@moas_eu - Migrant Offshore Aid Station [6/6/15]: #MOAS coordinated the rescue of over 2,000 people together with Italian, Irish & German ships. #SavingLives #MSF
@moas_eu [6/6/15]: #MOAS rescue complete: 372 people currently onboard: 126 women, 33 girls, 184 men 29 boys, mostly from Eritrea.
@ItalianNavy [6/6/15]: #SAR Nave Driade #marinamilitare ha iniziato le operazioni di recupero di 560 #migranti tra cui donne e bambini.
Protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister uses speech to The Australia Group to push another WMD lie
The Australian Foreign Minister has expressed her belief that Isis is capable of building chemical weapons, in a speech to an anti-chemical weapons group.
Julie Bishop, who has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2013, made the comments while speaking to a meeting of the Australia Group, an informal international forum that focuses on stopping the export and development of chemical and biological weapons.
At Friday's meeting in Perth, Western Australia, she said: "Apart from some crude and small scale endeavours, the conventional wisdom has been that the terrorist intention to acquire and weaponise chemical agents has been largely aspirational."
She continued: "The use of chlorine by Daesh [the Arabic term for Isis], and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the west, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development."
"Daesh is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons."
Multiple reports from the area where the battle with Isis is currently raging have suggested that the group has already used chemical weapons, although in a more limited way than the scenario that Julie Bishop described.
Kurdish authorities said in March that Isis had used chlorine gas against Peshmerga fighters. A Kurdish official told the Associated Press that dozens of fighters had experienced "dizziness, nausea, vomiting and general weakness" after being exposed to gas.
A Peshmerga fighter fire at an Isis position in Iraq. Kurdish officials claim that Isis has previously used chlorine gas against Peshmerga fighters. They said that chemical analysis of clothing and soil near the area where a truck apparently laden with gas canisters was destroyed showed that chlorine gas was present.
The majority of nations are signatories to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which outlaws the use, development and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
The UK ended its chemical weapons programme in the 1950s. The USA still has some chemical weapons, but is a signatory to the CWC, and is underway with the long process of destroying its once-extensive stockpiles.
17-year-old killed in police pursuit car crash, Brisbane
A 17-year-old driver who allegedly evaded police in Brisbane's north-west has died minutes later after crashing down an embankment, police say.
The boy, who was from Ashgrove, was killed around 12:30am (AEST) when his car left Settlement Road at Keperra and rolled 20 metres down an embankment into thick bushland.
Senior Sergeant Greg Matthies said the car ended up upside-down.
"It's highly likely at this stage that speed was involved," he said.
Police said they had tried to intercept the car on nearby Samford Road about 10 minutes earlier, but pulled over when the driver failed to stop.
Police Ethical Standards Command said it would investigate the circumstances of the crash.
Paramedic Brad Hardy from the Queensland Ambulance Service said the teenager's death was a "terrible, absolute waste of life".
"Traumatic for everybody who's at the scene - it's just a terrible thing to have to attend," he said.
Police constable accused of raping woman while on duty, has charges dropped
A North Queensland police officer accused of raping a woman on duty has had the charges against him dropped.
Rudy Clarence Nonis and Trent Christopher Birthisel, both police officers from Mackay, were charged in February last year with sexually assaulting a woman while they were on duty.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has now confirmed it had withdrawn the charges against Mr Nonis.
Birthisel's indictment was presented today in the District Court in Mackay. He has been charged with five counts of rape.
His defence lawyer, appearing by telephone, told the court the matter would proceed to a trial that was expected to take four days.
A date will be set next week.
Birthisel remains on bail.
Attempted murder charge, Beenleigh
QPS Media [6/6/15]:
Detectives have charged a 24-year-old Beenleigh man with attempted murder following investigations into an alleged disturbance at a Beenleigh residence last night during which time a woman sustained multiple stab wounds.
Police were called to a Chapman Drive residence around 10pm where they located a 21-year-old Beenleigh woman lying in the front yard with apparent stab wounds to the abdomen, arm and chest.
The woman was transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a serious condition.
A man was arrested at the scene following a violent struggle with police during which time a taser was deployed, however it had little effect, and the man was eventually taken into custody after officers managed to apply handcuffs.
Two officers sustained grazing and bruising during the struggle.
The man has been remanded in police custody overnight and is due to appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court this morning where he also faces a charge of assault police and assaulting a public officer performing an official function.
The pair were known to each other.
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.
Suspicious fire, Southport
QPS Media [6/6/15]:
Police are investigating after a fire in a unit complex in Southport this morning.
At around 10.30am police were called to the Owens Lane unit block, after a fire was detected in the stairwell.
A 27-year-old woman was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital for treatment for minor burns.
The cause of the fire is currently being treating as suspicious.
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.
Assault and deprivation of liberty charges, Caloundra
QPS Media [5/6/15]:
Sunshine Coast detectives have charged a man with assault and deprivation of liberty after a woman was allegedly assaulted at a Caloundra unit last night.
Police will allege a man knocked on the door of a Maltman Street, Caloundra residence around 7.10pm on Thursday June 4.
A 21-year-old Caloundra woman alone in the residence at the time answered the door and was forced back inside by the man.
The woman was then repeatedly punched and kicked about the body and face before she managed to break free and flee the apartment.
A 21-year-old Caloundra man was arrested and has been remanded in police custody and is due to appear in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this morning charged with one count each of deprivation of liberty, assault occasioning bodily harm, indecent assault and enter premises with intent to commit an indictable offence.
The woman was transported to Caloundra Hospital for treatment to non-life threatening injuries.
The woman and man were known to each other.
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.
