuart Clark says it is seeking discussions with Canberra on Nauru but it is not yet time to call for a review of Australia's asylum seeker processing deal with the country.
"Australia like New Zealand has an important role to play in the region as does every other nation in ensuring regional stability. It's in nobody's interests in the region to see a breakdown in proper democratic procedures and in the rule of law. We've seen that happen in Fiji, we've seen that happen in the Solomons."
Mr Clark says the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should raise rule of law concerns with the Nauruan government.
Law Council of Australia enters debate over rule of law in Nauru [AUDIO - ABC - 2/7/15]:
Council President Duncan Mcconnel says the Australian government may be in a difficult position due to the presence of the asylum seeker centre on the island, but they will be approaching Canberra to raise their worries about what's going on there.
New Zealand Labour Party press release on situation in Nauru [2/7/15]:
Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.
“Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of its basic human rights and freedoms. It’s our responsibility to stand up for democracy and human rights in our region.
“The Nauru government has not only sacked the Magistrate and Chief Justice, removing the rule of law, but five opposition MPs have been suspended from Parliament, leaving many Nauruans without political representation.
“Their passports have been confiscated in retaliation for a normal political protest and three have subsequently been arrested.
“A $7,000 fee has been imposed on journalist visas to Nauru - restricting press freedom. This amounts to the systematic dismantling of a previously democratic system.
“Australia is closest to Nauru, but is compromised by its policy of paying Nauru to detain its boat people in camps.
“New Zealand has a proud tradition of speaking up when it counts. Murray McCully needs to take urgent action, working with the South Pacific Forum and other Commonwealth countries.
“It’s time for him to show some leadership, speak up, and help restore democracy and the rule of law to Nauru,” David Shearer says.
No opposition in Australia.
Vaki granted bail [PNG Loop - 3/7/15]
Former Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki has been sentenced to three years in prison after he was convicted for contempt.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia handed down the decision at the Waigani National Court this morning.
The decision comes after Vaki was found guilty on two out of four contempt charges.
That is for willfully and intentionally preventing the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill last June by failing to execute his arrest. ... [PNG Facts - 2/7/15]
Toilet ‘thrown through bathroom window’ during three-hour Sydney siege
Nine MSN [3/7/15]:
A toilet was torn from its setting and hurled it through a window during a three-hour siege in Sydney that ended with a man being taken into police custody.
A man accused of damaging property inside the home is under police guard in hospital.
Police said they were called with reports an intruder at the residence at about 10.50pm last night.
A man allegedly entered a room in the house before damaging property inside the room and refusing to leave.
It is alleged he also threatened police.
Negotiators as well as officers from the Tactical Operations Unit and dog squad descended onto the house to deal with the incident, which ended with the peaceful arrest of a 34-year-old man at about 2.15am this morning.
The man has been taken to hospital for assessment.
Cyclist dies after being hit by truck, Parramatta Park
QPS Media [3/7/15]:
A cyclist has died after a traffic crash in Parramatta Park this afternoon.
At around 1pm a truck was turning into Severin Street from Mulgrave Road when it collided with a man on a bicycle.
The cyclist, believed to be in his 30’s died at the scene.
The driver of the truck, a 39-year-old man was not injured.
The intersection of Severin Street and Mulgrave Road will be closed for several hours.
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.
Man hit by truck, Caboolture
QPS Media [3/7/15]:
Police are investigating a two-vehicle traffic crash on the D’Aguilar Highway at Caboolture early this morning where a man was struck by a truck.
Initial inquiries indicate that about 4:50am, a man driving a utility got out of his stationary vehicle and was hit by a truck that was travelling in the same direction behind him. The truck also hit the utility.
The man was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with serious head injuries.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the crash or saw the vehicles travelling on the D’Aguilar Highway before the crash to contact Police.
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.
Boy, 5, hit by car at Toowoomba shopping centre [Brisbane Times – 3/7/15]
Serious traffic crash, Wilsonton
QPS Media [3/7/15]:
Police are investigating after a serious traffic crash in Wilsonton this afternoon.
Around 12.20pm police were called to the intersection of Taylor and Greenwattle streets after a truck and car collided.
The man who was driving the car has sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash.
Taylor Street is currently closed westbound, and Greenwattle Street is closed in both directions. Heavy vehicles are advised to take Bridge Street to Tor Street.
