7 weeks since Iranian girl attacked & left naked on roadside Response by Aust govt is to lock her up in isolation in RPC1 #Nauru
"tweeted" by @pamelacurr - Refugee Rights Detention Rights Advocate Asylum Seeker Resource Centre [8/7/15]
Sydney Morning Herald [25/5/15]:
...The 23-year-old asylum seeker has told Fairfax Media that she was leaving the detention centre on a day release last Saturday when she claims that someone jumped out from behind her, put his hand on her mouth and forcefully pulled down her top.
She said she was then forced to give violent oral sex for over an hour as her assailant bit her breasts and shoulders.
After her attacker fled, the naked, distressed and disorientated woman managed to find a local police unit who put her in the back of their truck.
"They didn't take me back to the police station, they decided to take me with them to watch the fireworks for Nauru's constitution day," she said in a statement.
"It was not until hours later that the police asked for an interpreter".
She claims that she was asked to repeat the story of her assault three times without receiving medical attention.
Last week Nauruan police said that there was no suggestion that anyone had assaulted her.
In a statement they said the woman was found walking in a nearby street naked after failing to return to the the detention centre on Saturday night.
"There is no injury to her or any sign of other physical force or trauma," the Nauru Police Force said.
In an about face last week, the police force have since launched an investigation and promised to "find the person who did this".
Secretary General says Pacific Islands Forum has a mechanism to intervene in Nauru [ABC – 8/7/15]:
Dame Meg Taylor, the Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum says any potential intervention on Nauru in response to concerns about the law and order and human rights situation would involve a lot of dialogue first.
New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, has joined calls for action since the arrests of several opposition MPs after a protest last month.
Dame Meg Taylor says any intervention would be up to the Forum's national leaders but the Biketawa Declaration is a mechanism for it to happen.
... The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake ...
'Homeless', Paul Simon, Joseph Shabalala 
WA Today [7/7/15]:
... Ted, who said he had battled homelessness for 15 years, told Nine News he and others who sought shelter in Munster Lane weren't creating trouble.
"We sleep here, we don't bother anyone but they've put sprinkers here to get rid of us," Ted said. ...
LIVE EP Plenary session Conclusions of the European Council (25-26 June) and of the Euro Summit (7 July)and the current situation in Greece
Euro Leaders threaten Greece with “Grexit” and give “final deadline” [Keep Talking Greece - 8/7/15]
JPMorgan to pay over $125 million to settle US credit card debt probes [Reuters – 7/7/15]
LEAKED: How the Biggest Banks Are Conspiring to Rip Up Financial Regulations around the World [Wolf Street – 2/7/15]
Two motorbike riders have been hospitalised with arm fractures in Cairns, following a crash during a stunt performed as part of the Great Moscow Circus.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said paramedics were called to reports of "a crash in a globe in a circus tent" at Munro Martin Park, on the Cairns northern beaches, where the travelling circus is based for two weeks.
The crash happened during the "Globe of Death" stunt, in which several motorcyclists ride at high speeds, seemingly defying gravity, in a metal cage. ... [Brisbane Times - 7/7/15]
Three people were killed and one was wounded when gunmen opened fire on a group of people on a street near the University of Maryland, Baltimore, police said on Wednesday. ... [Reuters - 8/7/15]
Iraqi Defense chief: US-made F-16 warplanes set to arrive [RUDAW - 7/7/15]:
Iraq's defense chief said Monday the United States is set to deliver dozens of F-16s fighter jets purchased by Baghdad in 2011 and the warplanes will be operated from Iraqi airbases.
“In the near future, the F-16s will be handed over to the Iraqi air force,” said Defense Minister Khalid Obeidi during a visit to an Iraqi airbase on Monday to welcome the arrival of a number of jets that Iraq had recently purchased from Russia.
Abed Issawi, a member of the Shiite bloc in Iraqi parliament, said Washington was delaying delivery of the first three planes in order to put pressure on Iraq’s Shiite-led government.
“We have information the US has decided that the three F-16s should carry out airstrikes from the land of Jordan while Iraq has a big airbase in the Ziqar province in southern Iraq,” Abed Issawi, told reporters in Baghdad.
