US forces hit Daesh targets near the Turkish border in northern Syria overnight using its newly deployed high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS), the special envoy of the US president for the anti-Daesh coalition said Saturday. ... [Sputnik News - 3/9/16]
Bomb blast near Baghdad, nine casualties [IraqiNews.com - 3/9/16]
Blast in Baghdad weapon storage, twelve casualties [IraqiNews.com - 2/9/16]
The "Jungle" camp in the northern French town of Calais, home to thousands of migrants hoping to reach Britain, will be dismantled in stages, the country's interior minister pledged on Thursday.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told the Nord Littoral regional newspaper that he would press ahead with the closure "with the greatest determination", gradually dismantling the site while also creating accommodation for thousands elsewhere in France "to unblock Calais". ... [France 24 - 3/9/16]
Every day, between 200 and 300 migrants are stopped at the Bulgarian border and are turned back to Turkey, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said here on Saturday.
In his words, the Afghans are the worst problem for this country.
"These are only young men aged between 16 and 28, uneducated, unused to work, and very aggressive," Borissov explained, specifying that precisely the migrants from that country are the worst troublemakers at the refugee centres in Bulgaria. ... [BTA - 3/9/16]
Mudafar and Ahmed arrived in Spain last week; thousands of refugees are still waiting for asylum @AireOng [3/9/16]
They will live to tell the tale and will be the voice of the ignored by the EU @PROACTIVA_SERV [3/9/16]
Day 168 refugee protests, Nauru
Image: @elahe_zivardar [3/9/16]
"It's refugees that say no to war, no to violence, no to killing … they run away towards peace, so the countries that are on the side of peace, they should welcome [refugees] and make a peaceful force out of them."
Brisbane exhibition showcases refugees' stories through art [ABC – 3/9/16]:
A Hazara refugee living in Brisbane has created an artwork for a new exhibition that illustrates his sense of still being in limbo.
Sha Sarwari fled Afghanistan as a teenager and journeyed to Australia by boat in 2000.
He settled in Brisbane, started a family, and became an Australian citizen in 2006, but said he still felt out of place.
"Even for me, living in Australia for the past 15 years, I haven't found my foothold in my life here," he said.
"When I see my fellow refugees … it renews my memory that I don't belong here, I have to go back one day, so it doesn't let me settle."
His black and white video, called Suspended, is part of an exhibition of artworks by refugees opening in Brisbane on Saturday night.
It shows an origami boat made of newspaper drifting on the ocean, going forwards and backwards in an infinite loop.
"Suspended in a wave, going backwards and forwards and backwards and there's no ending is to do with my own memory," he said.
"Also to do with the people that are living in detention centres for the past few years now in Manus Island and Nauru, places like that, it's been mentioned to them time and time again that you have to go back, you have to go back.
"In the media, they say that if you come by boat you won't be settled here, you will never end up in Australia, so this narrative has made me and my fellow refugees like they don't feel settled."
He used a newspaper boat to also critique media coverage on asylum seekers.
"Going with the policy of the government most of the time, not resisting, not telling the truth, not putting a light on the issue from both sides, and dehumanising the refugees," he said. ...
Image: @elahe_zivardar [11/8/16]
Abbas Alaboudi is a wonderful artist, and one of Australia’s political prisoners, detained for three years on Nauru.
Abbas’s paintings powerfully convey the loneliness and hardship of indefinite internment on an island far from home, and far from Australia, where he dreamed he would find protection and freedom.
He says of his painting ” this is about my situation on Nauru” [Sister Jane - 8/6/16]
Rohingya trafficker sentenced to 35 years, as refugees in South East Asia are still persecuted and trapped [Bangkok Post - 1/9/16]
Delegates from one of Myanmar's most heavily armed ethnic groups have stormed out of peace talks aimed at ushering in a new era of peace in the country.
Representatives of the powerful, 20,000-strong United Wa State Army (UWSA) walked out of the peace talks on their second day Thursday, reportedly after being told that they could not address the gathering in the capital Naypyidaw. ... [Al Jazeera - 2/9/16]
Tamils voice their plight as UN chief visits Jaffna [Tamil Guardian - 3/9/16]
Australian bar owner pleads guilty to child sex abuse charges [Cambodia Daily - 2/9/16]
Two people died in Cambodia from cluster munitions last year according to a report released yesterday, though local NGOs say the Kingdom’s figures could be much higher.
