Senator Glenn Lazarus threatens to 'use Hopoate tactics' on Tony Abbott over CSG


ABC [7/7/15]:

An independent Queensland senator has threatened to grab the Prime Minister's genitals — and possibly stick a finger up his backside — if he does not limit coal seam gas (CSG) exploration.

Former Palmer United Party senator Glenn Lazarus has presented Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office with a petition to allow greater community consultation, health impact assessments, as well as exclusion zones around CSG.

The former rugby league great, renowned for a crushing style on the field, jokingly told an anti-CSG rally in Sydney he was willing to apply some of the game's rougher tactics to politics.

"I'm prepared to go and squirrel grip, squirrel grip, the Prime Minister," Senator Lazarus said.

"If that doesn't work, I've got other things up my sleeve, like the grapple tackle, the chicken wing and even the crusher tackle."

The Senator then went further, referring to a 2001 incident in which Wests Tigers player John Hopoate inserted his finger into opponents' anuses.

"If that (the squirrel grip) doesn't work, I'm prepared to use the Hopoate tactics," Senator Lazarus said.

Senator Lazarus has been raising the issue of CSG in Parliament, asking why the Government has appeared to be more concerned about wind farms than the impacts of gas exploration.

"I have threatened Tony Abbott to shirtfront him about this issue," he said.

"To stand up and take notice, and go and see for yourself.

"Tony Abbott in 2013 said that no-one should live anywhere near, or in amongst coal seam gas wells, and I think he should remind himself of that."

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the comments were Senator Lazarus' "colourful turn of phrase".

"I don't think the Prime Minister is going to take it seriously," he said.

The Prime Minister's office has been contacted for comment.

 

 

 

 

Katter slams unworkable loan scheme



North West Star [7/7/15]:

Bob Katter has slammed the announcement of billions of dollars for the “failed” Drought Concessional Loans scheme that “achieves nothing”.

The federal member for Kennedy said the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper released on the weekend by the Agriculture Minister re-announced a number of previous items and throws another $2.75 billion into the botched loans scheme.

“We have pointed out again and again and again that this (loans scheme) does not work,” he said.

“The current loan structure costs taxpayers money and achieves nothing.

“Probably another half dozen stations have foreclosed, or are in the process of foreclosing in the last month alone.

“So while the media are running on their heavyweight programs 60 Minutes and Sunday Night the trauma of foreclosures, the government is running around throwing money uselessly. This quite frankly further enrages rural Australia.”

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the new loans scheme would provide up to $250 million in loans each year nationally, and would be available for 10 years from 2016–17.

“We recognise the need for in-drought support for farm businesses that is both effective and fiscally responsible,” Mr Joyce said.

“Our farmers contributed about $51 billion to our nation’s economy in 2013–14. Stronger farm businesses mean a stronger economy—so supporting viable farm businesses to better manage through drought is in our national interest.

“The new scheme will complement—not replace—commercial finance, and will help farmers in the short-term when income is tight, so they can return to productive operation more quickly following drought.’’

Mr Katter said a “simple” Reconstruction Board costs the taxpayer nothing and has worked for 100 years.

“The banks are out there ruthlessly foreclosing,” he said.

“This is a $2.75 billion assistance for the banks, not assistance for the farmers.”

“Farmers don’t want more debt they cannot service.”

“They want to reconstruct their existing debt.”

A commitment of $500 million over four years for water infrastructure – with $450 million of that set aside for construction and $200 million earmarked for Northern Australia – was welcomed by Mr Katter.

But the federal member for Kennedy wants the money to flow into construction now, not in a few years’ time through another study.

“The first obvious problem is ‘show me the money’,” he said.

“We are only interested in this if it takes us to a hard commercial proposal for an operator.”



 

 

Domestic and Family Violence Magistrates Court to be trialled on Gold Coast



ABC [7/7/15]:

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has outlined the Government's initial response to the Not Now, Not Ever report commissioned by the previous government and handed down in March.

The recommendation of a Domestic and Family Violence Magistrates Court has been accepted, with a six-month trial to begin at the Southport Magistrates Court in September, Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Women are losing continuity; they are getting lost in the legal process," she said.

"What a specialised domestic violence court will enable women to do is have a one-stop shop where the magistrate will be familiar with their issues. There'll be a continuum of service."

Gold Coast Domestic Violence Prevention Centre director Amy Compton-Keen said the trial would complement existing services.

"For the last 18-19 years, our service has been the key driver of an integrated response to domestic violence, and I said to the Premier, we've been waiting 10 years for this court," she said.

"Our primary purpose is to keep women and children safe, but without offender accountability we're only working with one end of the spectrum."

Ms Palaszczuk said a total of $31.3 million will be allocated over four years.

The Government also confirmed that $8 million would be spent building two new crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville, with a further $11.9 million allocated over four years to run the centres.

Lindy Edwards, from the existing shelter in Townsville, said new places had not been created in Queensland in more than 20 years.

"This will enable women to be placed directly into shelter and stop the practice of women being placed unsupported in motels, which is happening right across the state," she said.

"I believe Queensland is leading the way in relation to the fight against domestic violence."

"We've seen other states talk the talk, but today my government is putting in place the money that is needed to combat domestic violence across this state."

Other initiatives to be funded include:

•$3 million over four years for an independent Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board, and to expand the Domestic and Family Violence Review Unit;

•$1.1 million in 2015-16 to expand the Queensland Domestic Violence Duty Lawyer Service to 14 locations through Legal Aid; and

•$3 million over four years towards a national campaign to reduce violence against women and children.

The Government will outline its response to other recommendations in the report later in the year.

