Nauru: No rule of law, media or functioning parliament as Australian officials pressure refugees into exile and disappearance
Cambodia Daily [6/7/15]:
A month after the first four refugees arrived in Cambodia under a controversial resettlement scheme the government signed with Australia last year, immigration officers on the South Pacific island of Nauru are ratcheting up efforts to convince more refugees to join them, according to a rights group.
The four refugees arrived in Phnom Penh on June 4, the first to volunteer to resettle in Cambodia under an agreement the government made to take in an unspecified number of the hundreds of refugees Australia is holding on Nauru. It took Australia months to convince the four to come, and no one has followed them yet.
But the Refugee Action Coalition, a Sydney-based advocacy group in contact with people on Nauru, said that staff for the Australian Immigration Department and Connect Settlement Services, Australia’s service provider on Nauru, were actively attempting to change that.
“There is considerable renewed activity on Nauru to try and get people to agree to go to Cambodia,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesman for the group.
“The last two weeks or so, Immigration and Connect have been cold-calling refugees and also using any scheduled interviews to push Cambodia again.”
Mr. Rintoul said they appeared to be targeting refugees who are on Nauru alone and promising a speedy reunion with their families in Cambodia if they take the deal.
He said the officers were also continuing to offer thousand of dollars in cash to refugees who move to Cambodia, but insisting on spreading the payments out “so that they can never have enough at one time to be able to consider going somewhere else.”
In May, a “Cambodia Information Hub” was set up on Nauru across from the local offices of Australia’s Immigration Department and Connect to serve as a resource center for interested refugees. Mr. Rintoul said the hub, a whitewashed shipping container open two hours a day, was still there, but attracting little attention.
He said he was not aware of any more refugees who had volunteered to move to Cambodia.
On Thursday, the head of the Cambodian immigration department’s refugee office, Kerm Sarin, confirmed that there were no new volunteers and that the government was not planning trips to Nauru to find more.
Cambodian officials visited the island three times before finding the first four volunteers. Canberra has repeatedly told the refugees on Nauru that they will never resettle in Australia.
In an attempt to sweeten the Cambodia deal, Australia has been circulating a “fact sheet” among the refugees on Nauru that includes a number of false statements about the political, healthcare and security situation in Cambodia.
Australia’s Immigration Department did not reply to a request for comment Sunday about its latest recruitment efforts.
Despite IOM deal, residency eludes 60 refugees already in Cambodia [Cambodia Daily - 17/6/15]
Phnom Penh Post [28/5/15]:
... Mike Pezzulo, secretary of Australia’s Immigration and Border Affairs Department, told the same committee on Tuesday that the secrecy was because Canberra does “not want [the refugees] to become zoo exhibits”.
“They are being managed sensitively and empathetically. People have been with them caring for them and engaging with them whilst they have been in transit, and we look forward to helping them to get on their way and settle in Cambodia in the not too distant future.”
“It is just a matter of working through some final logistical details,” he added.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is providing initial accommodation for the refugees and some services, yesterday suggested that media access to the refugees would not be forthcoming.
“Media exposure could potentially jeopardise protection needs of refugees and carries high level of risk to their families at home,” an IOM spokesman said.
“While IOM can speak in general terms about what services will be available to refugees, IOM will not disclose any specific details about a refugee’s particular assistance.”
The group said last week that it had “villa-style” accommodation in Phnom Penh readied for the arrival of the four. ...
... They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement" ...
[Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor.
Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.
In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.
Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944.
It was all an elaborate hoax.
The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries.
Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.
New Zealand doctors write to Australian government and “opposition” condemning new immigration detention gag laws [Guardian – 6/7/15]
Iraqi jet "mistakenly bombs" Baghdad residential area, five killed
An Iraqi plane accidentally dropped a bomb on an eastern Baghdad neighborhood on Monday, police and residents said, killing at least five people and destroying several houses.
The Sukhoi jet had been taking part in an air strike against Islamic State militants, Iraqi television said.
One of its bombs failed to detach from the plane during the mission then fell as the plane was returning to base.
Police in the Ni'riya neighborhood of eastern Baghdad put the death toll at five, although some residents said seven people died.
A crowd gathered at the site after the explosion, picking through twisted metal and concrete rubble as an ambulance tried to take the wounded to hospital.
Iraqi troops and jets, backed by mainly Shi'ite Muslim Hashd Shaabi fighters on the ground and a U.S.-led air coalition, have been battling Islamic State militants who control much of the west and north of the country.