There is no further information available at this time. 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.
Drugs and stolen property, Merrimac
QPS Media [3/7/15]:
Police from Task Force Latro South have located a stolen vehicle and property after a search at a premises at Merrimac last Wednesday July 1, 2015.
Around 8am police executed a search warrant at an address at Pettherbridge Court.
While at the address a search was also conducted of a stolen vehicle where it is alleged cannabis, house breaking implements and stolen property including machinery and tools were located.
A 49-year-old man has been charged with 34 property and drug offences and a 47-year-old woman has also been charged with 35 similar offences.
Both have been remanded in custody to reappear on July 23, 2015.
Five charged in Townsville drug raids as police seize cannabis, methamphetamines [ABC - 3/7/15]
Children at risk in 'hidden' care system
Nine MSN [3/7/15]:
The actual rate of sexual abuse suffered by children in out-of-home care may never be known because there are no witnesses to the abuse.
And regulators across the country are still struggling to find effective ways to prevent abuse or act on allegations.
A royal commission sitting in Sydney is investigating the system that sees up to 50,000 children placed in foster care, kinship care or small residential care homes.
On Friday, ombudsmen from states and territories were quizzed by the commission but could shed little or no light on whether incidents of abuse were increasing or decreasing.
The total absence of national data, or even comprehensive data from states and territories, has plagued the commission since the investigation began last March.
Each jurisdiction has a different oversight system. In NSW the ombudsman's office has a greater role in this respect than those in other states.
Steve Kinmond, the deputy ombudsman in NSW, could tell the commission that last year his office received 63 notifications of sexual misconduct in OOHC and 191 notifications from the non-care sector, which includes schools.
There are 19,000 children in NSW OOHC and about 750,000 in the education system.
Mr Kinmond said there were proportionally more complaints in the education sector, with 70 people charged with one of more offences, and only 30 in out-of-home care.
These figures weren't surprising, he added.
"In the education sector it is a very different context, the behaviour is less intimate, it's more open."
Mr Kinmond said it was an enormous challenge in ensuring these types of matters come to light.
"If we have a child who is vulnerable, and of course many are very vulnerable, then we need to have the best systems in place in terms of seeking to encourage, to act on those cases."
The commission will publish a consultation paper identifying OOHC areas that need urgent change.
Former Ambassador's husband breaks down as he denies child sex charges [Canberra Times – 3/7/15]
A teacher who encouraged students to jump off cliffs in Vanuatu, hosted hikes through surging creeks and took excursions that warranted the aid of emergency services has admitted he might have been "over-confident" in his outdoor education experience.
The teacher is a principal of a private school that provides primary and secondary distance education. ... [Yahoo - 3/7/15]
Federal Court rules Health Services Union can prosecute Kathy Jackson despite bankruptcy [ABC - 3/7/15]
AFP raids Wollongong MP Noreen Hay's office over electoral fraud allegations [Sydney Morning Herald – 2/7/15]
4 dead at South Korea chemical plant blast: Report [Channel News Asia – 3/7/15]
A human rights group said Thursday that military documents show high-ranking officers had given Mexican soldiers standing orders to kill criminals ahead of an army mass slaying of suspected cartel members after they surrendered.
The documents, shared with The Associated Press by the Miguel Agustin Pro human rights center, appear to be the first evidence that soldiers involved in the alleged execution killing of at least 12 civilians on June 30, 2014, could argue they were following orders. ... [Yahoo - 2/7/15]
At least 12 people died and 85 were injured when four bogies of a special train carrying Pakistan military troops and their families to Kharian fell into a canal near Jamke Chattha in Gujranwala. ... [GEO.tv - 2/7/15]
Mississippi to receive $1.5 billion in BP settlement
The Clarion-Ledger [2/7/15]:
Mississippi would receive another $1.5 billion from BP after Gulf states and the federal government reached an "agreement in principle" to settle litigation from the company's 2010 oil disaster.
BP has agreed to pay $18.7 billion to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the federal government under the agreement, which Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood announced Thursday.
Mississippi's $1.5 billion would be paid over 17 years, with about half the money going to environmental restoration and other projects on the Coast and $750 million in economic damages paid to the state through 2033 that will be spent by the Legislature. Counting payments BP has already made to Mississippi, the total here from BP would reach $2.2 billion.