 

 


 

 

 

A Canberra man accused of repeatedly abusing his neighbour's two young boys during a three-year period has gone on trial in the ACT Supreme Court. ... [Canberra Times - 6/7/15]

 

 

 



Fair Work says CFMEU 'broke law 822 times' on Queensland work sites

 

 

Brisbane Times [7/7/15]:

A major trade union and its representatives allegedly broke the law 822 times after shutting down two Queensland work sites, a federal government agency says.

Fair Work Building and Construction says the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and 21 of its officers and agents committed the offences as part of a prolonged campaign to force the sites' head contractors into signing an enterprise agreement.

The sites, a $60 million Queensland University of Technology project and a $770 million redevelopment of the Enoggera Army Barracks in Brisbane, were shut down for a combined 97 days in 2013.




Former high-profile unionist Kathy Jackson used a secret slush fund to ensure her lavish spending sprees and a slew of unauthorised payments were hidden from any oversight, a court has heard. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/7/15]


 


BP cuts more Australian staff as oil prices slump [Brisbane Times – 7/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Motorcyclist seriously injured, Mutdapilly



Yahoo [7/7/15]:



A motorcyclist has had part of his armed ripped off in a head-on collision with a truck on a highway in southeast Queensland.

The 53-year-old lost his right arm below the elbow and suffered leg injuries in the crash, which happened on the Cunningham Highway at Mutdapilly, near Ipswich, just after 10am on Tuesday.

He was airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a stable condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Fatal crash, Bilinga



QPS Media [7/7/15]:



A man has died after he lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree in the southbound lanes of the Gold Coast Highway at Bilinga around 7.20am this morning.

Officers from the Gold Coast Forensic Crash Unit will conduct investigations at the scene.

Traffic will be diverted from the Gold Coast Highway southbound lanes on to Golden Four Drive around the crash site.

This is all the information available about this incident at this time.

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.







A woman has died and five people including several children have been injured following a horrific head-on crash between two vehicles at Broadwater this morning which has closed the Pacific Highway in both directions. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 7/7/15]

 

 

 



Pedestrian dies after being hit by car, Warnbro



West Australian [7/7/15]:

A Port Kennedy woman has died after being hit by a car in Warnboro overnight.

The 49-year-old woman was struck by a yellow Volkswagen Sedan travelling south on Ennis Avenue near Royal Palm Drive at about 10.20pm.

She died at the scene.

The 44-year-old Port Kennedy woman behind the wheel of the Volkswagen is assisting police.

Police would like to speak to a truck driver who is believed to have pulled over to help.

Major Crash is investigating.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

 

 

 

 

Alleged ice trafficker out on $50,000 bail


Yahoo [7/7/15]:

A Queensland woman has stumped up $50,000 to secure her partner's release on bail after he was arrested over a multimillion-dollar ice trafficking ring.

Brad Matthew Watt, 40, was one of three men charged under Queensland's anti-bikie legislation in June after allegedly trafficking about $3 million worth of methylamphetamines between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast over a one-year period.

The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act was set up to target bikies, however Watt was charged under it, not because he was a gang member, but because he was part of a trio that allegedly operated as a business.

He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment if he is convicted because of that circumstance.

The court heard he is tied to Queensland because he has an infant with his current partner and full-time employment.

The case against Watt was not as strong as that against his co-accused, Adam Charles Johns and Luke Perrett, Magistrate Michael Quinn said.

"Clearly, on the material that's been placed before me, you have an association with two people who are alleged otherwise to be very heavily involved in the enterprise and you were found in the most suspicious of circumstances at the time when you were arrested," he said.

Magistrate Quinn accepted an offer of a $50,000 surety from Watt's partner and granted him conditional bail.

"Adequate conditions of bail will, as much as possible, reduce the risk of you failing to appear," he said.

Watt must reside with his partner at Victoria Point, surrender his passport and report to police three times each week.

He must not take any non-prescription drugs, contact his co-accused, or approach any international airports.

The matter was adjourned to October 12 for committal callover.


 

 

Drug charges, Geebung



QPS Media [7/7/15]:


Two men have been charged with producing dangerous drugs after a search warrant was executed at Geebung last night.

Police searched the house at Robinson Road and located a hydroponic cannabis production.

A 25-year-old man and a 56-year-old man, both from Geebung, have each been charged with producing a dangerous drug and two counts of possessing things used in the commission of a crime.

They are due to appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning.

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.


 

 

 

 

 

Fine, community service for father and son who sold stun guns to people who didn't have tattoos or looked disreputable [Yahoo – 7/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Robbery, Ascot



QPS Media [7/7/15]:

Police are investigating a robbery at a liquor store on Racecourse Road, Ascot yesterday evening.

At around 6.10pm a man entered the business and whileRacecourse the store attendant was otherwise occupied began placing bottles of alcohol in a bag.

The attendant has then confronted the man and attempted to take the bag from the man. He then used a bottle to hit the attendant a number of times on the arm.

The man then fled the store with the bag and was last seen on Kent Street.

The attendant sustained a minor arm injury.

The man (pictured) is described as Pacific Islander in appearance, with a slim build, and approximately 170cm.

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.




Melbourne police shooting may be linked to drive-by



Nine MSN [7/7/15]:

 

The shooting of a Melbourne police officer may be linked to two attacks on family members of slain underworld figure Carl Williams.

Police say they are investigating possible links between two incidents on Tuesday morning when gunshots were fired into George Williams' Broadmeadows home at 3.30am and a policeman was shot 10 minutes later at Moonee Ponds.

The first constable, 31, took a number of shotgun pellets to his head but is awake and in a stable condition in the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

He is lucky to be alive after being shot through the driver's side window of a police van after he and his partner tried to intercept a four-wheel drive with two people inside.

