What data is being collected in OneSchool about my child?
... OneSchool Release One, which was deployed in state schools in 2008, enables users to view and/or record student information including:
personnel and contact details
record of contact
academic achievement to produce academic reports
behaviour - positive and negative
individual student plan goals for students with specific education requirements
OneSchool Release Two enables teachers to plan curriculum, schedule assessment tasks, and record assessment data.
Release Three covers the necessary financial requirements in schools, as well as student and asset management modules.
Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Media Release [6/8/15]:
Today the Acting Deputy Director-General, Corporate Services, of the Department of Education and Training has voluntarily stood down as investigations into the failed implementation of the OneSchool Student Protection Reporting module continue.
It was confirmed today that after a manual check of all 3,822 OneSchool reports to child safety and police it was found 27 reports of suspected child abuse that should have been provided to Child Safety had not been received due to an IT failure in the Department of Education and Training.
All 27 reports are now with Child Safety.
I have directed the Director-General of the Department to broaden Deloitte’s independent investigation to examine all issues relating to the online student protection reporting system since its introduction in September 2013.
The safety and wellbeing of Queensland’s students is my number one priority and I am committed to ensuring the systems we have in place to report suspected child abuse protect our children.
Queensland bureaucrat steps down after IT glitch blocked school abuse reports [Guardian - 6/8/15]
You can search QTender Awarded Contracts here.
Dutton is able to continue spewing a demented, lying ideology because there is no opposition and Australia's human rights establishment are corrupt and/or silent
Handwringing about being wedged is mistaken - protecting this unnacountability is as monstrous as the actual human rights atrocity.
Amnesty Australia has plenty to say on the Mediterranean tragedy, but NOTHING to say about Dutton's extraordinary refoulement admission/stunt?
Minister - OSB marks milestone - year with no boats [Media Release – 6/8/15]:
Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) has effectively rebuffed people smugglers with the month of July marking one year without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia.
Since boat turn-backs began under OSB in December 2013 only one illegal entry vessel has arrived in Australia - in July last year - with the 157 illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) on board transferred to Nauru.
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said there had been numerous attempts by people smugglers to test our resolve in the last year, but all had failed in the face of disciplined and concerted action by the Australian Border Force and Australian Defence Force under OSB.
Mr Dutton said a high level of vigilance was needed to ensure the integrity of Australia’s borders was maintained.
“The crime syndicates behind people smuggling are continually trying to penetrate our borders, but they stand warned that under the Abbott Coalition Government they will be met with a determined and strong response under OSB,” Mr Dutton said.
“Importantly since December 2013 there have been no lives lost at life at sea in stark contrast to the Labor years when 1200 people died on perilous journeys in unsafe boats,” Mr Dutton said.
Today’s OSB monthly update shows an illegal vessel did attempt to breach Australia’s borders in July, but did not succeed.
“The group of illegal maritime arrivals on board were returned to their country of origin emphasising the ongoing vigilance that is needed to stop the boats and keep them stopped.”
Since December 2013, OSB has safely returned 633 potential illegal arrivals aboard 20 ventures to their countries of departure.
Over the 12 months since the last venture making it to Australia, 235 potential illegal immigrants from eight boats have been returned safely to their countries of departure.
“I congratulate the dedicated and professional Border and Defence Force personnel who are constantly on the waters off Australia safeguarding our borders,” Mr Dutton said.
Fiction in the Murdoch Press - Shock! ----> ... Kim Rubenstein, director of the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University, says President Waqa is giving readers an imaginative version of life on Nauru.
Professor Rubenstein is one of 80 prominent legal academics from Australia and New Zealand who have written to their respective governments expressing concern over the Nauru situation. [AUDIO - ABC - 6/8/15]
... Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy has died on Elcho Island, north-east of Darwin, after being run over by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. ... Motorcyclist dead after accident in Darwin, boy run over on Elcho Island [ABC - 6/8/15]
At least four Palestinians were killed on Thursday and over 30 injured when an unexploded ordnance from last summer's Israeli military offensive went off while clearing rubble from a destroyed house in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said. ... [Maan - 4/8/15]
United Nations human rights experts today condemned the execution in Pakistan of Shafqat Hussein, who was reportedly 14 years old when he was convicted of murder, and called on the country to strengthen the protection of children. ... [Media Release - 5/8/15]
Bombing in southern Thailand kills soldier, injures 4 [The Nation - 6/8/15]
Truck bomb in eastern Afghanistan kills at least six, wounds dozens [Reuters - 6/8/15]
2 journalists beaten by public representatives in Ghazni [Pajhwok - 5/8/15]
Arrest made over Mexican photojournalist's murder [Al Jazeera - 6/8/15]
Are journalists and activists safe anywhere in Mexico? [Democracy Now - 4/8/15]
Boko Haram kills nine fishermen by Lake Chad: fisherman, survivor [Ahram - 5/8/15]
Saudi warplanes have carried out attacks against civilian targets in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada.