Hashd Shaabi fighters and army troops cut off a supply route on Sunday out of the city of the Islamic State-controlled city of Falluja, west of Baghdad.
The hardline Islamist group has also stepped up attacks against government forces in recent days.
Update – Incident, Eli Waters
QPS Media [6/7/15]:
A 75-year-old woman has died as a result of injuries sustained following an incident in Eli Waters on Saturday.
At 2.30pm, emergency service workers located the woman at a residence on Currawong Court with severe injuries to her head.
She was transported to Hervey Bay Hospital with life-threatening injuries and passed away early this evening.
An Investigation Centre has been established at the Hervey Bay Police Station.
Officers are encouraging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Investigations are continuing.
Brisbane man injured as house collapses
A man has been taken to hospital with a head injury after part of a Brisbane house collapsed on him.
The 38-year-old was trying to raise the Clayfield house when the incident happened just before 9am on Monday, police said.
Police have advised workplace health and safety.
Man falls off roof, Rockhampton
A man has fallen about eight metres from the roof of a heritage-listed building in central Queensland.
The man, in his 60s, appears to have become stuck on another part of Rockhampton's multi-level Masonic Hall.
He will be retrieved by firefighters using a hydraulic ladder once they have the all-clear from paramedics, a Queensland Fire Emergency Service spokeswoman said.
Six treated after gas incident in Brisbane
Six people are being assessed by paramedics after an apparent gas leak at an inner-Brisbane building.
Emergency services responded to reports of a "gas smell" at the business on Campbell Street, Bowen Hills, about 1.50pm.
About 50 people have been evacuated from the building, while fire crews conduct atmospheric tests and try to ascertain the source of the smell.
Six injured in crash south of Brisbane
Six people have been injured in a car crash south of Brisbane, with one of them in a critical condition.
Two vehicles collided at Logan, south of Brisbane, just before 9pm on Sunday.
Three people were taken to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, one critical, one serious and the other stable. Three others were taken to Logan Hospital, all in stable condition, the ambulance service said.
A separate crash north of Cairns has also left a man in his 30s in a critical condition.
The man's car hit a tree at Mowbray, near Port Douglas, about 10pm on Sunday.
He suffered serious head injuries and was flown to the Cairns Base hospital in a critical condition.
Update, armed robbery, Redbank Plains [QPS Media - 6/7/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Toowoomba [QPS Media - 6/7/15]
Armed robbery, Sunnybank Hills [QPS Media - 6/7/15]
Update 2: Armed robbery, Labrador [QPS Media - 5/7/15]
Detectives from the Coomera Criminal Investigation Branch have arrested a man over the weekend in relation to drug trafficking on the Gold Coast.
It will be alleged police located the man in a car at Jabiru boat ramp off Oxley Drive at Runaway Bay at 9.30am on Saturday July 4, 2015. ... [QPS Media - 6/7/15]
Karmichael Hunt says he was compelled to name players in police statement about cocaine use [ABC - 6/7/15]
Arrest of Mongols OMCG associates, Gold Coast [QPS Media – 6/7/15]
Law association says temporary Mackay DPP closure will prove difficult for lawyers
A north Queensland law association has strongly criticised a decision to close down a local office of Public Prosecutions.
Later this year the Mackay office will be temporarily moved to Rockhampton.
In a statement, the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the move was needed due to staffing issues.
It said cases in the District and Supreme Courts would continue to be handled efficiently and effectively.
But the Mackay and District Law Association said they had serious concerns with the practicalities of the decision.
They said the move would mean lawyers would have difficulty contacting the office and liaising with DPP staff ahead of cases.
Association president Kane Williams said annual reviews of the District and Supreme Courts showed there was an increasing number of cases being heard in Mackay.
"Given the number of criminal matters being dealt with in Mackay, members have queried whether more resources should be directed to instead of away from Mackay," he said.
"Transferring key DPP staff increases the difficulty in providing a reasonable level of service to the region."
Mr Williams said the Mackay Courts, which operate on a circuit set-up, also hear matters from surrounding regions, including Proserpine and Moranbah.
He said the association was currently working on a submission requesting a full-time District or Supreme Court judge be appointed to Mackay.
The ABC contacted the Office of the DPP seeking clarification on when the move would happen, and any possible impacts on planned sittings later this year, but they declined to comment.
The office did however say the move would not be permanent.
Euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke wins right to keep medical licence for now, but comedy career remains his priority [ABC – 6/7/15]
Car maker Nissan to lay off Dandenong warehouse workers [The Age – 6/7/15]
The Foreign Affairs official who claimed her career has been stalled since she reported allegations her daughter had been sexually abused at an overseas mission has lodged a Fair Work claim against DFAT. ... [Canberra Times - 4/7/15]
... Annie are you okay? ...
'Smooth Criminal', Michael Jackson 
Nauru's President Baron Waqa set to be flogged with a wet lettuce leaf in Sydney this week [RNZI - 6/7/15]:
The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the crisis that has enveloped Nauru is worrying and pressure will be applied to the island's government this week.
Concerns about human rights and the rule of law have escalated since the arrests of several opposition MPs after a protest last month.
Pacific foreign ministers meet this week in Sydney and New Zealand's Murray McCully has already spoken of plans to speak with Nauru's President Waqa.
At the weekend Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Canberra wants assurances the Nauru Government is following the rule of law.
Mr Key says he wants both countries to apply some pressure to Nauru.
"A co-ordinated - I don't know if we need to be absolutely co-ordinated in what we do but a response from both Australia and New Zealand will be beneficial. Certainly what we see taking place up there is worrying to us."
A string of witnesses described Vytas Kapociunas as trustworthy, kind, loving, and a "man of integrity" as his child abuse trial neared its end on Monday.
Dennis Richardson, who was described to the jury as the former ambassador to the United States, spoke of the time he has spent with Kapociunas, saying he was a "friendly, straight-forward" individual.
"In the capacity that I've known Vytas, he's always been ... an honourable person of integrity," he said. ... [Canberra Times - 6/7/15]
An accused sex offender has been hit over the head with a walking cane in an attack outside a court on the Gold Coast. ... [Yahoo - 6/7/15]
And what happens to the lamb when it grows up and isn't deemed cute enough to be tormented for hours on end? [Yahoo - 6/7/15]:
The owners of a lamb stolen from the Townsville Show have pleaded for its return, saying it will die unless it's reunited with its mother.
Police are investigating how the six-week-old lamb was taken from the petting zoo at the show on Friday evening.
Petting zoo owner Kevin Carter told the ABC it would die without its mum, and has pleaded for its return.
Indonesia: A number of residents exercise on the quiet street of Jl. Thamrin during the Car Free Day on Sunday. The number of people exercising in the event have decreased during the fasting month. [Jakarta Post - 6/7/15]
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrives on his motorcycle for a cabinet meeting in Athens. By @atzortzinis
Image: @AFPphoto [21/6/15]
Minister No More! [Yanis Varoufakis – 6/7/15]:
The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
At least eight people have died and 41 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago this Fourth of July weekend.
Among those who died was a 7-year-old boy who was shot while watching fireworks in Humboldt Park with his father just before midnight Saturday. ... [NBC - 5/7/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense Media Release [5/7/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place approximately between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 26 airstrikes in Syria:
- Near Al Hasakah, five airstrikes struck five ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL vehicles, and four ISIL fighting positions.
- Near Ar Raqqah, 18 airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles and 16 ISIL bridges.
- Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positons and an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
- Near Bayji, one airstrike struck an ISIL staging area.
- Near Fallujah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL tunnel entrance, an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.
- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike destroying a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
- Near Haditha, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position.
- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun, four ISIL mortar tubes and an ISIL ammo bunker.
- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL building.
- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL cache and an ISIL building.
Market bomb kills one, wounds eight in Pakistan: Police [Ahram - 5/7/15]
The press syndicate has said a new anti-terror law Egypt is set to pass will trample on press freedoms and enable authorities to censor media.
The draft anti-terrorism legislation imposes a minimum two-year sentence as punishment for "reporting false information on terrorist attacks which contradict official statements.”
The law was approved by the cabinet last week after President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi pledged tougher legal measures to combat terrorism after the assassination of the country's top public prosecutor in a Cairo car-bomb attack.
This part of the law is believed to have been triggered by media coverage of last week's coordinated assaults by Islamic State militants in North Sinai which showed huge discrepancy between the official death toll of soldiers and that published by some local and foreign media outlets. ... [Ahram - 5/7/15]
The Egyptian authorities have closed the Musaid-Sollum border crossing.