It's unclear whether Tuesday's incidents are also linked to a petrol bomb attack on an Essendon house on Sunday morning in the street where Carl's former wife, Roberta Williams, lives.

Mr Williams was in good spirits despite the attack on his home, but was unable to shed any light on why he was targeted, police told AAP on Tuesday.

Mr Williams, his de facto partner Kath and two young grandchildren are understood to have been asleep in the house at the time of the attack.

Family friend Paul visited the Williams home soon after police left and said Mr Williams and Kath seemed to be "OK" although she was still upset.

"George has gone - he's got court appearances and all that stuff - so he's doing his own thing," Paul said.

"He's trying his best to stay out of the limelight, and since Carl was killed nothing has happened in this street.

"They're not going to move. They've done nothing wrong. They're just living their life out so, you know, that's all I can say about it."

Mr Williams arrived home soon before 3.30pm, but was too tired to talk to reporters camped outside his door.

Earlier, detectives had measured bullet holes that appear to have destroyed a letter box and intercom system on the two-metre high fence surrounding his property.

Detectives also searched the area around the Broadmeadows property and were looking at CCTV footage from nearby homes.

A neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said he didn't hear anything overnight, but it wasn't a surprise to have trouble in the street.

"We're used to this around this area," he told AAP.

The house sprayed with bullets had been the centre of much trouble, he said.



 

Five-year-old girl killed after sturgeon leaps into family boat in Florida



Independent [5/7/15]:


A five-year-old girl has been killed after a sturgeon fish jumped into her family’s boat.

Jayln Rippy was with her mother and nine-year-old brother enjoying a day out on the Suwanee River when the tragedy happened on Thursday.

Local wildlife officials said that the girl’s mother and brother both suffered serious injuries in the incident and had been airlifted to hospital.

Sturgeon fish can grow up to 8ft long and weigh as much as 200lbs. They are known for leaping about water and can cause serious injuries.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told local press that four people have been injured by jumping sturgeons so far this year and that this is the first known fatality.

A fundraising page has been set up in tribute to the little girl and to try and collect money to cover funeral and medical costs.

Family friend Sunny Prevatt Baynard asked for people to keep the family in their prayers, she wrote: “The Rippy family was involved in an accident on Thursday, July 2, 2015, where a sturgeon collided with their boat. Their precious baby Jayln became an angel early July 3, 2015. Tanya and Trevor will both have to see specialist[s] and face possible surgeries.”

 

 

 

New Zealand's Foreign Minister says he's taking reports coming out of Nauru "very seriously"


 

NZ Foreign Minister Media Release [7/7/15]:

 

Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Sydney later this week to attend a meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers.

“This meeting is an important opportunity for Ministers to discuss international issues that affect the region,” Mr McCully says.

“This includes considering regional approaches to disaster response, which is particularly relevant following the damage caused by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.”

Minister McCully will also have one-on-one meetings with a number of his regional counterparts, and the President of Nauru, Mr Baron Waqa.

“New Zealand is taking the reports coming out of Nauru very seriously and this meeting is an opportunity to pass on our concerns and discuss our contribution to the justice sector in light of recent events,” Mr McCully says.

Minister McCully departs for Sydney on Thursday 9 July.



 

 

Refugees settled on Nauru woke on Monday to find an ominous letter, signed “Youth of Republic of Nauru”, had been delivered overnight. Copies had been left at shops, homes, workplaces employing refugees… [Manifesto for a pogrom: hostility to exiled refugees grows on Nauru  -  The Conversation - 20/11/14]

 

 


NT manager in Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet flaunts Confederate flag in Alice Springs

 



Sydney Morning Herald [7/7/15]:

 

 

... The Northern Territory manager in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mark Coffey, won the best-dressed prize for turning up to a Beef Breeders' dinner in Alice Springs wearing the a shirt emblazoned with the flag beloved by white supremacists.

The Rebel standard became internationally infamous when Dylann Roof, the young racist who allegedly killed nine people in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, posed with the flag shortly before the massacre.

It has since been removed from sale by the US giant WalMart, and the South Carolina Senate has voted to remove it from government buildings.

The flag divides those who see it as a symbol of slavery and racism while others say it is a respected part of US heritage and history.

A spokesman from the Prime Minister's Department said a statement was being prepared regarding Mr Coffey's decision to wear a Confederate shirt at the Alice Springs event.

 

 

 

 

 

Court hears racist attack led to stabbing death [Nine MSN - 7/7/15]:


A Melbourne man has pleaded guilty to the stabbing death of a 20-year-old at a service station in Cobram, near the Victoria-NSW border.

Hayden Atkinson-Thring suffered a fatal stab wound in a fight with a group of men outside a Cobram service station in January last year.

The court heard Mr Atkinson-Thring had been drinking and approached Raad Ajil, who was behind the wheel of another parked car, and began yelling racist comments.

Mr Ajil tried to drive off until he heard a loud bang at the back of the car. Armed with a knife, the 29-year-old got out of the car and a brawl ensued.

A friend of the victim who witnessed the fight told police he believed Mr Ajil was bluffing when he produced the knife, and that Mr Atkinson-Thring continued to run at him despite being armed.

A toxicology report revealed Hayden had a blood alcohol level of between 0.18 to 0.19 and had consumed illicit drugs on the night he died.

Mr Ajil handed himself into police the next day, and his lawyer told the court his client had displayed remorse.

"I did not try to kill him, I'm really sorry to hear he's dead," Mr Ajil told police at the time.

"I was trying to scare the guy to leave me alone."

Mr Ajil has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing.




Tourists see camels killed by arrows at Mt Anderson Station near Broome [WA Today - 7/7/15]:

 

 

Two camels have been killed, allegedly by bow-and-arrow hunters, at Mt Anderson Station some 250 kilometres south-east of Broome.