According to reports on Thursday, Saudi assaults targeted a girls’ school and several residential blocks in the town of Zahyan in Sa’ada.
Saudi warplanes also pounded the Baqim and Kitaf regions in Sa’ada, the reports added. ... [Press TV - 6/8/15]
At least 30 killed or injured in 3 separate Baghdad bombings [RUDAW - 5/8/15]
Police kill gunman at Nashville movie theatre [Reuters – 5/8/15]
US begins using Turkey air bases to bomb Syria [Naharnet - 5/8/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [5/8/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, five airstrikes struck five ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL bunker, seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ar Raqqah, two airstrikes struck two large ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL container, three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL building.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter-attack, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Fallujah, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL structures.
-- Near Hit, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Makhmur, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL bunker, 15 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL weapons cache, three ISIL fighting positions and six ISIL bunkers.
-- Near Ramadi, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Sinjar, eight airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and seven ISIL staging areas and destroyed an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
Latest tragedy highlights urgent need for increased rescue capacity [Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Media Release - 5/8/15]
LÉ Niamh rescues 367 migrants after boat capsizes off Libya coast [Irish Times - 5/8/15]:
The LÉ Niamh has rescued 367 migrants, after a fishing boat capsized 110km north-west of Libya’s coast on Wednesday.
It is believed there were 600 people on board the ship when the LÉ Niamh arrived at the scene at 11.45am.
A statement from the Defence Forces Press Office said two rhibs (rigid hull inflatable boats) were deployed either side of the vessel, “as per standard operating procedure, however the vessel capsized. The LÉ Niamh immediately deployed all available assets including rhibs and life rafts.”
“ The Italian vessel the Mimbelli sent a helicopter to the scene to deploy additional life rafts and two further vessels, the Italian Sirio and Médecins Sans Frontières Dignity 1 are on site assisting with the efforts.
“It can now be confirmed that 367 rescued people are on board (342 male, 12 female and 13 children) the LÉ Niamh and 25 bodies have also been recovered. The operation is ongoing.”
Officials have yet to determine what caused the capsizing.
The vessel reportedly left from the city of Zuwara in the northwest of Libya early on Wednesday morning.
The LÉ Niamh has been carrying out rescue and recovery operations in the Mediterranean in recent weeks.
The Irish Naval vessel, under the command of Lieut Cdr Daniel Wall, had rescued 1,280 migrants up to last Tuesday since taking over from the LÉ Eithne in the Mediterranean earlier this month.
Czech Republic: Refugee released from detention following court ruling [ČTK - 4/8/15]:
Candlelight Vigil for Mohammad Nasim Najafi: Murdered by Mandatory Detention
Hosted by Refugee Rights Action Network WA:
Friday, August 7 at 5:30pm
Perth Cultural Centre
47 James Street Mall, Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia
Nasim was a young man who fled Afghanistan after witnessing his father being killed by the Taliban. He sought safety and protection, but instead we gave him death.
A few weeks ago Nasim was bashed by section 501 detainees, he had begged to be removed from Yongah Hil IDC, as he did not feel safe. He spent the days prior to his death in an observation room often used for suicidal asylum seekers.
The cause of his death is not known, however we have been told that Nasim complained of medical issues, we have been told an ambulance was requested but these requests went unheeded, we have been told that Serco officers laughed as Nasim's life slipped away from him...
Young men in their 20's generally do not die of heart attacks. A full inquest must be held to determine how this Nasim's life was prematurely taken from him. This sensitive and poetic young man died alone in a solitary room in a detention centre, after being bashed and denied the medical care he requested.
Nasim is not the first young man to die in Immigration Detention and he will not be the last if these punitive policies are allowed to continue.
Please join friends and community members at a candlelight vigil to remember and pay respects to Nasim's life and call for an end to the unjust imprisonment of all those who have sought safety in Australia.
Defying the Border Force Act: Speaking out against detention cruelty, 1 September 2015 [Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)]
PNG: Human Rights Inquiry (Number 1) into Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island declared null and void
A three men Supreme Court bench has unanimously declared that a Human Rights Judicial Inquiry into the Manus Asylum Seekers Centre by the National Court was null and void because there was clear evidence of apprehended bias and breach of natural Justice.
This follows an appeal by the State and the Chief Migration officer Rabura Mataio questioning the relationship between the Judge that ordered it, Justice David Cannings and the key expert witness, Dr Crouch-Chivers.
