The Prime Minister’s Office directed Canadian immigration officials to stop processing one of the most vulnerable classes of Syrian refugees this spring and declared that all UN-referred refugees would require approval from the Prime Minister, a decision that halted a critical aspect of Canada’s response to a global crisis.
The Globe and Mail has learned that the Prime Minister intervened in a file normally handled by the Citizenship and Immigration department in the months before dramatic images of a dead toddler brought the refugee crisis to the fore. The processing stop, which was not disclosed to the public, was in place for at least several weeks. It is unclear when it was lifted. At the same time, an audit was ordered of all Syrian refugees referred by the United Nations in 2014 and 2015. ... [The Globe And Mail - 8/10/15]
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]
Two impending events set to make Australia's political and media establishment squirm
We did it!
We have raised over $20,000 to send Wendy Bacon and Professor Carmen Lawrence to bear witness on Nauru.
But we couldn't have done it without you!
The overwhelming support sends a loud and clear message to the Australian government. People are putting money where their mouth is: Australians want to see support for asylum seekers and see an end to the inhumanity of Nauru and Manus Islands.
Thank you all so much for donating and for sharing this cause in your networks.
The next step is to applying for the visas and to organise airfares, transport, accommodation and security for Wendy and Carmen.
We will update you as we progress on each of these.
Thank you so much.
Search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will in the coming weeks set sail to South East Asia to expand its life-saving mission to another region of the world currently facing large scale refugee movements by sea. ... [Media Release - 23/9/15]
Teenager arrested in Sydney raids to remain in custody for further 100 hours
An 18-year-old man arrested in connection with a terrorist shooting outside New South Wales Police headquarters in Parramatta will be kept in custody for a further 100 hours.
The teenager was one of four young men arrested in counter terrorism raids across western Sydney on Wednesday morning.
Those raids were carried out by state and federal police investigating the execution-style shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng outside NSW Police headquarters by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar last week.
Three of the men were released without charge on Wednesday but this afternoon, Australian Federal Police successfully made a last minute court application to keep the 18-year-old in custody for another 100 hours so they can obtain and preserve evidence related to the shooting.
The 100 hours does not include the time the 18-year-old eats, sleeps or contacts his lawyer.
The hearing was held in a closed session at Burwood Local Court. It is now likely he will remain in custody until Monday.
In 2007 Queensland doctor Mohammad Haneef was held without charge for 12 days under the same law.
Dotcom takes the stand in extradition hearing
Kim Dotcom has taken the witness stand in his fight against extradition, saying if he'd had a crystal ball, he would have put aside some of the millions he donated to his ill-fated Internet Party to fund his extradition defence.
The United States is trying to extradite Mr Dotcom and three other men on copyright violation, money-laundering and racketeering charges, related to their file-sharing website Megaupload.
The North Shore District Court is hearing applications from the men to pause the extradition attempt or even halt it altogether.
Today Mr Dotcom appeared as a witness for the first time in the extradition hearing, as his lawyers seek to pause or even halt the case.
They argue the US has prevented the men from using frozen assets to pay for international expert witnesses they need to properly defend the extradition attempt.
New Zealand's courts have allowed Mr Dotcom to use frozen funds to pay his legal costs, but the US has threatened to seize any of the money spent outside New Zealand.
Earlier today, Mr Dotcom's US lawyer, Ira Rothken, gave evidence about what international witnesses the defence would hire if it could spend the money.
He said experts in US extradition law, mass data storage, and file-sharing would help them rebut the US case.
Mr Rothken estimated it would cost US$500,000 to hire the experts the legal team needed, and two to six months to brief and prepare them to give evidence.
Both he and lawyers in New Zealand had tried to find experts who were prepared to act as unpaid witnesses, but that had proved fruitless, Mr Rothken said.
Even if they could be found, it was difficult to work out how their travel to New Zealand, and their expenses while here, would be funded, he said.
China launches international payment system to globalise yuan [Economic Times – 8/10/15]
Anti-austerity march draws 80,000 protesters to Belgium's streets [Deutsche Welle - 7/10/15]
Cost of electricity in Queensland a disgrace [7/10/15]:
Senator for Queensland, Glenn Lazarus, has today accused the Queensland State Government of ‘ripping off’ the people of Queensland with exorbitant electricity prices.
“Queensland State Government owned businesses Ergon and Energex have just released their financial statements for the year ending 2015 and their profits have doubled in twelve months,” Senator Glenn Lazarus said today.
“This is an absolute disgrace. The cost of electricity in Queensland is one of the highest in the world.
“Ergon’s profit before income tax in 2015 was $991 million compared to $421 million in 2014.
“Energex’ profit before income tax in 2015 was $733 million compared to $377 million in 2014.
“This means the Queensland State Government is gouging Queenslanders to fill its own coffers.
“The cost of electricity in Queensland is increasing every year. It is becoming so expensive that it is crippling the ability of businesses, farmers and industry to operate and stay in business.
“Businesses are having to pay so much for electricity that they can’t afford to employ staff.
“How is the state of Queensland supposed to grow and prosper when the Queensland State Government is crippling the engine room of this state’s economy.
“Householders are doing it tough as well. People are struggling to pay basic bills every week.
“The Queensland Government should be seeking to minimise the cost of electricity for the people of Queensland, not profit from it.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Government need to apologise to the people of Queensland, reduce the cost of electricity immediately and distribute the 2015 profits from their electricity businesses back to the people in the form of a Christmas bonus.
