From Europe to Australia Welcome Refugees Now! 12 September
Including those in detention - anything short of that is hypocrisy.
Saturday, September 12 at 12:30pm
328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia
• Australia help rescue Syrian refugees
• Increase the refugee intake to save lives
• Don’t turn refugees back to sea
• Syrian refugees off Manus and Nauru - close Manus and Nauru
**Note change of venue from Bourke St Mall to State Library to accomodate larger numbers
September 12 will see a European Wide Day of Action to Welcome Refugees. We are joining it to demand an end to the global race to the bottom on refugee policy.
Angela Merkel defeated by a 3-Year old dead boy [The Automatic Earth – 5/9/15]
Washington Post [5/9/15]:
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that her country won’t stop anyone from seeking asylum, as thousands of migrants desperate to leave Hungary made their way westward to Germany and Austria.
German officials recently predicted that up to 800,000 migrants would arrive by the end of the year, many of them refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.
“The right to political asylum has no limits on the number of asylum seekers,” Merkel told the Funke consortium of newspapers in an interview.
“As a strong, economically healthy country we have the strength to do what is necessary” and ensure every asylum seeker gets a fair hearing, she added.
Palestinian teen who cried before Merkel gets residency permit [Maan – 5/9/15]
Australian politicians like Mike Baird don't care about refugees.
They are using the European refugee crisis to invisibilise incarcerated, tortured and exiled boat refugees in their own region, and pretending Nauru and Manus don't exist.
Give me a bandwagon and I'll jump on it ...
'The Former Enfant Terrible', Pet Shop Boys 
Reptiles ----> ... "It is a great thing that we don't have children drowning at sea trying to get to our shores. That has been a significant humanitarian achievement. But stopping the boats can't be where this ends. It is surely where humanitarianism begins." ... Mike Baird challenges Tony Abbott to do more to aid Syrian refugees now [Sydney Morning Herald – 5/9/15]
... Annastacia Palaszczuk said she, like all Queenslanders, was disturbed by the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his brother and mother while fleeing conflict in their home country.
"What we are seeing across the world is what happens when wars cause a massive impact on society, where people have to flee those countries and seek refuge for a better life," she said.
"Europe is addressing that issue, and you know, Australia should have a wake up call and look at how the rest of the world is treating these poor people who are actually fleeing wartime situations." ... [Brisbane Times - 5/9/15]
Image: @prehumax [29/6/15]
Light the Dark: Rally to welcome to refugees - as long as they
don't come by boat:
The image of the Syrian child's lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach brought the world to its knees. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old.
The sad reality is that Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution. In 2015, the world is facing a global refugee crisis, but Australia - the lucky country - is not doing enough. We can do better to help these people. We need to do better.
On Monday night, we will light a candle. We will shine a light in the dark to remember Aylan Kurdi. We will stand in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to ask for protection, and in protest of Australia's abandonment of the world's most desperate.
We will send a message to the world that Australians Say Welcome.
Can you make it?
This event has been organised by Australians Say Welcome.
GetUp is organising sister vigils in Sydney and
Melbourne, and others are setting up their own all around Australia.
This event is supported by:
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Love Makes a Way
Refugee Council of Australia
Save the Children
Welcome to Australia
More to come!
What: Light The Dark – Australians Say Welcome
Organised by: Welcome to Australia
Where: Elder Park, King William St, Adelaide
When: Monday 7 September, 6pm
Bring: Friends, family, colleagues, candles and homemade signs
Is this the "safer place" for Syrian refugees the Tasmanian Premier is thinking of?
Pontville refugee concentration camp [Image: Jackson Vernon, ABC - January 2012]
... Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman on Saturday confirmed the state is in talks with Canberra about how to bring more displaced people to the island under the Commonwealth's safe haven visa scheme.
"We are engaging with the federal government at a very high level ... to bring refugees, those who have come to our country seeking a safer place to live, (to Tasmania)," Mr Hodgman told reporters.
It is an issue the premier said he discussed with Mr Abbott during the prime minister's visit to Hobart overnight on Friday.
"The indicative advice we have got and indeed the position I've put to the federal government is we could take potentially around 500 new applicants under the safe haven visa program," Mr Hodgman said.
"It shows we are keen to not only boost our population but show a humanitarian approach to dealing with what is a terrible global problem."
Clinton says 'sorry' for email confusion, says she wasn't thinking
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Friday she was sorry that her use of a personal email account while secretary of state had caused confusion, and blamed herself for "not thinking a lot" about the matter when she took the job.
In her most contrite comments yet about an issue that has plagued her White House bid, Clinton said she had made a mistake by not using a government email account. But she maintained she had done nothing wrong and did not apologize explicitly for using a private email account for her work as America's top diplomat.
"At the end of the day I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions but there are answers to all these questions," the former first lady told MSNBC in an interview.
Clinton, front-runner to be the Democratic Party nominee in the November 2016 election, has faced steady criticism from political opponents since it emerged in March that she used her own email account on an unsecured private server in her New York home for official business. Republicans say she flouted rules on record-keeping and transparency.