Senior Supreme Court Judge Justice Bernard Sakora on behalf of Justices’ Les Gavera Nanu and Martin Ipang in their combine decision said: "This was a case that ought not to have been embarked upon in the manner the learned primary Judge did. In doing so it raised serious issue of proper jurisdiction.
“During the time of appointment of witness Dr Crouch-Chivers by the court, His Honour (Cannings) failed to draw attention to his connection being a personal friend and of long connection to the witness,” stated Justice Sakora.
On March 6, 2014 Justice Cannings appointed Dr Crouch-Chivers as an expert witness and a Specialist Consultant to inspect, examine and evaluate the provision of clinical and public health services at the detention centre.
The inquiry was aimed at discovering possible breaches, abuses of the rights and freedom of the asylum seekers at the Manus Island Detention Centre.
On March 14, 2014 the State and Chief Migration Officer, Rabura Mataio filed a court application for Justice Cannings to disqualify himself on the grounds of apprehended bias because the two men knew each other.
The Supreme Court also found a second issue regarding the judicial inquiry.
Certain persons issued with summons appeared before the court beginning February 27, 2014 but were never given an opportunity to be heard by the court.
The court in a 32-paged combined decision said this amounted to a serious breach of natural justice.
Australian Government paid PNG’s legal bills to halt human rights inquiry into Manus [Human Rights Law Centre Media Release - 27/5/14]
On the Couch with Jay Williams [Justinian - 11/4/14]:
... What did your work on Manus Island involve?
I sought leave and was granted orders to represent the "Group of 75 Detainees" before the National Court Inquiry PNG into the Alleged Violation of Human Rights presided by Justice Cannings.
I was also acting as an Australian lawyer seeking instructions for Australian actions.
What will happen to the evidence you collected on behalf of Justice Cannings' human rights investigation?
On April 15, 2014, the Second National Court Inquiry PNG by Justice Cannings will hear applications for contempt of court charges against the PNG Minister of Immigration for allegedly ejecting the public solicitor and myself from the camp and from PNG in breach of court orders.
If that succeeds, I hope to be granted leave to appear and present the evidence to the Inquiry.
If the First and Second Inquiries are stayed, the "Group of 75 Detainees" have commenced action off their own motion, which will rely on that evidence.
In Australia formal complaints to the AHRC and the UNHCR and the Senate Inquiry are underway.
Hopefully the evidence will find its way before a court or inquiry.
What did you discover about the plight of asylum seekers on Manus Island, and will their claims be properly processed?
The Barristers Rules prevent me from commenting in terms of my own personal views.
However, in the writ of summons filed in PNG, it is alleged by the group of 75 detainees that the PNG and Australia governments have committed high international crimes - in particular:
1. The plaintiffs claim they were forcibly deported in violation of Article 7 – Crimes Against Humanity - of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
2. The plaintiffs claim they are arbitrarily and indefinitely detained.
3. The plaintiffs claim they are detained in torturous, inhuman and degrading conditions.
4. The plaintiffs claim they are detained without access to legal representation, judicial review or a fair hearing.
5. The plaintiffs claim they have suffered serious and profound harm as a result of the alleged malfeasance by the Australian and PNG governments.
PNG Edge [20/3/14]:
Four witnesses were brought in to be cross examined yesterday at the Judge Cannings Inquiry into allegations of human rights breaches.
When the court resumed at 9am yesterday morning, the Immigration officer and the witnesses had not arrived and Justice Cannings asked Mr Frazer Pitpit, lawyer representing the Transferees if they were still going to arrive. Mr Pitpit said yes, they will be arriving shortly.
Justice Cannings pointed out that the transferees giving evidence will release their Identity and will be recorded by the Court of PNG so their lawyer (Mr Pitpit) must point out in advance whether their ID should be suppressed.
Mr Pitpit then asked for the court to be adjourned briefly so they can be consulted on this. Mr Ian Molloy, representing the state, said an affidavit of a transferee containing his personal details was at risk of being seen by the public. He asked for those paragraphs to be struck out to avoid this risk and Justice Cannings made a formal order for the affidavit to be suppressed and removed from the court file until further order.
Mr Pitpit then sought guidance from the Court whether or not written Affidavits could be sufficient instead of Oral evidence because they have already visited the site and therefore can verify claims in the affidavits. Justice Cannings rejected that and preferred Oral evidence because their observations yesterday was not supposed to be used as evidence. Besides the witnesses wanted to talk in court and give evidence on what may not be observed by the Party.
The court was then adjourned briefly at 9:25am as requested by Mr Pitpit to have the transferees consulted before giving witness.
