Australia: Dying man ineligible for pension, must job hunt on Newstart

Herald [2/1/15]:

John Grayson doesn’t want to waste the last two years of his life filling out forms at Centrelink.

The 33-year-old’s worst fears were confirmed on Christmas Eve when he received news that he had a rare stage 3 malignant brain tumour.

Prior to his initial diagnosis in November, finding a full-time engineering job had been at the top of his priority list.

His priorities have changed dramatically since, but it seems as far as federal government bureaucrats are concerned he still needs to look for work if he wants to receive the Newstart allowance.

‘‘As I am trying to come to terms with all of this, one thing is driving me incredibly crazy – the strict requirements of the Disability Support Pension,’’ Mr Grayson said.

‘‘[Newstart appointments] are very time costly, which I have so little of. I’d much rather be visiting friends and relatives before I die,’’ he said.

‘‘The idea of a terminally ill person having to go out and look for a job feels like a kick in the groin.’’

In addition to documenting his search for work, he is required to visit employment agencies at Newcastle and Charlestown each week.

Because he is still relatively physically healthy and hasn’t begun radiotherapy treatment, he is not classified as disabled and is ineligible for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

He was told last week the type of cancer he has (an extremely rare malignant ganglioglioma tumour) means he doesn’t qualify to be fast-tracked onto the pension via an amendment designed for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Although still capable of working, his mental health has deteriorated considerably.

Ironically he now stands a better chance of qualifying for the disability support pension if he is diagnosed with depression rather than cancer.

‘‘I was at Centrelink with my mother and they said because you are [physically] healthy you don’t qualify for the DSP via cancer, you are going to have to look at mental health.

Mr Grayson said he was supportive of the government’s attempts to prioritise welfare payments to those most in need, however, he believes unemployed people with terminal illnesses deserve special consideration.

‘‘I hope Scott Morrison in his new capacity [as social services minister] can perhaps rework some empathy into the DSP requirements for the terminally ill,’’ Mr Grayson said.

The federal government did not respond to the Newcastle Herald’s questions about Mr Grayson’s case.

Cancer Council Hunter regional manager Shayne Connell said the organisation was lobbying to have the Disability Support Pension eligibility requirements changed.

‘‘It a crazy situation; there is a desperate need to build in some flexibility for people with terminal illnesses,’’ Mr Connell said.

‘‘The last thing someone with a terminal needs to be doing is running around looking for a job.’’

 

Of One Essence is the Human Race,

Thusly has Creation put the Base.

One Limb impacted is sufficient,

For all Others to feel the Mace.

The Unconcern'd with Others' Plight,

Are but Brutes with Human Face.

Saadi Shirazi

 

Statement by Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Europe Bureau Director, on new boat arrival in Italy

UNHCR Media Release [2/1/15]:

"The use of larger cargo ships is a new trend, but it is part of an ongoing and worrying situation that can no longer be ignored by European governments. We need urgent European concerted action in the Mediterranean Sea, increasing efforts to rescue people at sea and stepping up efforts to provide legal alternatives to dangerous voyages. Without safer ways for refugees to find safety in Europe, we won't be able to reduce the multiple risks and dangers posed by these movements at sea.

UNHCR thanks the Italian authorities for their response to these latest incidents, despite the phasing down of the Mare Nostrum operation. We have expressed concerns over the ending of this operation without a similar European search-and-rescue operation to replace it. This will undoubtedly increase the risk for those trying to find safety in Europe."

Documentary recounts plight of Jewish refugees exiled in the Australian outback during WW2

Telegraph [17/5/06]:

The horror experienced by Jewish and anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government during the war has been documented in a new film that highlights the darker side of Britain's fight against Nazi Germany.

The men, mainly scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain from Nazi Austria and Germany at the outbreak of the war, were considered a security threat after the fall of France.

On the orders of Winston Churchill, they were dispatched from Liverpool on the Hired Military Transport (HMT) ship Dunera in July 1940.

Their arrival in Australia - after a 57-day journey in appalling conditions - was seen as the greatest injection of talent to enter Australia on a single vessel.

They were taken to a detention camp in the Outback, where they set up an impromptu university to pass the time.

Among the passengers were Franz Stampfl, the athletics coach to the four-minute-mile runner Roger Bannister, Wolf Klaphake, the inventor of synthetic camphor, and the photographer Henry Talbot.