According to Tobruk Municipal Council spokesman, Marwan Younis Bakr, the Egyptians closed it to Libyan travellers because of last week’s assassination of Egypt’s and the current military operations in Sinai where today 63 Islamists were reported killed. ... [Libya Herald - 5/7/15]
Egypt says 25 killed in air strikes as Sisi inspects troops [Reuters - 4/7/15]
On eve of UN Gaza vote, PM Narendra Modi got a call from Netanyahu. India abstained [NDTV - 6/7/15]
Greek Foreign Minister in Israel amid economic crisis [Naharnet – 5/7/15]:
... A foreign ministry spokesman said Kotzias would dine Sunday with National Economic Council chairman Eugene Kandel, who earlier in the day briefed Israel's cabinet on the Greek financial crisis.
On Monday, Kotzias is due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also visit the Palestinian Authority. His visit is set to end on Tuesday. ...
Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in northern Yemen [Yahoo - 5/7/15]
Turkey sends medical aid for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti [Hurriyet Daily News - 5/7/15]:
Six tons of Turkey-donated medical equipment and supplies, along with six fully-equipped ambulances, have arrived in Djibouti, the Turkish ambassador to the country said on July 5.
According to Ambassador Hasan Yavuz, the six ambulances were sent to Djiboutian Health Ministry officials by the Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), while the medical equipment was sent by the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
Both agencies are run by Ankara.
In February, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoglu and his Djiboutian counterpart Kassim Issak Osman signed a donation agreement in Ankara paving the way for the delivery of the ambulances.
Turkey’s relations with Djibouti, a country of less than a million people, have developed steadily in recent years, with Turkey opening an embassy in Djibouti in 2012.
Djibouti followed suit the next year, opening its own diplomatic mission in Ankara.
According to Yavuz, the six tons of donated medical equipment are intended for refugees in Djibouti who have recently fled war-torn Yemen.
Despite the fact that Djibouti is considered one of the world’s 20 least developed countries, it is the only country in the Horn of Africa to welcome refugees from Yemen, which lies just across the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait.
[The sea route to Europe: The Mediterranean passage in the age of refugees [UNHCR - 1/7/15]:
... The number of deaths at sea rose to record levels in April 2015, then dropped significantly in May and June. While many factors contributed to the recent decline, improved European-led search-and-rescue operations beginning in May have had an immediate and positive impact.
During the first four months of 2015, the numbers of those dying at sea reached horrifying new heights. Between January and March, 479 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing, as opposed to 15 during the first three months of the year before. In April the situation took an even more terrible turn.
In a number of concurrent wrecks, an unprecedented 1,308 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing in a single month (compared to 42 in April 2014), sparking a global outcry.
European leaders held emergency meetings in April and agreed to triple the funding of their Frontexled operations in the Mediterranean (bringing it to the levels of Mare Nostrum), and significantly increase their scope and coverage.
This included the deployment of naval vessels from several EU States. These efforts are supplemented by many private and non-governmental initiatives, including operations by Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Médecins Sans Frontières.
The results were immediate. In May, the number of refugees and migrants drowned or missing at sea fell to 68, a quarter of the figure only one year earlier (226). The downward trend continued in June, which as of 29 June saw 12 deaths, compared to 305 in 2014.
This decline in deaths at sea is an important achievement, and a sign that with the right policy, backed by an effective operational response, it is possible to save lives at sea. Europe is rising to the challenge, as it has done on multiple occasions since the end of World War II.
Yet there is a continued need for vigilance. Even one death at sea is one death too many. For the thousands of refugees and migrants who continue to cross the Mediterranean, the risks remain very real. ...
Authorities at the Nauru detention centre have been accused of being blase with asylum-seeker safety after the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb under a school tent last year.
In a submission to a Senate inquiry examining abuse allegations, former Save the Children social worker Samantha Betts claims centre operator Transfield Services mishandled the matter.
"If this had occurred at an Australian school - the school would have been indefinitely closed with the fullest safety checks conducted," Ms Betts said.
Transfield had done a "visual sweep" but had not carried out a sub-surface sweep of the entire camp. ... [SBS - 6/7/15]
Nauru staff warned against fulfilling ethical obligations before gag legislation came into effect
Detention centre staff were warned not to speak to journalists and other organisations about “anything that happens” on Nauru and Manus Island before a law forbidding disclosures came into effect.
On Wednesday an offence came into force as part of the newly formed Australian Border Force that carries penalties of up to two years’ in jail for detention staff who make unauthorised public disclosures.
More than 40 doctors, nurses, teachers and humanitarian staff who have worked in Australian immigration detention centres wrote an open letter to the federal government in protest.
Guardian Australia can reveal that the Save the Children operations manager on Nauru, Tony Still, warned staff on the island not to speak to journalists – or to external organisations – about “anything that happens” at the detention centre.