The Inquiry Resumed at 10: 05 am and the first witness was brought in for cross examination.
The focus of the Inquiry was to investigate if there were any human rights abuses or deprivation so the cross examinations were done based on the affidavits provided by the witnesses.
The witness was from Iraq and claimed to be a former body guard of an important person (not specified).
... He claimed that when they were leaving for Manus, Scott Morrison pointed his fingers at them and said, “In your dreams, you can never get to Australia” and he never forgot that moment. He felt homeless and stateless and felt he was not even considered a person seeking asylum and that he had no rights at all.
“I have been feeling like that ever since until this morning. Just by sitting in this court, I feel I have some rights and I am human”.
He said one thing that really hurts is the fact that they were never given the freedom to come out. They even prevent me from climbing a chair and looking at the sea, he said. He said they were always excited to go out for excursions and to sing and laugh but the management does something very bad to them at the end of the tour. They bring them to the airport and just let them look at the airport and it reminds them of going home or somewhere where they will have freedom. “We just stand there and cry, they just spoil our day and I think it was deliberate”. Obviously it was a psychological torment to them. He said, they must never bring them to the airport at the end of any excursion.
This witness is a Turk who lives in Iran. When cross examined by a lawyer from the Public Solicitors office, he said, he fled his country for politically related incidents. He was the member of a pro-Democratic Party and was threatened. He said that when he arrived, no one informed him of his rights. He did not complain too much about food but he said the heat at his camp is why the Transferees were restless and unhappy. He said there was a lot of delay in getting medical inspection when they requested and he was very unhappy with it. Although he could make calls home, calls to Iran are usually monitored so he uses the Internet to communicate more often.
When crossed examined by Mr Molloy, he revealed that they were forced to get on the plane at Christmas Island with their hands tied. He said the incident was filmed by some of his friends and uploaded on the internet but were removed by authorities. They were not certain where they were going when they got on the plane. Not sure whether it was Manus or Nauru. They only knew when they arrived in Manus and they said “Welcome to Manus”. He said they were told by Immigration officers they were going to be quarantined for 30 days after which they will be processed but its 7 seven months now and no processing has taken place.
When Justice Cannings asked the usual question: If this court finds evidence that Human Rights were breached, what orders would you like the court to make? He pleaded to the court to move them somewhere else for processing. They were feeling unsafe because of the recent incident and the transferee who died was his roommate so it was not a good feeling. Parts of his affidavit containing details of that incident were struck out from his affidavit earlier on as it was not the subject of this Inquiry.
"The boat that they came on has been scuttled": Australia gloats about refoulement of Vietnamese refugees
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed 46 asylum seekers were returned to Vietnam after their boat was intercepted off Western Australia last month.
The boat, carrying what was believed to be Vietnamese asylum seekers, was spotted by crew members on an oil tanker about 150 kilometres off WA's north-west coast.
At the time, a spokesperson for oil and gas company Modec said those on board appeared to be in good health.
Water police were called in to help locate the boat and the ABC understands an Australian Navy vessel followed later.
During the operation the Federal Government would not comment on the matter, but Mr Dutton now says the asylum seekers were sent back to where they came from.
"There were 46 people on a recent venture that did come from Vietnam, we have negotiated their return to Vietnam," Mr Dutton said.
"We have worked on a bilateral basis with the Vietnamese Government.
"The boat that they came on has been scuttled and we have been able to stare down that venture."
Mr Dutton said it was indicative the Federal Government's boat turn-back policy was working.
"We have a very clear policy in place and that is that people who seek to come to our country by boat illegally will not settle in our country," Mr Dutton said.
"We have a very good working relationship with the Vietnamese government, but we have these discussions, these negotiations on a case-by-case basis but we are working very well with the Vietnamese government.
"I want to thank them for the effort and for their support in relation to returning these 46 Vietnamese — to whom Australia owed no protection.
"Those people have arrived back safely ... a good outcome for Operation Sovereign Borders and a good outcome for the sovereignty of our nation."
Mr Dutton said Operation Sovereign Borders had stopped 20 boats, carrying 633 people from reaching Australia over the past 18 months.
More baseless gloating ----> Border officials saved lives of asylum seekers on boat they allegedly paid to turn back, says Operation Sovereign Borders commander [Sydney Morning Herald – 6/8/15]
Brave refugees who exposed Australia's boat crew payment not given right of reply, and their fate is unknown.
... A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees. [RNZI - 13/6/15]
... They were now in a detention centre at Kupang, in the Indonesian province of West Timor.
An accompanying photograph showed them holding up a sign saying: "Please try to understand our painful life New Zealand government and save our life, please".