Louisiana would receive $6.8 billion under the agreement; Alabama, $2.3 billion.
The agreement would also provide up to $1 billion to settle claims from more than 400 local governments across the Gulf states, with an announcement on those settlement amounts expected later this month, Hood said.
Kim Dotcom begins appeal for his confiscated millions
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is appealing to a US court for control of $100 million of contested assets.
The Megaupload founder made an opening submission to the US Court of Appeal yesterday to regain control of US$67 million (NZ$100m) worth of assets he forfeited.
His mansion north of Auckland was raided by police in 2012 on behalf of US authorities - with cash and other property seized, including luxury cars - claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) won a default judgment on the contested assets in a district court in Virginia earlier in 2015.
Mr Dotcom attacked the ruling saying the judge was not adequately prepared for the case.
"The recent filing demonstrates again how the entire Megaupload case is built on quicksand," he told website Torrentfreak.
"It's a slap in the face of the DOJ and the judge they picked for his Disney CV."
One of Megaupload's lawyers, Michael Elkin, claims Mr Dotcom was wrongly branded as a fugitive for legally fighting extradition to the United States.
"The district court's denial of their basic rights to defend against asset forfeiture under a fugitive disentitlement doctrine amounts to a violation of basic due process," he said.
Six year old British-Pakistani become the youngest person as a Microsoft Specialist [Pak Tribune - 2/7/15]
… Don't stop, you got to move
Keep moving on, keep moving on
I'm never gonna stop ...
'The Sun', (Parov Stelar feat. Graham Candy) 
The American Tourist and Mexican Fisherman
An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."
The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"
The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."
The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."
The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"
The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."
"But what then?" asked the Mexican.
The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."
Australian Muslim charity gives aid to Indonesian and Rohingyan refugees [Muslim Village - 30/6/15]:
Human Appeal International Australia’s director Bashar Al-Jamal spent the first days of Ramadan in Indonesia supervising the distribution of aid to poor Indonesian families alongside the Rohingyan refugees in Indonesia.
The current situation of the Rohingya has forced them to flee their home country of Myanmar, leaving them to the mercy of people smugglers and travelling in ships rife with disease with many deaths resulting from the ships sinking.
The first phase of the distributions took place at Muara Angke in North Jakarta. There were many poor and needy families that would be struggling during Ramadan. 156 families received food parcels and a “Feed the Fasting” Iftar was set up for the families as well. They were highly grateful for the aid they had received.
The next phase of the distributions took place at a Rohingyan Refugee camp in Bayuen, Aceh Timur. Upon meeting the Rohingyan refugees, their suffering became more apparent as they all had their own stories detailing their perilous escape from Myanmur and the horrid conditions they faced on a daily basis, as well as the loss of their loved ones. Their journey on the boats in a desperate escape from their home country was filled with severe hardship as many were malnourished due to inadequate access to food and water.
Among those were sister Anwara Begum, forced to flee Myanmur and had spent three and a half months on a boat before finding refuge in Indonesia. Over 1150 benefited from the distribution of hygiene kits, food parcels and the iftar provided for the refugees. Both the Indonesian families and the Rohingyan refugees are thankful to Human Appeal for the aid that they have received
Donate now to help by visiting https://www.humanappeal.org.au/emergency/burma-appeal-2015 or call 1300 760 155
South East Asia: UNHCR under immense pressure to not do their job
Anadolu Agency [2/7/15]:
A Malaysian federal minister has accused the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of dishing out refugee cards without the government's consent.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Shahidan Kassim claimed Thursday that although cards must be authorized by the Immigration Department, the Home Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the UNHCR had been giving out cards without consultation.
"We are reviewing it as a matter of urgency, because any recognition of an illegal immigrant as a refugee must be done through the proper processes and with the authorities' knowledge," he told reporters at parliament Thursday.
Earlier this year, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to take in around 7,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who had become stranded in local waters after a crackdown by Thai authorities scared people smugglers into abandoning their boats.
An identification process would determine which were genuine refugees and which economic migrants. The migrants would then be returned home.
Reports have said, however, that some Bangladeshi migrants have claimed to be Rohingya, in order to pass themselves off as refugees.
Rohingya are largely stateless and described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted groups in the world.