According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 report, Cambodia remains among the most contaminated countries in the world.
The report said at least 4,644 submunitions – the smaller explosives inside of cluster bombs – had been destroyed in Cambodia last year, with an estimated 22 square kilometres of battlefield cleared. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 2/9/16]
China's Hangzhou turns ghost town as G20 leaders arrive [Reuters - 3/9/16]:
... The city, a tourist hot spot, is home to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings and to textile factories as well as steel.
Hangzhou's residents left in droves after authorities declared a week-long holiday for the summit, shut down the city's famous West Lake beauty spot and offered free travel vouchers worth up to 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) to encourage people to visit out-of-town attractions. ...
Multinationals like coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX.O) and online retailer Amazon (AMZN.O) pay less tax in Austria than one of the country's tiny sausage stands, the republic's center-left chancellor lamented in an interview published on Friday.
Chancellor Christian Kern, head of the Social Democrats and of the centrist coalition government, also criticized internet giants Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O), saying that if they paid more tax, subsidies for print media could increase.
"Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation," Kern was quoted as saying in an interview with newspaper Der Standard, invoking two potent symbols of the Austrian capital's food culture. ... [Reuters - 2/9/16]
Call for France to extend its state of emergency to Polynesia, after prisoner expresses angry thoughts [RNZI - 3/9/16]
Three men accused of assaulting a Vanuatu woman in a revenge attack over a Facebook post have been acquitted, despite admitting to kidnapping her. ... [Pasifik - 2/9/16]
An explosion at a packed night market in the home city of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte killed at least 12 people on Friday and wounded dozens more, officials said, but the cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
The blast tore through a street market outside the high-end Marco Polo hotel, a frequent haunt of Duterte, who was in the southern city of Davao at the time but was not hurt. ... [Reuters - 2/9/16]
Bangladesh police kill man they believe trained Dhaka cafe attackers [Reuters - 2/9/16]
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday spoke of their joint resolve to settle once and for all a territorial row over a string of tiny islands that has marred ties for more than seven decades. ... [Japan Today - 3/9/16]
More than 100 protesters block US military’s helipad construction, Okinawa [Ryukyu Shimpo - 1/9/16]
... In June, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, experienced local anger toward the USMC firsthand.
During her official visit to the island to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, Kennedy attended a community relations event at Camp Schwab.
As she was leaving, her motorcade was blocked by demonstrators who had to be forcibly removed by police before her car was able to move.
Camp Schwab is located upon the former site of the Ourasaki Internment Camp where Okinawans were imprisoned following the war, and the remains of approximately 300 civilians still lie within the grounds of the installation, inaccessible to family members or recovery teams. ... US washes hands of rights violations at Okinawa helipad site [Japan Times - 31/8/166]
Dozens of people have been detained and several were injured during anti-austerity Blockupy protests in Berlin outside Germany's Labor and Finance ministries. ... [Sputnik News - 2/9/16]
Blockupy-Chronologie: Viele friedliche Protestler, aber auch Festnahmen und Rangeleien [Berliner - 2/9/16]
Share this video and show the world how the police of Germany act during a peaceful demonstration ---> POLICE STATE GERMANY [Patrick Binkofski - 2/9/16]
@Blockupy [4/4/16]: #Europa. This Is What Democracy Looks Like. Die ersten 131 #refugees von Lesbos nach Izmir. #DeportationClass
German Constitutional Court Decision on a claim pertaining to Freedom of Assembly (22 February 2011) [Legislation Online]:
... The complainant had distributed fliers to demonstrate against a third person's forced expulsion from Germany together with five other activists in the public premises of Frankfurt airport.
This action was interrupted by airport staff and members of the German border police.
One day later, the airport issued a written ban permanently prohibiting the complainant from demonstrating on the premises of the airport again and threatening her with criminal action for unlawful entry should she not comply with this ban. ...
UN diplomats arrive in South Sudan, threaten arms embargo [Stars and Stripes - 2/9/16]:
... Around 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers operate in South Sudan.
Many in South Sudan are skeptical of bringing in more.