“America has delayed the delivery of 36 F-16 warplanes that were purchased from the US according to a military agreement in 2011,” he added. “For now, they will send only three of the purchased warplanes," he added.
Obeidi rejected claims that the US decided to fly Iraq’s F-16 jets from Jordan.
There has been no indication from the US that it has asked Iraq to fly its US-made fighter planes from Jordan, or that deliveries have been delayed. Iraq is locked in an intense war with the Islamic State, or ISIS, which controls about one-third of the country and large portions of Syria.
In mid-June, US Ambassador Stuart Jones said Washington would deliver the first of the F-16s by the end of this summer.
Jones added that the US does not plan to open new military bases in Iraq, but said the Balad airbase would be prepped to receive the promised jets. Balad is located in the so-called Sunni Triangle 64km north of Baghdad.
Iraqi pilots have reportedly been training to fly the F-16s in the US state of Arizona.
One of the fighter planes belonging to Baghdad crashed on a training mission late last month, killing the Iraqi pilot.
An F-16 fighter jet smashed into a small plane Tuesday over South Carolina, killing two people and raining down plane parts and debris over a wide swath of marshes and rice fields. ... [Yahoo - 7/7/15]
US playing ISIL card to wreak havoc on Syria, Iraq
[Press TV – 7/7/15]:
Press TV has conducted an interview with Ken Stone, with the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, for his insights into the strategy of the United States in fighting the ISIL Takfiri group in Syria and Iraq. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Now, the US is touting its record of fighting the ISIL, however, Raqqa, Ayn Issa all these places are now falling into ISIL hands, where is the US and its ‘successful’ strategy to fight the ISIL?
Stone: Well, in my opinion the overblown crisis-language that were being fed here in the West about certain limited gains made by ISIL recently are designed to promote further US aggression. And in the end, the people of Syria and the people of Iraq are going to prevail. They’re going to preserve the national integrity of their countries and they’re going to drive out the foreign aggressors. Now, as for Obama’s four points today the so-called pillars of US foreign policy, I prefer to call them four phony premises in a phony US war. And I’ll do with them point by point.
First point, ISIL is a US asset. In the 2012 defense intelligence agency report, it’s clear that the US not only knew about, but welcomed the formation of the Islamic State (ISIL), they wanted it because it’s a pretext for the US to reenter with its military forces to the country of Iraq and to go for regime change in Syria. The US airstrikes that Obama was crowing about are few and far between actually. And the Syrian air force fights many more missions a day than the US does. The US does not intend “to degrade and destroy ISIS”, they nearly intend to contain ISIS (ISIL) for their foreign policy goals, which are to destroy and subdivide the countries of Iraq and Syria into warring balkanized stateless, that is the real purpose of Obama’s first point.
The second point, to increase effort for forces fighting on the ground against the ISIL; well, if that was really the case, then Mr. Obama should make an agreement with President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. He should recognize the Syrian government and work with it to destroy the terrorists if he were serious. If he were serious, he would work with Iran, he would work with Russia to oppose the Takfiri terrorists wherever they pop up in the world, but that’s not Obama’s real purpose.
The third point was to work to prevent aid and funding and recruits going to ISIL. Again, if Obama were really serious about this, he could just pick up the phone and call his buddies, his clients, Mr. Erdogan in Turkey, King Abdullah in Jordan and King Salman in Saudi Arabia and say hey guys it’s over, close the borders, cut off the funding, close down the training camps to the terrorists and the war would be over in a few weeks, but this is not Obama’s real purpose.
The fourth point is the most hypocritical of all, which is humanitarian crisis and tragedy. This crisis that we see now in Iraq and Syria is humanitarian tragedy, was caused by US attacks, the illegal attacks on Iraq originally in 1991 and in 2003. American voters thinking that they were voting for Obama for a change for an end to Bush era policies. They didn’t get that from the Nobel peace prize winner. In fact, he expanded all the Bush-era war on terror to whole new countries.
Uncle Sam wants you to stay where you are: Turkish Army detains almost 800 trying to flee Syria [Jakarta Globe - 7/7/15]:
... Ankara has mooted the creation of a “secure zone” on Syrian soil to prevent a new wave of refugees crossing the border, a strategy which would be likely to require a military incursion, but has made clear it will not act alone and has been lobbying for support from the US-led coalition against Islamic State. ...