On Wednesday the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, appeared to contradict Still’s comments, when he said “the airing of general claims about conditions in immigration facilities will not breach the ABF act”.
An email obtained by Guardian Australia reveals that Still emailed all staff on the island warning them about speaking out from a “sense of anger and desire for retribution”.
Working with asylum seekers in immigration detention: clinical and medical ethics update [Crikey - 5/7/15]
ALP seeks clarification on whether the Department of Keeping Refugees Out will remain a tenant of Westfield Belconnen [Canberra Times - 6/7/15]:
... But rumours in Canberra's business community that Westfield's high-profile chairman Frank Lowy has been using his personal influence to try to keep the department in Belconnen are unfounded, the company says.
[Shadow Assistant Treasurer and] Fraser MP Andrew Leigh called on Friday for a decision to finally be made on Immigration's future location.
The "opposition MP" complained that the government had not heeded his calls to finalise a decision on the location of the HQ of its new Australian Border Force, which will operate with the expanded Immigrations Department.
"It has now been over nine months since the government first tendered for Immigration's office accommodation," Dr Leigh said.
"In that time Ministers Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann have remained resolutely tight-lipped about whether the department will stay in its traditional home of Belconnen or be moved elsewhere.
"The Belconnen community and local businesses are growing increasingly frustrated with the government's refusal to be upfront about the future of their town centre."
This refugee became a billionaire in Australia and now wants to dictate that Australia takes no more refugees. What a selfish hypocrite. ----> Frank Lowy talks to David Gonski [11/3/15]:
... DG: Frank … [at the birthday celebrations for the Frank Lowy Institute] Rupert Murdoch made a terrific address in which he talked about Australia having … a culture of openness and acceptance of others. My question to you is, you came to Australia … with nothing. Rupert … used you as an example. Was he right that Australia was open to you? Is he right that Australia is still open to you?
FL: Well, my experience was only positive. I came here … [and in] about a week I got a job in a process factory … there was no animosity towards me whatsoever … I have never experienced any disadvantage of being either a foreigner or Jewish … Australia should be, and is, proud of that.
DG: Frank I can’t resist asking the question. Because a little earlier you said you were a boat person, and … [in] your Australian Multicultural Council Lecture of 2012 you said, “To imagine a better life for you and your family and to make the leap of faith required to leave behind all that is familiar, calls for a special kind of courage. If we look at new arrivals in Australia from this perspective, our capacity would be greater to welcome them warmly and to help them make a new home here.” What do you feel about the way we’re looking at boat people, the way we’re looking at policies in relation to boat people?
FL: Well, it is a very difficult question to answer. There are millions of refugees … and not enough places to take them. What we are going through at the moment … many other countries go through the same thing. So the basic issue is, the government is responsible for its borders … it’s black and white. But at the same time [the government] needs to deal with these issues in a humane way … So it’s very difficult and various governments try to deal with it differently. But none of them have fully succeeded … We do our best, but probably the best is not good enough. ...
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?
Australia and the 1951 Refugee Convention, Khalid Koser [Frank Lowy Institute - 30/4/15]:
... Second, it should seek to reduce the need for long-distance asylum seeking. At the moment too many asylum seekers — including genuine refugees — are taking too many risks to travel long distances to reach asylum. It is these journeys that generate business for people smugglers, who arrange transportation, help overcome immigration rules and procedures, and often also insert people in the countries where they go — all illegally, and all heightening the vulnerability of asylum seekers. A more systematic response to protecting and assisting people displaced within their own countries would be one way to anchor them close to their places of origin. This would entail strengthening adherence to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, but also extending existing policies such as ‘safe havens’ that have already been tested in countries such as Iraq. Better regional protection mechanisms, as currently being promoted by the Australian Government, should also reduce the incentive to travel distantly. Again, this is not a new proposal. Development assistance should also target neighbouring asylum countries, to reduce the growing trend of secondary migration, whereby people leave refugee camps for onward journeys. All of these proposals are achievable and Australia already has a strong track record on them. What is more they should strengthen the current global policy emphasis on combatting people smuggling and trafficking. ...
In October 2013, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service announced a joint venture with the Frank Lowy Institute to research and develop policy strategy, options for future border management.
ACBPS CEO address to the Lowy Institute for International Policy:
... Managing the integrity of the border is essential to both the protection and prosperity of the community and the economy. The border demarcates our sovereignty and delineates our dominion – where the dominion of the state begins and ends. Borders are no longer these days seen as a barrier; they are more a space where sovereign political units control the flow of people and goods in to and out of their dominion. A border is, generally speaking, not a wall in the modern world and its global order, which completely seals off nations, states and peoples. ...