"We reject the foreign intervention," said Deng Machani, who nonetheless stood beside the road to welcome the diplomats as they left Juba International Airport.
"There are 12,000 troops under UNMISS, why 4,000 extra?"
SPLM-N warns EU and US against funding Sudan’s militia [Sudan Tribune - 2/9/16]:
... In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, SPLM-N secretary general Yasser Arman said they received accurate information about a plan to fund the RSF from the European Union (EU) money and particularly from Germany besides providing it with logistical support from Italy.
He stressed the plan began to be implemented since three months ago, saying it allows the RSF protect the border under the pretext of combating illegal migration to Europe besides stopping human trafficking and fighting against terrorism.
“The plan aims to link these forces [RSF] with Europe’s interests and to stop [illegal] migration and with (Khartoum Operation) project to stop human trafficking. [it seeks] to confer these forces with an international character to cover up genocide and the killings [campaigns] it carried out against Sudanese civilians with an European and international cover,” he said. ...
Gabon's Ping declares himself president after post-poll riots [Reuters - 3/9/16]:
Gabonese opposition candidate Jean Ping declared himself president on Friday, after a disputed election that triggered two days of post-election riots against President Ali Bongo.
Violence erupted across the Central African country on Wednesday following the announcement of a slim victory for Bongo, who was first elected in 2009 after the death of his father Omar, Gabon's president for 42 years.
But Ping says the poll on Saturday was a sham.
"I am the president," Ping told a news conference after being freed from his headquarters, which had earlier been surrounded by Gabonese security forces.
"The whole world knows who is the president of the republic: it's me, Jean Ping," he said.
"Our country is moving toward chaos ... Peace can only occur if the truth of the ballot box is restored and respected." ...
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez highlighted on Friday that the country's security forces managed to prevent violent actions and a coup that was planned by the right-wing opposition in its demonstration held Thursday in Caracas. ... [teleSUR - 2/9/16]
Colombian peace deal must include women, address crimes on both sides, say advocates [Democracy Now - 2/9/16]:
... MARIO MURILLO [Colombian activist and Professor of Communications at Hofstra University]: Yeah, it’s an interesting, convenient reality that the opposition to the yes vote, the people who are against this peace process, personified by Álvaro Uribe, the former president, current senator, conveniently kind of push to the side, because when they’re talking about negotiating and signing an accord with the FARC guerrillas, and describing them as terrorists who have carried out this long history of violence against a civilian population in the countryside and that you can’t negotiate with terrorists, these communist, terrorist narcotraffickers, that’s exactly what he did in 2006, 2007, as president, against a lot—notwithstanding a lot of opposition to that, precisely because of the links between the government forces and paramilitaries.
It was sort of like negotiating with themselves to demobilize. In the process of demobilization, you know, so, the AUC, the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, as an organization, no longer exists, but many of the fighters—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: This was the main right-wing network.
MARIO MURILLO: That was the paramilitary kind of infrastructure that, in many ways, modeled the FARC infrastructures that they had in the countryside, creating fronts all around the country. And what happened was, a lot of those groups still maintain their arms and are continuing to carry out acts of violence, aggression, pressure in local communities.
What we’re seeing today, for example—and this is something that’s not being discussed at all—is the attacks against human rights organizations, social organizations, the social movement, the peasant, Afro-Colombian, indigenous organizations, that are supporting the peace process—they want the guns to silence between the FARC and the government—but they have very serious reservations about how that’s going to happen, how it’s going to impact them.
And a lot of these leaders, who are carrying out actions, who are denouncing the aggressions of the right in their territories, they’re being knocked off.
There was a report that said in the first semester, the first half of 2016, 36 human rights social justice organizers around the country have already been killed, arbitrarily detained, some of them disappeared. And the report that—something that was recently published in Pueblos en Camino, which is a wonderful website that really focuses on the social movements in Colombia, up to 78 percent of those are either carried out by the remnants of the paramilitary groups or the security forces themselves. ...