John Burgan, 44, the director of Friendly Enemy Alien, which premiered in Berlin this week, said he made the film to illustrate that, while refugees are often seen as a burden, they contribute a lot to the countries in which they settle.

"Refugees are invariably unwanted and unloved when they arrive, but being at the bottom of the heap they knuckle down and make the best of the chance they've been given, to become an asset to their adopted country," said Mr Burgan.

"Nowhere is that better illustrated than with the story of the Dunera boys, many of whom had lost everything in the Holocaust. They made the best of what they had."

When the overcrowded Dunera set sail from Liverpool, its 2,500 internees were told they were bound for Canada.

Watched over by 309 poorly trained British soldiers, the men endured horrendous conditions. They were stripped of their personal possessions, including documents and false teeth, many of which were thrown overboard. They were beaten and insulted as "Jewish swine" and forced to sleep below deck on floors awash with human waste. The hatches and portholes were battened shut.

"There was so little air that to get the job of peeling potatoes on deck was seen as a life-saver," said Walter Kaufmann, 82, a Jewish refugee now living in Berlin whose book Touching Time details the Dunera experience.

Klaus Wilcynski, 86, author of The Prison Ship, recalled being told to walk on the deck in bare feet.

"Soldiers had smashed beer bottles so people cut their feet."

Mr Burgan said the story was well-known in Australia. But it is still under embargo by Britain's Official Secrets Act until 2040.

The medical army officer Alan Frost, who was the first Australian to go on board when the Dunera docked at Sydney's Darling Harbour, was appalled by the conditions.

His report led to the court martial of the officer-in-charge, Lt Colonel William Scott.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the men were reclassified as "friendly aliens", and hundreds were recruited into the Australian army. After the war most stayed in Australia. Only a handful returned to Britain and several to East Germany.

18 killed in US-led airstrike in Afghanistan’s Paktika

APA [3/1/15]:

At least 18 people have been killed when US-led foreign forces carried out an airstrike in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktika, APA reports quoting Press TV.

Mukhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Saturday that the airstrike targeted a convoy of Taliban militants in Gayan District, located approximately 175 kilometers (108 miles) southeast of the capital, Kabul, late on Friday.

He added that at least 18 militants were slain and three pickup trucks destroyed in the assault.

The Taliban have made no comments on the incident so far.

...

Protests denouncing attack on wedding party in Helmand province continue [Pajhwok - 3/1/15]

Taliban release abducted health workers in Oruzgan [Khaama – 3/1/15]

Yazidi raid on Iraqi town condemned [Al Jazeera - 3/1/15]

‏@IraqiSMCEn – Iraqi Spring Media Center [3/1/15]

Salah-il-deen: American spy aircraft have flown in the sky of Samarra since one hour especially over the northern and northern west suburbs.......

Heavy Firing by Pakistan at International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, 6 Civilians Injured [NDTV – 3/1/15]

Pakistani Boat With Explosives Blows Up Off Gujarat Coast, Says Government [NDTV – 2/1/15]

Libyan al Qaeda suspect dies days before US trial

France 24 [3/1/15]:

A Libyan accused over the 1998 Al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Africa died on Friday, days before he was to stand trial in New York, his lawyer said.

Abu Anas al-Libi, 50, was on the FBI's most-wanted list with a $5 million price on his head when he was captured by US troops in the Libyan capital Tripoli in October 2013.

He and Saudi businessman Khalid al-Fawwaz were due to stand trial on January 12 over the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 244 people and wounded more than 5,000.

But Libi, a computer expert, died at a hospital in the New York area on Friday, his lawyer Bernard Kleinman told The Washington Post, saying the health of his client -- who had advanced liver cancer -- had deteriorated significantly in the last month.

Libi and Fawwaz both previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.

A third suspect, Egyptian Adel Abdel Bary, last year pleaded guilty to playing a role in the 1998 attacks.

Libi, who also suffered from hepatitis C, told a federal court in Manhattan in October that he had been on hunger strike when questioned by FBI agents -- during which he made an incriminating statement.

Looking pale and thin, and speaking very quietly through a translator, Libi told the court that he told "anyone who asked" that he was on a hunger strike.

He was detained by US commandos on October 5, 2013 and interrogated on board a US warship before being handed over to FBI agents on October 12.