A Rohingya refugee's anguished choice to save her family [New York Times – 5/7/15]:
… At least 75,000 Rohingya live in Malaysia as registered refugees or unregistered migrants, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Rohingya groups say the unregistered number is much higher.
Life is safer in Malaysia, and there are more potential jobs than in rural Rakhine State. But under Malaysian law, neither refugees nor unregistered migrants can legally work. They receive no welfare, and most of the men struggle to pick up informal jobs as day laborers. Their children cannot attend government schools, and they must vie for the limited places in crowded, makeshift schools supported by charities and international aid.
“We are illegal here, too,” Ms. Izhar said. “We belong to nowhere. On the ship, we thought we would have a peaceful and comfortable life in Malaysia. Now after arriving in Malaysia we face more hardships.” …
Senator Lazarus to deliver CSG mining petition to PM
Senator Lazarus Media Release [3/7/15]:
Senator for Queensland, Glenn Lazarus, today announced he will deliver a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining petition to Tony Abbott on Tuesday at his electorate office in Manly.
The petition ‘’Fair Go – Your Right to Say No – to Coal Seam Gas’ has been signed by some 8,000 people including residents affected by the New South Wales Camden Gas Project. In addition to the petition, Senator Lazarus will also hand over the Queensland Hopelands Estate ‘No CSG mining’ declaration signed by majority of residents in the area.
In November 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited residents in Queensland, whose health had suffered as a result of living in a coal seam gas field.
He said during the visit that coal seam gas “should never be allowed in residential areas” and that “nobody should be forced to have a gas well on their property”.
“I, along with the people of Australia, are asking Mr Abbott to give landholders a fair go and the right to say no!,” Senator Glenn Lazarus said today.
“Mr Abbott should stick to his word and implement national legislation for:
. Health Impact Assessments and baseline monitoring before coal, coal seam gas and other unconventional gas developments are approved
. Exclusion zones: no CSG, shale gas or coal mining near residential and agricultural and farming areas
. Your right to say no: no one should be forced to have gas wells or coal mines on their property
“CSG mining is dangerous, poisons the ground, depletes the earth of water and contaminates what little water is left. People living in and around CSG mining suffer from a range of health issues.
“Despite this, the Government appears happy to jeopardise the health and welfare of our people for short term financial gain. The greed must stop. There are plenty of other gas reserves around the country.
“In addition, the Government should urgently establish a national Resources Ombudsman to provide the people of Australia with an independent body chartered to deal with complaints and issues.
“The people of Australia have no voice and nowhere to turn when large multi-national mining companies turn up to their door step wanting to mine on their land. In my home state of Queensland, landholders have virtually no rights to stop mining companies from mining on their land.
“The current system is geared to benefit mining companies at the expense of our own people.
“The madness must stop. Governments at all levels have taken away basic human rights from hard working Australians to say ‘no’ to mining on their land. We urgently need to fix this by restoring human rights to the people of Australia. Our people deserve better.”
Western Downs’ local, Shay Dougall took a busload of university students and a Tasmanian researcher on an eye-opening tour yesterday to give them some first-hand experience of the realities of living in the gasfields.
Mrs Dougall, spokesperson for the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group, said she wanted the leaders of tomorrow to realise the true impacts of the “invasion” of coal seam gas (CSG)
She told the 31 students from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the researcher from Frack Free Tas about the health impacts locals were suffering and their worries about loss of farming land, clean water and air and the impacts on their lifestyle. ... [Lock The Gate – 3/7/15]
New Hope Coal paying royalties to themselves: Queensland communities left out in the cold [Lock The Gate – 3/7/15]
Migaloo gives Australia a wide berth? [RNZI - 6/7/15]
International ocean scientists have issued a blunt warning to world leaders ahead of the November 2015 climate change negotiations in Paris (COP21).
In a paper published in the journal Science, a University of Queensland oceans expert and a team of international colleagues argue that any new global climate agreement must begin to minimise the mounting toll on the world’s oceans to prevent irreversible damage.