No artificial deadlines in nuclear deal negotiations with Iran – Lavrov [RT – 7/7/15]
Saudi-led warplanes in new Yemen raids after bloody day [Naharnet - 7/7/15]:
A Saudi-led coalition bombarded cities and towns in southern Yemen on Tuesday, as the targeted Shiite rebels accused it of killing 124 people in one of the deadliest days of its air war.
The bloodshed came two days after U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in Sanaa bidding to secure a humanitarian ceasefire in a conflict estimated to have killed 3,000 people, mostly civilians.
Coalition warplanes bombed rebel positions in and around Yemen's second city Aden, targeting an intelligence headquarters and television studio in the southern port, said military officials.
In neighboring Lahj province, raids were carried out against a weapons depot and gatherings of the Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the sources said.
On Monday, coalition bombing of a market in a Lahj town killed 41 civilians and six rebels, according to an updated toll from medical officials.
The Huthi-controlled Saba news agency said the air strikes killed 124 people on Monday in Lahj and other parts of Yemen, one of the deadliest days in the coalition air war launched on March 26.
There was no way to verify the toll, however.
The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, meanwhile, said five children were among 12 people killed on Saturday at a shelter in an Aden kindergarten.
Medical sources had previously reported the deaths of six refugees in the Katyusha rocket attack, which one official blamed on the rebels.
The nine-nation Saudi-led coalition launched the air strikes on Yemen to halt an advance by the Iran-backed Huthis who drove President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.
More than one million people have been displaced inside the country since March, joining the more than 300,000 displaced there before the fighting began, and more than 46,000 people have fled Yemen, according to the UNHCR.
The United Nations human rights office is among several key UN entities voicing deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen that has more than 1,500 civilians dead, 3,600 injured and 1 million displaced in three months of violence. ... [Media Release - 7/7/15]
Afghanistan: 2 wounded as suicide bomber hits foreign troop convoy [Pajhwok - 7/7/15]:
A civilian and a foreign advisor were wounded on Tuesday when a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of foreign troops in the Shah Shaheed area of Kabul, an eyewitness said.
Wishing anonymity, the eyewitness said that a bullet-proof vehicle was comprehensively damaged in the explosion which took place at 12:00 afternoon.
The bomber carried out the attack close to the residence of former member of Wolesi Jirga Bacha Khan Zadran.
More than 2.25 million now displaced in South Sudan and across its borders [UNHCR Media Release - 7/7/15]
South Sudan: UN Mission deplores killing of civilian in Organization compound [Media Release - 7/7/15]
NSA Intercepts 98% of Latin American communications - Assange [Sputnik News – 7/7/15]
Christian Peace Pilgrims enter live military exercise to nonviolently protest US-Australia alliance
Peace Convergence Media Release [8/7/15]:
Before dawn this morning, three Christian peace pilgrims entered Shoalwater Bay live training area to disrupt the ‘Talisman Sabre’ US-Australian war ‘rehearsals’ as ‘invaders’ are parachuted in to begin the ‘games’.
Guns and missiles are being fired in the training area. Armed reconnaissance helicopters, armoured tanks possibly lined with depleted uranium, black hawks, guided missiles, US navy surface vessels, and nuclear weapons capable submarines are potentially being used, according to the Talisman Sabre 2015 Public Environment Report.
Range Control for Talisman Sabre have been notified that civilians are present in the training zone and were asked to call a ceasefire.
Peace Convergence have been told by Range Control that the concern would be ‘passed on’, and are still awaiting a response.
The activists entered the training area in objection to the Australian-US military alliance, and to the human, economic and environmental costs of those wars into which Australian soldiers and the Australian taxpaying public have been drawn. Pilgrims bear witness to and represent the very real threat to civilians in war.
The three pilgrims, pastor Simon Reeves, Quaker Greg Rolles and the Reverend Simon Moyle, made the following joint statement before entering the training area.
“As Australians with the question, ‘have these wars been worth the cost?’ We are walking into Shoalwater Bay in the midst of exercise Talisman Sabre in the hope of finding a less destructive way of dealing with conflict.