So far, Malaysia has taken in about 1,100 Rohingya, who are now at a detention center in northern state Kedah.
Kassim claimed that although Rohingya were to undergo the proper screening process before being issued cards, the UNHCR has apparently been issuing refugee cards to illegal migrants who were not Rohingya.
"How can this happen? The Home Ministry and Foreign Ministry must be consulted first before any cards are issued," he said.
“The National Security Council will be taking action to ensure no more refugee cards are issued without government knowledge," he said.
He refused to reveal the type of action that will be taken.
US interferes in ASEAN talks [IB Times - 3/7/15]:
... In addition, the meeting also recommended exploring the possibility of setting up a task force to respond to the "crisis and emergency situation arising from the irregular movement of persons".
Representatives of the US State Department and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organisation for Migration were also present at the closed door meeting.
The US government has offered to cooperate with ASEAN on capacity building, enhancement of law enforcement cooperation and to provide expert advisory services on irregular migration, the ASEAN statement said.
The 10 countries are also proposing to strengthen law enforcement efforts in combating human trafficking at the national and regional level through the sharing of information and intelligence, and where appropriate, the setting up of a special taskforce.
It also proposed to use the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters to ensure that all ASEAN member states are well-equipped to prosecute "perpetrators of the heinous crimes of trafficking in persons and people smuggling."
The association also plans to undertake a study on the problem to help member states in their efforts to address the long-term impact.
The emergency meeting also proposed the early adoption of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children and the ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children at the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime in September in Kuala Lumpur.
The UN refugee agency's representative in Malaysia, Richard Towle told AFP: "We know that unless these [measures to fight traffickers] are dealt with soon, the smugglers and traffickers will be back in business, as creative as they always are, so steps need to be taken."
... "We fully support law enforcement actions against smuggling and trafficking," said James Lynch, UNHCR's Regional Representative and Regional Coordinator for South-East Asia. ... [Media Release - 3/7/15]
All over the world the US creates pockets of war, genocide, impoverishment, lawlessness and cultural depravity.
Any attempt to escape death and/or enslavement in the empire's zones of economic colonisation and resource extraction is a perceived threat - and must be stopped.
So when Uncle Sam stamps his foot around the regions where sovereignty has been ceded, refugees are criminalised and conflated with traffickers and smugglers.
UN Media Release [17/5/15]:
… While Mr. Zeid [UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein] praised Indonesia for disembarking 582 migrants on 10 May, and Malaysia for disembarking 1,018 the following day, he said the “incomprehensible and inhumane” policy of “pushbacks” was endangering lives.
He also spoke against countries' plans to criminalize vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers who have crossed borders irregularly.
“Governments in South-East Asia need to respond to this crisis from the premise that migrants, regardless of their legal status, how they arrive at borders, or where they come from, are people with rights that must be upheld,” he said.
“Criminalizing such vulnerable people, including children, and placing them in detention is not the solution.”
Around 6,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants are believed to remain stranded at sea in precarious conditions in the region and the High Commissioner said the individual circumstances of all migrants and asylum seekers at international borders should be assessed, and appropriate protection provided according to international human rights and refugee law, including ensuring that the principle of non-refoulement is upheld.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees "puzzled" by Australia's refugee policy. "Puzzled"??? As if he is completely unaware Australia is a dumb fucking US colony - and does whatever it is told! [Canberra Times - 2/7/15]
Prime Minister Tony Abbott to chopper onto visiting US Navy warship USS Blue Ridge in Sydney [ABC - 3/7/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [2/7/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, six airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and two ISIL antennas, destroying four ISIL vehicles, three ISIL bunkers, an ISIL structure and an ISIL building.
-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Abyad, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL structure.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL building.
-- Near Fallujah, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying nine ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL tunnel system and an ISIL cave.
-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL mortar systems and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Haditha, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL structure.
-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, two ISIL mortar firing positions and an ISIL fighting position, destroying an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Rawah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL bulldozer.
-- Near Sinjar, four airstrikes struck three ISIL staging areas and an ISIL heavy machine gun, destroying two ISIL buildings.
US drone strike kills "Islamic State leader", Syria [Yahoo - 2/7/15]
Syrian rebels led by Islamist groups have begun a massive assault that aims to take full control of the northern city of Aleppo, monitors report.