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government Saturday staged airstrikes on the commercial port of Misrata, a western city allied to a group that holds the capital Tripoli, both sides said. … [Daily Star - 3/1/15]

Four Hezbollah killed in fierce Qalamoun clashes [Daily Star – 3/1/15]

Iran, 6 powers move closer to nuke talks deal [Daily Star - 3/1/15]

Israel freezes Palestinian tax funds in response to ICC move

Maan [3/1/15]:

Israeli authorities on Saturday froze the transfer of tax funds collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority in response to President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to sign the Rome Statute, an official told AFP.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, did not elaborate.

The Israeli news site Ynet said Israel froze 500 million shekels ($127 million) of tax funds typically distributed each month.

Citing "Israeli sources," Ynet said the decision was made Thursday during a discussion between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the freeze was a war crime.

"This decision is a new Israeli war crime, but we won't back off in the face of those pressures," he told AFP.

Abbas' request to join the Hague-based International Criminal Court angered Israel and earned sharp criticism from the US. Netanyahu has urged the ICC to reject the request based on the fact that the PA is not a state.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA, money it needs to pay public sector salaries.

Each month, PA salaries cost around $200 million, $120 million of which is covered the taxes collected by Israel.

Israel has previously frozen payments to the PA during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, provoking strong international criticism, such as when the UN cultural body UNESCO granted the Palestinians full membership in 2011.

Palestinian authorities have decided to join the International Criminal Police Organization, widely known as Interpol, an official revealed Saturday. ... [Maan - 3/1/15]

Gaza's children struggle to overcome nightmares of war [Tribune – 29/12/14]

Australia: 12-year-old boy dies after being found unconscious in carpark

Sydney Morning Herald [4/1/15]:

A 12-year-old boy has died after being found unconscious in a carpark in Alice Springs.

Following early investigations Northern Territory Police believe the use of inhalants was a factor in the cause of death.

Police were notified to a carpark between Railway Terrace and Bath Street at around 8.20pm on Saturday night after members of the public found the boy unconscious.

The ABC reported that police believed the boy had been sniffing "a couple of cans" of deodorant with a group of teenagers.

The carpark situated between the two streets borders a retail complex including the Alice Springs Coles.

"The officer commenced first aid and the child was conveyed to Alice Springs Hospital via St John Ambulance," said Southern Watch Commander Drew Slape.

"Despite the best efforts of attending police, paramedics and medical staff, tragically the young male has passed away."

Police have asked for any witnesses to come forward.

"Anything related to inhalant or substance abuse is of grave concern to Police and we would ask that if members of the community witness this behaviour they report it to Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000," said Southern Watch Commander Slape.

NYC mayor, commissioner saluted when entering slain officer's wake

Reuters [3/1/15]:

New York City police officers saluted as Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police commissioner entered a Brooklyn funeral home on Saturday for the wake of a policeman killed in an ambush last month that deepened a rift between the mayor and the NYPD.

Ahead of the wake for Wenjian Liu, Commissioner Bill Bratton told officers to refrain from the "act of disrespect" seen at the funeral of Liu's partner, Rafael Ramos, when thousands of officers turned their backs on de Blasio.

"A hero's funeral is about grieving, not grievance," Bratton wrote in a memo to be read on police roll calls over the weekend. The funeral is set for Sunday.

Liu, 32, and Ramos, 40, were shot to death on Dec. 20 as they sat in their squad car in Brooklyn. Their killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who killed himself soon after, had said he was seeking to avenge the deaths this summer of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

On Saturday, a few hundred mourners, most of them police officers in dress blue uniforms, lined up outside the funeral home on a frigid, snowy afternoon.

De Blasio and Bratton entered the funeral home together shortly after it opened, with officers standing guard by the entrance saluting both men as they went inside. The wake was closed to the public.

The killing of Liu and Ramos has frayed the already strained relations between the police force and de Blasio, who sharply criticized the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" tactics when he ran for mayor in 2013.

The liberal mayor also offered qualified support for the wave of protests triggered by the two black men's deaths in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, and has said he talked to his biracial son, Dante, about interacting with police.

Immediately after Liu and Ramos were shot, Patrick Lynch, the head of the city's largest police union, expressed scorn for de Blasio, saying there was "blood on many hands."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, arrived at the funeral home later on Saturday. He shook the hands of police officers before entering.

As he left, Cuomo called for healing among New Yorkers, who he likened to a family.

"What makes New York strong is that we take our diversity and make it a strength and not a weakness," he said. "We have to stop any fights within the family."

Cuomo attended the wake two days after his father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, died at age 82.