Police are looking for a woman who stabbed a teenage girl in the neck in a frightening attack at a busy shopping centre in southeast Melbourne. ... [Yahoo - 5/6/15]
Convicted paedophile wins right to stay in Australia after minister's approach deemed too heavy handed [ABC - 5/6/15]
A 25-year-old woman has been remanded in custody after appearing in a Brisbane court accused of attacking her partner with a screwdriver.
A 30-year-old woman was stabbed multiple times including in the genitals during a domestic dispute at Ashgrove in the early hours of Thursday, Queensland Police say. ... [Yahoo - 4/6/15]
Armed robbery, Nambour
QPS Media [6/6/15]:
A man is assisting with enquiries following an armed robbery that occurred overnight in Nambour.
Around 9pm, a man approached a woman in the carpark of a hospital on Hospital Road and police will allege he produced a knife and demanded the woman’s keys.
It will be further alleged that the man then stole the car and it was located by police 20 minutes later when it was involved in a traffic crash at a roundabout on Maroochydore Road.
A man was taken into custody a short time later on the Sunshine Motorway.
The 32-year-old woman wasn’t physically injured as a result of the robbery.
Investigations are continuing.
Armed robbery, Nerang [QPS Media - 5/6/15]
Armed robbery, Jindalee [QPS Media - 5/6/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Fortitude Valley [QPS Media – 4/6/15]
Man charged for carrying weapons in Surfers Paradise [MYGC – 4/6/15]
Update, fatal traffic crash, Burpengary
QPS Media [6/6/15]:
A man who was involved in a fatal traffic crash at Burpengary on June 3 had died in hospital.
At around 5.50pm a car struck a power pole on Old Gympie Road.
A 74-year-old female passenger was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The 85-year-old male driver, was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers or their local police.
Update, fatal traffic crash, Laidley
QPS Media [6/6/15]:
A 50-year-old man has died following a single vehicle crash at Laidley yesterday afternoon.
A 12-year-old girl, a passenger in the vehicle, was airlifted from the scene to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with critical injuries.
Initial information indicates that around 4pm a vehicle travelling on Rosewood-Laidley Road left the roadway and crashed into a tree.
The man was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit are continuing.
Victorian drag racer Phil Lamattina has suffered a shattered vertebrae in a crash that "snapped his car in two" at the Willowbank Raceway, about 54 kilometres south-west of Brisbane. … [ABC – 6/6/15]
Caravan rollover, Kynuna [North West Star - 5/6/15]
Woman killed after being hit by car in Kyneton, in central Victoria [ABC - 5/6/15]
A man has been crushed to death by a car south of Brisbane.
Emergency services were called to a property at Yatala, near Logan, just before midday after receiving reports a car had fallen on a man. ... [Yahoo - 4/6/15]
Pedestrian injured in supermarket car park, Perth [West Australian – 4/6/15]
Appeal for witnesses of a serious traffic crash, Parkwood
QPS Media [3/6/15]:
Police are appealing for witnesses in relation to a serious traffic crash in Parkwood yesterday.
Initial investigations suggest that just before 8pm a vehicle travelling north on Olsen Avenue collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Wintergreen Drive, Parkwood.
A 42-year-old woman was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital with serious injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Man dies in accidental balcony fall at Taringa unit complex in Brisbane
A 21-year-old man has accidentally fallen to his death at a party at a unit complex in Brisbane's inner west.
A police spokeswoman said the man, who was from overseas, fell from a unit balcony in Morrow Street just before 9:30pm on Friday, in front of many witnesses.
Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic Brad Hardy said there was nothing they could have done to save him.
"This man had fallen approximately three storeys from a rooftop balcony onto a car parking area," he said.
"He was unconscious on our arrival and unfortunately while we were treating on scene he has died."
Cancer cluster closes Perth fire station
West Australian [6/6/15]:
A Perth fire station will no longer be staffed by firefighters after four were diagnosed with kidney cancer within six years.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson announced on Saturday all staff from the Success fire station will be permanently relocated.
"I have come to a decision that I cannot, in good conscience, direct any firefighter to return to the Hammond Road site," he said.
The four firefighters were diagnosed with kidney cancer between 2008 and 2014.
Last year an internal review was undertaken by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), with testing carried out at Hammond Road station by an independent environmental agency.
The Department of Health also launched its own investigation.
However, none of the probes were able to determine what could have caused the cancer.
Following the revelations Success fire station's crew and equipment were temporarily relocated to the Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex.
Commissioner Gregson says Success firefighters will remain there until other arrangements are made.
"The health and safety of our emergency services personnel is paramount," he said in a statement.
DFES says it plans to review its health program to make sure firefighters have access to the support they need to prevent and detect cancers.
It's generally accepted the occupation makes staff more susceptible to certain cancers.
Mount Isa copper smelting allowed to continue past 2016 thanks to environmental legislation changes [ABC – 4/6/15]
US coal giant Peabody to axe up to 210 Queensland mine jobs, cut production [Brisbane Ttimes – 4/6/15]
Plans for cultural centre at Myall Creek Massacre site
A memorial will be held for the victims of the 1838 Myall Creek Massacre this Sunday in northern New South Wales.
The massacre was the first time white settlers were held accountable for their crimes against traditional owners of the land.
Gomeroi man and Myall Creek Memorial leader Lyall Munroe says there are plans to build a cultural centre at the site.
A New Zealander who was seriously injured by the explosion of a ferry's engine in Indonesia will be flown to Australia for medical treatment. ... [RNZI - 6/6/15]
Australia's protected, unaccountable Immigration Minister prolongs boy's suffering so refugees remain exiled on Nauru
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [6/6/15]:
Refugee advocates [Australians] are maintaining their call for the Immigration Minister to bring the 11 year-old Iranian refugee from Nauru to Australia for an urgent operation to reset his broken arm.