A tour group of seven Victorians and a guide passed the camels, which were grazing in a paddock with cattle, en route to local attractions around 1pm on Friday.

Thirty minutes later they returned to see a car pulled over and say they watched a man in camouflage gear with a bow and arrow stalk and shoot dead a bull camel.

Tour guide Thomas Butt of Kimberley Dreamtime Adventure Tours said he fronted the man.

"I asked him what he was doing," Mr Butt said.

"He said he was driving to Camballin. I said 'No, what are you doing?'"

Mr Butt said the man replied that he had just shot a camel. The man was accompanied by his teenaged son, who Mr Butt said was similarly armed.

Mr Butt said the alleged shooter was bald and Caucasian, possibly in his mid-30s.

"I was furious, I had tears running down my face, I told him that 'One Arm' [the camel] was like a pet," Mr Butt said.

"He was really quiet and would never run away from you. I told the man he had to go to the Looma police.

"One Arm was in a paddock. You couldn't mistake him as being wild."

The tour guide said it was only the presence of his tour group, a couple with three teenaged children and a second couple, that prevented him from reacting even more emotionally.

Mr Butt said the man and his son headed in the direction of Looma, but were pulled over by police and returned to the scene.

According to Mr Butt, the owner of the camels, elder Harry Watson and his son Kenny, then tracked a second camel, a pregnant female, which had allegedly been shot to death by the teenaged son about 200 metres away.

Looma police began an investigation that included statements from the tour group before they headed to Broome

A man and his son are now helping police with their inquiries.

 

 

 



ACT government cull ends early after 1700 kangaroos shot dead [Canberra Times - 7/7/15]:

 

 

... The government's chief veterinary officer visited cull sites on two nights and a separate independent vet audited 10 per cent of shot animals to ensure culling was undertaken appropriately. About 8 per cent of culled kangaroos have been used for baiting of wild dogs and foxes.

Last week, a 70-year-old Macarthur man was arrested protesting the shooting after he was approached by police officers near the Rose Cottage horse paddocks in Wanniassa. The man is expected to face the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with obstructing or resisting a territory public official.

...

 

 

 

 


The NSW Government is being urged to rule out expanding its shark-netting program following recent attacks at Ballina and Lennox Head.

Opponents say netting traps animals such as whales and dolphins, and other non-target species.

Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith has joined Ballina mayor David Wright, and Ballina councillor Keith Williams in calling for the government to pursue other measures other than netting.  ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 7/7/15]






Wildlife officers try to save whale stranded in reef lagoon  off Cairns [Brisbane Times - 7/7/15]


 

 

 


Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been sentenced to death, filed a motion in federal court on Monday seeking a new trial, according to court records.

The preliminary motion for a new trial cited a lack of evidence in his trial this spring, according to documents filed in federal court in Massachusetts. ... [Reuters - 6/7/15]



 

 

 

“There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind”

 

 

Napoléon Bonaparte

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Dreams: Seasonal Survival Tips from Maximum Security [The Falcon and the Snowman – 6/7/15]:


The following article was written by Christopher Boyce while he was serving a 68-year sentence at Oak Park Heights prison. It was published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on April 9, 1989.

 

I am often asked how I can face 68 years of imprisonment. On a recent morning I sat in the prison library and pondered the same question.

In my despair I glanced out the windows at a blustery April sky and saw a great, straggling vee of Canada geese flying north. The sealed security windows muffled all sound, but my imagination produced a wild music of honking that faded with them as they neared the horizon.

...

 


Singapore teenager in anti-Lee thought crime video walks free after sentencing [NDTV - 6/7/15]:

The Singaporean teenager behind online attacks on former premier Lee Kuan Yew was given a four-week jail term today but freed in view of time served since being accused of offending Christians and posting an obscene image.

Amos Yee, 16, was jailed for three weeks for wounding religious feelings in an expletive-laden YouTube video comparing Lee Kuan Yew to Jesus, which was posted after the "independence leader's" death in March.

He also received a one-week jail term for posting an obscene drawing of Lee and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

District Court judge Jasvender Kaur backdated the sentence to June 2, when Yee was already in remand, saying the offences "were not serious in nature but not trivial either".

Yee, who was earlier shackled on his hands and feet in court, looked dazed and frightened as he left the court. He did not speak to reporters.

Yee's lawyer Alfred Dodwell told reporters his client wants to appeal the conviction.

Yee had faced an extended period behind bars. The maximum penalty for wounding racial or religious feelings is three years.

...

A spokeswoman for Singapore's Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) rebutted criticism from Robertson and other international rights activists that the city-state was curtailing freedom of speech by prosecuting Yee.

"This case is not about freedom of expression. It is about the abuse of such freedom. Unbridled speech without limits does not exist in any known society," she told AFP.

Prosecutors said Yee had breached his bail conditions, rejected probation and spurned suggestions that he voluntarily undergo psychiatric evaluation.

They said a shift in Yee's attitude was a key reason for their decision to withdraw their earlier call for him to be sent to a reform institution, where he would have had to stay for at least 18 months.

They noted that the teenager has removed the offending materials.

Yee's case gained international attention after critics of the long-ruling People's Action Party, co-founded by Lee Kuan Yew, said he was a victim of censorship and excessive punishment.

It has divided public opinion in the city-state, with many attacking Yee for insulting both Christianity and the nation's revered founding father, who was given a hero's funeral on March 29.

But 77 Singaporean intellectuals, artists and activists on Saturday criticised what they called the government's "harsh" reaction to Yee's acts in an open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the former leader's son.

The AGC, the state prosecution arm, put the blame on Yee.