“Someone needs to stand up for the people of Queensland and call out the price gouging for what it is.”
On International Walk to School Day, UN envoy urges action to make roads safe for children
UN Media Release [7/10/15]:
Marking International Walk to School Day, Jean Todt, the United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety, has is calling for urgent action to halt road deaths and traffic accidents, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), kill some 500 children a day.
Mr. Todt’s strong call to action also herald’s the release of a short film by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), where Mr. Todt also serves as President, which is designed to promote children’s road safety across the world.
FIA joined forces with renowned filmmaker Luc Besson to produce the hard-hitting film, which is now available online.
“Road traffic crashes are today the number one killer of children aged 15-29. And without urgent action, they will soon be the number one killer of those aged between 5-14,” said Mr. Todt.
“We must do everything in our power to halt this scourge and this film can act as a rallying call,” he added.
World Health Organization (WHO) figures show that 500 children are killed each day in road crashes globally. In a bid to raise awareness of this road safety crisis Mr. Todt turned to renowned filmmaker Mr. Besson to deliver a potent visual message highlighting the dangers facing children around the world.
The film, Save Kids Lives, shows the risks children face every day, whether through the lack of safe infrastructure in the townships of South Africa or as a result of heavy traffic on a major European city.
The film was released in support of the #SaveKidsLives campaign which was launched during the third UN Road Safety Week from 4-10 May 2015. Through the film, Mr. Todt also urges people to sign the petition on ‘Child Declaration for Road Safety’ which aims to reach 1,000,000 signatures.
The International Walk to School Day is an initiative launched to raise awareness of the need to protect some of societies’ most vulnerable road users.
Indonesian president asks four nations for help to fight forest fires [Channel News Asia - 8/10/15]
Hundreds of thousands of baby lobsters smuggled from West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) to Singapore via Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta will be released to Gunungkidul waters to recover lobster populations, which have continued to decline. ... [Jakarta Post - 7/10/15]
Researcher: Children's cancer linked to Fukushima radiation [ABC News - 8/10/15]
... Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of US Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said he agreed with US intelligence assessments that North Korea had nuclear weapons, as well as the ability to miniaturise them and put them on a rocket that could reach the United States.
"We assess that they have the capability to reach the homeland with a nuclear weapon from a rocket," Gortney told an event hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.
Gortney said it was very difficult to predict the behaviour of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but the US military was prepared to respond if he were to use a nuclear weapon.
"We’re ready for him, and we’re ready 24 hours a day if he should be dumb enough to shoot something at us," Gortney said. "I'm pretty confident that we're going to knock down the numbers that are going to be shot." ... [Channel News Asia - 8/10/15]
Oklahoma used wrong drug in January execution [ABC News - 8/10/15]
Mexican marines raided a small community in the northern state of Durango and opened fired on homes for no known reason, while two young males were forcibly disappeared, neighbors told Sinaloan newspaper RioDoce. ... [teleSUR - 8/10/15]
Student dies amid court case and assault investigation [PNG Loop - 8/10/15]
Stay on dismissal a first for PNG says Commissioner of Police
[PNG Loop – 8/10/15]
A Papua New Guinea court has ruled that two barred Australian lawyers can return to the country and continue their work in corruption cases against senior government ministers, including the prime minister.
Brisbane lawyers Greg Egan and Terry Lambert can now re-enter PNG to continue representing anti-corruption investigators. ... [ABC - 8/10/15]
Israeli military vehicles, bulldozer cross border into Gaza [Maan - 8/10/15]
A Palestinian suspect was shot and killed after allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier and stealing his gun in Kiryat Gat in southern Israel, an Israeli police spokesperson told Ma'an. ... [Maan - 8/10/15]
Video: Israel plants armed “stone throwers” among Palestinian protestors [Electronic Intifada - 7/10/15]:
A Reuters correspondent observed Israeli undercover agents disguised as Palestinian youths inciting violence.
He’s backed up by video evidence. One video shows an Israeli undercover agent apparently firing a pistol into the leg of a Palestinian at point blank range.
Luke Baker tweeted: “Footage in Ramallah shows undercover #Israeli police throwing stones at Israeli forces and inciting #Palestinian youth to do the same.”
At least three people, including two children, have lost their lives when Saudi fighter jets launched an aerial attack in Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada as Riyadh pushes ahead with its military campaign against its impoverished neighbor.
On Thursday morning, Saudi warplanes bombarded a residential neighborhood in the Dahwan area of Razih district, leaving a Yemeni man and his two children dead.
The victim’s wife also sustained injuries in the air strike, Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen satellite news network reported.
Earlier in the day, at least 23 people were killed and tens of others suffered injuries when Saudi military aircraft struck a wedding ceremony in Sanban area of Yemen’s central western province of Dhamar, situated about 100km (60 miles) south-east of the capital, Sana’a. ... [Press TV - 8/10/15]
Yemen’s Houthis conditionally agree to UN-brokered peace plan [Press TV - 8/10/15]
Yemeni army soldiers backed by allied popular committees loyal to Ansarullah fighters have launched a missile attack against a Saudi warship and managed to destroy it.