All these lives lost, all this money spent and the world is a more dangerous place since 2001. Bodies of soldiers have been broken, minds and souls damaged. The blood of countless lives has been shed. Is this what we want? Is this the kind of country we want to be?
When we meet soldiers on the base we will be inviting them to share the Eucharist, remembering bodies broken and blood shed, in the hope of finding a better way forward together.
We also invite other Australians to consider whether more military intervention in Iraq will be worth the cost in lives, blood, and money.”
Greg Rolles, who holds a Master’s degree in International Relations said “for first time in Australia, unmanned aerial systems (drones) responsible for 1000s of civilian deaths will be used in the war ‘games’. There are serious unanswered questions about this technology”
“The ADF has refused to say whether these unmanned aircraft, each capable of carrying a 250kg payload, will be armed as they fly over Rockhampton and the surrounding region.”
“I am also walking because 200 years ago, Shoalwater Bay belonged to the Indigenous Peoples of the area. It’s one of Australia’s first war sites, with European settlers attempting to kill off or remove the Darumbal People. I will pilgrimage into Shoalwater Bay to remember those First Peoples who lost their lives and culture on this land,” said Greg.
Warning signs have been erected on a central Queensland beach linked to the poisoning deaths of at least five dogs.
Authorities are investigating whether the dogs may have ingested naturally occurring toxins in dead marine animals on Bangalee Beach, near Yeppoon, or if something more sinister is at play.
The Livingstone Shire Council has placed signs along the beach warning residents to keep an eye on their pets, while a local veterinary surgery has warned residents to steer clear of the area. ... [ABC - 7/7/15]
The Farce At Kirribilli: Abbott, Shorten Put The Con Back Into Constitutional Reform, Amy McQuire [New Matilda – 7/7/15]
Israeli minister to decide on deportation of Palestinian MPs [Maan - 7/7/15]
UK activists shut down Israeli-owned drone factories [France 24 - 7/7/15]:
Activists shut down three UK-based factories owned by Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems on July 6, the one-year anniversary of the launch of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
The companies are known for building weapons that activists say were used to commit war crimes in Gaza and authorities seem hesitant to deny it.
Last year, in summer 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge—a campaign involving both bombing and ground fighting in Gaza—as Hamas fired sporadic rockets at Israel.
Over 2,000 people died in the conflict, most of them Palestinian civilians. Almost 500 of the dead were children.
There are numerous factories in Britain owned by Israeli defence giant Elbit Systems.
Since 2005, the British army has used a system manufactured by Elbit for its Watchkeeper drone programme.
Yet activists allege that some of the components built in these factories on British soil are shipped to Israel, where they may be used in weapons that target the Occupied Territory.
Activists decided they needed to turn to direct action in order to get the word out in what they call “Britain’s complicity” in war crimes.
On the one-year anniversary of the Gaza assault, a coalition of activists from both pro-Palestinian groups and anti-arms trade came together to wreck havoc on Elbit subsidiaries in the UK.
They closed three factories in Britain while fellow activists closed another in Melbourne, Australia.
Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance [8/7/15]:
Twin actions in Melbourne and London. #ShutDownElbit because Israeli drones killing Palestinians is not ok. And we won't let these killers get away with it. #BlockTheFactory ...
New Zealand parliament protesters to attend court on Rainbow Warrior anniversary
Press Release – Greenpeace New Zealand
The four Greenpeace activists who climbed to the roof of Parliament House last month in order to expose the government’s failure to act on climate change will attend their initial court appearance on the day of the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Warrior bombing.
Climbers Johno Smith, Jeff Harrison, Abi Smith and Verena Maeder scaled Parliament at dawn on June 25 with a delivery of six working solar panels.
They also unfurled a large banner targeting the Prime Minister.
“Cut pollution, create jobs? Yeah, nah” read the banner text, which sat alongside a smiling headshot of John Key.
The group stayed on the roof for the day, connecting with people around the world using social media applications such as live-stream app, Periscope.
Their phones and computer were charged by the solar panels they had up there.