Having dropped India, the latest proposal is for the government to send a Sydney doctor to Nauru to operate on the boy’s arm.
“The government is trying to bully Erfan’s parents into agreeing to have the operation on Nauru, even though the equipment and facilities to safely and successfully operate are not available there,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
On Monday, 1 June, even the resident doctor on Nauru, Dr Bwabwa Oten, told Doctors for Refugees, “I would strongly recommend early referral offshore for MRI, assessment by a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon and ORIF.”
Erfan has been in pain since setting his broken arm was botched by doctors at the Nauru hospital on 5 May.
“It is time the Minister stopped playing politics with Erfan’s arm and brought him to Australia. Immigration officials told Erfan’s parents that there was no other option but to operate on Nauru. But that is not true. A female Connect case worker who broke her hand 10 days ago on Nauru was immediately medivacced to Australia for treatment. ” said Rintoul.
“If Nauru was unacceptable for the Connect worker, it is unacceptable for Erfan. The only reason Erfan hasn’t been brought to Australia is that he is a refugee. When IHMS thought he was an asylum seeker, Erfan’s parents were told that he would be taken to Australia.
“It is a shocking case of the Minister abandoning common sense and trying to score political points at the expense of a boy’s arm and the anxiety of the boy’s parents. Delaying Erfan’s treatment in this way, is unforgivable.”
... The real world is not as calm as it appears to be from here
The old world is not as safe with the new world closing in
The great south land can be as great as the one it could have been
The one it could have been, the one it could
have been ...
'Best Of Both Worlds', Midnight Oil 
Tallebudgera from Burleigh Headland
Mesmerising Chinese dragon - night markets, Southport [Best paella on the Gold Coast!]
The Gold Coast is set to welcome almost 200 new Australians from 32 different countries this Saturday as they proudly participate in an Australian Citizenship Ceremony during Queensland Week. ... [GCCC Media Release]
UN report cites alleged Israel crimes against children, no consensus on listing
U.N. agencies in Israel and the Palestinian territories reported an alarming number of child victims in last year's war in the Gaza Strip but were split on whether Israel should be put on a list of violators of children's rights, a U.N. document shows.
Their 22-page confidential country report, obtained by Reuters on Friday, was prepared by United Nations agencies on the ground for submission to the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict as she readied a draft of the annual list.
The special envoy, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, included Israel's army and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the draft she sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has final say on the list, U.N. sources have said.
More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the conflict, while 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed. The country report said some 540 children were reportedly killed, 371 of them 12 years old or younger.
The U.N. agencies' country report, which was sent to Zerrougui to help her prepare her decision on whether to include Israel and Palestinian armed groups in her draft list to be passed on to Ban, has used strong language on alleged violations of children's rights in the Gaza war.
It specified what it said were unlawful deaths and injuries of Palestinian children caused by Israeli forces, detention of Palestinian children and attacks on schools. It said more information was needed on the question of recruitment of children by Palestinian armed groups.
However, in a section that would appear to undermine the case for listing Israel, the country report said the heads of the U.N. agencies on the ground had failed to reach a consensus on whether to list Israel.
It said it was "not clear how the listing criteria should be applied and whether they had been satisfied."
Diplomats say the final version of the list, which names grave violators of children's rights in armed conflicts, could reach U.N. member states as early as the beginning of next week.
Whether to include the Jewish state is a politically charged issue for Israel and the United States.
Some U.S. lawmakers have spoken out on the issue and Republican presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz wrote to Ban about it this week.
U.N. diplomatic sources told Reuters that Israel has lobbied hard against its inclusion and that Ban was leaning against including Israel. Diplomats said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power had urged Ban not to list Israel.
Ban has also received information from human rights groups, including New York-based Human Rights Watch, which issued a statement this week urging the U.N. not to give in pressure to keep Israel off the list.
Israel's U.N. mission did not have an immediate response to the country report.
A U.N. inquiry published in April said Israeli soldiers had fired on seven U.N. schools during the Gaza war, killing 44 Palestinians who were sheltered at some of the sites, while Palestinian fighters hid weapons and launched attacks from several empty U.N. schools.
While Zerrougui's report was being prepared, diplomatic sources told Reuters U.N. agency chiefs had felt pressured by Israel not to support including the Israeli army. Israel has said it should not be listed but denied pressuring anyone.
Two people died and more than 100 were injured after two explosions rocked a large Kurdish party election rally in southeast Turkey on Friday, the country's Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said.
The blasts occurred five minutes apart at the rally of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP, as party leader Selahattin Demirtas was preparing to address the crowd of tens of thousands in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. ... [Yahoo - 6/6/15]
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round;
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns, and ruined swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widows' tears, and orphans' moans;
And all that Misery's hand bestows,
To fill the catalogue of human woes.
John Scott of Amwell
Where are you Australian media?
Why no report on our proud involvement in the latest pulverisation of Iraq and Syria?
US Department of Defense [5/6/15]:
Despite facing one of the most complex operational environments in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, coalition air power has enabled nearly every victory on the battlefield, a senior U.S. Central Command official said today.
During a telephonic call with Pentagon reporters, Air Force Lt. Gen. John W. Hesterman III, Combined Forces Air Component commander for Centcom, discussed the complexity and effectiveness of the air campaign against ISIL.
Hesterman expressed pride in the multinational air coalition that formed “very quickly” demonstrating international commitment to defeating ISIL.
“The interoperability between our nations’ airmen validates years of combined training and multi-lateral exercises between our coalition partners,” he said.