The warship was wrecked off the southwestern coast of Yemen on Wednesday, in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, Yemen's Saba news agency reported, adding that other Saudi battleships fled the area following the attack. ... [Press TV - 7/10/15]
US-Afghan raid leaves 6 "Haqqanis" dead in Logar [Pajhwok - 8/10/15]
@MSF [8/10/15]: We received @POTUS' apology for #Kunduz but repeat call for Int. Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission investigation
Obama apologises to MSF president for Kunduz bombing - BBC News US President Barack Obama has apologised to the president of aid agency Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) for a bombing that killed at least 22. ... [BBC - 7/10/15]
Obama calls Afghan President, expresses condolences for Kunduz hospital strike [US Department of Defense – 7/10/15]
The United Nations’ most senior refugee official is appealing to the international community to refocus its attention on Afghanistan, warning that it would be dangerous to ignore the country, and praised Iran and Pakistan for hosting so many Afghan refugees. ... [Media Release - 7/10/15]
UN chief condemns killing of peacekeeper in Central African Republic [Media Release - 7/10/15]
In Libya, explosion near Tripoli parliament during session [Ahram - 7/10/15]
Transgender woman beaten, shot dead in north Philadelphia [WTRF - 7/10/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Department of Defense [7/10/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, three strikes struck two separate ISIL crude oil collection points.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:
-- Near Habbaniya, one strike destroyed two ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Kisik, three strikes suppressed two ISIL rocket positions, an ISIL mortar position and an ISIL sniper position.
-- Near Makhmur, one strike suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL heavy machine guns and three ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL rocket position and an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL weapons caches, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL bunker and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike suppressed an ISIL rocket position.
-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL trench, an ISIL berm and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Tikrit, one strike destroyed four ISIL obstacles.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [7/10/15]:
Salah-il-deen: "A woman ,her daughter and child were killed and her son was wounded as an aerial bombing targeted their home in Beiji district north of Tikrit", a security source said...............
Salah-il-deen: "A builder was killed as a roadside bomb exploded while removing debris of Salah-il-deen health directorate building in the middle of Tikrit", a security source said...........
Anbar: Mala'ab area in Ramadi has been shelled violently ,further details unknown....................
Baghdad: "A person was killed and 2 wounded as a roadside bomb attached to their car exploded in Sho'la area today evening " a security source
Baghdad: "A person was killed and 7 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near shops in Iskan area today evening " a security source said....................
Baghdad: Dozens of farmers have demonstrated in front of Agriculture minstry building at Andalus Square in the middle of Baghdad demanding to pay their accrued expenses which have been delayed since last year..................
Military top brass to convene in Baghdad to expand cooperation against ISIL [Sputnik News - 8/10/15]
Syrian armed forces launch large-scale offensive against ISIS - Syrian General Staff [RT - 8/10/15]
560 wanted persons from Damascus, its countryside; Qunaitera and Homs turned themselves in to the authorities on Wednesday to have their legal status settled.
Last week, 70 wanted persons from Damascus and its Countryside and from Homs, Daraa and Idleb turned themselves in to authorities so as they could have their legal status settled. [SANA - 7/10/15]
The process of destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile is nearing completion, with only two remaining depots yet to be destroyed, Acting United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-soo, said on Wednesday after a closed-door session of the United Nations Security Council. ... [TASS - 8/10/15]
Evidently this Save The Children is not the same as the one in Australia? [Independent - 8/10/15]:
… Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said the charity was “extremely concerned” by the withdrawal of HMC Protector and HMC Seeker, the UK’s last two boats involved in proactive search and rescue missions.
He said it would reduce capacity Europe to save lives “at a time when rescue missions are most needed”.
“Usually we see a reduction of crossings and casualties as the weather turns colder but that is not happening this year,” Mr Forsyth added.
“Seven thousand people arrived on the Greek islands (on Sunday) alone, the same day as the appalling discovery of the dead bodies of another baby and toddler washed up on the island of Kos.”
All aboard the bipartisan ship [Overland - 11/8/15]:
... Writing in The Australian, Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds makes a more reluctant argument for the same conclusion: that organisations supporting refugees should embrace the opportunity for bipartisan consensus by abandoning active support for the principle of non-refoulement:
Although we may not like turnbacks, it is clear the policy is here to stay. Now we and other advocates for the rights of asylum-seekers must look beyond this aspect of the policy and concentrate our efforts on implementing a genuine regional framework, which we have long called for.
As NGOs have taken on major government contracts for refugee and asylum-seeker services, such as the $19m contract Save the Children currently holds with the detention facilities on Nauru, these organisations have become structurally invested in maintaining government control over asylum seekers.
But liberal humanitarians are more deeply invested in government control over asylum seekers than can be explained by any direct financial benefit.
They may disagree with right-wing conservatives on how many refugees should be accepted, or the details of how those who are turned away should be treated, but they share the premise stated by John Howard during the Tampa crisis: ‘We will decide who comes here and the manner in which they come.’ ...
Merkel declares asylum rules 'obsolete' as migrant talks opens [Yahoo - 7/10/15]
I got on a small, seven-metre long boat with 52 other people. Small children sat around me. The driver of the boat was one of us, a refugee, who had never driven a boat before. It was only an hour at sea to reach one of the Greek islands but the engine was too small to carry the weight. When the fuel ran out some of us had to get in the water to drag and push the boat. We were exhausted when we reached land seven hours later. But we had made it.
One day, after the MSF projects had already closed, I got a call. It was from former friends, friends who had joined IS. They said I had to go: I was on a list. That same night I left Raqqa.
When we stepped onto the platform in Munich, with the intention of travelling onwards to the Netherlands, we were immediately stopped by police. After learning that we were Syrian and had no official travel papers, we were taken into custody. We were brought to an empty warehouse and locked up. It makes you feel like a criminal, despite having done nothing wrong.