Rebels fired hundreds of rockets and missiles into government-held areas in a multi-district attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It said the Syrian military had returned fire and launched air raids. ... [BBC - 2/7/15]
Syria's 'disastrous' conflict fuelling child labour and exploitation across region, warns new UN report [Media Release - 2/7/15]
Islamic State looting Syrian, Iraqi sites on industrial scale: UNESCO [Ahram - 2/7/15]
Saudi airstrikes claim more lives amid humanitarian crisis, Yemen [Al Jazeera - 2/7/15]
Civilians in Yemen's Aden struggle to survive fighting, shortages: Red Cross [Ahram - 2/7/15]
Boko Haram fighters have gunned down at least 80 Muslims praying in mosques in a northeastern Nigerian town during the holy month of Ramadan, a member of a local vigilante group said.
Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abuja on Thursday, said at the victims, mostly men, were killed in the remote town of Kukawa, and that the death toll was expected to rise.
"We are being told that Boko Haram fighters arrived in seven cars and on nine motorcycles in the town before embarking on their attack, and that over 1,000 Nigerian soldiers were in Kanwa, about 11km away but didn't come to the rescue," our correspondent said.
The attack took place on Wednesday night but news of the gruesome incident only came to light on Thursday, our correspondent said.
The attack on Kukawa came a day after the group attacked a village 35km away and killed another 48 men and boys.
The people of Kukawa were in several mosques, praying ahead of breaking their daylong fast, when the fighters attacked, the official said on Thursday.
... [Al Jazeera - 2/7/15]
Egyptian army kills “35 militants” in North Sinai: sources [Reuters - 2/7/15]
Afghanistan: 7 "militants" killed in Helmand offensive [Pajhwok - 2/7/15]
A public representative on Thursday accused an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander of running a private jail and torturing people in the Jalrez district of central Maidan Wardak province. ... [Pajhwok - 2/7/15]
Construction works on a 95-kilometre gas pipeline project stretching from northern Jawzjan to Balkh province was launched on Thursday. ... [Pajhwok - 2/7/15]
Reports: Death sentences awarded in “Farkhunda Lynching Case” reversed [Khaama - 2/7/15]
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned today the attack against a convoy of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which killed six peacekeepers and injured five others. ... [Media Release - 2/7/15]
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned a deadly attack against a United Nations 'protection-of-civilians' site in South Sudan amid a renewed flare-up of violence in the newfound nation.
The attack – which occurred yesterday against the UN compound outside the city of Malakal – resulted in the shooting deaths of one internally displaced person (IDP) and the injury of six others, according to sources with UNMISS, the Organization's Mission in the country. ... [Media Release - 2/7/15]
Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned to death [Naharnet - 2/7/15]
Three Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces in the Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem Thursday morning during an Israeli detention raid, witnesses said. ... [Maan - 2/7/15]
Rouhani calls for IAEA impartiality on nuclear case [Press TV - 2/7/15]
A few days ago, Abu Mohammad took his battered Nokia phone from his pocket and read a text message from the United Nations World Food Program on the pixilated screen.
“The WFP is sorry to inform you that the amount of money for food is going to be $13.50 per person for the month of July,” the message read.
Abu Mohammad, a Syrian refugee from Raqqa, and his family are among those hit hardest by the WFP’s funding crisis and ensuing reductions in food assistance. It takes approximately $15 per day to feed his eight children, he told The Daily Star.
“You can’t even get bread with $13.50 per month,” he sighed, rubbing his weary eyes. ... [Daily Star - 3/7/15]
NSA leak reveals both Merkel and Schauble saw Greek debt as unsustainable even after haircut [Zerohedge – 2/7/15]
PM Tsipras comments on IMF’s analysis, confident on imminent agreement “if Referendum with strong NO” [Keep Talking Greece - 2/7/15]
The Birthplace (Greece) v. the Farce (the United States) of Democracy, Paul Street [Counterpunch - 2/7/15]:
... Things could hardly be different in the United States. Look now at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping corporatist measure that U.S.President Barack Obama, big business, and top Republicans have been slowly but surely advancing in Washington. It’s a sweeping measure that would cover 40 percent of the world’s economy and negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans, their jobs, their quality of life.