"I certainly wish that I had made a different choice and I know why the American people have questions about it," said Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. "I take responsibility. I should have had two accounts, one for personal and one for work-related."
Doubts over Clinton's trustworthiness have damaged her numbers in opinion polls, allowing liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to narrow the gap with her before the first contests early next year to pick the Democratic Party nominee for the election.
Clinton's slump in polls has also given space for a possible run by Vice President Joe Biden. Biden's elder son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in May aged 46 and the vice president said on Thursday he is trying to determine whether he has the emotional energy for a White House bid.
Clinton said she used the personal email account for convenience and did not give the issue much thought when she started her job as secretary of state.
"I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be," she said.
Clinton said that while she should have acted differently, she had done nothing wrong. "It was allowed and it was fully above board. The people in the government knew that I was using a personal account," she said.
The FBI is now investigating the security of the private server and any classified information on it.
Reviews by Reuters of Clinton emails released to the public under a judge's orders found 87 email threads that the State Department has marked to show they include information shared in confidence by foreign government officials, from prime ministers to spy chiefs.
U.S. government regulations say this sort of information, whether written or spoken, must be classified from the start and handled through secure, government-controlled channels.
The Republican National Committee said Clinton was only sorry about being the center of so much controversy over her emails.
"What's clear is Hillary Clinton regrets that she got caught and is paying a political price, not the fact her secret email server put our national security at risk," RNC spokesman Michael Short said in a statement.
In a move to hold government officials accountable for torture, Canada has charged Syrian Colonel George Salloum with allegedly torturing Canadian engineer Maher Arar.
In 2002, Arar was kidnapped by U.S. authorities during a layover at JFK Airport and then sent to his native Syria, where he was tortured and interrogated in a tiny underground cell.
He was held for nearly a year.
This is the first-ever criminal charge of torture brought by Canada against a foreign government official for acts committed abroad.
Canada’s decision to pursue torture charges in Arar’s case may open the door to further such prosecutions, including of U.S. government officials.
In 2007, Arar received a $10 million settlement from the Canadian government. The United States has yet to apologize to him.
We speak with Maher Arar’s wife, Monia Mazigh, and Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. ... [Democracy Now - 3/9/15]
Yemeni mother, child killed in Saudi airstrikes on Sana’a [Press TV - 5/9/15]
A top Yemeni tribal source says the bodies of 103 foreign troopers have been recovered from a military airport in the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, where they came under a rocket attack by Yemeni army forces and allied Popular Committees.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities have identified 45 Emirati nationals as well as five Bahraini citizens among the soldiers slain in al-Safer airport, adding that the remaining corpses belong to individuals that hailed from other Arab nations, Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported. ... [Press TV - 5/9/15]
Germany and Sweden said to help make US drone strike kill decisions in Afghanistan [New York Times - 4/9/15]:
... Decision-making for lethal Afghan strikes takes place in a room in the coalition headquarters in Kabul known as the Combined Joint Operations Center, or C.J.O.C.
There, videoscreens monitor the targeting of people identified as enemies who fall within the United States military’s authority to conduct counterterrorism strikes, and are supposed to keep civilians from being hit. ...
14 civilians have been wounded in a suicide blast in Logar province.
Mohammad Qasim Sediqi, member of Logar’s provincial council said that the incident took place in a bus station in Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, this morning.
He said the suicide bomber blasted his explosives among a high volume of people who had come to the bus station to go to Khoshi area. ... [Khaama - 5/9/15]
Kabul Taxi, Afghanistan's most popular political satirist, has broken down [Washington Post - 3/9/15]
Tajikistan clashes leave 10 dead around Dushanbe [BBC - 5/9/15]
David Cameron has indicated he will abandon plans to extend military airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) targets from Iraq to Syria if Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour party.
In a sign of how the leftwinger could have an impact on Britain’s foreign policy, even as opposition leader, the prime minister said that he would only hold a parliamentary vote on the strikes if there is “genuine consensus”.
Speaking in Madrid, the prime minister said: “I would only proceed going further on this issue if there is genuine consensus in the United Kingdom about it before going back to parliament.”
The frontrunner for the Labour leadership is opposed to the current airstrikes against Isis targets in Iraq and to extending them to Syria. ... [Guardian - 5/9/15]
David Cameron: UK to accept thousands more Syrian refugees [BBC - 4/9/15]
A battle between ISIS and rebels for control of an opposition stronghold in northern Syria has killed at least 47 fighters, activists said Saturday. ... [Daily Star - 5/9/15]
Pressure is growing on the government to use its seat on the UN Security Council to address the root cause of the refugee crisis in Europe.
Most of the refugees are escaping conflict in Syria, and aid agencies say people will continue to leave until the conflict is resolved.
World Vision chief executive Chris Clarke said New Zealand needed to use its position on the security council to help end Syria's civil war.
"The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions but we all know that talk is cheap - what matters is actually if those resolutions are implemented."