UQ Global Change Institute Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen had underestimated the likely impact of climate change on oceans, and a new more intense focus on oceans was urgently needed. ... [UQ News - 3/7/15]
National uniform land rights legislation, dedicated parliamentary seats & reparations fund, NOT tokenistic Constitutional 'recognition'
"tweeted" by @clayton_dixon - Nyaywana, Chairperson of the Aboriginal Provisional Government [6/7/15]
@NinahKopel [6/7/15]: Protest against #recognition crossing from circular quay to Kirribilli ... story @thewireradio tonight
Sovereign Union [5/7/15]:
The arguments that mainstream media is hiding
Why is the government pushing it and why is mainstream media hiding it?
- The government wants more control over First Nations people, especially those living on 'valuable mining land'
- The commercial channels (ch7, ch9. ch10 etc) are funded by big business interests and regulated by the government
- The ABC and SBS (NITV) is funded and being
bullied by the government
Who is the 'Expert Panel' that advises the government?
- they are (un-elected) people especially selected and funded by the government
- The expert Panel: www.recognise.org.au/about/expert-panel/
Why should I oppose it?
- Because the government wants to name First Nations people in the constitution so they have more power over them.
- It will allow the government to discriminate on the basis of race.
- It fails the test of compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
- It gives the government the power to pass legislation like the 'Northern Territory Intervention' against the First Nations people in the states
- Sovereignty was never ceded - this legislation will remove these sovereign rights - it will kill any chance of workable and grass roots self-determination
- Follow links for some of the many other issues for First Nations people.
Stop The Forced Closures: A Wire From Berlin [New Matilda - 5/7/15]
Anyone who agrees to write for the racist, sexist, war mongering, red baiting and refugee hating Murdoch Press should be treated with deep suspicion. It's not harmless and you are not influencing their readers. They are using you to legitimise their hateful agenda: How the Murdoch press keeps Australia's dirty secret [John Pilger - 12/5/11]
Greeks send thunderous message to the Troika!
[eldiario.es - 5/7/15]
Take note Australia: You CAN vote against lies, propaganda and neoliberalism.
Debt write-down for Ireland urged [Belfast Telegraph - 5/7/15]:
Ireland should go back to the negotiating table for a "significant" debt write-down after the crisis in Greece is resolved, a former International Monetary Fund chief economist has said.
Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard professor, said although the Irish economy was recovering, the country would be "far better off" today if the Government had not taken over so much banking debt.
The influential economist said Ireland should be among a number of countries "that should receive a significant debt write-down".
"Of course, right now the Irish economy is recovering and it might not be the best time to confuse markets, especially with Greece on the brink," he told the Press Association.
"But eventually the issue should be brought back to the table."
Mr Rogoff believes massive debt saddled on vulnerable economies in Europe is a major impediment to their growth.
Northern Europeans were being "penny wise and pound-foolish" not to agree to broad write-downs for these countries, he says.
"I believe that Ireland would have been far better off today if the Government had not taken over so much of the bank debt, and instead allowed bank creditors to absorb a significant loss," he said.
"As I understand it, considerable pressure was brought to bear on Ireland to protect the rest of the eurozone against contagion.
"Perhaps, but then the costs of the bailout should have been shared as well.
"The legacy of this situation should be rectified at some point, even if now might not be the best time."
Mr Rogoff is professor of public policy and professor of economics at Harvard University.
He was chief economist and director of research at the IMF from 2001 to 2003.
Thousands of protesters waved Greek flags as they marched from the Central Bank to the Dáil on Saturday afternoon in solidarity with Greece.
“Athens Athens we’re with you, we’re against the Troika too,” the crowd chanted as it made its way through Dublin city centre, ahead of Greek’s referendum on austerity measures on Sunday. ... [Irish Times - 4/7/15]
Obama could fix dark money, but would rather just yell at Republicans about it [The Intercept – 29/6/15]
Eleven dead in China building collapse, three missing
Japan Times [5/7/15]:
Eleven people died when a shoe factory collapsed in eastern China, state media reported Sunday, with more than 40 escaping or being rescued.
More than 50 workers were in the building in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province when it came down on Saturday afternoon, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) and the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Thirty-three suffered injuries, four of them serious, the report said. Nine others escaped and three were unaccounted for.
Xinhua said earlier the cause of the collapse was being investigated.
Photos circulating on Chinese social media showed a man being carried on a stretcher by what appeared to be police officers, while rescuers and other personnel stood on top of the rubble.
Building collapses and other industrial accidents are not uncommon in China, where many structures and facilities are old, safety procedures can be lax and rebuilding has not kept up with the country’s remarkable economic growth.
China’s top safety watchdog in May blamed poor construction and weak safety standards for a fire at a nursing home that left 38 people dead.