Last Sunday's funeral for Ramos was among the largest in NYPD history, with more than 20,000 officers from around the country filling streets around the church.

When de Blasio began his eulogy there, many uniformed officers turned their backs on television monitors set up outside, in a gesture of disdain.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: Black Lives Matter Movement Hits Counterreaction [Truthout – 2/1/15]

Italy: Rome police 'call in sick' on New Year's Eve

BBC [2/1/15]:

More than three-quarters of the local police officers due to work on New Year's Eve in Rome called in sick, it's been reported.

Of about 1,000 police officers who had been available to work, 83.5% were absent on the night, La Repubblica website reports.

An estimated 600,000 people took to the streets of the Italian capital to welcome in the New Year, and the mayor's office says in the end everything went off without a hitch.

But Italian officials have slammed the absence figures, with cabinet minister Marianna Madia tweeting that disciplinary action could be taken against those involved.

Rome's police commander was equally damning, describing the absences as "absolutely unjustified".

"I can only condemn the attitude of those who have tried to sabotage the New Year festivities," says Cdr Raffaele Clemente, adding that the action had "put at risk people's safety but also the good name of the entire local police force and the city of Rome."

The police have been at loggerheads with the city government for months over new rules on working practices and pay, according to Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Italian media are reporting that they're now preparing to strike, with Francesco Croce of Italy's UIL union saying there will be a "crescendo of protests" in the capital.

Rome also saw trouble on the metro on New Year's Eve, where delays were put down to there only being seven drivers available, when 24 were needed to run the line.

Louis Freeh, the former FBI director whose wife was deeded half of a $3 million beachside penthouse by a businessman–just nine days after Freeh cleared that same businessman of wrongdoing–is onto a new job: Helping exonerate a billionaire businessman accused of bribing an African government.  ... [Intercept - 2/1/15]

Jeffrey Epstein profile: the billionaire paedophile with links to Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Robert Maxwell – and Prince Andrew [Independent - 2/1/15]

Woman who sued convicted billionaire over sex abuse levels claims at his friends [Politico – 31/12/14]

CANDID DISCUSSION WITH PRINCE ANDREW ON THE KYRGYZ ECONOMY AND THE "GREAT GAME" [29/10/08]:

... C) Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics. He stated baldly that "the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too") were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game. More animated than ever, he stated cockily: "And  this time we aim to win!" ...

Maduro tells Biden United States must respect Venezuela

BBC [2/1/15]:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he demanded respect from the United States during an encounter with Vice-President Joe Biden in Brazil.

Mr Maduro and Mr Biden met briefly after President Dilma Rousseff's inauguration ceremony in Brasilia.

"I have demanded this time what we had demanded from the US 1,000 times before: a relationship based on respect, nothing else," said Mr Maduro.

Last month the US imposed sanctions on high-level Venezuelan officials.

The bill targets current and former Venezuelan officials who directed "significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela that began on 4 February".

"We have a government in Venezuela that complies with international law and is appreciated and supported by the whole continent," Mr Maduro told journalists.

"I believe he realised during his time here [in Brazil] that we have a relationship of cordiality and fraternity within our diversity."

"There is room for everyone in Latin America, and the Americans must understand that," said Mr Maduro.

...

RSF says military trial of Tunisian blogger unacceptable

Al Akhbar [2/1/15]:

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expressed "deep concern" on Friday after a military court sentenced a Tunisian blogger, who was also an activist during the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, to three years in jail for defaming army officers.

"RSF expresses its deep concern after blogger Yassine Ayari was sentenced in absentia,” it said in a statement, calling for his case to be transferred to a civilian court that would "guarantee impartiality and independence."

Last November 18, the military tribunal sentenced Ayari to three years on charges of having "defamed army officers and senior defense ministry officials."

On Friday, RSF's Lucie Morillon called Ayari's conviction unacceptable.

"The conviction of a civilian blogger by a military court is unacceptable for a country like Tunisia, undermining its process of consolidating democracy," she said.

"(The charge of) attacking the honor of the army, the main accusation against Ayari in the military court, represents a dangerous and draconian legal instrument" against freedom of expression, one of the main achievements of the 2011 uprising, Morillon added.

Ayari, 33, was taken into custody overnight on December 25, after landing at Tunis-Carthage airport and was transferred to jail in line with the military court verdict pronounced against him.

According to a military prosecutor, Ayari, who was returning from France when he was detained, had criticized Nidaa Tounes Party and accused officials of financial abuse.