The next day, we were rounded up and sent to Dortmund by train, where we were detained once more.
It was by sheer luck – or rather, the kind help of a stranger – that I managed to get out. ... My journey from Doctors Without Borders aid worker to Syrian refugee - Guardian - 8/10/15]
@ItalianNavy [7/10/15]: #UltimOra #SAR Nave Aviere #MarinaMilitare ha soccorso 129 migranti da 1 gommone coordinando 2 interventi della FGS Holstein @bundeswehrInfo
@ItalianNavy [7/10/15]: #SAR Foto e video degli ultimi soccorsi effettuati da nave Aviere #MarinaMilitare ...
@guardiacostiera [7/10/15]: Gommone semiaffondato a largo coste libiche, 2 motovedette #GuardiaCostiera salvano tutti gli 80 #migranti; tra di loro 14 donne e 2 bambini
Turnbull's "interest in the issue of displacement"? -----> ... In no small part because we have been successful in securing our borders, we can play our part in helping resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. ... <----- To precis: "We stopped the boats." [House of Representatives Hansard - 15/9/15]
Australia's protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister Julie Bishop tells media in New York: We stopped the boats [ABC - 30/9/15]:
… Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told media in New York she had spoken to Mr Crepeau [United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants] and explained why the Coalition "took the stand that we did" on border protection controls.
"When the Government has control of our borders and control of our immigration processes, then we're in a position to offer 12,000 additional permanent places to people who are displaced from the Syrian conflict," she said.
"And so those kind of issues are put in context and I took the opportunity to do just that."
If elected to the council, Ms Bishop said Australia would use the position to push on issues such as gender equality.
Senator Hanson-Young asks Attorney-General George Brandis about the 8,000 stranded refugees in the Straits of Malacca. His response: "Thanks to this government, it isn't Australia's problem anymore". [Senate - May 2015]
Plibersek: People coming to Australia by boat should not expect to be accepted into our refugee & humanitarian intake ... "tweeted" by @ABCNews24 [30/9/15]
We don't just do the dirty work of empire: Australian and Malaysian Navies demonstrate they can play soccer - as well as push back refugee boats ---> @Australian_Navy [8/10/15] Australians join forces in Malaysian soccer challenge http://ift.tt/1L0FUgn ...
North East Asian deployments for Sirius and Arunta [Navy Daily - 11/9/15]:
... Arunta and Sirius will each be involved in multiple exercises including AUSINDEX, BERSAMA LIMA, HAIDOLI WALLABY with the Republic of Korean Navy, and NEW HORIZON, operating with both Australian and foreign military units from around the region.
The aim of these exercises will be to strengthen relationships and enhance mutual co-operation and understanding between the various defence forces.
These exercises will also provide opportunities for interaction and the exchange of professional views between personnel from all defence forces.
BERSAMA LIMA is an annual exercise conducted with the Malaysian Navy in the South China Sea, followed by Exercise NEW HORIZON with the Indonesian Navy. ...
US: Rohingya genocide court case "unrelated" to Washington's policy toward Myanmar [The Irrawaddy - 7/10/15]
Woodside, BGEPM, MPEPL to work on Rakhine offshore oil field [Deal Street Asia - 8/10/15]:
... Woodside, BG Exploration and Production (Myanmar) and Myanmar Petroleum Exploration & Production Co Ltd have entered into a joint venture to work on the Rakhine offshore oil field AD-5 and A-7. Woodside will be the operator of the field with 45 per cent share.
The operations are expected to begin by November 2015. ...
A British man held in Myanmar’s most notorious jail is wasting away in a tiny cell with no window and an open sewer for a toilet while the British government is ignoring pleas to intervene, his father has told the Guardian.
Philip Blackwood, 33, and two Burmese colleagues were accused of insulting religion and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail in March after he posted a psychedelic image of Buddha wearing headphones on the Facebook page of the Yangon bar he manages. ... [Guardian - 8/10/15]
Myanmar's Ma Ba Tha monks flex their political muscle [BBC - 7/10/15]:
... Mandalay monk Ashin Wirathu revels in his status as an outspoken firebrand.
Granting interviews freely, he uses social media to spread often false stories about Muslims, regularly denigrating them in speeches as mad dogs and rapists.
Those that dare challenge Wirathu's view of events quickly become the target of his invective. UN envoy Yanghee Lee was labelled a "whore" when she stood up for the rights of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
Tellingly, when that happened not a single senior Burmese politician spoke out in her defence.
So has Wirathu been quietly shunned by the establishment?
Not a bit of it. Last week footage surfaced of him meeting a senior member of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy.
Anti-Muslim Buddhist group moves toward Myanmar's mainstream [Yahoo - 1/9/15]:
... Established two years ago, Ma Ba Tha sprang from the "969" movement, a loose collection of monks linked to a wave of violence against the country's Muslim minority in 2012 and 2013.
Senior Ma Ba Tha officials said the 969 movement had raised awareness about threats to Buddhism from a burgeoning Muslim population, but was disorganized and lacked leadership.
"It was (concerned with) only the symbols of Buddhism," said Ashin Tilawkar Biwonsa.
Now, a growing number of professionals are offering their expertise on everything from media relations to legislation, helping to shape Ma Ba Tha into a slick organization with popular support and real political clout.