This Friday, July 10, the climbers will receive confirmation at Wellington District Court about what charges they are facing for the action.
Coincidentally, this is also the 30th anniversary of the day when French secret service agents, on orders from their government, planted two bombs on the hull of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior, and sunk it.
Photographer Fernando Pereira, who was part of the crew, was tragically murdered in the blast.
The bombing will be commemorated with a photo exhibition, celebrating New Zealand’s history of activism and protest, at The Cloud on Auckland’s Waterfront starting this Friday.
Before it was sunk, the Rainbow Warrior had been preparing to lead a flotilla of NZ boats to protest against France’s nuclear testing programme at Moruroa in French Polynesia.
Climate campaigner Simon Boxer says the coincidental timing of the court appearance and the 30th anniversary is fitting.
“In 1985, the Rainbow Warrior crew were preparing to leave their families, their jobs and their homes, to get onto a ship, sail across the Pacific and into a nuclear testing zone in Moruroa, with the sole aim of stopping a nuclear explosion there,” he says.
“Today, nuclear tests in the Pacific have been halted, thanks to all the people who kept standing up in the thousand different ways it takes to change the course of history.
“Our four activists who climbed Parliament House a couple of weeks ago are a continuation of that legacy. They’re willing to take on legal risks in order to stand up for the most urgent issue that the planet has ever faced – climate change – at a time when our government is letting us all down terribly.”
Yesterday the government announced the climate change target New Zealand will be putting on the table at the Paris Climate Conference in December.
It is equivalent to cutting emissions to just 11% below 1990 levels.
Boxer describes the new target as a “con job” that is actually worse than what was pledged six years ago at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, when the NZ government said it would conditionally cut emissions to 10-20% below 1990 levels by 2020.
“But the most shocking thing is not that the government is putting forward such a low target – it’s that at the moment even 11% is not achievable because there is no plan going forward,” he says.
“The way we’re heading, and by the government’s own figures, the increase in New Zealand’s total emissions by 2020 will be almost 30% worse than it was in 1990.”
Rainbow Warrior memorial planned [RNZI - 8/7/15]
A protester wears a cutout of a defaced portrait of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe while holding a sign which reads “security bill”, as others carry illustrations of the Japanese military flag, during a demonstration Tuesday outside the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong. Tuesday marked the 78th anniversary of the start of the Sino-Japanese war. [Japan Today - 8/7/15]
The central government has notified Naraha, a Fukushima town, that on Sept 5, it will lift the evacuation order that has been in place since the 2011 disaster.
Naraha’s 7,400 citizens will be the first evacuees to be able to return home permanently among seven municipalities where the entire population was ordered to leave. ... [Japan Today - 8/7/15]
Nauru opposition MP's passport challenge again delayed
There has been another delay in the court challenge by a Nauru opposition MP fighting for the return of his passport.
Roland Kun's case against the Nauru government is now due to be heard on Monday.
The case was deferred two weeks ago and the suspended MP has been forced to remain on Nauru after having his passport cancelled a week earlier, leaving him separated from his young family who live in New Zealand.
"It was originally set for today. Our Chief Justice who is a Fiji national was scheduled to travel back to Nauru today but due to family and personal issues he was unable to make the flight so he will now be travelling to Nauru I think on Sunday."
Roland Kun is one of five opposition MPs in Nauru who have either had their passports cancelled or are facing criminal charges in the wake of protests against the government last month.
Prosecutors seek jail time for ‘bookkeeper of Auschwitz’
Times of Israel [7/7/15]:
German prosecutors on Tuesday said they were seeking three and a half years’ jail for a former SS officer known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz.”
Oskar Groening, 94, stands accused before a court in the northern city of Lueneburg of 300,000 counts of “accessory to murder” in the cases of deported Hungarian Jews sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944.
Public prosecutor Jens Lehmann said in closing arguments that his sentencing request was based on the “nearly incomprehensible number of victims”, but mitigated by “the limited contribution of the accused” to their deaths.
Lehmann also argued that the court should consider viewing some of the sentence as already served because Groening had been repeatedly investigated in recent decades with no charges brought until last year.
Groening’s trial, expected to be one of the last of its kind, began in April.