Coca-Cola accused of funding Colombian death squad [teleSUR - 1/9/16]
Hillary Clinton, under questioning by federal investigators over whether she had been briefed on how to preserve government records as she was about to leave the State Department, said she had suffered a concussion, was working part-time and could not recall every briefing she received. ... [Reuters - 2/9/16]
State Department vetted Bill Clinton’s contacts, emails show [Reuters - 2/9/16]:
... In one instance, the emails show Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy adviser to the foundation and to Bill Clinton, raised the possibility in 2009 of a meeting between Bill Clinton and Syrian President Assad.
At the time, Assad wanted better ties with the West.
"Would this be concerning for State?" Desai wrote in an email alerting Hillary Clinton aide Jake Sullivan to the possible meeting.
"The Syrians expressed a keen interest in facilitating this," Desai said in an email a few days later.
The Syria visit was proposed to be tacked onto a forum Bill Clinton was invited to attend in Israel in November 2009, according to the emails.
The meeting never happened, according to Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel who helped to organize the trip. ...
@wikileaks [2/9/16]: ... Hillary Clinton FBI interview & investigation summaries ...
Clinton's State Dept. fielded Bono's space request [Politico - 22/8/16]:
... “Bono wants to do a linkup with the International Space Station on every show during the tour this year,” Schwerin wrote.
“I’m trying to figure out who the best contact is to talk to at NASA or the congressional committee on science and technology. Any ideas? Thks.”
Both Abedin and Bland replied “no clue,” but U2 did end up featuring video from astronauts aboard the International Space Station during shows on the North American and European legs of its “U2 360°” tour.
Bono has previously supported the Clinton Foundation. ...
A rocket that was scheduled to launch an Israeli communications satellite into space exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The unmanned SpaceX rocket reportedly was in the midst of routine fueling test for Saturday’s scheduled launch when it exploded on Thursday morning.
The explosion was felt throughout the NASA facility and for several miles around, The Associated Press reported.
Dark smoke could be seen hanging in the sky over the blast site.
SpaceX is a private aerospace company found by Jewish entrepreneur, engineer and inventor Elon Musk.
The rocket was scheduled to hoist into orbit the Amos 6 satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and owned by Spacecom Ltd. in partnership with Eutelsat Communications of France.
It was expected to operate for 16 years in part on behalf of Facebook and bring Internet connectivity to sub-Saharan Africa and television service to providers in Europe and the Middle East.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the project in June 2015. ... [JTA - 1/9/16]
Technology, media, pharmaceutical and other companies, along with major corporate lobbying groups, filed legal briefs on Friday in support of a Microsoft Corp lawsuit that aims to strike down a law preventing companies from telling customers the government is seeking their data. ... [Reuters - 3/9/16]
US Coast Guard terrorises a boat of Cuban migrants before capturing them for deportation [Media Release - 2/9/16]
A[n exiled] resettled former Guantanamo detainee who alarmed some officials when he recently went missing for several weeks is planning a hunger strike to demand he be allowed to leave Uruguay, his liaison with the government said Thursday.
Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab has repeatedly said he is unhappy living in the South American country. Liaison Christian Mirza said Dhiab told him he has planned the strike in hopes of going elsewhere.
Dhiab went missing from Uruguay for weeks earlier this year, alarming officials here and in neighboring countries and triggering recriminations from U.S. lawmakers before he resurfaced in Venezuela.
The Uruguayan Foreign Ministry said that while he was in Caracas, Dhiab tried to get help to reunite with his family in Turkey or another country before he was deported back to Uruguay earlier this week. ... [ABC News - 1/9/16]
@GitmoWatch [2/9/16]: Tuesday is the 10th anniversary of transferring torture victims from black sites to the dark grey site of Guantanamo. 10 years.
Georgetown to give admissions benefit to descendants of enslaved [Democracy Now - 2/9/16]
@riserefugee [3/9/16]: Some of us are not recognised as human in our countries & when we flee come to your countries we are treated the same. #ExDetaineesDay
@riserefugee [3/9/16]: Australia happily spends billions to build #detention centres but won't organise safe passage for those caught in War. #ExdetaineesDay
@riserefugee [3/9/16]: #WhiteAustralia where President of @CEWAus gets $ from #asylum seeker #detention camp where #women of colour sexually abused #ExDetaineesDay
@riserefugee [3/9/16]: "We need protection NOT detention" - #ExdetaineesDay campaign coordinators.