Each nation brings capabilities, the general said, such as command and control, airlift, fire support and aerial refueling to a very complex operational environment creating a coalition greater than the sum of its parts.
“Our planning is a true coalition effort in the Combined Air Operations Center here,” Hesterman said, “and we’re flying side-by-side across the region in this fight against [ISIL].”
Amid surging violence in Aleppo, the United Nations Security Council today expressed “outrage” at all attacks against civilians in Syria, as well as indiscriminate attacks.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the continued high level of violence in Syria and condemned all violence directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities,” according to a press statement issued this afternoon. ... [Media Release - 5/6/15]
Department of Defense [4/6/15]:
The people of the U.S. military are what make it the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a troop talk at U.S. Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, today.
Following a 10-day trip to focus on the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, Carter told service members the United States’ many friends and allies around the world are “a great force multiplier,” … [but] it still comes down to the service members for their work to secure the nation.”
With 1 million spouses, 3 million family members and the civilian workforce also comprising the DoD family, Carter said he is proud to be part of a “wonderful” team.
“I advise the president about the use of force and our role in the world today,” he said, “and I make sure I keep the pledge to myself that you come first ... your safety, welfare and dignity are always respected.”
Twenty million Yemenis, nearly 80% of the population, are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, in a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade imposed by an Arab coalition with US and British backing. ... [Guardian - 5/6/15]
Yemen: “Many civilians are injured and killed by the ongoing crisis.” [Médecins Sans Frontières - 5/6/15]
Denmark’s military continues contribution to NATO mission in Afghanistan [Centcom - 5/6/15]
At least seven people were killed following an explosion in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan on Friday afternoon.
According to the local government officials, the incident took place in Andar district, targeting a vehicle carrying wedding guests. ... [Khaama - 5/6/15]
Over 30 killed in US drone strike, Khost [Khaama - 5/6/15]
Police in Burundi on Friday shot dead a protester in the capital amid renewed demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza, witnesses and a local official said. ... [Naharnet - 5/6/15]
Official: Flash floods kill 13 in southwestern Pakistan [Indian Express – 4/6/15]
Clean-up underway in Dunedin after flood [RNZI - 5/6/15]
Refugees refouled by Australia and detained by Indonesia plead for NZ help
Sixty-five refugees detained in Indonesia are pleading for help from the New Zealand Government.
The refugees from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar said they were heading for New Zealand when they ended up shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this week.
In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the refugees make a collective plea to the Government for asylum, saying it was unsafe for them to return home.
Radio New Zealand has made attempts to verify the letter, which bears the signatures of 65 people.
Nazmul Hassan, who identifies himself as one of the 65 in a Kupang detention centre, said they just wanted a peaceful life.
"We leave our country because of some problems and political violence and too many[problems]."
"We are really in trouble now, and under pressure now."
Mr Hassan said they were all confined to one room at the centre in West Timor.
He said the group was mentally and physically exhausted.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said he had not received any requests for help.
Jakarta Post [3/6/15]:
The Australian Navy prevented around 65 Rohingya boat people from entering its territory on Tuesday, pushing them back to Rote waters in eastern Indonesia.
Rote Ndao Police chief Adj. Comr. Hidayat said on Wednesday that the police held the asylum seekers after they were stranded at Landunit Beach.
They were then evacuated to Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara.
"They were saved by local fishermen before being handled by the police," Hidayat said as quoted by tempo.co on Wednesday.
Scores of asylum-seekers have come ashore in eastern Indonesia after their boat was intercepted by the Australian navy and pushed into Indonesian waters as they headed for New Zealand, police said Monday.
The 65 migrants from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka were spotted by the Australians, said Hidayat, an Indonesian police official on Rote Island in the east of the archipelago.
"According to their testimony, they were pushed back by the Australian navy and immigration after they were interrogated," said the official, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
"They said they were on their way to New Zealand."
He said they were spotted by local residents Sunday near a beach after their boat sank.
… Hidayat did not say where the latest group, which included women and children, had started their journey, although asylum-seekers have in the past set off from Indonesia en route to Australia.
The would-be refugees were being held at a police station and would be processed by immigration officials on Tuesday, the official said.
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]
Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:
... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday.
"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.
"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."
Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.
They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...
Australia’s multimillion-dollar deal to build boats in Vietnam in which to return asylum seekers to the countries they have left could raise new legal challenges to its controversial forcible return policy.
Guardian Australia revealed on Thursday the government had signed a “multimillion-dollar” deal with shipbuilder Dragon Industries Asia to build 10 wooden-hulled vessels, resembling Asian fishing boats.
The boats will be used to forcibly return asylum seekers to the source or transit country from which they have come, replacing the orange lifeboats Australia currently uses.
... Currently there are 13 immigration detention centres scattered throughout Indonesia. The central detention centre is located in Tanjung Pinang in the Riau Archipelago province. The rest of the centres are spread throughout Medan, Pekanbaru, Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Denpasar, Kupang, Balikpapan, Pontianak, Makassar, Manado and Jayapura. Some centres hold only men, others also house women, families and unaccompanied minors. ... [Inside Indonesia - July 2013]
Guam legalises same-sex marriage
Guam has become the first US territory to legalise same-sex marriage.
Today the District Court of Guam has ruled that two women must be allowed to wed.
Earlier in the year the couple launched legal action after being refused a marriage licence.
Despite the Attorney-General saying a licence should be issued the Governor opposed the move asking for a stay until a similar case is resolved by the US Supreme Court this month.
However the District Court followed precedence set by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and has said from next week same sex couples must be allowed to marry.
The lawyer for the Guam couple likely to be the first same-sex couple to marry in the Pacific says he is proud the island has recognised marriage equality.