He served as a bookkeeper at Auschwitz, sorting and counting the money taken from those killed or used as slave labor, collecting cash in different European currencies and shipping it back to his Nazi bosses in Berlin
Groening, whose frail health has led to several delays in the proceedings, has acknowledged “moral guilt” but said it is up to the court to rule on his legal culpability.
Lehmann said the court faced a historic decision with its verdict, which could come as early as this month.
“We are confronted with events that push the limits of human imagination,” he said.
In a statement read out by one of his lawyers in court last week, Groening said he did not feel entitled to ask Holocaust survivors to forgive him.
“I can only ask my Lord God for forgiveness,” he said.
Attached is an open letter sent to Mr Abbott and Mr Shorten on Friday expressing concern for the children in the Australian Commonwealth Government detention centres on Nauru and elsewhere. Also attached is a list of the forty signatories who are New Zealand paediatricians and child health workers. ... Dr Ian Hassall [Pacific.co.nz - 6/7/15]
Mediterranean migration: Frequently Asked Questions [Médecins Sans
Frontières - 7/7/15]:
What does MSF think of Australia’s “Stop The Boats” Policy"? Could this be an option in Europe?
The so-called “Stop The Boats” policy” is pushing human suffering off shore and the Australian government must stop advocating for the adoption of similar policies in Europe.
Whilst Australia's government has referred to its push back policy as ‘humanitarian’, there is nothing humanitarian about leaving people to suffer or die out of sight.
Dragging back boats, closing borders and putting a fence between safety and the population in need, so that the dying and suffering can take place elsewhere, is not a “solution”, it is the most harmful response one can imagine.
In addition to Australia’s policy to “turn back boats”, both parties in Australia support the interception of asylum seekers (and other irregular migrants) and their transfer offshore for mandatory detention and processing in countries including Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
MSF does not in any way support policies of detention.
Detaining people who are already traumatised, who have fled war and other humanitarian crises, causes further medical harm.
We know this from our direct experience assisting those in detention centres around the world.
We strongly urge Europe to reject the Australian model and not to follow Australia’s lead.
@AusHCPNG - Deborah Stokes - Australia's High Commissioner to PNG [8/7/15]: Celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta! Fun and educational resources are available for kids at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/magnacarta/
A search and rescue operation is underway in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece for survivors of a migrant sailboat that sank, leaving up to 21 people missing.
The Greek Maritime Ministry said joint Greek and Turkish rescue efforts had rescued 16 of the between 33 and 37 migrants believed to be on the boat, which sank between the Greek islands of Farmakonisi and Agathonisi. The nationalities of the migrants is not known. ... [IB Times - 7/7/15]
Work and Holiday visa a hit on Chinese social media
Protected and Unaccountable Assistant Minister for Immigration Media Release [6/7/15]:
The Work and Holiday visa programme has received an overwhelming reception in China following the announcement of 5000 visa places for young Chinese nationals coming to Australia.
On Wednesday in Beijing, the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash participated in a one hour online live chat discussion with Chinese young people about the Work and Holiday visa arrangement with China.
“This level of interest and enthusiasm is a great start to what we envisage will be the beginning of a long and successful programme for Chinese youth visiting and working in Australia,” Minister Cash said.
Hosted on the People’s Daily (PD) Weibo site, Minister Cash responded to 50 questions about the Australian Work and Holiday visa programme. To date, there have been more than 550,000 visitors to the website.
“It was great to have the opportunity to be given a platform to connect with people who are interested in visiting and working in Australia,” Minister Cash said.
“I encourage the Chinese community to follow the Australian Embassy Beijing’s PD Weibo page or search for ‘AustralianAmbassador’ on WeChat to find out more information about the programme.”
The announcement of the Work and Holiday arrangement was negotiated alongside the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement signed last month and the programme provides for up to 5000 visa places for Chinese young people in Australia’s largest capped Work and Holiday programme.
The arrangement will be implemented later in 2015. The date that visa applications will be accepted by Australia will be announced on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/462 and the Australian Embassy Beijing website at http://www.china.embassy.gov.au/bjng/Visas_and_Migration.html
Further information will be provided on these websites as it becomes available.