"Under our laws, lines are drawn against acts that deliberately wound religious feelings and against the publication of images that have a tendency to deprave and corrupt. Amos Yee crossed those lines with deliberation and calculation. His actions led to his conviction," the AGC spokeswoman said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proud of what passes for cultural and political discourse Australia?  ---->  Dawn Fraser tells Kyrgios and Tomic to 'go back where their parents came from' [Guardian – 7/6/15]

 

 



Angela Merkel has a red and a yellow button. One ends the crisis. Which does she push?, Yanis Varoufakis [Guardian – 7/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

How US intelligence suppressed the nationalist left in the Greek Civil War via @WikiLeaks

 

 



‘We don't want Western institutions to dictate us what to do’ – South Africa’s Zuma to RT [6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Desperate Gazans resort to makeshift homes year after Israeli invasion [Maan - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton has penned a letter to mega-donor Haim Saban and Jewish organization leaders expressing her strong and unequivocal support for Israel in the face of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, known as “BDS.”

“I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority,” she writes, asking for aid working “across party lines” to “fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.” ... [Politico - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 120 people killed in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen  [Press TV - 6/7/15]:

 

 

Over 120 people have been killed in Saudi airstrikes on Yemen over the last 24 hours.

At least 70 people were killed in multiple Saudi airstrikes in the impoverished country’s western province of Amran on Monday and 50 others died after Saudi jets carried out raids on a local market in the southwestern Lahij province.

Several people were also killed as Saudi warplanes carried out a number of attacks in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada and the southwestern province of Ta’izz.

Earlier on Monday, the headquarters of a Yemeni party headed by the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was targeted in an aerial raid on the capital Sana’a.

Also on Monday, the Yemeni army backed by popular committees’ forces launched a series of rocket attacks on various military positions in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan and Najran regions.   

Yemeni forces carry out such attacks in retaliation for the kingdom’s merciless airstrikes, being carried out since March 26 without a UN mandate, against its neighbor.

According to Yemeni sources, over 4,600 people have been killed in the attacks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

241 "terrorists" killed in North Sinai in 5 days: Egyptian Army [Ahram - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

US to provide 20 fighter jets to Afghanistan [Pajhwok - 6/7/15]:

 

 

The United States (US) would deliver Afghanistan 20 fighter jets until the end of 2015, the Ministry of Defence announced on Monday.

Talks with US officials are underway in this regard, Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), told reporters in Kabul. however, he did not reveal the value of the aircrafts.

“The Afghan Air Force direly needs fighter jets and our demand for cargo aircrafts and helicopter has been met to some extent,” said Waziri.

He said three brigades of armed forces in Kabul, Kandahar, and the Shindand district of Herat had been equipped with helicopter gunships and cargo aircrafts.

He said currently the air force’s 777 brigade in Kabul has 40 helicopters and 35 of them were fully operational and the remaining five needed some repair. Waziri added the Defence Ministry owned 28 C20 and four C130 aircrafts used for different operations.

The MoD spokesman said currently 20 pilots of the Afghan National Army (ANA) were being trained in the US and they would join the air force till the end of this year.

He said troops had been directed to fully respond to any aggression from across the country’s borders, a veiled reference to Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

49 killed in Nangarhar drone strikes  [Khaama - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

Afghan Local Police (ALP) members shot dead a civilian in Siahgard district of central Parwan province while a couple was killed by unidentified gunmen in Uruzgan province, residents and officials said.  ... [Pajhwok - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

Unknown gunmen killed couple in Urozgan [Khaama - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zardari condemns Quetta killing [Samaa - 6/7/15]:

 

 

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned attack on "innocent Hazara people" in Quetta Monday morning and termed it target killing.

In a statement, former President has condemned killing of three innocent Hazara people and called this attack a cowardly act of terrorists.

He demanded immediate arrest of culprits and bringing them to book.

He also prayed for eternal peace for departed souls and strength and fortitude for bereaved families to bear this loss with equanimity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “Suspected cattle thieves” kill 37 in Nigeria [Naharnet – 6/7/15]

 

 



Two bomb attacks on the central Nigerian city of Jos have left at least 44 people dead, the authorities say.

A restaurant and a mosque were targeted on Sunday night. … [BBC – 6/7/15]



 



Cosby obtained Quaaludes with intent of giving to women for sex: court documents [Reuters – 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recent reports on police raids over civilians and residents in the capital city has escalated to a level where we begin to wonder whether such raids are sanctioned by those in control or command, or is that done as one pleases.

Is the Police force declaring war on its citizens? ... [Letter to the Editor - The National - 7/6/15]

 

 

 

 

Corporate capitalism is the foundation of police brutality and the prison state, Chris Hedges [ICH/Truthdig – 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Police officers in St. Joseph, Missouri have successfully recouped payments from defendants for the cost of “tasing” them during an arrest. It costs $24.99 for a Taser cartridge and about $1.05 in battery use each time an officer tases a suspect, according to the police department’s Taser instructor, Brendan McGinnis. ... [Prison Legal News - 15/9/13]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A suicide bomber from Syria's al-Qaeda offshoot - the Nusra Front - has blown himself up at an army outpost in a contested neighbourhood of northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 25 soldiers and allied militia, a monitoring group says.  ... [Al Jazeera - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria

 

 

 

US Department of Defense [6/7/15]:

 

 

 

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 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

Bomber, remotely piloted and fighter aircraft conducted eight airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Hasakah, five airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL tank, six ISIL vehicles, an ISIL building, an ISIL staging position and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL armored personnel carrier.

-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying four ISIL fighting positons and an ISIL mortar position.

Separately, near Aleppo, coalition military forces conducted an airstrike against a network of veteran al-Qaida operatives sometimes called the Khorasan Group, who are known to plot external attacks against the United States and its allies. The airstrike struck a tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck and destroyed an ISIL excavator.