UNICEF has joined the call for action on Syria, urging governments to find a peaceful solution to the four-year-old conflict.
An Auckland-based lawyer specialising in refugee issues, Michael Timmins, said New Zealand was in a unique position to do that.
"We are an independent voice. We are in a different part of the world and we should be using those advantages to pull together the parties in a private sense, behind the scenes, and try and build some common ground and actually become a bit of a negotiator."
Mr Timmins said New Zealand could also help European Union members negotiate an agreement on how to deal with the flood of refugees. ... [RNZI - 5/9/15]
Staff at America's elite West Point military academy have launched an investigation after cadets involved in a ritual mass pillow fight hospitalised each other by "spiking" their pillow cases with heavy objects.
US elite military academy annual pillowfight ends in broken bones and concussions - Telegraph Photos that were later posted on social media showed the academy's "plebes", or freshmen, sporting bloody face and bloodstained pillows. They were goaded on - and possibly encouraged to "spike" their pillows - by more senior Academy members. ... [Telegraph - 5/9/15]
Lockheed wins deal worth up to $428 mln for US Navy combat systems [Reuters – 4/9/15]
Raytheon has secured an additional $149m from the US Navy for 74 Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) all up rounds, spares, containers, and services. ... [Naval Technology - 4/9/15]
Northrop Grumman to deliver navigation suite upgrades to Royal New Zealand Navy's ANZAC-class frigates [Naval Technology – 4/9/15]
United States "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [4/9/15]:
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, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes destroyed two ISIL excavators.
-- Near Raqqah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Mar’a, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL staging area.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL rocket firing position.
-- Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL buildings and an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Hit, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kisik, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL mortar firing position and an ISIL rocket firing position and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL command and control facility.
-- Near Tuz, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 10 ISIL rockets and an ISIL vehicle.
Greece rescues 751 refugees in latest 24 hours [ekathimerini.com - 3/9/15]
Through our consultations at the medical centre, Professor Isaacs diagnosed a baby with typhoid.
We were in the consultation room with the baby and the mother, and the dad was waiting down the end of the corridor, so I went to get him. I said, ‘You can come with me now. We’ll go and see your baby, he’s OK.’
The female security guard pushed the dad full flight in the back and he went flying.
The dad just looked absolutely hopeless.
He just took the abuse and looked at me with these dead, sad eyes.
He can’t fight back because that will impede on his asylum application. ...
“When you silence doctors and nurses you’re getting into dangerous territory” Alanna Maycock [Marie Claire - 6/8/15]
Submission 74 Nauru Senate Inquiry: ... When I asked the little girl on Nauru gently, if there was anything she wanted to tell the Prime Minister of Australia..she just said in her chiming dainty voice, “ I want to be happy too, like other children in Australia..why doesn’t Australia like me?” ...
Submission 67 Nauru Senate Inquiry: ... We were expected to "manufacture" Individual Management Plans as this was what the Department of Immigration wanted. ... After the murder of Reza Barati, we were told to lie to our clients and tell them it was a "riot" to deter them from protesting. ...
Regime change refugees: On the shores of Europe, Vijay Prashad [Counterpunch - 4/9/15]:
… The Jordanian cartoonist Rafat Alkhateeb drew an image of Aylan Kurdi. The infant’s body lies on the other side of a barbed wire fence that separates him from the continents of the world.
Children like Aylan Kurdi are disposable in the world’s imagination. Untold thousands of Syrian children have died in this conflict. Tens of thousands of children die in conflicts around the world. The United Nations estimates that half of all deaths in conflict zones are of children.
In 1995, UNICEF reported that two million children had died in conflicts over the previous decade. The rate has not decreased. The statistic harms the consciousness. But it is the picture of Aylan Kurdi that has unsettled our ethics – does the world really care about the damage done to children as a result of war and diabolical trade policies?
The evidence suggests that the world does not care at all. What care there is comes in the brief instance when we glance at a photograph such as that of the dead body of Aylan Kurdi. He breaks our heart. But he will do little to change our politics.
The West believes that it is acceptable for it to intervene to influence the political economy of the Third World – to force IMF-driven “reforms” on these states. Capital is allowed be borderless. That freedom does not apply to labour – to people. Migration is forbidden. It is hateful. Racist ideas allow fortresses to be built against the natural movement of people. Barbed wire fences and concentration camp towers outline the US-Mexico border, just as such fences and the Mediterranean Moat block the passage into Europe. If Capital destroys the society here, its people cannot be allowed to migrate there.
The West believes that it is acceptable for it to overthrow governments and bomb its enemies in the lands of the Third World. It sees this as the limit of its humanitarianism. It calls this humanitarian interventionism or, in the language of the UN, “responsibility to protect” (R2P). When it breaks states, as it did in Libya, the West takes no responsibility for the broken lives of the people in those zones. Bombs are borderless. But war refugees must stand in queues and be held in concentration camps. They are not allowed freedom of movement.
... But there is a solidarity forged of their shared experience. Even at the height of divergence, there is still fraternity: “excuse me my brother, I think you are wrong”.