Todd Thompson says the couple are elated that the decision was made before the Supreme Court ruling due in three weeks.
"We don't know what's going to happen. We are hopeful that the US
Supreme Court will make marriage equality everywhere but at least Guam is proud
today that we adopted marriage equailty here on our own."
Only dialysis clinic in American Samoa closes after recall
Daily Star [5/6/15]:
American Samoa's only medical center has temporarily closed its dialysis clinic after a voluntary recall by the manufacturer of a product used in the treatment of renal failure.
LBJ Medical Center CEO Taufete'e John Faumuina says hospital managers learned of the recall of NaturaLyte Liquid Bicarbonate Concentrate from an off-island supplier Tuesday. They closed the clinic Wednesday morning.
Faumuina says an emergency shipment of the product is scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon on a weekly cargo flight from Honolulu.
He told lawmakers earlier this year that the hospital serves around 160 patients. Dialysis isn't offered anywhere else on the U.S. territory, 2,300 miles south of Hawaii.
During the closure, dialysis patients are being told to follow diet restrictions and go to the emergency room with any health problems.
The hospital says as of Thursday morning, no dialysis patients had gone to the ER because of complications.
Lé Eithne rescues 113 refugees north of Libya
Irish Examiner [5/6/15]:
At 5pm today, the Lé Eithne successfully located and rescued a small craft with 113 persons on board that was in distress 40 km north of Tripoli, Libya.
Acting on information received from the Italian Marine Rescue Coordination Centre, a rubber inflatable craft was located within the area being patrolled by the Lé Eithne.
Rescue operations and transfer of migrants began at 5 pm and were completed by 8pm, a total of 113 men, women and children (including infants) were rescued by the Lé Eithne and transferred to an Italian ship for onward passage to a port of safety.
The Lé Eithne has resumed patrol in its designated area.
This is the 5th successful operation the Lé Eithne has undertaken since its departure from Cork, bringing to a total of 756 migrants saved since commencing operations.
All refugees are not
the same: UNHCR boosts presence in Greek Islands to cope with soaring arrivals -
says nothing about "people smugglers"
[Media Release – 5/6/15]:
The UN refugee agency on Friday said it was stepping up its field presence in the eastern Aegean islands of Greece where sea arrivals in recent weeks from Turkey have been averaging some 600 people a day, straining local reception capacities.
In the first five months of this year, more than 42,000 people arrived by sea in Greece, most of them refugees. This is six times the level of the same period last year (6,500) and almost the same as the total for all of 2014 (43,500). More than 90 per cent of the people arriving are from refugee-producing countries, principally Syria (over 60 per cent of arrivals this year), Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea.
"The refugees cross the eastern Aegean Sea from Turkey in small, flimsy boats and inflatable dinghies. They are landing in as many as 15 different Greek islands or being rescued at sea by the Greek Coastguard," UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva.
"The largest arrivals have been on Lesvos, Chios and Samos and the Dodecanese Islands, particularly Kos and Leros. Smaller numbers of refugees have also been crossing through Greece's land border with Turkey at Evros."
The large numbers of refugees arriving has led to bottlenecks, as the authorities struggle to identify, register and fingerprint them. The three existing reception facilities in Lesvos, Chios and Samos are severely overcrowded. Refugees awaiting registration, including families with children, have no choice but to sleep in the open. In addition, many refugees landing on remote beaches, including older people and small children, have to walk for miles carrying their meagre belongings because of the lack of transport.
There is no regular provision of food or drinking water to refugees, unless they are accommodated in police-run facilities for registration and processing. In some of the islands, volunteers have asked local restaurants and bakeries for food donations to distribute to the refugees who are sleeping rough or in unused buildings.
On Kos, where some 7,000 refugees have arrived so far this year, there are no official facilities for those awaiting registration, and conditions are particularly dire. Hundreds of women, children and men are sleeping in cramped and unsanitary conditions in an abandoned hotel.
Faced with a growing backlog of people waiting to register with the police and a deteriorating humanitarian situation, the authorities in Lesvos and Kos, in cooperation with the central government, have decided to allow Syrians with valid passports to board the regular passenger ferries to Athens to be registered there. Around 300 Syrians boarded the night ferries to Athens from Kos and 350 from Lesvos on Thursday.
"To respond to the critical situation in the Greek islands, UNHCR is increasing its personnel in Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Rhodes, Leros and Evros. Additional deployments are also being planned," Fleming said in Geneva.
UNHCR is already helping local authorities to improve reception conditions, identify additional accommodation for refugees, provide legal information and counselling to new arrivals and distribute sleeping bags and mats, soap, sanitary towels and other relief items to the most needy.
The refugee agency is requesting European Union institutions and agencies to further enhance the support provided to Greece, and for support to be given to non-governmental organizations to enable them to urgently support communities in the Greek islands and in southern Italy that are trying to deal with the challenges posed by the influx of refugees and migrants arriving irregularly by sea.
Edwards said that UNHCR estimates that as of the end of May, almost 90,000 refugees and migrants had crossed the Mediterranean in 2015. This includes some 46,500 who landed in Italy and the 42,000 in Greece. Smaller arrivals numbers have been recorded in Spain (920) and Malta (91). At the same time, 1,850 refugees or migrants have died or are missing at sea. During the same period last year, 49,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to southern Europe.
Sixty-eight refugees found in Harwich International port lorries [BBC – 5/6/15]:
... They were found during routine Border Force checks at Harwich International Port at about 22:00 BST on Thursday.
Thirty-five people from Afghanistan, 22 from China, 10 from Vietnam and one Russian were discovered. ...
Deutsche Welle [5/6/15]:
Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a church convention in Stuttgart that Germany must work with foreign spy services, including those of the US. She also defended draft German law on phone data retention.