-- Near Fallujah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, destroying an ISIL bunker.

-- Near Haditha, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL technical vehicle.

-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL VBIED, an ISIL cache and striking an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, striking an ISIL fighting position and destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL fighting position and ISIL cache.

-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL excavator and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL building.

...

 



Obama says US to increase support for Syria opposition [Reuters – 6/7/15]

 

 



Darwin:  World's only West Papuan embassy under threat of eviction

 

West Papua Freedom Flotilla [6/7/15]:


The world’s only West Papuan embassy was established yesterday on the lawns of the northern territory parliament, this morning it still stands, but it is under threat of eviction.

The embassy is making history, with West Papuan, Larrakia and Arabunna Elders and non-indigneous activists gathering on the grounds outside parliament drawing attention to the ongoing genocide in West Papua by the Indonesian occupiers.

“We’re refusing to leave until a parliamentary representative speaks with us and commits to a plan of action for West Papuan Independence.”said spokesperson Izzy brown.

With a traditional Honai hut erected, a welcome by Larrakia elder June Mills, and the morning star flag flying, the embassy stands as a space where West Papuan culture is celebrated.

“This falls on the anniversary of the Biak Massacre but the killing is ongoing. The Biak Massacre started by a flag raising, by people celebrating their Papuan identity with the morning star flag. Men. Women and children were slaughtered, put up as an example to any one that raises a flag of self-determination.” Said Larrakia Elder June Mills.

Exile West Papuan Foreign Affairs Minister, Jacob Rumbiak, said recently the occupation in West Papua has worsened with Indonesia killing hundreds involved in the student movement.

“We are supporting the United Liberation Movement of West Papua. People in Papua are united in their struggle for independence” Jacob Rumbiak, West Papuan Foreign Affairs Minister.

“We are not going to close our eyes we are not going to close our hearts. We are here to give a voice to the voiceless. Children do not deserve to grow up in a war zone” said Larrakia Elder June Mills.

“The time has come for us to make world peace, West Papuans have the right to live in freedom” said Arabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott.

The embassy has resulted from a 3 day forum on the West Papuan struggle in Darwin, which was attended by West Papuan, Larrakia, and Arabunna elders, and representatives as well as non-indigenous supporters, including crew members from the West Papuan Freedom Flotilla.

The Freedom Flotilla is set to sail again to draw attention to the destruction and genocide perpetrated by multinational corporations and colonial governments against the West Papuan people, we are targeting share-holder Rio Tinto over the Freeport Grasberg mine.

 


 

 

Australian National Contact Point rejects complaint against G4S

 


Human Rights Law Centre Media Release [3/7/15]:

The Human Rights Law Centre and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) have written to the Australian National Contact Point (ANCP) expressing disappointment at the ANCP’s decision not to investigate our complaint concerning G4S Australia Pty Ltd.

The complaint, made under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, argued that multinational security contractor G4S failed to meet international standards and committed serious human rights violations in relation to conditions and abuse of asylum seekers detained at the Manus Regional Processing Centre.

The ANCP’s initial assessment and decision not to investigate misconceives and misapplies the OECD Guidelines. Instead of engaging in a serious consideration of whether the complaint raises issues relevant to the implementation of the Guidelines, the ANCP has been influenced by the role of G4S in giving effect to Government policy.

This approach fails to recogise that corporate responsibility for upholding human rights exists independently of government policy and companies are not exempt on the basis that their activities are consistent with domestic law.

The HRLC and RAID letter to the ANCP is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blah Blah Blah weasel word blurt ---->  "Dr Soutphommasane [in his address to the National Press Club] will also outline the emerging opportunities and challenges for corporate Australia in promoting culturally diverse leadership." [Australian Human Rights Commission]

 

 

 

 

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

 

 

Charles de Montesquieu

 

 



Irish government did not initially support refugee rescue missions in Mediterranean [RTE - 6/7/15]


The Government did not initially support search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean, which ultimately rescued 170,000 migrants, according to documents obtained by RTÉ's This Week.

The documents, released under Freedom of Information Act, outline Irish opposition to search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean at high-level EU meetings for two years before an Irish naval vessel was ultimately deployed to the region as part of EU efforts in May of this year.

These missions included the Italian Mare Nostrum mission, launched in late 2013 in response to hundreds of migrants being drowned off the island of Lampedusa.

The papers prepared for Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings show Ireland "maintained a relatively low profile" on the issue of migrants in the Central Mediterranean on the basis that it had "little direct impact" on the country.

The briefing documents advised that no contribution should be made at meetings and were marked "No Intervention Anticipated".

According to International Organization for Migration figures almost 4,500 migrants from the Middle East and Africa drowned during the period covered by the documents.

Briefing material prepared for JHAC Meetings, at which Ireland is represented by the Minister for Justice showed that Ireland believed "search and rescue missions such as Italy's Mare Nostrum operation, have inadvertently encouraged" criminals to "provide even less seaworthy vessels on the grounds that the migrants will be rescued at sea".

In its report on deaths in the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration described Mare Nostrum as a "positive step".

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald told This Week she recalled discussions around the danger of search and rescue missions encouraging the movement of migrants by sea.

"What's become very clear is that people are going to risk their lives anyway", Ms Fitzgerald said.

The minister said she had partaken in discussions at the meeting.

"Since I have been minister, I have been intervening and involved", she said.

"All countries in Europe could have acted earlier, the truth is, in good faith it was felt, that putting out the ships, increasing Mare Nostrum at that time wouldn't actually be helpful that, in fact, it would encourage people to get into unseaworthy vessels boats.