A spokesperson for the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse said the Government had not received their letter.
She said they also could not claim asylum without being in New Zealand, but they could ask the Australian government for help. ...
Rote Ndao Police in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) rescued on Sunday night 65 asylum seekers stranded on waters around Landu Ti Island. ... [Jakarta Post - 1/6/15]
Myanmar: Monsoon rains and persecution
nothing inevitable in the death and displacement reported over the last week
- they are contingent on decisions made by the government, and they can be
Al Jazeera [5/8/15]:
This year's monsoon rains have been some of the worst to hit Myanmar in decades, leaving dozens dead and thousands displaced across the country.
As the scale of damage has become clearer, a sombre inevitability has pervaded the coverage of the devastation left by Cyclone Komen.
Yet the hardship faced by many in severely affected areas - particularly northern Kachin and Shan states, and western Rakhine State - is not primarily a result of the heavens.
Decades of persecution by the Myanmar government, which continues unabated today, is the chief driver of suffering in ethnic minority regions.
Following the collapse of a 17-year ceasefire in 2011, communities in both Kachin and northern Shan states have seen a dramatic escalation in hostilities between several ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and the Myanmar army, or Tatmadaw.
Human rights violations have followed on the heels of conflict. Attacks on civilians, destruction of homes and farm fields, sexual violence, torture, and restrictions on movement have been regularly reported from across these areas.
Human rights abuses - and fears of being caught in the crossfire - have displaced 100,000 people in Kachin State and thousands more in Shan State.
Given the instability and destruction in these areas, the monsoon rains often carry misery and death to communities living there.
Looking to Myanmar's west, the persecution faced by the beleaguered Rohingya population in Rakhine State has dominated headlines in recent months.
Some commentators have argued that the scale of abuses faced by the Rohingya amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Violent attacks on Rohingya communities and severe discrimination have caused an estimated 100,000 to flee Myanmar since 2012, and left around 140,000 languishing in squalid internally displaced persons' (IDP) camps.
The growth of extreme nationalist groups targeting the Rohingya has been abetted by the government, which has done little to rein in the hate speech and violence that has characterised the anti-Muslim movement.
Calls for the government to address the root causes of the Rohingya's plight have been ignored, and their exposure to the devastation wrought by yearly monsoon rains has only heightened as a result.
Worryingly, the situation faced by these populations looks set to deteriorate further.
Earlier in July, The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed that food rations to IDPs are to be cut by up to 20 percent, however, the WFP Myanmar office has decided to hold off on ration cuts until after the November harvest.
Increasingly, the burden to protect populations in Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine states is falling on grassroots groups.
"Aid to remote IDP camps in Kachin is overseen by local groups, not big international bodies," said Seng Zin, general secretary of the Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT).
"The government is not interested in IDPs. It's the smaller organisations that take responsibility for these communities. But the situation is getting harder every day."
With the spotlight increasingly focused on Naypyitaw, the government has found itself under pressure to meet its obligations under international humanitarian law.
In July, the government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) - reaffirming its commitment to safeguard the right to adequate food, housing, education, and means of subsistence.
Yet, as the government was signing on the dotted line, Tatmadaw troops were denying humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by fighting in Kachin state, and the flood waters in Rakhine State's many IDP camps were swelling.
For the government of Myanmar, the ratification of these standards seems to be more of a branding exercise than a meaningful pledge to safeguard people's welfare.
Nevertheless, the increased level of scrutiny the government has been willing to face does provide the opportunity for groups to demand accountability for ongoing abuses.
Later this year, the Myanmar government will undergo its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - a United Nations mechanism which serves as a regular marker of a country's progress in meeting internationally accepted human rights standards.
Dozens of national and international civil society organisations have submitted reports to the UPR, highlighting ongoing human rights abuses across the country.
The reports are unequivocal: displacement, state-sponsored violence and the denial of basic services in ethnic states are central to the vulnerability faced by these populations.
There is nothing inevitable in the death and displacement reported over the last week - they are contingent on decisions made by the government, and they can be stopped.
There are those who point to the more amenable attitude of the Myanmar government in recent years, arguing that this suggests a real desire to improve human rights in the country.
But giving credit for the real progress made should not detract from the government's continued failures, which disproportionately affect the country's most marginalised people.
The government's refusal to implement core human rights treaties amplifies the devastation at-risk communities face when the rainy season starts.
Unless the Myanmar government takes real, concrete steps to address the humanitarian situation in the country, and its own human rights record, the monsoon seasons will continue to be a harbinger of disaster for the country's most vulnerable populations.