Merkel told the biannual Protestant convention on Friday that protecting Germany's 80 million residents from terrorist threats was a key factor for her when weighing up security versus data privacy.
Numerous recruits of the jihadists "Islamic State" ("IS") militia - which since last year has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq - came from Germany and Europe, she said.
"We are all exposed to great threats," Merkel said, adding that in Germany more value was placed on data privacy than in the United States.
"Despite this I as chancellor must ensure that we can live securely. That requires a lot of weighing up," she said, adding that for her it came down to the question - how much do intelligence services need to know?
Her remarks follow hefty criticism in Germany over disclosures that the US National Security Agency (NSA) conducted surveillance of European businesses and politicians with help from the German BND foreign intelligence agency.
Last week, her coalition cabinet comprising conservatives and center-left Social Democrats adopted revised draft legislation to reintroduce data retention for police probes into severe crimes.
Telecoms would log phone and Internet usage for 10 weeks. Privacy advocates and publishers are strongly opposed. Parliament is to debate the proposal next month.
"We must keep open - in view of the current threats - this option to backtrack through communications," she said. "I would feel more secure, if we had such a law."
Merkel, herself Protestant-born, told the convention that digitalization of daily life offered opportunities but required framework conditions.
"Let us be curious about the new world, but let us not forget the standards in the federal republic that have made a good life worth living," she said.
The existence of Facebook, like cars or an "ordinary washing machine," did not automatically generate joy, Merkel said, referring to drawbacks of technical systems.
It was erroneous to believe that anything goes in the Internet, she said. Just as in real life, freedom online should be proscribed by rules, for example, to respect the dignity of the individual.
She also appealed to German and European industry to quickly adopt "big data" analytical methods to assess consumer trends.
The market should not be left over to American information technology concerns, such as Google and Facebook, she added.
On asylum and Mediterranean boat migrants, Merkel's interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, told the convention that Europe needed reforms.
"The Dublin system no longer works," de Maiziere said, referring to the EU practice begun in 1997 that an asylum-seeker's application must be dealt in the first EU country entered.
De Maiziere reiterated the German government's belief that asylum-seekers must be distributed among all EU countries.
On Thursday, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, who chairs the opposition Greens parliamentary grouping in the Bundestag, said the offer of "church asylum" by some parishes in Germany did not amount to a breach of the law.
"On the contrary, church asylum provides the opportunity for justice to be fulfilled," she said, referring to asylum procedures.
De Maiziere on Friday reiterated his view that church asylum was overused. Church communities should only use it as an "ultima ratio" last-course of action, he said.
Where's the Australian Human Rights Commission?
This is a crisis that reveals how some lives are valued and appreciated while others are totally ignored.
Not the Rohingya crisis, but a crisis of humanity, Harun Yahya [Burma Times - 5/6/15]:
“I boarded the boat because I had nowhere else to go. I don’t have a home or anything left. The Rakhine killed my mother and my relatives. The people in the village said they were going to Malaysia, so I made the decision to follow them.”
This quote is from a woman on a boat densely packed with starving people out in the Andaman Sea. Her words are plain, encapsulating misery beyond one’s imagination. The scene is, on the other hand, in one word, “horrific”, something no person with any shred of conscience would ever stand to see.
It is a boat where no human being in this world should ever end up. It is the kind of human tragedy with which any soul in this world would be challenged.
This woman is one of the members of a minority community who has been denied citizenship and voting rights by a country where generations of her family had lived in for centuries. Let alone having any civil rights, this community has been for many years persecuted by a regime that denies them any freedom and, above all, the dignity that every human being deserves in this world.
If you are someone not even remotely interested in the world news, you are probably by now familiar with these people, the Rohingya Muslims. During WWII, this Muslim community fought alongside the British Army against the Japanese, making them a hated community in Myanmar. Now their grandchildren – women, little children, men and the elderly – are forced to embark on a gruesome journey to look for a homeland for themselves. Contrary to any voyage we know of in our conflict-free world, these people have no luggage, no food or water, and in most cases, even no clothes to cover themselves.
Imagine yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere under desperate conditions with no friends or relatives from your life in your home country. Even hard to imagine in one’s worst nightmare!
However, with no rights of any kind and, more importantly, no hope for future in their own homeland, they, as a last resort, clamber on to a rickety boat, taking the risk of death.
With their vessels marooned out on the high seas by human traffickers and various navies cracking down on them, the ordeal they’ve gone through is unparalleled by any means. Their boats, “floating coffins” as they are called, are a reference to their horrendous situation.
According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the “most persecuted minorities” in the world. Now the situation has turned into the most ferocious form of human tragedy with the stance of the neighboring ASEAN countries bordering the Adaman Sea. Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have simply refused to accept these adrift people into their countries as refugees. Their navies simply provided some provisions of food and water and then pushed them out to the open sea.
Now that the world media has devoted space to the stories of these most helpless people, the international community is savvy about the existence of the Rohingya Muslims and their desperate situation. Yet the efforts of other countries, who should be sharing the spirit of humanity, have been so far very feeble, devoid of the strength that any conscience requires.
After weeks of not welcoming thousands of migrants stranded at sea, with Indonesia and Malaysia ultimately offering temporary shelter – and rather reluctantly at that – it seems that some solutions are on the horizon.
However this crisis has demonstrated something far more important; that this is not some isolated crisis that a minority group in one part of the world is going through, but rather a crisis of humanity.
The Rohingya boat tragedy is an indelible blotch on humanity. It is a human rights debacle. It is the manifestation of the moral bankruptcy of the human conscience and must be analyzed and pondered upon if we would like to create a world where every child has access to the same freedoms we desire for our own children.