"When you look back at that, clearly people lost their lives, of course we regret the loss of any one life, but there is a much more effective response now".

Ireland favoured policies with the long-term aim of discouraging migrants from attempting to make the perilous journey to Europe.

This included using "leverage" by attaching conditions to trade agreements with countries in North Africa and the Near East, which would oblige those countries to stop people progressing towards the EU.

However, a JHAC document from June 2014 showed that there was unlikely to be a short-term fall in the number of those risking their lives.

The paper estimated a ten-fold increase in the movement of migrants through the Central Mediterranean.

By October 2014 the documents show Ireland's still favoured policies "focused on prevention rather than on search and rescue".

The risk of seaborne migration is acknowledged in the same document: "Once people put to sea in large numbers in an area the size of the Mediterranean and do so in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels, some level of fatalities is, sadly, inevitable".

The Irish Refugee Council told RTÉ that it reacted with "despondency and shock" to what the documents revealed.

The JHAC papers make reference to consistent calls by Italy during its presidency for help on the issue of migration.

A JHAC document date December 2014 records: "The top (perhaps only) priority of the Italian Presidency in the field of immigration/asylum has been the situation in the Mediterranean".

In October 2014, Italy announced it was standing down its Mare Nostrum mission which cost of €9m per month for reasons of cost.

It was replaced by the current mission Triton, which was initially a border security mission, operating just 48Km from the European coast, with one-third of Mare Nostrum's budget.

In March 2015 Triton was granted and extra €13.7m and extended to the end of this year.

In a number of the JHAC meeting's the State's position was to give its "political support" to European Union agencies and to the "front line" countries and material support to those countries from the EU. However in a document from Frontex outlining EU financial support to the border control agency, Ireland and the UK gave a combined amount of €820,000 in 2013 and €900,000 in 2014.

In briefing notes for JHAC meetings Ireland's position was outlined. It stated that it was "obviously impractical" for Ireland to get involved in SAR missions or provide aircraft or vessels. This changed in May 2015 with the deployment of the LE Eithne to aid the search and rescue mission in the region.

The documents show that in the meetings at which Ireland maintained its "low profile", if representatives were required to make a contribution, they were advised to highlight the presence of 300 Syrian refugees in Ireland and the provision of aid of €20m-€30m to Syrian refugees in countries neighbouring their homeland.

Responding to the documents, Irish Refugee Council Chief Executive Sue Conlon said her reaction was "a mixture of despondency and shock".

"The fact that Ireland indicated that it wouldn't really participate in discussions, and indeed would excuse any non participation and say what it was doing regarding a limited number of Syrian refugees, or financial support for Syrians in refugee camps was disappointing.

"It's an indication that Ireland at that time at least wasn't facing up to the fact that this is a crisis that is facing Ireland as much as anything else because we have responsibility within it", Ms Conlon said.






Tunisia Coast Guard recovers bodies of five refugees attempting to flee Libya [Naharnet – 6/7/15]:

 

 

... The report came after coast guards on Sunday rescued 17 Tunisians who had been trying to make their way to Europe on a rubber dinghy, according to the defense ministry.

The boat broke down off the northern coastal town of El Haouria, a spokesman said. ...


 

 

 

Eventually, he met a Chinese businessman who had built a ship, and due to her father's experience in the navy, offered him a place on board in exchange for sailing it. Anh and her three brothers who ranged from six years to nine months old took off with him.

 


Mediterranean crisis sees former Vietnamese boat person break long silence [UNHCR Media Release - 6/7/15]:


Harrowing images of the Mediterranean boat crisis has brought back "bitter sweet" memories for Anh Lê, one of Denmark's most famous Vietnamese restaurateurs, who crossed oceans herself to arrive where she is today.

Aged five, she was forced to flee Vietnam by boat with her family. Braving pirates, storms, rejection and an ever-present fear of violence, she found success and happiness in her adopted land.

Now after years of silence about her ordeal, and spurred on by horrific events in the Mediterranean, she feels she has been forced to speak out.

"I really never talk about this, for many years my parents didn't either. It was too horrible. But somehow this crisis in the Mediterranean … you get affected. I think I hide a lot of things, there are a lot of things I'll never really get over, but I was one of the lucky ones," she explained.

Now 42, the self-taught cook and cookbook writer regularly appears on television to share modern Vietnamese recipes with her Danish audience in her show "Spis Vietnam". Her story is one of hope and triumph But she has never forgotten the past.

"The news and the photos of people overfilling small boats, people swimming desperately from sunken vessels towards the coast to survive, the image of bodies – especially children's bodies – floating in the sea awoke my memories. It made me sad and compelled me to speak out," she told UNHCR in a recent interview.

Anh hopes that by sharing she can shift the focus from negative depictions of asylum-seekers to a narrative of asylum-seekers and refugees as contributors to society, rather than burdens.

"I thought in many naive ways that the world had learned something from the Vietnam War (and many other wars) and the boat people ... But it is clear we need to talk about this. We need to let people know that it could be you tomorrow. There is not any perfect solution, everyone is afraid of losing something if we open up … but we need to find a solution," she added.

Her own intimate knowledge of what it means to flee your home and become a refugee prompts her to react strongly to some comments in the media suggesting people are shopping around for the best place to seek asylum.

"I think those people at that time don't think 'What country should I choose? Where can I get the most money?' They just think 'I want my children to be in a place where they are safe'," she explained.

Anh's own flight began because her father served as an officer in what was then the South Vietnamese Navy which was allied to the United States. After the war ended in 1975, he was sent to a camp.

Eventually, he met a Chinese businessman who had built a ship, and due to her father's experience in the navy, offered him a place on board in exchange for sailing it. Anh and her three brothers who ranged from six years to nine months old took off with him.