One such expert is Aye Paing, who spent two decades toiling as a lawyer in Myanmar's musty courtrooms before finding a dramatic new use for his legal skills.
Aye Paing and a team of Ma Ba Tha-linked lawyers drafted the protection of race and religion bills, the last of which was signed by President Thein Sein on Monday.
Lawyers, economists, IT experts and other professionals had made Ma Ba Tha "very efficient, systematic and legal" said Aye Paing, 52, who wears a black "taik pone", a short collarless jacket worn over a shirt that is common among Myanmar's legal professionals.
"We discuss, give advice and share our visions," he said.
In another sign of its growing influence, foreign diplomats regularly visit the group's monastery headquarters.
One was U.S. ambassador Derek Mitchell, who went there twice in May to discuss "the need for increased interfaith dialogue" and "the importance of keeping religion out of politics", according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Yangon.
Australia did not require Nauru to detain asylum seekers, High Court told [Guardian - 8/10/15]
"I feel so helpless. I want to help asylum seekers, especially those in detention, the forgotten ones."
Seizing on the denial of a rape victim's right to an abortion to make a partisan point is not admirable.
IT IS DESPICABLE.
Australia is refusing to grant an abortion to the Somali woman who was raped after Canberra sent her to Nauru.
Lawyers for the Somali woman are pleading with the Australian government to bring her to Australia so she can have an abortion because the United Nations says the procedure is illegal in Nauru.
They have reportedly received no reply from either Australia's Prime Minister or the Immigration Minister.
George Newhouse from Shine lawyers says the woman says she was raped in July and time is running out.
"She's lost 10 kilogrammes and she's fourteen weeks pregnant. She is sick, she cannot move. She has not left her room for days, weeks even. And she really is in a terrible psychological and physical state. And she needs this issue to be resolved. It is just cruel and inhumane to leave a woman in this situation." ... [RNZI - 8/10/15]
Nauru: mother of alleged gang-rape victim attempts suicide [Guardan – 7/10/15]:
... Workers on the island have told Guardian Australia camp managers resisted moving Nazanin to Australia even as she went into organ failure, but came under sustained pressure from doctors who warned she would die if she was not moved. ...
Doe v. Constant Haiti: Death Squads and Gender-Based Violence [The Center for Justice & Accountability]
Women recount gang rape, abuse at hearing against Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel Constant [Democracy Now - 31/8/06]:
... MOIRA FEENEY: Well, thank you for having me. I’m here because on Tuesday we had a hearing in New York in the Southern District of New York in front of Federal Judge Stein, who listened to testimony. We brought testimony from five different witnesses, two of our clients, who actually took the stand. They had to actually sit behind a screen so that their identities could be protected, but they were able to speak in open court and give their stories of survival. And both of these women were victims of a gang rape that occurred in 1994 at the hands of members of FRAPH. And FRAPH, the important thing to know about the word FRAPH [frappe], in Creole means "a strong blow." And FRAPH was led by Toto Constant.
Now, in addition to these women, we had three experts. One expert on the history of Haiti gave the political context of the rise of FRAPH and Constant’s role as the commander of this paramilitary organization. And after that, we heard from a medical expert about the specific trauma that our clients suffered; and finally, a psychologist, who spoke specifically about the trauma, psychological trauma, that our clients have endured as a result of politically motivated gang rape, that 12 years later they are still very much living with the reality that they suffered at the time in Haiti. They live with that every single day.
Haiti: Different coup, same US backed paramilitary leaders [Democracy Now - 26/2/04]
Sri Lankan soldiers sentenced for gang rape of Tamil woman [Tamil Guardian - 7/10/15]
Greens Senator congratulates activists arrested in refugee rights protest [Media Release - 8/10/15]:
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has congratulated the refugee activists who occupied the Sydney office of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in a direct action protest against the detention, rape and abuse of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.
Eleven of the protesters were arrested and detained by the police for over eight hours.
“The Greens support the call of the protesters to close the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“The protesters had a clear message for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - if you are seriously committed to ending violence against women, your government will extend that commitment to Australia's offshore detention centres. This means closing them.
“Some of the protesters told me that they took this action because of the appalling treatment of a refugee woman raped on Nauru.
“A twenty-three year old Somali refugee fell pregnant after being raped in detention, and needs immediate access to abortion services in Australia.
“I congratulate the protesters for standing up for refugee rights and showing the humanity that the Liberal-National government lacks,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Fundraiser to get journalists to Nauru - because the Australian media would prefer to just amplify propaganda.
Australian media laps up the endless stream of propaganda from the Nauruan government: ... Refugee lawyers and others have been recruited to speed up refugee determinations, which the government says will be more than 26 times faster than the processing rate to date. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/10/15]
Letter from asylum seekers imprisoned and tortured on Nauru and Manus says NOTHING about refugee claims being processed [Refugee Rights Action Network WA – 8/10/15]:
... When we came here we became the victims of your policy. Sent to offshore processing centres and kept there with 2000 people.
By the end of 2012 almost 27000 asylum seekers reached your country by boat.
Where are they now?
You know well some are unlucky and innocent and are still kept in the hell of offshore processing centres. ...
Save Mohammad Albederee [7/10/15]:
Mohammad has not eaten for 182 days.
When Immigration Minister Dutton was contacted about Mohammad being on a hunger strike several months ago, his office lied and said he was eating and drinking.
Mohammad became so distraught that he cut his stomach to 'show there is no food in there'.