@riserefugee [3/9/16]: Australian #detention centres are NOT "facilities or processing centres” - they are concentration camps. #ExdetaineesDay
LET THE PEOPLE - NOT THEIR TORMENTORS - SPEAK! ---> Ex-detainees declare 3rd of September as ex-detainees’ day for asylum seekers and refugees [RISE]
"WE ARE ASKING THE WORLD TO TAKE US FROM THE HELL" @InsurrectNews [2/9/16]: Day 167 of protests ...
"ENOUGH REVENGE. ENOUGH SUFFERING. WE ARE DYING HERE" @racvictoria [3/9/16]: Day 113 of protests on #Manus ...
@MarilynShephe15 [2/9/16]: ... Here is the arsehole Paris nearly 15yrs ago bleating same bullshit as today
DHS must sever ties with toxic private prison companies [Center for Constitutional Rights - 2/9/16]:
Today, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) continued their fight against transparency and accountability, offering yet another reason why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must immediately sever its ties with private prison companies.
Earlier this summer, a federal judge ruled that the details of government contracts with private prison corporations are not exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
As a result, DHS was ordered to provide details of the contracts it has signed with private prison companies, including how much the companies are paid, what promises the government has made about the number of people to be detained, and staffing levels for medical personnel—the need for which are alarmingly clear in the midst of continued reporting about medical neglect and deaths in immigrant detention.
In the aftermath of the ruling, the government chose not to appeal, but CCA and GEO have stepped in to escalate the fight.
Both companies moved to intervene in the case in order to appeal the ruling—a request which was granted today.
“These companies know that public awareness of how their profiteering works may undermine their enormous influence over detention policy, which has given them control of over 70 percent of immigration detention beds,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Ghita Schwarz.
“It is past time for DHS to reverse its deep entanglement with companies who insist on operating in secret,” said Mary Small, Policy Director of Detention Watch Network.
“Secretary Johnson has all of the evidence of abuse and mismanagement that he needs to end the toxic relationship between the private prison industry and DHS. The companies’ fundamental objection to transparency, proven yet again by this legal move, is just another mark against them.”
Why “family detention” is a misnomer [American Immigration Council - 2/9/16]:
More than two years after the Obama Administration launched its aggressive expansion of family detention in an attempt to “deter” the arrival of asylum-seeking Central American families, numerous problems associated with such practice have been brought to light.
One such issue is the separation of family units while in U.S. custody.
A report released this week by the American Immigration Council, Divided by Detention: Asylum-Seeking Families’ Experiences of Separation, calls “family detention” a misnomer and examines what happens when this practice splits families apart instead of actually keeping loved ones together.
Through interviews with families that experienced separation during the detention process, conversations with attorneys, and analysis of government policies and documents, Divided by Detention profiles how families arriving together are separated by the government and how that separation impacts their well-being, as well as making it more challenging for families to access asylum or other humanitarian relief. ...
Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis apologized on Friday after facing calls to quit over comments denying the existence of a World War Two concentration camp for Roma people.
Babis' ANO party leads opinion polls ahead of a national election near the end of 2017 and the billionaire entrepreneur may become prime minister.
He was quoted as telling local residents on Thursday on a campaign stop for regional elections in October that the Lety concentration camp, 80 km (50 miles) south of Prague, had existed only as a labor camp for those avoiding work.
Lety started as a labor camp after the Czechoslovak government ordered its creation in 1939, weeks before Nazi forces occupied the country, for people "living off crime".
But in 1942, German occupiers ordered Roma to be moved into Lety and another camp.
Overall, 1,309 people were interned in Lety, according to the Holocaust.cz website.
Of those, 326 died in the camp. About a quarter escaped or were released while the rest were transported to Auschwitz. ... [Reuters - 2/9/16]
Turkey frees prisoners to make room for coup detainees [Al Jazeera - 2/9/16]
Turkish air strikes kill three PKK militants in southeast Turkey: military [Reuters - 1/9/16]
The United States is poised to sell $7 billion worth of Boeing Co fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait after years of delays, and it may start notifying U.S. lawmakers as early as next week, four U.S.- and Gulf-based sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. ... [Reuters - 1/9/16]
Putin: Russia and US could be close to reaching agreement on Syria [SANA - 2/9/16]
3 September 2016