David Baulk is a gender and development consultant, working with civil society organisations focusing on the human rights of women in Myanmar. He is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Correction, August 05, 2015: An earlier version of this article stated that The World Food Programme confirmed that food rations to IDPs are to be cut by up to 20 percent, however, the WFP Myanmar office has decided to hold off on ration cuts until after the November harvest.
Too little too late - and in any case, we await solid evidence: Australia gives $2 million in humanitarian assistance to Myanmar [Foreign Minister Media Release – 5/8/15]
Gang aims to feed children across New Zealand
A Waikato gang says child poverty is not going away, so it is ramping up efforts to feed hungry children across the country.
For the past four years, the Tribal Huks, from Ngaruawahia, have been making and delivering sandwiches to 31 schools in the region, feeding more than 400 students a day.
President Jamie Pink said it had now started a new trust to collect money to buy food for hungry children across all of New Zealand.
Mr Pink said he had high hopes for the Kai 4 the Future Foundation, which aimed to encourage people to pledge $5 a week for the cause.
"If 50,000 people pay $5 a week, that's $30 million a year and that's enough to send food to every school in the country and food will get to every hungry child," he said.
"That might seem far-fetched but you never know - you've got to start somewhere."
Mr Pink said while there is a stigma about being in a gang, he believed that would not affect the success of the foundation.
"We've been doing this for a while now, off our own backs. If we started doing this a few weeks or months ago I can understand that kind of skepticism, but it's been four years now."
Mr Pink said it would take a collaborative approach to solve the issue of child poverty and admitted he would like to see more done by the Government to help.
"I think the Government should step up, but what can we do, we're not going to sit around and wait for that to happen. It's got to be done."
The foundation's website is expected to be launched by the end of the week.
.... You should have stayed at home yesterday ...
'Enola Gay', Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) 
"Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence." - Wilfred Burchett
Burchett was the first westerner into Hiroshima after the atom bomb was dropped, arriving alone by train from Tokyo on September 2, the day of the formal surrender...His article in the 'Daily Express' on September 5, 1945, entitled 'The Atomic Plague', was the first public report to mention the effects of of radiation and nuclear fallout. (from Wikipedia)
Sadako Sasaki (January 7, 1943 – October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, near her home next to the Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan. Her Grandma rushed back to the house and was never to be seen again. Sadako is remembered through the story of a thousand origami cranes before her death, and is to this day a symbol of innocent victims of war. ...
.. On August 9, 1945, President Harry Truman delivered a radio address from the White House.
“The world will note,” he said, “that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”
He did not mention that a second atomic bomb had already been dropped on Nagasaki. ...
Our “Merciful” ending to the “Good War” or how patriotism means never having to say you're sorry, Christian Appy [via Tom Dispatch - 4/8/15]
Bob Dylan and America’s 70-year nuclear nightmare, Rev. John Dear [Common Dreams - 5/8/15]
The Asahi Shimbun [6/8/13]:
August 6, 1945.
Our hometown was reduced to ashes by a single atomic bomb. The houses we came home to, our everyday lives, the customs we cherished--all were gone:
“Hiroshima was no more. The city had vanished. No roads, just a burnt plain of rubble as far as I could see, and sadly, I could see too far. I followed electric lines that had fallen along what I took to be tram rails. The tram street was hot. Death was all around.”
That was our city, as seen by a young woman of twenty. That was Hiroshima for all the survivors. The exciting festivals, the playing in boats, the fishing and clamming, the children catching long--armed shrimp--a way of life had disappeared from our beloved rivers.
Worse yet, the bomb snuffed out the sacred lives of so many human beings:
“I rode in a truck with a civil defense team to pick up corpses. I was just a boy, so they told me to grab the ankles. I did, but the skin slipped right off. I couldn’t hold on. I steeled myself, squeezed hard with my fingertips, and the flesh started oozing. A terrible stench. I gripped right down to the bone. With a ‘one-two-three,’ we tossed them into the truck.”
As seen in the experience of this 13-year-old boy, our city had become a living hell. Countless corpses lay everywhere, piled on top of each other; amid the moans of unearthly voices, infants sucked at the breasts of dead mothers, while dazed, empty-eyed mothers clutched their dead babies.
A girl of sixteen lost her whole family, one after the other:
“My 7-year-old brother was burned from head to toe. He died soon after the bombing. A month later, my parents died; then, my 13-year-old brother and my 11-year-old sister. The only ones left were myself and my little brother, who was three, and he died later of cancer.” From newborns to grandmothers, by the end of the year, 140,000 precious lives were taken from Hiroshima.
Hiroshima was plunged into deepest darkness. Our hibakusha experienced the bombing in flesh and blood. Then, they had to live with aftereffects and social prejudice. Even so, they soon began telling the world about their experience. Transcending rage and hatred, they revealed the utter inhumanity of nuclear weapons and worked tirelessly to abolish those weapons. We want the whole world to know of their hardship, their grief, their pain, and their selfless desire.