I make no apologies for the photos. This is reality and we can't keep turning a blind eye.
Lies can kill! He will die if the Australian people don't force our government to bring him to Australia for medical treatment.
The government are doing nothing to save his life.
He cannot drink. He vomits everything and it causes him horrendous pain for hours afterward.
He is still in his shipping container room in Manus Island Detention Centre.
All the promises to bring him to Australia for medical treatment if he complied with directions were lies.
He has increased amounts of blood in his urine. He has agonising pain every minute of every day. He sleeps only a few hours every few days.
This is the reality of offshore detention.
He needs life saving medical treatment because he was beaten senseless by over 10 Australian Wilson Security guards.
Australia doesn't want to acknowledge that they paid people to beat the world's most vulnerable.
Will our new PM show some compassion and save his life?
Please contact PM Malcolm Turnbull and ask the hard questions at email@example.com or by calling his office on 02 9327 3988
Australian immigration detention like "war camps", New Zealand rights group
Many people being held in Australian detention centres are suicidal after living in what they describe as "war camps", says a group campaigning for New Zealanders' rights.
The Iwi n Aus group said about a hundred people have been sent to Christmas Island, while it is decided whether they should be deported.
A New Zealand lawyer, who is representing some of the detainees, said the situation there was getting more and more desperate, and the Serco-operated centre was now in lockdown.
Radio New Zealand has asked the Department of Immigration and Border Control over the last fortnight to clarify how many New Zealanders have been deported or detained, and how many are being held on Christmas Island, but it has not.
Instead, families of those affected have emailed and called ministers, embassies, lawyers and media begging for help.
They have also contacted Iwi n Aus, a group set up to fight for New Zealanders' rights in Australia, which is detailing their experiences.
Its founder Erina Anderson-Morunga said they tell the same stories: lack of access to lawyers, mental health problems and dawn raids by police clad in riot gear to take onshore detainees to Christmas Island.
Ms Anderson-Morunga said a group saw one asylum-seeker set fire to himself and another slit his throat.
And she said they were describing conditions as similar to a war camp, and the uncertainty was leading to mental health problems.
New Zealander Junior Togatuki, 23, begged Australia's immigration minister not to deport him to New Zealand, which he left when he was a pre-schooler, before dying in Australia's Supermax prison last month.
Brisbane woman Deanna Airey, whose fiance is being held at the city's police station, said she was scared to death for him as he had told her he was contemplating suicide:
"Every waking minute I live in constant fear that I am going to get a phone call similar to the one Junior's family would have received.
"My fiancé is sharing a cell with at least three others where the conditions are, as he describes, a nightmare, torture, too much to handle any longer.
"I have only been allowed to talk to him by phone call for a few minutes at a time. Sometimes I don't hear from him for a week where I am constantly sick from worrying about what could've happened.
"They are being deprived of contact with the outside in order to make it impossible for them to get their appeal heard, because they cannot obtain contact with lawyers, family members and spouses like myself that are trying to fulfill the appeal process."
Iwi n Aus said dawn raids, with up to 100 riot police, were being carried out at onshore detention centres, so that detainees could be moved to Christmas Island.
"There was a dawn raid at the Yongah Hill detention centre where approximately a dozen or so Kiwis are being sent to Christmas Island," Ms Anderson-Morunga said.
"According to one of the detainees that called me, there were approximately 100 police officers dressed in riot gear rounding them up.
"These people are given no forewarning of what is happening and being shipped to Christmas Island only further isolates them from any assistance and support. The toll on their mental health and wellbeing is overwhelming."
Lawyer Craig Tuck said mental health problems were rife as detainees struggled to cope with not knowing when they will be released or deported.
He said one 35-year-old client he had at Villawood detention centre in Sydney had been crying and feeling desperate.
Mr Tuck said he would be taking the message to politicians to get some action.
In a statement, a spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said: "The Australian Government takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the Australian community from non-citizens who may pose a risk of harm to the Australian community.
"If a non-citizen's visa is cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act, or completes a custodial sentence and does not hold a valid visa, they will be liable for detention and removal from Australia.
"In circumstances where non-citizens have been incarcerated, the Department will seek to remove them directly from the correctional facility.
"In some cases however, due to logistical planning, non-citizens may be taken into an immigration detention facility while removal planning is finalised."
Media continues unquestioningly promoting the federal government's cruel "handpicked, non-Muslim Syrian refugees" PR stunt - with a "these ones aren't terrorists" twist [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/10/15]
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
I urge the EU and its individual Member States to avoid the ugly spectre of arbitrary or prolonged detention of people who are not criminals, and to ensure the adoption of human rights-based alternatives to detention.
EU migration policy ‘will fail’ without comprehensive, human rights
focus – UN rights chief [UN Media Release - 6/10/15]:
Warning that Europe’s “narrow, exclusion-focused [migration] policies have clearly failed,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today urged the European Union to make certain that upcoming policy discussions undertaken in light of the region’s refugee crisis are grounded firmly on the need to protect the human rights for all migrants.
“A migration policy that seeks simply to exclude irregular migrants, without taking into account a holistic analysis as to why they are moving, is unlikely to result in better management of migration,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a press release.
Instead, such policies are very likely to come at an unacceptable cost to the rights of migrants, including more deaths, detention and abuse of innocent people, he warned.
Speaking ahead of a key high-level meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, Mr. Zeid also expressed concerns about the continued security-driven agenda that appears to dominate the EU’s response. He also expressed concerns about the nature of ‘hotspot’ approach.