In the case of the Rohingya Muslims, the neighboring countries’ concerns about taking care of the refugees can be overcome quite easily. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand are countries with vast lands and coastal areas.
The refugees can be introduced to a lifestyle where they can earn their living by fishing, agriculture or animal husbandry without being a burden on the host countries. Such a stance is what is more becoming to humanity, something that we most need in these times of ordeal.
This is a crisis that reveals how some lives are valued and appreciated while others are totally ignored.
Human beings, no matter which race, nation, religion, ethnicity or tribe they may be from, are the core element of this world. All commercial, political, industrial, and artistic activities are carried out in this world because of human beings.
The reason why this world exists and why it was created are ‘human beings’.
So everyone must enjoy the dignity and freedom they deserve as a human being.
Once this scrupulous perspective is adopted by any politician or leader, any impaired morals would be purged at once, and thoroughgoing solutions will follow.
The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com
The Rohingya Association of Queensland joined last night's "Luminous" parade for refugees in Brisbane [Burma Times - 5/6/15]
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has appointed an expert advisory panel to oversee the so-called "competitive evaluation process" for the Navy's future submarine fleet.
The four-member panel includes former US secretary of the navy Donald Winter, as well as a former Federal Court justice, and the chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. ... [ABC - 5/6/15]
Manila, Tokyo to start talks on letting Japan use Philippine military bases [Reuters – 5/6/15]
ALP Headquarters, Melbourne
Image: @akaWACA [5/6/15]
The Australian media are derelict in their duty to inform the public
Call for action to help persecuted Rohingya people [Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Media Release - 4/6/15]:
The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office is calling for action to help the tragic situation for persecuted Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar.
The Rohingya people are fleeing Myanmar to escape government persecution and the denial of their citizenship.
Many are stranded at sea in unstable boats off the coast of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia with limited food and water supplies.
Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO), Fr Maurizio Pettenà said, ‘The Rohingya people seeking asylum in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are being denied entry because they are considered stateless and their claim for asylum is being rejected everywhere.’
‘This is an emergency situation that requires an immediate solution to find a safe haven for the vulnerable Rohingya people and a long-term strategy. We need to show compassion and solidarity with the Rohingya people at this time.’
The ACMRO is calling on the Australian Government to take on a leadership role in this situation and act as a diplomatic mediator in developing a humane long-term solution.
Chairman of the ACMRO Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv, a refugee himself, is calling on the Catholic Community across Australia to pray for the Rohingya people fleeing persecution in their homeland.
‘This minority group don’t know what the future holds.’
Meanwhile, the ACMRO welcomed the news that the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have come to a temporary agreement to assist some of the Rohingya people.
UN issues victim blaming media release, seeks $13 million for what appears to be their priority of sending South East Asian refugees back to danger [UN Media Release - 5/6/15]:
The United Nations refugee agency today announced that it is seeking $13 million to help with the needs of new boat arrivals to countries in Southeast Asia, where thousands of refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been risking their lives by crossing the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
“With the monsoon season imminent, thousands of people may still be at sea,” Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists at the UN briefing in Geneva Switzerland. [WHY ISN'T THE UN CALLING FOR THE URGENT RESCUE OF THESE PEOPLE?]
Ms. Fleming said the appeal, which was launched Thursday, is aimed at beefing up UNHCR’s work related to protection for the nearly 4,800 people from Myanmar and Bangladesh who have been disembarked from smugglers' boats in the last month.
“In the latest incident, earlier this week, more than 700 people were landed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state,” she said.
“They included some 120 women and children who said they had been at sea for at least three months.”
UNHCR’s appeal follows from last week’s regional meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, of countries affected by the humanitarian crisis. It also reflects elements of a 10-point plan of action proposed by UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Ms. Fleming said the funds sought by UNHCR would allow the agency to step up its response in three main areas.
“Firstly by helping meet the international protection needs of new boat arrivals, secondly by enhancing information available to people considering the journey, and thirdly by targeting some of the root causes of these movements in source countries,” she said. [IT'S CALLED GENOCIDE.]
More than 1,000 new Rohingya arrivals have been registered in Indonesia by UNHCR, which has distributed relief supplies and are counselling dozens of new arrivals in southern Thailand, and in Malaysia the refugee agency is scaling up to meet the needs of arrivals.
Additional resources are needed to set up mobile teams to quickly identify and help people with specific protection needs. Refugees who cannot return home will need assurance that they can stay in host countries temporarily with access to legal work until conditions are conducive for voluntary return or until other solutions are found. Where possible, UNHCR will support livelihood programmes within national structures to serve the needs of both refugees and host communities.
UNHCR said the appeal envisages training for the region’s search-and-rescue officials on international legal principles and protection, and exploration of predictable disembarkation options.
The agency said it will also expand its monitoring and reporting on maritime movements to include information campaigns providing factual information to potential boat people about the risks and mistreatment at the hands of smugglers and traffickers. [i.e. UNCLE SAM SAYS STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND DIE, AND FOR SOME BIZARRE REASON WE ARE ECHOING THIS.]
Ms. Fleming said to help resolve the three-year-long internal displacement in Rakhine state, UNHCR is seeking to expand assistance to, and monitoring of, displaced families who wish to return home or establish new homes.
'What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations, more will continue to die at sea'
... Nations stating the Rohingya is not their problem are violating international law, especially if they are signatories to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Those who are not signatories, however, still have a legal obligation under customary international law to prevent the return of people at risk of serious rights abuses. Saying “no” to asylum seekers does nothing to address the dangers, which force people to flee and demeans the power of international law.