Protected and unaccountable Senator Cash addressing an empty room via @AusBorderForce [8/7/15]
Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes I will protect you: Hermann Goering via @ABFComm - Protected and unaccountable Australian Border Force Commissioner [7/7/15]
Which country on this map of South East Asia is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?
Report of the Secretary-General UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict [18/6/15]:
17. Renewed clashes in Kachin and northern Shan States triggered further displacement and the breakdown of community structures, heightening the risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
In Rakhine State, more than 416,000 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance following intercommunal violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in June and October 2012.
In Kachin and northern Shan, concerns have been raised about the parties’ failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants during hostilities, as well as the continuing recruitment and use of children.
Almost four years since the outbreak of the conflict, approximately 100,000 people remain displaced in Kachin and northern Shan.
In Rakhine, there are 140,000 internally displaced persons in camps, the majority of whom are Rohingya who remain segregated from the rest of the population, with limited freedom of movement.
They represent only a portion of the more than 1 million Rohingya who remain stateless as a result of the country’s 1982 Citizenship Law denying them equal access to citizenship, and marginalized by decades of discrimination and persecution, which have prompted thousands to flee on perilous boat journeys.
Greater efforts are required to decongest the camps and find sustainable solutions for the displaced, as well as address the root causes of the intercommunal tension and violence.
Humanitarian access continues to pose a serious challenge. Relief operations have been undermined by insecurity in Kachin and northern Shan, resulting in a lack of access to areas beyond government control.
The environment for humanitarian workers in Rakhine remains deeply hostile.
In March 2014, the premises of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations were attacked, forcing the relocation of 300 humanitarian workers.
India: Union Home Ministry to meet and discuss ways of furthering the persecution of Rohingya refugees [The Hindu - 7/7/15]:
The Union Home Ministry will hold a meeting with senior functionaries of seven States to discuss monitoring of the activities of Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in different parts of the country.
Scheduled to be held on July 20, the meeting will be attended by the Principal Secretaries (Home) of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
According to MHA estimates, over one lakh Rohingya Muslims have settled in these States.
The meeting has been called in view of reports suggesting that many Rohingya Muslims have married locals, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Persecuted in Myanmar, hundreds and thousands of Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in India. There are reports suggesting that radical groups may make an attempt to recruit some members of the community, which is a cause of concern,” said an official.
Burma army shoots civilians in Namtu township, Shan State [BNI – 7/7/15]
Australian Embassy in Myanmar [7/7/15]:
Lauren Benson, an Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID), talks about the AVI experience and her time working at the UMFCCI as an Organisational Development Officer. Australia currently supports 50 volunteers working to support Myanmar’s growth and development. Australian volunteers are providing assistance across a range of important areas including education, health, rural development, and governance. Australia is committed to building the capacity of people and institutions in Myanmar to prepare for the future and move towards long-term economic growth. Our volunteers are helping to achieve that goal.
Building Up Expertise for Myanmar's Oil and Gas Industry [Yahoo/ACN Newswire - 6/7/15]:
According to a recent report, Myanmar has received more than US$8 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) last fiscal year, double the US$4 billion government target.
A senior official from the Myanmar Investment Commission has attributed this to the expansion of the country's telecoms industry and its wooing of foreign energy companies and manufacturers.
The oil and gas sector drew US$3.6 billion, accounting for 45 per cent of total FDI. In 2014, 40 onshore and offshore blocks have been awarded to international industry players such as Chevron, Shell and TOTAL.
The Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) is also planning to privatise assets such as the offshore supply base, where a mix of 52 local and international companies not long ago had expressed strong interest in collaborating with the organisation to develop the offshore base. ...
Woodside Petroleum has emerged as the largest holder of exploration acreage in Myanmar's promising Rakhine Basin, formalising contracts with the government that will give it large interests in four additional permits. ... [Australian Financial Review - 23/3/15]
One dead, 8 missing after Cyclone Raquel hits Solomons
One person has been confirmed dead and eight people are missing following last week's freak cyclone in Solomon Islands.
The Category One storm swept through the southern part of the country before being downgraded to a tropical depression on Thursday evening.
The region was finally given the all-clear on Monday.