And a consistent theme, a single word, emerges over several hours of conversation with Manus Island’s refugees, that same word Mohsen keeps mentioning: freedom.
They write it on banners, mark it on their bodies, and litter it through their conversations, a shibboleth that is both idee fixe and unattainable goal.
They are still not free. And they don’t know, they can’t see, how they ever will be.
Mohsen is exhausted, almost broken, by the struggle.
“It has been two years in hell. I don’t care about your policy, I don’t care about your politics. I am tired. I am sick. I just want to get out of this cage. Send me away. Hand me over to the UN. Just let me be free.” ...
A life in limbo: The refugees who fled torture only to end up incarcerated indefinitely by the Australian government on Manus Island [Guardian – 5/9/15]
Pleas from #ManusProtest ...
Image: @rranwa [16/1/15]
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
The great achievement of this movement was to send a message of freedom to people all around the globe.
Message from #Manus via @shanebazzi:
Hello dear Australians,
Thirsty Manus has been quenched after fourteen days.
To every single person who is concerned about human rights and freedom:
What you are reading is our message from Manus. Manus is a place that has many similarities with Guantanamo prison. As a matter of fact, it is known as Australian Guantanamo.
More than nine hundred people, nine hundred champions, carried out the largest hunger strike in the history in order to inform the world about the oppressed sound of their innocence.
Today, 27th of January 2015, after more than fourteen days of struggle between oppressor and oppressed, between black and white, wrong and right, rich and poor, the hunger strike is ended while it has indicated the willpower and determination of the oppressed people who had fled from persecutors of their countries and sought asylum in Australia.
But it is unfortunate that these days Australia does not bear signs of having commitment to human rights.
Australian people, what you were told about the situation of Manus Island by the Liberal government during these fourteen days was an absolute lie. Similar to previous movements, this movement was also a peaceful one without any type of violence from our side.
In order to solve problems, we strongly believe in negotiating principles.
It is unbelievable that people from every walk of life and different civil societies such as High Court of Australia remain silent in regards to this cruelty in the name of national interest. This unequal struggle has been finished today while the United Nations does not make any comments on this incident at all.
The great achievement of this movement was to send a message of freedom to people all around the globe.
A message of freedom which has been only a dream and a desire for us so far, however, we are hoping to celebrate the fulfilment of our deisre in the not too distant future with the assistance of Australian people, human rights organisations, lawyers, journalists, refugee advocates, reporters, politicians, various political parties including The Greens, Nationals, Palmer United, Labor, and at last, those members of Liberal party who still care about humanity and are concerned about the future of Australia.
At the end I would like to express my gratitutde to those people, either in Asutralia or other parts of the world, who commiserate with us and who support us in different ways during this period. In fact, your support gives us a lot of encouragement and develops our ability to continue our efforts in this rough and difficult path.
Speak for me. #refugees #Manus image by crowcries
Image: @creativecatjk [20/1/15]
Guardian [VIDEO - 23/1/15]:
... Video footage obtained by Guardian Australia shows dozens of asylum seekers and refugees held in a single, windowless prison cell.
There is no furniture in the cell. Almost all the men lie close together and motionless in tight lines on the floor.
A man speaking on the video – whose voice has been altered to avoid identification – alleged the men were beaten by security guards employed by Wilson and by police while in custody.
“They have beaten everyone in this camp. We are totalling 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us,” he said.
The video shows marks on some of the men’s bodies.
It ends abruptly when a noise is heard, apparently outside the cell.
Resettlement from Nauru: A cautionary tale [Australian Institute of International Affairs - 2/9/15]:
On Tuesday 1 September, Jane McAdam addressed a substantial crowd at Glover Cottages about Nauru and refugees. With a doctorate in law from Oxford, Jane is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW. She has published widely on international refugee law and forced migration.
Jane told a depressing tale. From 1920 (before which Nauru was a German possession) until 1968, Australia, New Zealand and the UK Phosphate Commission were exploiting phosphate reserves on Nauru.
This generated billions of dollars of revenue, a proportion of it going into Nauruan coffers. But most of this was lost through corruption and mishandling.
The United Nations regarded the phosphate miners as having a moral obligation to re-settle Nauruans once the phosphate ran out.
Over the years, several Australian governments beginning with those of Robert Menzies came up with a number of proposals, including giving Nauruans an Australian island, re-settling them in Australia, or distributing them among other Pacific islands.
But Hammer DeRoburt, Nauru’s founding president, his successors, and the Nauruan people themselves, opposed all proposals on the grounds that they would lose their identity if dispersed or relocated.
So on Nauru, now a despoliated island of which only the rim remains free from mining depredation, 10,500 people continue to pursue their lives. Added to its problems, Nauru has reluctantly become a prison camp along with Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for boat people attempting to reach Australia.
The Abbott government is coy about details, but unofficial estimates are 1,200 refugees on Nauru and around 950 on Manus.
At colossal and disproportionate expense, four from Nauru have in the last few days been relocated in Cambodia.