In April, almost 30,000 people were evacuated after a fire broke out in a Chinese chemical plant which blazed for nearly 50 hours before the flames were finally extinguished.
And in November, a fire at a coal mine in northeastern China killed 26 workers, in one of the country’s most highly accident-prone industries.
Canada: Saskatchewan wildfires force nearly 8,000 people out of homes
The military has been called in to help care for 7,900 people from a northern Saskatchewan community that includes the province's largest First Nation, as a rash of wildfires prompts a massive evacuation.
Up to 5,000 of the evacuees will be taken hundreds of kilometres away to a refuge in Cold Lake, Alta., staffed by the Canadian Forces and the Red Cross.
After the wildfires crossed fail-safe lines Saturday, coming within eight kilometres of the community of La Ronge, the provincial government and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band began evacuating out 7,900 residents remaining in the area.
In a conference call with media Saturday afternoon, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall confirmed he spoke with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who promised support in dealing with the shifting blazes.
"The prime minister was very accommodating and willing to make sure that, upon official request, the resources are there," Wall said.
"There might be some other need for Canadian Forces personnel, especially to help with what are significant logistical demands as result of a very large general evacuation."
Saskatchewan's provincial fire commissioner issued the evacuation order for the La Ronge area, following a similar advisory earlier in the day from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.
The affected area includes La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band — a zone located about 200 km north of Prince Albert. The number of people affected is greater than the headline-grabbing 2011 evacuation of Slave Lake, Alta., where a wildfire forced 7,000 people from their homes.
"This evacuation has been triggered by a number of wildfires in the area, which are blowing smoke and particulate matter into and around the communities," a statement from the provincial fire commissioner reads.
Government officials said most displaced evacuees will drive to Alberta, while others will be bused there or stay with family and friends.
Afghanistan: Locals say armed strangers roaming Kunduz streets
The residents of northern Kunduz province on Sunday informed that strangers armed men roaming on streets in the provincial capital, creating fear among locals but the government was unable to question their identity.
According to local officials more than 7,000 illegal armed men were seen roaming in Kunduz province, creating chaos and sense of insecurity among residents of the locality.
The armed men are famous as “Arbakis” among Kunduz residents.
Arbaki is the tribal group that takes part in security of their locality without receiving any perks from the government. Now they are referred to the mercenaries that are supported by the government to fight insurgents, but are not part of the government.
After fighting in Chardara, Khan Abad districts and Gortapa locality illegal armed men flocked Kunduz city turning it into a military zone.
Majority of these men come from Khan Abad district without uniforms but fully armed and could be seen around markets and local departments.
Ezatullah, a resident of Kunduz, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “These gunmen without uniform and strange looks perform grotesque movements that terrorize people. They remind me of the civil war period 20 years ago.”
He added the government was using these Arbakis to fight Taliban but they run away from Taliban and brought chaos to the city.
Sayed Reza, a shopkeeper, said: “These armed men come to our shops to buy clothes. If I tell them price of a good at 500 afghanis they would only pay 300 afghanis. If we ask for the rest of our money they would threaten us with guns.”
He added the shopkeepers closed their shops earlier for fear of being looted by these people. Reza said now that few days were left for Eid celebrations they were supposed to be open until late night.
Abdul Maqsood, another resident, said: “Arbakis are roaming freely in the city, nobody can stop them.”
He expressed concerns that presence of these armed men would one day lead to clashes and insecurity in the city. According to residents, earlier police chief had ordered all check posts to prevent these people from entering the city, but after security situation deteriorated they could easily enter the city.
Kunduz provincial council also expressed concerns about the presence of illegal armed men.
Amruddin Wali, provincial council deputy head, said these armed men extorting money from residents and troubled them. “The government should disarm them as soon as possible.”
Sayed Sarwar Husseini, police spokesman, said they still haven’t received any complaints about these people creating trouble for residents. If they received such complaints, he added, they would take action.
Explosion in Kandahar city leaves 3 dead, 13 wounded [Khaama - 5/7/15]
A suicide bomber has attacked a church in the restive northeastern Nigerian city of Potiskum, in Yobe state, killing at least five worshippers, a police officer and witness have said.
The bomber entered the uncompleted Redeemed Christian Church of God on Sunday, in the Jigawa area on the outskirts of the city, and detonated his explosives, killing the worshippers, including a woman and her two children as well as the pastor. ... [Al Jazeera - 5/7/15]
US spin on access to Iranian sites has distorted the issue [Middle East Eye – 5/7/15]
6 July 2015