"When people asked 'why are you taking your family with you?' my father said 'If I leave, they die. If I take them, they die with me´" said Anh.

Her father believed the risk was worth giving his children a chance at a better, safer life. The boat was filled with over 1,000 people.

In a situation eerily close to the current crisis in South East Asia today, Anh's boat was refused by Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia. After 14 days of sailing from place to place, water had run out and food was scarce – the situation was becoming desperate.

"People were going to the toilet on the ship, they were tired, and there were far too many people. You couldn't walk or breathe." With the help of others on board, Anh's father managed to defend the ship from pirates, but time was running out.

Eventually, her father made the decision to purposely sink the ship just off the coast of Indonesia so that it could not be dragged back out to sea. Most of the people on board couldn't swim, so those who could spent the day swimming back and forth between the beach and the boat, helping their fellow passengers to safety.

Anh, her family, and the other survivors were taken to an Indonesian refugee camp. They spent three months sleeping on the ground of a tent they shared with four other families. As they didn't have any money, the family survived on fish that their father caught in the night. There were mosquitos, and it rained constantly.

Then came the news that the family was to be resettled to Denmark in 1979.

"They sent us on an SAS flight to Copenhagen," said Anh with a smile. "It was like we were in heaven. The flight attendants came, it felt like every five minutes, to ask 'what do you want to eat or drink? It was the most beautiful experience."

After a short stay in Copenhagen, the family was sent to Aalborg in the north of Denmark where they built a new life and quickly integrated into Danish society.

After school Anh lived in the United States, Vietnam, and France, before returning to Denmark in 2003. "I'd already decided with my brothers to open a restaurant in Copenhagen. That was the beginning, and it's been hard work ever since, and a lot of fun, and a lot of craziness!" she laughed.

She also donates her time, and all the money she's made from her cookbook to help children in developing countries through SOS Children. Then the Mediterranean sea crisis worsened in 2015. Anh made the painful decision to speak out for the first time about her own experiences.

"It's very important to remember that it could be us," she said.

"Yes, it's very good that you can live in a safe and secure country, but you never know when your house is going to shake."





 

Stay where you are and accept your fate: Authorities, human rights organisations continue criminalising Rohingya refugees [Channel News Asia - 6/7/15]:

Thai authorities have arrested 65 suspects out of 119 wanted for human trafficking of Rohingya migrants since May, but experts warned that more needs to be done to stamp out the trafficking network responsible for the "death camps" discovered in southern Thailand and Malaysia.

A Thai police officer who works in southern Thailand and wanted to remain anonymous said he feared the traffickers may change tactics from transporting migrants in large numbers, to trafficking them in small groups or even one-by-one.

"Once the rain stops then we may see more arrivals of the Rohingya and this time the traffickers may change their tactics," the officer said.

The monsoon has halted the traffic carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants through southern Thailand but once the stormy season is over there could be more migrant boats arriving, according to the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch's Asia division, Phil Robertson.

"Unless these trafficking networks are eradicated we will see more suffering," Mr Robertson said, adding that the humanitarian situation in Rakhine state in western Myanmar has worsened since the sectarian violence in 2012.

He said this could lead to a greater exodus once the monsoon ends.

In 2012, sectarian violence erupted between Buddhists and Muslims resulting in the mass displacement of the Rohingya population within Rakhine state. Many Rohingya were driven out of city centres into isolated camps and makeshift villages, living under fear of fresh outbreaks of violence.

Almost all of those affected lacked access to medical care, education, and economic opportunities, causing many to flee on boats to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The president of the Burmese Rohingya Association of Thailand, Maung Kyaw Nu, said ASEAN and world governments need to listen to the suffering of the Rohingya to properly address the issue.

"If they listen to our voice then there would be no more graves," he said.

Meanwhile those who have already arrived in Thailand are still in limbo.

Officially not recognised as refugees, most are considered illegal migrants and are stuck in Thai government detention centres or shelters in southern Thailand.

"In local societies they are often seen as a burden, as a drain on society", said Vivian Tan, Senior Regional Public Information Officer of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

"This doesn't need to be the case because of these refugees are allowed to work legally for the time they are here; at least they can become self-reliant and can contribute to society," she said.

 

 

 



How Britain and the US decided to abandon Srebrenica to its fate [Guardian – 5/7/15]:


... The western powers whose negotiations led to Srebrenica’s downfall cannot be said to have known the extent of the massacre that would follow, but the evidence demonstrates they were aware – or should have been – of Mladic’s declared intention to have the Bosniak Muslim population of the entire region “vanish completely”. In the history of eastern Bosnia over the three years that preceded the massacre, that can only have meant one thing. ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister Hun Sen has written to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, requesting access to the original, constitutionally mandated maps of Cambodia’s borders, following weeks of tension with Vietnam over the eastern frontier.  ... [Pnomh Penh Post - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong doesn’t hold an official government post, but it’s not surprising that he will meet with President Obama on his visit to the United States this week. He is the de facto top leader of his country.

More telling is one of Trong’s other engagements — a dinner reception hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, bastion of American free enterprise. Economic imperatives drove the United States and Vietnam to normalize relations 20 years ago, and they remain a major incentive to boost ties. ... [Boston Globe - 6/7/15]

 

 

 

 

 

The head of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department called on provincial governors and police chiefs on Wednesday to help rein in "illegal immigration" as the number of Vietnamese migrants [refugees] doubled over a five-year period.

Speaking at an immigration meeting at the Interior Ministry, Sok Phal, general-director of the immigration department, said the number of Vietnamese migrants [refugees] in the country had risen significantly since 2009.  ... [Cambodia Daily - 2/7/15]

 

 

  

 

7 July 2015

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