According to sources available to Jane, the refugees on Nauru (and Manus) have well-found fears of being assaulted and raped by disgruntled and unsympathetic locals and, allegedly, some guards.
Resettlement among the Nauruan population seems impossible. The culture is alien and jobs are unavailable. Single male refugees complain of being treated like animals with no future, no meaning and no hope.
Some say that in their own countries, the Taliban or ISIS would kill them quickly by cutting their throats. But on Nauru, they are being killed slowly.
Meanwhile, the commercial company Transfield and its affiliate Wilson Security, have renewed their multi-million contract with the Australian government to continue to administer the camps for the next five years.
The situation is intolerable, but relief would appear to be a long way off.
In response to a question, Jane said it is very difficult to find out whether refugee flows to Australia have remained strong, constant or have tapered off as a result of the harsh reality on Nauru and Manus.
Whether more or fewer refugees are drowning at sea cannot be discerned from government statements. Such statistics are said to be part of ‘on water’ operations.
Not #StrongEnough to resist the forces of atomisation and reactionary bipartisanism which are tearing this country apart, or #StrongEnough to recognise that Australians can see right through compartmentalising PR stunts?
@RichardDiNatale [5/9/15]: Today, w @sarahinthesen8, Joyce Chia @OzRefugeeCounc & Rev BobMaguire, I call on the gov to welcome #Syrian refugees
But you can't also mention that Australia hasn't accepted UNHCR refugees for nearly a year, and/or DEMAND the government start meeting its obligations under the UN Refugee Convention, along with the immediate end to indefinite immigration detention?
Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale is calling on the Australian government to initiate an emergency intake of 20,000 refugees fleeing sectarian violence in Syria's ongoing civil war, where over 250,000 men, women and children have already died.
"Four million people are fleeing war in Syria. Two million of those are children. To welcome 20,000 of them into our community would be such an honourable and dignified response from Australia," Senator Di Natale said.
"Most Australians have been deeply moved by the horrific images we're seeing of this escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria, and in neighbouring countries where desperate men, women and children are seeking safety.
"Australians regularly lend a helping hand in the wake of natural disasters at home and overseas. It's time for us to extend our hand to Syrian refugees. We are strong enough to offer protection.
"I have written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton requesting this emergency intake.
"Refugees from Syria aren't seeking a better life; they are running for their lives.
"There's no question Australia was enriched by the migration that occurred after World War II and the Vietnam War. Today the situation is just as dire. The need is just as great.
"We are a lucky country and strong enough to offer people safety and respite from war," Senator Di Natale said.
The Greens are also calling for an extra $150 million to be directed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to assist those fleeing the crisis in Syria.
"Australia has an opportunity to do something great here. We have the strength, the capacity and the generosity to support people who are seeking safety," said Greens immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
"$150 million is about a tenth of what the Abbott government is spending on locking up refugees offshore every year. This relatively small amount would make a world of difference to the UNHCR, and to those who have been affected by this terrible war.
"I've been to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, and have helped rescue people in the Mediterranean. The need is great and, as Australians, we have to play our part."
Secret freeze on refugee citizenship processes [The Saturday Paper – 5/9/15]:
... After being alerted to the widespread delays in awarding citizenship for refugees, the Refugee Council of Australia began an online survey to find the patterns. Since it was launched two weeks ago, more than 160 refugees have responded, saying their citizenship is not being processed. A further 50 people have attended the council’s offices to raise their concerns.
“The common thread between these people is that the vast majority of them arrived seeking protection in Australia by boat,” the council’s chief executive, Paul Power, says.
“The evidence we have collated suggests this denial of citizenship for those who arrived by boat appears to have started around the time the present government was elected. We have contacted the minister for immigration to clarify if there has been a change of policy, because nothing on this front has been made public. He has not responded as yet.” ...
So, please we beg you to use your privilege ... use your rights to bring justice to this unjust crisis.
Please get up and speak up, so tomorrow there will be no place on this beautiful earth for evils doer to make this kind of crisis elsewhere.
[Australia has been incarcerating, for nearly two years, 100 Rohingya in Manus and 50 on Nauru.]
Statements from Rohingya refugees incarcerated on Manus Island read out at Perth rally [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 22/5/15]
In Myanmar, only lip service is paid to Rohingya rights; business is the priority [Equal Times - 4/9/15]:
Nearly a decade and a half ago, blogger-activist Nay San Lwin fled his native Myanmar to campaign for the rights of his fellow Rohingya.
Lwin says the predominantly Muslim ethnic group is being largely ignored as the Burmese regime’s relations warm with an outside world eager to do business with the petroleum-rich country.
This year thousands of Rohingya fled worsening persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh to neighbouring south-east Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates 25,000 left in boats from January to March alone. Lwin accuses the Myanmar government of “systematic ethnic cleansing.”
How can the international community put pressure on the Myanmar government to help bring about change?