The blogger was unaware of the verdict against him for "undermining" the army, his lawyer Sami Ben Amor stated, adding that the verdict was "very harsh."

Ayari, who posted on Facebook that he stands by every word he has written, has appealed the charges against him and a new hearing in the case has been set for January 6, Ben Amor said.

The Tunisian blogger, has been highly critical in recent months of Nidaa Tounes, which won October's landmark general election, and of the party's leader Beji Caid Essebsi who became president last month.

Essebsi is a former regime official who served under previous Tunisian administrations, including in the government of autocratic president Ben Ali who was ousted in the 2011 uprising.

As Tunisia was preparing for its legislative and presidential elections, Amnesty International listed in September, 10 steps for human rights in the country, one that stressed on “freedom of expression” and called, in line with international law, to amend laws or provisions that criminalize such a freedom.

“No one must be imprisoned or subjected to other criminal sanctions solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” the list said.

According to Amnesty, provisions in the Penal Code and the Code of Military Justice allow imprisonment on charges of defamation, and provisions in the Penal Code and the Telecommunication Code allow imprisonment for “undermining public order and public morals or violating sacred values.”

Authorities are also still following a 2003 “anti-terrorism” law, which has been widely criticized by rights groups as it has been used to repress Islamist opposition to the ousted regime.

A draft bill calling for defendants to have certain "guarantees" was submitted to lawmakers for a vote, however, efforts to push an amended “anti-terrorism” law through parliament have failed.

North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly US Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims

Glenn Greenwald, [Intercept - 1/1/15]:

... It’s tempting to say that the U.S. media should have learned by now not to uncritically disseminate government claims, particularly when those claims can serve as a pretext for U.S. aggression. But to say that, at this point, almost gives them too little credit. It assumes that they want to improve, but just haven’t yet come to understand what they’re doing wrong.

But that’s deeply implausible. At this point - eleven years after the run-up to the Iraq War and 50 years after the Gulf of Tonkin fraud - any minimally sentient American knows full well that their government lies frequently. Any journalist understands full well that assuming government claims to be true, with no evidence, is the primary means by which U.S. media outlets become tools of government propaganda.

U.S. journalists don’t engage in this behavior because they haven’t yet realized this. To the contrary, they engage in this behavior precisely because they do realize this: because that is what they aspire to be. If you know how journalistically corrupt it is for large media outlets to uncritically disseminate evidence-free official claims, they know it, too. Calling on them to stop doing that wrongly assumes that they seek to comport with their ostensible mission of serving as watchdogs over power. That’s their brand, not their aspiration or function.

Many of them benefit in all sorts of ways by dutifully performing this role. Others are True Believers: hard-core nationalists and tribalists who see their “journalism” as a means of nobly advancing the interests of the state and corporate officials whom they admire and serve. At this point, journalists who mindlessly repeat government claims like this are guilty of many things; ignorance of what they are doing is definitely not one of them.

Indonesia to Evaluate All Airlines Following AirAsia License Questions

Jakarta Globe [3/1/15]:

Indonesia pledged Saturday to investigate flight violations by AirAsia, as search teams found two large parts of the airline’s plane that crashed into the sea last weekend with 162 people on board.

The country’s transport ministry said the ill-fated aircraft had been flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed, and the airline has now been suspended from flying the route from the city of Surabaya to Singapore.

“We will carry out an audit or an evaluation on all airlines in Indonesia over whether there are any violations related to route, time and schedule,” director general of air transport, Djoko Murjatmodjo, told AFP.

He said AirAsia’s permit for the route would be suspended until investigations were completed, while other airlines in the country would also be examined.

“It violated the route permit given, the schedule given, that’s the problem,” he said.

A statement from transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata said AirAsia Indonesia had not been permitted to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route on Sundays and had not asked to change its schedule.

It was unclear how the airline, a unit of Malaysia-based AirAsia, had been able to fly without the necessary authorisation.

AirAsia Indonesia chief Sunu Widyatmoko told reporters that the company would not comment until the results of the investigation were known, adding that the airline would “fully cooperate with the government in that evaluation process.”

US Embassy in Indonesia Issues Security Warning for Surabaya [Jakarta Globe – 3/1/15]

When are the findings of this investigation expected?

After the Murdoch propagandists have done their job, and the lies have become truth?

Sydney Morning Herald [18/12/14]:

Seasoned detective Inspector Angelo Memmolo is heading the critical incident investigation into the Martin Place siege, which will formally establish how gunman Man Monis and two hostages died.