The Pacific cyclone season generally ends around April.
One person died in last week's brief storm after they were struck by a tree, and the latest situational report from the National Emergency Operations Centre says at least eight people are missing.
Cameron Vidu, the disaster manager for the Red Cross in Solomon Islands, says more fatalities are possible.
"There's only one confirmed fatality, so that's on the island of Choiseul, and the others that have reported having missing people are mostly from people trying to travel during the bad weather by sea and so there is still no confirmation if they have been found or if they have been confirmed fatalities from this cyclone."
The National Emergency Operations Centre says more than 150 buildings are believed to have been damaged, and thousands of food gardens have been affected across the south, with over 40,000 damaged in the southern region of Malaita alone.
The worst-affected provinces are Western, Choiseul and Malaita, with telecommunications outages hampering contact with Isabel, which is also believed to have been badly affected.
Cameron Vidu says the main priority for the Red Cross is helping those who have lost their homes.
"Looking at the numbers shelter kits would be the immediate need as of this moment and we're still trying to get further information if water would be required so that we can prepare our teams."
Mr Vidu says the full extent of the damage is not yet known and aid agencies hope to take boats out to assess damage when conditions are calmer.
USNS Mercy in Papua New Guinea for "humanitarian mission" [Stars and Stripes - 29/6/15]
... The Pacific Partnership crew will work in conjunction with the US Embassy in Port Moresby and the government of PNG to host two Women, Peace and Security events, including a Women in Leadership Symposium in Rabaul today and Thursday.
Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world's most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia. ... [PNG Loop - 7/7/15]
... The Mercy departs Rabaul for Manila, Philippines, on Thursday afternoon. [PNG Loop - 8/7/15]
Hillary Clinton implicated in Honduras coup, emails reveal [teleSUR – 7/7/15]:
A new round of emails from Hillary Clinton’s time as U.S. Secretary of State released last week, reveals her complicity in the 2009 military coup that toppled Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.
According to an email exchange in the aftermath of the coup, Clinton requested the assistance of a prominent PR advisor Lanny Davis as a back-channel to Roberto Micheletti, the interim president after the coup. Davis was also an adviser to a group of Honduran businessmen who had supported Zelaya's ouster .
The request came a week before Clinton brokered a deal to reinstall Zelaya through a national unity government. According to The Intercept, this was an attempt at undermining the democratically elected left-wing president while not explicitly endorsing the coup.
The plan failed however as the legal vacuum left by the coup made the return of Manuel Zelaya impossible. The U.S. State Department continued to support and recognize what many considered fraudulent elections by the post-coup government, saying they were “free, fair and transparent.”
According to The Intercept, the U.S. presented a facade in the media saying they were working to restore the democratically elected Honduran government, while in fact ensuring the coup government’s grip on power.
In another email exchange Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, who was in Honduras the week prior to the coup to meet with the civilian and military groups that later participated in the coup, applauded the U.S. for “having worked so hard to manage and resolve this crisis.”
Zelaya was inspired by the policies of Hugo Chavez to combat poverty and had joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) a year prior to his ouster.
In the aftermath of the coup, the homicide rate increased by 50 percent while political repression and assassinations of political opponents, farmer organizers and LGBTQI activists heightened dramatically.
Sri Lanka arrests top judge over alleged sex assault
Sri Lankan police Tuesday made the first ever arrest of a Supreme Court judge who was detained in connection with an alleged sexual assault, an official said.
Sarath de Abrew was arrested following investigations into a complaint that he tried to force a 39-year-old woman to have sex with him on the outskirts of Colombo and beat her up when she refused, a police official said.
The judge, who is in his 60s, was taken before a magistrate who ordered his release on personal bail of half a million rupees ($3,800), police said.
"The magistrate also ordered the judge to cooperate with the Criminal Investigations Department (of the police) and make a statement," a police official said.
"He had previously refused to make a statement to the police."
Victor Ivan, an author who has written extensively on the country's judiciary, said it was the first time in Sri Lanka's history that a judge from the apex court has been arrested.
Supreme court judges can only be removed through a complicated impeachment process in parliament. Sri Lanka's parliament was dissolved last month ahead of elections in August.
8 July 2015