European governments keep condemning this violence and discrimination – the US government has done the same. But the problem is Aung San Suu Kyi was very positive to this general (President and former general Thein Sein), and asked the European and US governments to lift the sanctions. Due to fact the sanctions are lifted, the Burmese government no longer cares. They say the Rohingya people are illegal immigrants. Now after almost three years, they are not doing anything to restore the citizenship of the Rohingya people as they promised. The international community need to impose sanctions again. But nobody will do that, so we have to suffer more. They are pulling for time. They all invested already, there are a lot of projects [here in Myanmar]. They put business on top and give human rights lip service; they don’t do anything for human rights.
When will you return home?
I have no hope. My grandfather was a government civil servant, I come from a family of civil servants. We used to be citizens of Burma but our family passports were burned by a Burmese official. My parents went to the UK. I am a German resident.
If the situation changes, will you return to Myanmar?
A Rohingya social worker has been kidnapped in mysterious circumstances from the Bangladesh border town of Teknaf on Thursday. His whereabouts are unknown till filing of the report Friday night. ... [Burma Times - 5/9/15]
Myanmar activist in court as land crackdown deepens, rights groups say [First Post -5/9/15]
In this photo by Tsering Topgyal, a Rohingya refugee sews inside her slum on the outskirts of New Delhi. According to the U.N. refugee agency, around 9,000 Rohingya refugees are registered in the capital and thousands more who are not registered live elsewhere in India. In New Delhi, most of them lead impoverished lives in tented settlements dotted around the city. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority numbering around 1.3 million in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship and restricts their movement, and many thousands have tried to flee. [ABC News - 4/9/15]
The drums are beating louder about a potential $10.2 billion Woodside Petroleum move on Papua New Guinea oil and gas player Oil Search.
Independent sources in London and Port Moresby have pointed to plans for a hostile approach set to be made by the Australian player, despite an obvious hurdle in the shape of the PNG government's stake in Oil Search.
Market sources suggested Bank of America Merrill Lynch may be involved in the transaction. ... [Australian Financial Review - 3/9/15]
The CEO of Australian company Woodside, Mr Peter Coleman, and Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, HE Nicholas Coppel, met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss Woodside's investment in Myanmar on 12 May 2015. Australian Embassy in Myanmar
Woodside takes up more acreage in Myanmar with BG [Australian Financial Review – 23/3/15]
A signature campaign was launched in Jaffna today calling for an international accountability mechanism to examine mass atrocities committed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, where tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed. … [Tamil Guardian – 4/9/15]
Papuan students call on Jokowi to withdraw military
Jakarta Post [4/9/15]:
Dozens of Papuan students demonstrated on Friday in Malang, East Java, calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to bring an end to violence in the eastern-most Indonesian province of Papua by, among other things, withdrawing the military from the province.
Two Papuans were killed – Imanuel Mailmaur and Yulianus Okoware, both aged 23 – and two others injured – Marthinus Apokapo (24) and Marthinus Imapula (25) – when two soldiers opened fire on Aug. 28 in Timika, Papua.
The protesters also demanded that the President ensure that the Indonesian Military (TNI) carry out a proper investigation into the shootings so that the culprits could be prosecuted.
“We know that Indonesia is a country governed by the law, so, investigate and prosecute those who shot the Papuans,” said Nhoten Suhuniap, a spokesperson for the action held at Malang City Hall as quoted by tempo.co.
According to the protesters, the withdrawal of the military will end the violence in Papua.
During the demonstration, they also revealed the alleged kidnapping and torture of civilians on Aug. 27 this year.
“It was a serious human rights abuse,” said Suhuniap, adding that more than 500,000 Papuan people had been killed since 1963.
They also demanded that President Jokowi fulfill his promise to give greater access to foreign journalists coming to Papua.
The demonstrators carried various posters and banners, their messages including: “Self-determination is the solution”, “Democracy for the Papuan people” and “Stop exploiting Papua’s wealth”.
Dozens of police officers guarded the demonstration, allowing the protesters to safely voice their views.
“The most important thing is that the demonstration is held peacefully. Police officers are only keeping an eye out,” said Malang Deputy chief Comr.
Indonesia's sudden scrapping of high-speed bullet train leaves top investors confused
Straits Times [4/9/15]:
Indonesia's 11th-hour decision to scrap plans for the nation's first high-speed railway has sown confusion among top investors China and Japan, potentially undermining the strong foreign investment that has been a rare economic bright spot.
China and Japan had been battling over the multi-billion dollar contract, until it was abruptly pulled in what appeared to be the latest in a series of regulatory flip-flops and erratic policy-making moves under President Joko Widodo.
Indonesia's chief economics minister was left to explain to the two Asian giants on Friday the reason why Jakarta decided at the last-minute that a bullet train was no longer viable for South-east Asia's largest economy.
"It looks like a sudden move because the recommendation was made after a review of both proposals," Teten Masduki, presidential chief of staff, told Reuters.
"But the recommendation is in the best interest of the country."
Tokyo and Beijing had lobbied heavily for the US$5 billion (S$7 billion) contract, each sweetening the terms of their bids up until Monday's deadline.