Monis was on bail charged with separate sexual assault and accessory to murder charges when he took 18 people hostage during a siege at the Lindt cafe on Monday morning.

The investigation will examine the actions of police in storming the Lindt cafe 16 hours later, resulting in the end of the siege and the deaths of Monis, barrister Katrina Dawson and hotel manager Tori Johnson.

Inspector Memmolo will be assisted by Detective Inspector Grant Taylor, who headed the high-profile critical incident investigation into the murder of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson.

Homicide commander Superintendent Mick Willing has previously spoken to Fairfax Media about the burden of critical investigations on his squad.

"[Critical incidents] have traditionally placed a big burden on my guys here because they really have to drop everything to do them," Superintendent Willing said.

"They are really tough matters so at the end of the day the teams will carry those and the inspector has to personally do those and carry those with 20-odd or more murders," he said.

Homicide squad investigators are put in charge of critical incident investigations, which are held when a police officer is killed or someone dies as a result of the use of police force or firearms.

In 2012, they had seven such incidents, including the death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti, who was Tasered multiple times in Sydney's CBD.

Recent inquiries by oversight bodies including the Coroner's office and the Police Integrity Commission have raised questions about police investigating their own.

Among them was one claim that one senior officer conducted an "inadequate and apparently prejudiced investigation chiefly directed to avoid embarrassment to police". He was later cleared of serious wrongdoing and given the Commissioner's full support.

An independent review commissioned by former Premier Barry O'Farrell and headed by former Labor federal attorney-general Robert McClelland, found there was no need for an independent body to examine serious police incidents.

But Greens MP David Shoebridge has argued: "We still have a system where, by and large, police investigate police, (and) until that essential conflict of interest is resolved, public confidence will not be restored."

Some of the detectives who have been directed to investigate the Martin Place siege will attend court on Thursday for the sentencing of Inspector Anderson's killers, Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri.

Critical incidents in 2012

- Death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti who died after being Tasered 14 times

- Darren Neill who was shot dead by a police officer in the food court at Westfield Parramatta

- Ryan Pringle, 33, who was shot dead by police at a commune in northern NSW after he threatened campers with a knife and a crossbow

- The death of Tamworth Senior Constable David Rixon, who was shot in the chest after he pulled a car over for a random breath test

- The death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, who was fatally stabbed during a siege at a semi-rural property at Oakville

- Mark David Bennett, 46, who was shot in the chest and neck at Redfern after crashing a stolen ute into a pub and a power pole and knocking a woman over

Man not shot by police after stand-off near Lismore

NSW Police [4/1/15]:

Police have arrested a man following a stand-off with police at a home near Lismore yesterday evening.

About 10.30pm (Saturday 3 January 2015), a 25-year-old man allegedly assaulted a woman at a home on Campbell Crescent at Goonellabah.

A 40-year-old man who witnessed the alleged assault attempted to intervene and was threatened by the younger man who had armed himself with a knife.

The younger man fled the scene to another home on Carlton Crescent and the witness contacted police.

He was not injured during the incident.

Officers attached to Richmond Local Area Command attended the Carlton Crescent home a short time later and attempted to speak with the occupants.

It’s alleged the occupants refused to cooperate with police and threw objects at them from the balcony.

Following a brief stand-off with police, officers entered the premises and arrested the 25-year-old man.

He was taken to Lismore Police Station and later charged with armed with intent to commit indictable offence, common assault and resist officer in execution of their duty.

The man has been bail refused to appear before Lismore Local Court on Sunday 4 January 2015.

Man not shot by police, Bonogin

QPS Media [3/1/15]:

A man has been charged after an incident at Bonogin this afternoon.

It will be alleged a man, whilst armed with an edged weapon, attended a Hidden Valley address and threated to harm the occupants.

The man was arrested at the scene and no one was physical injured.

A 42-year-old man has been charged with one count each of threatening violence, using a carriage service to make a threat and two counts of common assault. He is expected to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on January 5.

Police investigations are continuing.

Fatal traffic crash, Morayfield

QPS Media [4/1/15]:

Police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck by a car and died at Morayfield last night.

Initial investigations indicate the incident occurred on the Bruce Highway near Uhlmann Road around 8.50pm.

The 27-year-old Griffin woman died at the scene.

The driver of the car involved was not physically injured.

Investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit 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 crash, Herberton

QPS Media [3/1/15]:

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating after man died at the scene in a single vehicle crash at Herberton this evening.

Initial information suggests around 6.45pm the 25-year-old man was riding a motorcycle on James Street when he lost control and hit a tree.

Police investigations are continuing.

There is no further information available.

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.

Six homes destroyed, six firefighters injured by raging SA blaze

Nine MSN [4/1/15]:

… Strong winds in South Australia today are expected to fan the state's worst bushfire in 30 years as the Adelaide Hills prepares for a third day of fires.

However, Malim Watts of the Country Fire Service said he was certain that number would rise with firefighters still unable to access some areas to determine the extent of damage.

Up to six CFS firefighters have been injured in the ongoing battle against the fires, which have been said to be the worst since the deadly Ash Wednesday inferno of 1983.

The 11,500-hectare fire is burning freely along much of its perimeter, travelling erratically towards the townships of Kersbrook and Humbug Scrub

Warm and windy conditions are also expected today, with gusts of up to 70km/hr expected today while the humidity will drop from 75 per cent to just five per cent.

While temperatures will be lower today with an expected maximum of 31 degrees, down from yesterday's high of 40 degrees, the winds will hamper efforts by firefighters to contain the blazes.

Authorities have declared the bushfires a "major emergency" and thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes to relief staging posts in the Adelaide Hills since the alarm was first raised on Friday afternoon.

Those residents have been urged not to return as the situation is still fluid and fires have now reached within 30km of Adelaide.

South Australian Country Fire Service's Chief Officer Greg Nettleton said firefighters were facing some of their greatest fears as the huge blaze worked its way across the state.

"Residents in the Adelaide Hills are being confronted by a fire that of the likes that hasn't been seen since the 1983 bushfires of Ash Wednesday," he said.

...

Love Art.  Of all the lies, it is the least untrue.

Gustave Flaubert

West End [3/1/15]

'The Imitation Game' Tops Capri, Hollywood Film Festival

Hollywood Reporter [2/1/15]:

Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game won the best picture award at the 2014 Capri, Hollywood International Film Festival, while Mr. Turner's Timothy Spall was honored with the best actor award and Jennifer Aniston and Amy Adams tied for best actress.

At the 19th annual event, The Weinstein Co.'s The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the mathematical genius, also nabbed the best director award for Morten Tyldum. The Imitation Game had its Italian premiere at the fest.

"This is an extraordinary work, an almost historical document narrating an unknown story, a tribute to a visionary genius who was persecuted and to whom we owe freedom in Europe," said fest producer Pascal Vicedomini.

...

Be Free.

 

West End [3/1/15]

 

Poor old Moreton Bay figs had to go after big November storm, Orleigh Park

 

Orleigh Park, March 2011

Appeal for witnesses, Port Douglas

QPS Media [3/1/15]:

Detectives investigating an incident in which a 25-year-old woman sustained life threatening injuries on Thursday night at Port Douglas, are appealing for witnesses to contact them.

Around 11:30pm on January 1, the woman was located unconscious on the roadway of St Crispins Avenue.

It is believed she was a passenger of a blue Holden Frontera travelling on Port Douglas Road shortly before she was located.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and have spoken to the driver of the Frontera, who is known to the victim.

The 25-year-old Port Douglas woman was airlifted to Townsville Hospital with serious head injuries and remains in a critical condition.

Police urge anyone who was in the vicinity of Port Douglas Road and St Crispins Avenue around 11:30pm on Thursday to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Townsville detectives are appealing for public assistance following the suspicious death of a woman in Heatley yesterday. ... [QPS Media  - 3/1/15]

Serious traffic crash, Nerang

QPS Media [3/1/15]:

A motorcyclist has been injured following a traffic incident in Nerang this morning.

Around 9.30am, a car and a motorcycle collided near a roundabout on Price Street.

As a result of the collision, the 50-year-old male motorcycle rider was thrown from the bike.

He has been transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Price Street is down to one lane whilst the Forensic Crash Unit investigate.

A 29-year-old man is currently assisting police with their enquiries.

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.

Building fire, Richlands

QPS Media [3/1/15]:

A house on Pine Road at Richlands has been destroyed by fire overnight.

Initial information suggests the blaze started shortly before midnight causing substantial damage to the property which was vacant.

The fire is being treated as suspicious with Scientific and Forensic Officers expected to examine the scene later today.

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.

 

3 January 2015

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