Lawyers and lobbyists for giant multinational corporations have been working it up and promoting it for nearly a decade. Beneath standard propagandistic boilerplate about trade and jobs, the real thrust and significance of the TPP is about strengthening global corporations’ ability to protect and extend their intellectual property rights (drug patents, movie rights, and the like) and to guarantee that they will be compensated by governments for any profits they might lose from having to meet decent public labor and environmental (and other) standards, something certain to discourage the enactment and enforce of such standards. It’s all about what the Times calls “investor protection.”
No wonder Obama has done everything he can to keep the TPP’s details under wraps. The secrecy has been remarkable: U.S. Congresspersons and some of their staff can see the TPP’s text only if they agree not to take notes or discuss the details in public. No wonder Obama wanted Congress to give him “fast-track” authority to force a yay or nay Congressional vote on the TPP, with no time for careful consideration and no chance for revisions. (Under fast-track rules, there’s no chance for delays or alterations: the pact must be voted up or down in a very short time-frame.) And no wonder most of the U.S. population is (all too irrelevantly) opposed to the TPP and fast track.
How about a national citizens’ referendum on these key political-economic measures of great significance for “We the [American] People”? The very notion of such a popular vote is absurd in the U.S. as currently constituted. No such basic act of popular and national sovereignty is remotely conceivable under America’s reigning model of corporate oligarchy.
Meanwhile the unpopular TPP is marching its way through the halls of American so-called popular governance. After some momentary difficulties in the U.S. House, fast-track just sailed quietly through the U.S. Congress while the nation was focused on the gay marriage issue along with terrible racist and gun violence and the Confederate Flag issue in the U.S. South. All indications are that Obama and his Republican allies will succeed in passing the TPP.
US returns 38 Cuban refugees
The U.S. Coast Guard returned 38 Cuban migrants Thursday after they were picked up at sea on unseaworthy vessels.
The migrants were taken to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba by the 154-foot cutter Raymond Evans, which is based in Key West, Florida, a Coast Guard statement said.
They had been on four vessels intercepted in the Straits of Florida.
The latest repatriation comes a day after the two countries announced they are restoring full diplomatic relations on July 20.
The United States grants residence to Cubans who manage to reach land, but returns those who are picked up at sea.
More than 2,900 Cubans have been picked up at sea since October trying to reach the United States on makeshift craft.
Paris rejects bid for new McDonald’s on historic street, again [France 2/7/15]
A decision by a Queensland council to allow a Men's Shed to be built on land currently used as a high school agriculture block has shocked local growers.
The Bundaberg Council has voted to allow the construction of a shed and car park on block at Childers, south of Bundaberg, despite the Isis State High School informally using the land for more than a decade.
Childers Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association secretary Donna Duncan said that, over the past 12 years, the group spent $100,000 supporting farm education at the school, and had facilitated more than $250,000 in government grants for upgrades to facilities to teach about agriculture.
She said while the group supported the work of the Men's Shed, the loss of the block would be a critical blow to the school.
"We have opposed it because there is nowhere else that the high school can go," she said.
"There surely has to be somewhere else that the Men's Shed can go. ... [ABC - 2/7/15]
A two-deck vessel carrying 173 passengers capsized yesterday at 12:20 p.m. about 200 meters from Ormoc port, just 20 minutes after it left the port for Pilar town in Camotes.
As of 7:30 p.m., 36 passengers of M/B Kim Nirvana were confirmed dead while 127 were rescued, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
PCG spokesman Armand Balilo said the vessel was lashed by strong waves and the incident was possibly caused by “wrong maneuver.”
Survivors said the bow of the ferry suddenly rose up from the water and the vessel flipped over on one side, turning it upside down and trapping passengers. ... [Philstar - 3/7/15]
Dolphin leaps onto boat, injuring California woman [Naharnet – 2/7/15]
Airport authorities in the Cook Islands on Thursday warned thrillseekers to stay away from their runway's jet blast zone after three tourists were injured when a plane was taking off. ... [France 24 - 2/7/15]
Random act of honesty affirms Gold Coast police officer's faith in humanity
QPS Media [2/7/15]:
In the last 24 hours Elanora Police Beat have seen the return of two wallets containing over $1000 cash between them to their lucky owners.
After finishing work Senior Constable Foessel checked the letter box and located a wallet, which is not unusual.