Analysts believed that whoever had won would likely have been the front-runner for future high-speed rail projects in Asia, including one linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
"It was the recommendation from independent consultants that suggested to the government that a medium-speed rail was a better option because the cost is cheaper and the time of the journey isn't much longer," Masduki said.
President Widodo announced late Thursday that a bullet train between the capital Jakarta and the textile town of Bandung was unnecessary, since it would never reach its maximum speed of more than 300 km per hour in between station stops.
The administration instead advocated a slower train for the 150 km journey and asked China, Japan, and others to submit new proposals.
"Consequently, both proposals extended by our government and the Chinese government are not accepted," Yasuaki Tanizaki, Japan's ambassador to Indonesia, told reporters on Friday.
"I have expressed my regrets."
The train was initially intended to be the first instalment of a 763-km rail link connecting Indonesia's two biggest cities, Jakarta and Surabaya. The presidential palace said it still wanted to build a bullet train covering the entire Java island.
A Chinese embassy official in Jakarta declined to comment until more information was provided by Indonesia. "The project was a priority for China because it would have been one of the first and most visible manifestations of President Xi Jinping's 'One Belt, One Road' overseas investment drive," said Tom Rafferty, Beijing-based analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
"Chinese firms have not always been sensitive to political risk in foreign markets but on this occasion the lobbying and marketing effort was extensive. The decision therefore seems likely to dim China's confidence in the Indonesian market."
Japanese ambassador Tanizaki said he did not think Thursday's decision would affect Japan's investment in the country. He said Tokyo was waiting for details on the medium-speed rail project before deciding whether to participate.
The road to Thursday's decision was particularly bumpy for Tokyo, which had initially believed it won the contract in March after completing a more than US$3 million feasibility study. But Indonesia decided to invite other offers in order to get the best deal.
Japan is Indonesia's second largest investor and is no stranger to the uncertainty surrounding major infrastructure projects in the world's fourth most populous country.
Japanese firms have been waiting four years to build a US$4 billion coal-fired power plant, Southeast Asia's biggest, and were told by President Widodo last week that construction was now set to start.
But obstacles still stand in the way with dozens of landowners refusing to give up their paddy fields, leaving investors still uncertain on when ground will finally be broken.
"The cumulative effect of delays on a number of projects could send a bad signal to investors," said Paul Rowland, a Jakarta-based political analyst. "It's clear that the president is frustrated with the pace of things."
India bars Greenpeace unit from receiving foreign funds
India has cancelled a licence allowing Greenpeace's local unit to receive donations from abroad, the environmental group says.
Greenpeace called it "another attempt to silence criticism".
In April, the government blocked the group's bank accounts, accusing it of violating tax laws and working against India's economic interests.
In May, the Delhi high court ordered two accounts to be unfrozen and allowed them to collect domestic donations.
The foreign funding licence was cancelled on Thursday, a home ministry official told the BBC.
The government order is the latest in a series of actions aimed at Greenpeace and a number of other organisations whom the authorities have accused of working against the country's interests.
"It is yet another attempt to silence campaigns for a more sustainable future and transparency in public processes," Greenpeace India said in a statement released late on Thursday.
It said cutting access to its foreign funding was "a desperate attempt to get us to cease our work", but added that since a majority of the group's funding came from Indian citizens, most of their projects would continue.
Greenpeace, which has been present in India for 14 years and employs 340 people, says it has been targeted because of its campaigns on issues such as pollution and harmful pesticides.
In April, while freezing its bank accounts for six months, the government accused Greenpeace of not fully declaring the amount of foreign funds it brings into the country.
India has also accused the environmental group of "stalling development projects" by protesting against large infrastructure plans.
Since coming to power in May last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has cracked down on several non-governmental organisations. Critics have accused him of showing undemocratic tendencies.
Earlier this year, India cancelled the registration of nearly 9,000 foreign-funded groups, saying they did not comply with the country's tax codes.
Alpha Coal Project: Supreme Court dismisses conservation group's claim against Gina Rinehart, GVK venture
A conservation group's challenge to Gina Rinehart and GVK's Alpha Coal Project in the Galilee Basin has been dismissed in Queensland's Supreme Court.
The open cut mine, located 130 kilometres south-west of Clermont, is expected to produce 30 million tonnes of coal per year, creating up to 3,600 construction jobs and 990 operational jobs.
Landholders and environment group Coast and Country had fought to halt the project, claiming it would have a dire impact on groundwater and biodiversity in the region.
The decision is a win for the miners and upholds a Land Court recommendation that the central Queensland project be either rejected or approved only with rigorous water conditions.
Today the court said the application by Coast and Country was premature, as the Land Court decision was merely a recommendation.
The group has been ordered to pay costs.
Grazier Bruce Currie was in Brisbane to hear the outcome, despite not being party to the court action.
"We're very disappointed with the judge's decision. If this mine goes ahead it will take away all our ground water, which in effect will destroy our business," he said.