As long as persecution continues, people will continue to seek asylum. The real crisis is not people smuggling or human trafficking. What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations or refuse to co-operate for domestic political gains, more will continue to die at sea.
Of course, the root problem is state sanctioned persecution and discrimination in Burma. The Rohingya is a distinct Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma who are not afforded any basic rights or citizenship status. This needs to be addressed in order to control the Rohingya from leaving, although this is a long-term strategy.
The short-term strategy is for nations to step up and provide humanitarian aid and temporary refuge to the Rohingya asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. Much like what the Philippines did when thousands of Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived their shores in the 1970s in areas such as Bataan and Palawan, and very much like what Malaysia did when my parents ventured on their harrowing and long journey to a better life before being granted asylum in Australia.
As I write this article, I question where my parents would be today if they were not resettled. Where would I be today if my parents’ boat had been pushed back to the nation that persecuted them? Where would many former Vietnamese asylum seekers be if sovereignty was the main priority?
Migration emergencies and human rights in Haiti: Paper prepared for the Conference on Regional Responses to Forced Migration in Central America and the Caribbean, Patrick Gavigan [Organisation of American States - September 30-October 1, 1997]:
The 1991-94 Haitian Refugee Crisis
The US and the Crisis
The 1991-94 Haitian refugee crisis was the culmination of political tensions that had been building in Haiti for at least 20 years around the cruel dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier, his son and the series of military governments which followed them. Haitian refugees had actually begun arriving on the US mainland in 1972, but their efforts to flee the Duvalier dictatorship only led to arrest, jail, the denial of asylum and swift expulsion as successive US governments refused to recognize the repression in Haiti and branded them economic migrants. US policy shifted in 1980 when the Carter Administration found itself confronting simultaneous influxes of both Haitian and Cuban refugees. Unable to overtly treat the two refugee populations differently, Carter created a new immigration classification: 18,000 Haitians and 125,000 Cubans became neither refugees, nor asylees, but simply 'entrants,' whose fate was to be decided at a later date by legislation. The Reagan Administration shifted US policy once again, establishing the interdiction-at-sea program in September 1981, and promising that Haitians able to escape the Coast Guard boats would face lengthy detention in federal prisons and INS centers. According to the US immigration service, 433 boats were intercepted and 25,551 Haitians returned to Port-au-Prince under the interdiction program from 1981 to 1991. Only 28 persons were permitted to enter the US to pursue refugee claims.
Baby Doc Duvalier was forced out of Haiti in 1986 and four military governments preceded the elections that brought Aristide to the presidency in February 1991. After Aristide's election, refugee flows dropped dramatically: fewer than 1,200 took to the seas in 1990, one-third of the number of refugees intercepted in each of the years 1987, 1988 and 1989.
The surprise coup in September 1991 opened the refugee floodgates. Within six months of the coup the US Coast Guard had intercepted more than 38,000 Haitians at sea; 10,747 were eventually allowed to pursue asylum claims in the US following screening by immigration officials on board ships or at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay. An estimated 10% of the population of Port-au-Prince and Haiti's other large cities fled into the mountains, generating an internally displaced population of perhaps 300,000. 3 A further 30,000 crossed into the Dominican Republic.
Initial US reluctance to repatriate Haitians plucked from the sea withered in the face of the refusals of other Latin American states to share the refugee burden. A temporary legal rebuff to the Bush Administration's repatriation plan led to the establishment of camps at Guantánamo Bay and the establishment of an in-country refugee processing program at the US embassy in Port-au-Prince. When Guantánamo filled up with 12,000 refugees, President Bush ordered the summary return of all Haitians picked up at sea. He had been given the liberty to do so by a US Supreme Court ruling that the Refugee Convention did not apply on the high seas.
President Clinton adopted his predecessor's policies shortly after taking office in January 1993, despite having severely criticized this same policy in the 1992 presidential campaign. Almost all of the Guantánamo refugees were permitted to enter the US to pursue asylum claims while those picked up at sea were returned to Haiti despite the horrid human rights situation in the country. Under intense political pressure, the Clinton Administration finally agreed to initiate on-ship refugee processing in June 1994, but the single naval vessel designated for the screenings was quickly overwhelmed. With the news prompting an outflow of more than 10,000 refugees in the 10-day period following the establishment of the shipboard screening process, the Clinton Administration recognized that even a re-opened Guantánamo Bay would prove incommensurate to the task. The Administration sought to obtain a network of safe haven zones for Haitians in the Caribbean; when Caribbean states refused to resettle the refugees, Clinton sent them to Guantánamo. With his options for controlling the refugee flood severely limited, the president committed the US to quickly restore democratic government to Haiti. The exodus of Haitian refugees slowed and finally stopped with the September 1994 invasion.
The end of the 1991-94 Haitian refugee crisis did not end serious concerns about Haitian migration flows. The most obvious concern has been the possibility that political and economic instability might generate a new outflow of migrants, perhaps set off by an abrupt increase in political violence. Such was the case in November 1995 when the US Coast Guard intercepted more than 1,100 Haitians at sea fleeing a rise in political violence and uncertainty prior to the December presidential election won by Rene Preval.
Just as seriously, the US response left the Refugee Convention in tatters in the Caribbean, its fundamental proscription of refoulement savagely violated, its contribution to the anti-immigration, anti-refugee mood sweeping North America and Europe clear and wide-ranging. US, regional and international attention turned to rebuilding Haiti's economy and political institutions. International donors have financed projects to disband the military and build a new national police force, reform the judicial structures, support the development of a democratic, rights-respecting civic culture, and rebuild the shattered economy. A US/UN military and police presence have provided security against political violence and a large Coast Guard fleet still guards the sea lanes against rafters.
6 June 2015