The average hibakusha is now over 78. This summer, in response to the many ordinary citizens seeking to inherit and pass on their experience and desire, Hiroshima has begun carefully training official hibakusha successors. Determined never to let the atomic bombing fade from memory, we intend to share with ever more people at home and abroad the hibakusha desire for a nuclear-weapon-free world.
People of the world! Especially leaders of nuclear-armed nations, please come to Hiroshima to contemplate peace in this A-bombed city.
This year, Mayors for Peace marked its 30th anniversary. The number of cities calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020 has passed 5,300, and our members now represent approximately a billion people.
Next August, we will hold a Mayors for Peace general conference in Hiroshima. That event will convey to the world the intense desire of the overwhelming majority of our citizens for a nuclear weapons convention and elimination of nuclear weapons.
The following spring, Hiroshima will host a ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative comprising ten non-nuclear-weapon states, including Japan. I firmly believe that the demand for freedom from nuclear weapons will soon spread out from Hiroshima, encircle the globe, and lead us to genuine world peace.
March 11, 2011, is a day we will never forget. A natural disaster compounded by a nuclear power accident created an unprecedented catastrophe. Here in Hiroshima, we are keenly aware that the survivors of that catastrophe still suffer terribly, yet look toward the future with hope. We see their ordeal clearly superimposed on what we endured 67 years ago. I speak now to all in the stricken areas. Please hold fast to your hope for tomorrow. Your day will arrive, absolutely. Our hearts are with you.
Having learned a lesson from that horrific accident, Japan is now engaged in a national debate over its energy policy, with some voices insisting, “Nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist.” I call on the Japanese government to establish without delay an energy policy that guards the safety and security of the people.
I ask the government of the only country to experience an atomic bombing to accept as its own the resolve of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mindful of the unstable situation surrounding us in Northeast Asia, please display bolder leadership in the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. Please also provide more caring measures for the hibakusha in and out of Japan who still suffer even today, and take the political decision to expand the “black rain areas.”
Once again, we offer our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of the atomic bomb victims. From our base here in Hiroshima, we pledge to convey to the world the experience and desire of our hibakusha, and do everything in our power to achieve the genuine peace of a world without nuclear weapons.
The City of Hiroshima
This is not an apology, it's an "up yours". [Japan Times - 5/8/15]:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday for “causing trouble,” after documents released last week detailed alleged spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on the government in Tokyo, a top Japanese official said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the phone conversation between Biden and Abe came about at Washington’s request.
Suga declined to comment on whether Biden admitted the U.S. had spied on Japanese officials and companies over a period that started in 2006, as alleged in documents released last week by anti-secrecy group WiliLeaks.
He quoted the vice president as saying that the U.S. is not conducting any “activities that would damage trust in the Japan-U.S. alliance,” based on an order issued last year by U.S. President Barack Obama.
That remark suggests the NSA could have been spying on Tokyo before Obama issued the order.
Suga said he would not divulge further details about the content of the conversation.
“We’d like to refrain from commenting on details, given the nature of the issue,” Suga said at a daily news briefing.
On Friday, WikiLeaks released a trove of documents titled “Target Tokyo” that appeared to show the NSA had been spying on the Japanese government as well as major Japanese companies.
A document of the purported top 35 targets for telephone intercepts included the executive secretary of the chief Cabinet secretary’s office and a phone number described as “Government VIP Line.”
Suga said Abe told Biden that if Japanese parties had indeed been targeted by the NSA as alleged, it could seriously damage trust between the allied countries and he “would have no choice but to express grave concern.”
Abe also demanded that the U.S. investigate the alleged spying and report its findings to Tokyo, Suga quoted the prime minister as saying.
Abe and Biden then spoke about the importance of the bilateral military alliance and agreed to “continue discussion” to “take proper actions,” Suga said, without elaborating.
Analysis of Abe’s comments to Biden suggests an attempt to maintain his public image as a tough but diplomatic leader.
Tokyo is often criticized for being weak-kneed against the U.S., as the bilateral alliance is a cornerstone of its diplomatic posture.
Abe’s public reaction to the WikiLeaks allegations was subdued compared with that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The German leader issued a furious protest against Washington after German magazine Der Spiegel reported in 2013 that the NSA was tapping her cellphone, citing documents provided by WikiLeaks.
Serious assault investigation, Tarampa
QPS Media [6/8/15]:
Ipswich detectives are investigating after a man was hospitalised with a serious head injury following a disturbance at a Tarampa home early this morning.