"It's a business of my family, my wife and my children, have worked on for our life and it will send us bankrupt.
"We came to the court for justice and I think the system has failed us."
Worker injured at FMG's Cloudbreak mine in the Pilbara; Department of Mines to investigate [ABC – 4/9/15]
Resources industry red tape is up for an overhaul as the Palaszczuk Government asks industry and stakeholders about how to improve current tenure and permit systems. ... [Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Media Release - 4/9/15]
Queen St Mall welcomes wildlife for Threatened Species Day [Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Media Release - 4/9/15]
Independent MP Billy Gordon wants donations investigation to examine both parties
Brisbane Times [4/9/15]:
Queensland independent MP Billy Gordon has joined calls for the Labor government to widen an inquiry into political donations.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants an inquiry to focus on the Liberal National Party and the previous Newman government's decisions, but Mr Gordon says it's in the public interest to put all parties and their donors under the microscope.
"I think it's really important for voters out there to get a clear idea about what kind of political donations parties are getting and who they're receiving them from," the former Labor MP told AAP.
Armed robbery charges, Coombabah and Southport [QPS Media - 5/9/15]
Armed Robbery, Rochedale South [QPS Media - 5/9/15]
Robbery with violence, Logan Central [QPS Media - 5/9/15]
Armed Robbery of a taxi driver, Logan Central [QPS Mediaa - 5/9/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Redbank Plains [QPS Media - 4/9/15]
Businessman's killer jailed for life over brutal love triangle murder [Yahoo – 4/9/15]
Morcombes launch creepy phone app [ABC – 4/9/15]
Police arrest man after military style spectacle of force at west Melbourne home [Nine MSN – 4/9/15]
Anti rights arrest, Drewvale [QPS Media - 4/9/15]
Two teenage prison escapees, including one convicted of joyriding in Bronco Darius Boyd's car, have been taken into custody.
Police say they found Hayley Gillespie and Mary Brimble, both 19, at a Loganholme address south of Brisbane in the early hours of Saturday.
Both have been charged with escaping lawful custody and are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court later on Saturday. [Yahoo - 5/9/15]
Serious traffic crash, Kuranda
QPS Media [4/9/15]:
A man has died in a single vehicle traffic crash in Kuranda this afternoon.
Initial investigations suggest at 12.10pm, a light truck rolled on the Kennedy Highway near the Barron River Bridge.
The driver and sole occupant of the truck, a 57-year-old man from Woree was pronounced deceased upon arrival at Cairns Base Hospital.
One lane of the Kennedy Highway is currently open with traffic control in place.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Fatal traffic crash, Blue Mountain Heights [QPS Media - 5/9/15]
Woman spends 7 hours trapped in her car in the Gold Coast hinterland [MYGC – 4/9/15]
Pedestrian struck by CAT bus in Goderich Street, East Perth [WA Today - 4/9/15]
Teenager dies after being hit by 4WD, Australind [WA Today - 4/9/15]
Speeding driver found guilty of culpable driving in fatal pedestrian crash [Canberra Times - 4/9/15]
A man has died after an alleged police pursuit at Kambah in Canberra's south.
The man was in one of three vehicles involved in the accident on the corner of Drakeford Drive and Marconi Crescent in Tuggeranong about 6:00pm on Friday.
At least two people had to be cut from the wreckage and taken to hospital with serious injuries, after their car was wrapped around a light pole.
Another car was sitting nearby on its roof. ... [ABC - 5/9/15]
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws.
The emails support reports from Guardian Australia in March, showing that Syrians detained offshore told Australian immigration department officials they would be killed if they returned to Syria, but the department facilitated plans for their repatriation nonetheless.
This included sharing asylum-seeker identity documents with the Syrian consulate in Australia, booking flights via Jordan, and endeavouring to issue an “ultimatum” to force them into a decision on repatriation, despite a number of them being severely mentally ill.
At no point in any of the disclosed emails is conflict in Syria, which has seen more than 100,000 people die and 2.56 million refugees flee the civil war, discussed. And at no point are concerns about the asylum seekers’ safety back in Syria articulated. ... [Guardian - 14/8/14]
New York Times [4/9/15]:
At about noon on Friday, a wild-haired Syrian migrant who goes by the nickname Abu al-Majd began circulating through the underground concourse of Budapest's Keleti train station with a bullhorn exhorting fellow migrants to start walking.
Soon a line of young men began trailing after him, carrying blanket rolls and other possessions. The line grew, and within a few minutes this Pied Piper of Keleti was leading about 200 people out of the train station and down Rakoczi Street toward the Danube River.
The march was spontaneous.
Soon other migrants still in Keleti grabbed their things and scurried after the lead group. They walked across the Danube over a suspension bridge and then turned west towards the Austrian border. By the time they reached the M1 highway leading out of Budapest, their numbers had swollen to at least 1,000.
There was an old man in a wheelchair. There were small children in flip-flops, pregnant women, mothers pushing strollers. A group of young men slowed down to make sure that families with children would not be separated from the rest.
5 September 2015