Senior Constable Sammons was on duty and was able to return the wallet to the happy owner with the cash inside later that night.
When Senior Constable Foessel started work today he checked the answering machine and found a lengthy message from a traveller who had passed through the Caltex next door on the way to Byron Bay.
He had left his wallet containing a large sum of cash on the roof of his car and driven off. This wallet had been located by an unknown taxi driver and was handed in and subsequently collected by the owner.
Senior Constable Foessel said it was good to see some honesty.
“There is a perception that honesty is rare, but there are still a lot of honest people around. I think everyone appreciates the value of a dollar and to lose that much money can be very distressing,” Senior Constable Foessel said.
The finders are unknown but Senior Constable Foessel said he would like to personally thank them for demonstrating a strong community spirit.
Wages of Rebellion [VIDEO]:
Today, with the unprecedented level of global wealth inequality and the power of corporate and government elites to make decisions that negatively impact the mass of people on the planet, the imperative for revolt is greater than ever. But when will it come? What will it look like?
Talk by Chris Hedges author of "The Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt" recorded June 8, 2015 at Town Hall Seattle.
Australian politicians are NOT "conservatives" or from "left" or "right" factions.
Australian politicians are FASCISTS.
The World Medical Association has condemned new secrecy laws in Australian detention centres, and called on the prime minister, Tony Abbott, to amend the new laws to allow medical staff to speak out about the healthcare of asylum seekers.
The World Medical Association has called on the Australian Government to allow doctors to speak out about the health of asylum seekers held in Australian detention centres. ... [Media Release - 2/7/15]
ASEAN to set up aid fund for stranded Rohingya
South-east Asian countries yesterday announced that they would establish a humanitarian fund to help displaced Rohingya Muslims, with Singapore pledging US$200,000 (S$270,000) to the effort.
Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Zahid Hamidi announced the initiative in a news conference after chairing the emergency Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime to discuss the refugee crisis.
According to a statement released by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the Republic committed an initial sum of US$200,000 to render assistance in humanitarian and relief efforts, expressing support for the fund.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, who attended the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, said: “Such a trust fund would demonstrate that ASEAN is responding to the challenges posed by the irregular movement of people in the region in a multifaceted way.”
Since early May, more than 4,600 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have come ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, after human smugglers abandoned their boats amid a regional crackdown. Many are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which has denied them basic rights, including citizenship, and confined more than 100,000 in camps.
The meeting in Kuala Lumpur was a follow-up to an emergency conference on the issue in Bangkok in May, which drew 17 regional countries.
In a statement, Malaysia said the trust fund would be administered by the ASEAN Secretariat based in Jakarta. The statement said the fund would be open to voluntary contributions from ASEAN states and members of the international community to “support the humanitarian and relief efforts involved in dealing with challenges” from the refugee crisis.
Mr Zahid said the regional countries alone should not carry the burden of the refugees. He said he had proposed that each South-east Asian nation contribute US$100,000 to the fund, adding that Myanmar, which was represented by Deputy Home Affairs Minister Kyaw Kyaw Tun, had pledged to work with neighbouring countries to bust human trafficking syndicates.
The treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was not discussed at the meeting. Mr Zahid said: “We shouldn’t be involved in their domestic matters.”
The UN estimates nearly 2,000 refugees could still be at sea.
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?
Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh has been stabbed to death and police say his son will be charged with murder. ... [ABC - 3/7/15]
Serious traffic crash, Marlborough
QPS Media [3/7/15]:
Police are currently at the scene of a serious traffic crash which occurred approximately 20km north of Marlborough early this morning.
Initial information indicates around 4am two trucks collided on the Bruce Highway for unknown reasons.
One man has sustained life-threatening injuries and has been transported to the Rockhampton Base Hospital.
The highway is closed and motorists are urged to delay travel or use diversions via Marlborough Sarina Road. The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the crash.
There is no further information available at this time.
Serious traffic crash, Townsville [QPS Media - 3/7/15]
Serious traffic crash, Acacia Ridge [QPS Media - 3/7/15]
Grieving family members of a contractor killed underground at Tasmania's Mount Lyell copper mine more than 18 months ago are frustrated that they have not been told the outcome of an investigation into his death. ... [ABC - 3/7/15]
3 July 2015