“These ‘hotspots’ seem to be conceived not simply as a means of registering new arrivals, but also as a way of preventing them from moving further until it is decided whether they are in need of international protection or should be returned,” Mr. Zeid said.
“While we welcome the efforts of the EU to offer support to the frontline Member States receiving large numbers of migrants, States must ensure that these ‘hotspots’ are not, in effect, detention centres in disguise,” he added.
Mr. Zeid observed that Italy and Greece have reduced the use of immigration detention.
He added that it is important to guard against a return to a practice which is fraught with human rights concerns centred on the legality and conditions of detention.
“I urge the EU and its individual Member States to avoid the ugly spectre of arbitrary or prolonged detention of people who are not criminals, and to ensure the adoption of human rights-based alternatives to detention,” he said.
He welcomed the earlier decision by the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on the relocation of 120,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy and also commended the EU’s commitment to provide more funding to improve conditions for the millions of Syrians displaced to neighbouring countries.
However, he stressed retreating from the flawed view of considering law enforcement as the sole panacea to curtail contemporary migration issues, especially when scores of people are fleeing their countries due to severe human rights violations or collapsing economies.
“Increased border control and surveillance have not reduced the number of new arrivals; they have only forced them to use more dangerous routes, leading to increased human rights abuses and loss of life,” he said, adding that rather than ‘destroying the business model of smugglers,’ the emphasis on law enforcement coupled with the near absence of legal channels for refugees and migrants to enter EU territory have enabled unscrupulous smugglers to expand their business by preying on desperate individuals who have no other option.
He elaborated by pointing out that strengthening of border control and surveillance, including building a fence along Greece and the Turkish border, led to scores of desperate refugees and migrants crossing the risky Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek islands.
“A few years ago, most refugees and migrants entered Greece by land,” Zeid said.
“It was the sealing of the land border which, more than anything else, pushed them to resort to the dangerous sea route instead,” he added.
EU talks tough on deportations amid flood of Syrian refugees [Reuters – 7/10/15]
Teenager at Queensland youth detention centre cuffed after self harm
An inspection of a north Queensland youth detention centre has found high incidents of self harm, harsh use of restraints after suicide attempts and children cleaning up urine.
Inspectors who visited Townsville's Cleveland Youth Detention Centre earlier this year expressed concerns about separation rooms, where one boy self harmed in the school precinct of the centre.
The full inspection report for the March quarter, gained by AAP under Right To Information, shows there is no formal standing order for staff to monitor children locked in the rooms and several said they urinated on the floor in the absence of toilet facilities.
A spokesman for the department said the rooms did not have toilets for safety reasons and that the children were asked to clean up the urine where appropriate.
He said staff observed the young people every 15 minutes they were locked inside the room.
The inspectors, who visited the centre for five days, were also critical of the treatment of a troubled 16-year-old boy, referred to as YP-L, who twice in a month climbed onto the roof.
The second time, when he fell or jumped with a rope around his neck, was described as "one of the most serious and potentially fatal incidents of self-harm within Queensland youth detention centres in recent years".
YP-L was subsequently handcuffed and escorted by two staff members whenever he wasn't inside his accommodation unit, including during visits with his baby.
"Considering the reason YP-L made the roof ascent was over trauma associate with restricted family contact, keeping him handcuffed through visits was a questionable decision at the least," the report said.
"The inspectorate is of the opinion that it would be difficult for any person to be able to safely and securely hold a baby when handcuffed."
Inspectors found the use of restraints would not meet regulations and called their implementation during family visits "extraordinary" and "excessive".
The department spokesman said the centre agreed the use of handcuffs was inappropriate and had created stricter guidelines.
He also said search procedures had been extended after a sweep three days after YP-L's second incident found more lengths of rope.
The centre is installing "drumroll" barriers on fences to make it harder for people to get on the roof, he said.
Cleveland's 30 incidents of self harm in 2014 far exceeded the four in Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, despite the southern facility holding double the number of young people.
The department says the centre has finalised 10 of 11 recommendations from the inspectors, including that all young people who demonstrate self-harming behaviours be searched before being placed in separation.
Justice Minister Yvette D'ath said an internal review unit had been established to regularly monitor and review practices. <---- TYPICALLY INADEQUATE RESPONSE.
•Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Accused Family Court bomber to apply for bail [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/10/15]
*UPDATE* ----> Three of four males arrested in Parramatta raids released without charge [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/10/15]
They are detained because we're conducting search warrants and we're not really at this point, we're not going to speculate about what might come in terms of any further legal action, such as charges.
NSW Deputy Police Commissioner [ABC - 7/10/15]
10 attacks in last 15 months treated very differently to the #ParramattaShooting [GIMC - 8/10/15]:
... Crimes like the above demonstrate that it is not the facts of the Parramatta case that set it apart; it is rather the identity of the perpetrator.
An identity that has been problematised, constructed as a national security threat and consistently the subject of political wrangling.
For those who contribute to this – from policy-makers, media, academics, and commentators – to then sit back and demand answers of an already traumatised community is to escape their own culpability in this vicious cycle, especially when their actions contribute to the massive frustration and angst in that community. ...
A Melbourne man has been arrested over the mysterious disappearance of his 59-year-old mother Penny Bailey.
Stephen Bailey, 34, was yesterday spotted on CCTV in Melbourne CBD after he too was reported missing following a disturbance at the Mont Albert townhouse they shared.