Preliminary information suggests the man was socializing at a residence on Lowood Minden Road around 2.30am when he was struck in the head with an implement, believed to be a hammer.
The man ran from the scene and sought medical assistance from a nearby residence in Litzows Road.
The 35-year-old man, from Summerholm, was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital for treatment. 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.
Children interrogated following unlawful wounding, Nerang [QPS Media - 6/8/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Acacia Ridge
QPS Media [5/8/15]:
Police are investigating a fatal traffic crash that occurred earlier today in Acacia Ridge.
Around 11am, a car and a ute travelling on Beatty Road collided head on.
A man, the sole occupant of one of the cars, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The driver of the other vehicle was treated for minor leg injuries.
Beatty Road was closed for a period of time, but has since re-opened.
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.
Third man charged over echidna theft, Currumbin
QPS Media [5/8/15]:
A third man has been charged in relation to the theft of Piggie the echidna from an enclosure at a Currumbin animal sanctuary on Saturday, August 1.
Piggie was recovered safe and well Monday evening after she was left under a fence at the sanctuary.
A 20-year-old Surfers Paradise man has been charged with enter premises with intent and animal cruelty in relation to the stealing of the echinda.
He is due to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on August 13.
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.
Steroids arrest, Gold Coast (not OMCG) [QPS Media - 6/8/15]
Taskforce Maxima – drugs and cash seized, Robina and Bundall [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Taskforce Maxima seize cash and guns, Brisbane and Burleigh [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Armed robbery and assault charges, Bundaberg [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Man charged with armed robbery after police pursuit and crash, Southport [QPS Media - 6/8/15]
Boy charged over unlicensed driving and drug offences, Palm Beach [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Man charged after police pursuit ends in crash, Sandstone Point [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Boy charged with armed robbery, Brisbane City [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Boy charged wih armed robbery, Lockyer [QPS Media - 5/8/15]
Gold Coast light rail delayed by outage
Brisbane Times [6/8/15]:
A tram on the Gold Coast has been evacuated after it was struck by fallen powerlines.
Up to 30 passengers were trapped in the tram at Surfers Paradise about 7.45am but were all removed safely, a Queensland Fire Services spokeswoman said.
Light rail services between Southport and Broadbeach South stations have been suspended, and delays of up to an hour are expected.
But tram services are still running between Gold Coast University Hospital and Southport stations.
Pedestrian injured, corner Wickham Terrace and Barry Parade Spring Hill [6/8/15]
Ministers Hunt and Lynham must seize the opportunity with Adani mine
Lock The Gate [5/8/15]:
Lock the Gate’s National President, Drew Hutton today welcomed the Federal Court decision to overturn the approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine saying even the courts were now recognising that this was “the end of coal”.
“We call on the Queensland and Federal governments to take the opportunity now to stop trying to swim against the world tide and join the timely move away from fossil fuels,” he said.
“Queensland Mines Minister Lynham is so far sticking to the ‘jobs, jobs jobs’ mantra but it’s been proven time and time again that there aren’t many jobs in the coal industry, and there are so many downsides for our water, our foodlands, our environment and our communities.
“Minister Hunt and Minister Lynham should grab this opportunity while they can so that history will judge them to be forward-thinkers and our economic and environmental saviours, not plodders with their heads stuck in the coal slurry.”
Shenhua and other coal projects greenlighted to clear thousands of hectares of critically endangered bush [Lock The Gate - 6/8/15]
CSG waste water being transported from Gloucester to Brisbane (Narangba) in unmarked trucks [Tweed Shire Echo - 6/8/15]:
AGL recommences Waukivory Pilot in Gloucester [Media Release – 26/6/15]:
AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today resumed the transportation of flowback water from its Waukivory Pilot, part of the Gloucester Gas Project in NSW, for lawful offsite treatment and disposal.
AGL has engaged Toxfree Solutions, one of Australia’s major waste management service providers, to transport and treat flowback water at its licensed facility, and subsequently lawfully dispose of the treated water.
The flowback water will be taken to Toxfree’s Narangba plant in Brisbane’s north for treatment to the standards set by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Toxfree’s trade waste agreement. The plant is one of the most advanced waste treatment facilities in Australia.
There is approximately 2.7 megalitres of flowback water to be removed from the Waukivory site – about the same amount of water as is contained in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Removal and treatment of the water is expected to take approximately three months.
AGL holds all necessary government and regulatory approvals for this work to take place.
This arrangement means Tiedmans East Dam currently won’t be used to store flowback water.
AGL remains in discussions with other waste disposal service providers for options to treat the flowback water and dispose of treated water in New South Wales.
6 August 2015