He was taken into police custody overnight and is currently in hospital assisting police with their enquiries.. ... [Yahoo - 8/10/15]
Christian music producer accused of killing girlfriend's son wanted to eliminate the devil from people [ABC - 7/10/15]:
A Christian music producer subjected his girlfriend's son to a "Spartan-like regime" in the months leading up to his death which involved him being repeatedly hit, yelled at, refused food and forced to run until exhausted, a court has been told.
Kodi Maybir, 31, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the boy, aged seven, who was found dead in an Oatley unit in Sydney's south in May 2013.
An autopsy revealed the child had suffered skull fractures and subsequent brain swelling.
Maybir is facing 14 charges, including multiple common assault charges.
He has pleaded guilty to six of them.
The boy's mother, Kayla James, is in jail after pleading guilty to the boy's manslaughter in June.
About four months before her son died, James and her three young children moved into Mabir's unit, which was converted into a music studio.
"Evidence will show the accused very substantially controlled [Kayla James] and introduced her to a bizarre system of controlling her family, which she went along with," crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC said during his opening address.
Prosecutors also told that court that evidence will show that Mabir "held extreme beliefs concerning religion ... one which seemed to be eliminating the devil from people".
The jury will watch several home videos, including one in which Maybir tells one of the boy's younger siblings to hit him, Mr Maxwell said.
The court heard that Maybir forced the seven-year-old to use nappies because there were no bathroom facilities in the studio.
Mr Maxwell said: "Ms James will say at times the accused instructed that [the boy], who had previously been toilet trained, should remain in nappies" so he didn't have to take him to the building's shared toilet.
The prosecutor also described a string of alleged abusive offences witnessed by campers when the family were holidaying at a campsite in Bulli, south of Sydney, in March 2013.
He said campers, who are due to give evidence, saw the boy sitting outside the family's tent early in the morning, in 16 degree Celsius weather, sobbing quietly.
A male voice could be heard calling out from the tent "that's what happens when you shit yourself, you stay out there", Mr Maxwell said.
"Witnesses will say he had to wear his underpants on his head as punishment," Mr Maxwell said.
The court heard that there were several instances in which the boy was made to run until exhausted.
Witness will say that Maybir made the boy run back and forth over a 15-metre distance and when he fell over, Maybir punched him in the face, the court was told.
On another occasion, witnesses saw Maybir running behind the boy on a beach, hitting him with a stick when he slowed down or fell over, and yelling "come on, hurry up, keep moving", Mr Maxwell said.
The prosecutor said one witness noticed the boy was not given chicken on his sandwich or cordial, like the other children.
When asked why, Maybir said "he was going commando-style" and that it was "aimed at making him stronger, and to build him into a man".
Maybir told one man that he had shaved off the boys hair and eyebrows "because he wanted to make the deceased-like Neo from the Matrix and make him like a soldier", Mr Maxwell said.
The prosecution said that such evidence pointed to the control and "Spartan-like regime that [Maybir] applies to the deceased".
The trial is expected to last six weeks.
One of two men accused of seriously maiming a teenager with a homemade bomb claimed to have enough explosives to level a shopping centre, an Ipswich court has heard.
Glen Charles Dell and Mark Anthony Tear have pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a then 15-year-old boy.
The teen's hands were almost destroyed when a golf ball packed with explosive powder went off at a home at Leichhardt, west of Brisbane. ... [ABC - 7/10/15]
SA home torched, man charged [Nine MSN - 7/10/15]:
A man has been charged with setting a house alight in regional South Australia during an altercation with two men inside.
The two men suffered minor injuries in the incident in Murray Bridge South at 8am on Wednesday, police say.
A 41-year-old man of no fixed address has been charged with arson, aggravated assault, assaulting and resisting arrest, and was remanded in custody to appear in the Murray Bridge Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Cairns man who shot neighbour amid loud music row sentenced to jail [ABC - 7/10/15]
Baby seriously injured in fall from window, Cairns [ABC - 7/10/15]
Service station fire, Berserker [QPS Media 8/10/15]
Assault, East Brisbane [QPS Media - 8/10/15]
Armed robbery, Bray Park [QPS Media - 8/10/15]
Armed robbery, Wavell Heights [QPS Media - 7/10/15]
Titans cocaine scandal returns to court [MYGC - 8/10/15]
Extortion charges, Jimboomba [QPS Media - 7/10/15]
Police Officers were called to a Southport unit complex on Tuesday, October 6 after a vehicle demolished a carport and damaged a neighbouring unit.
A 66-year-old Southport man has been charged with drink driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.211%, following the incident which resulted in significant damage to his own property. ... [QPS Media - 7/10/15]
Car mounts kerb, crashes into library wall before driver walks into supermarket in Canberra [ABC - 7/10/15]
A 14-year-old cyclist was hit by a car on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Miles Street, Mount Isa.
The incident occurred about 8am on Tuesday. ... [North West Star - 6/10/15]
Former University of Canberra academic charged with sex offences against students [Canberra Times – 7/10/15]
Police raid home of former union official Kathy Jackson [Sydney Morning Herald – 7/10/15]
The state government has launched a review into the Ravenshoe explosion, which killed two and injured 18 earlier in the year. ... [Yahoo - 7/10/15]
The Grantham Floods Commission of Inquiry has found that a local quarry played no role in the deaths of 12 people during the 2011 Queensland floods.
"I think they (the Wagner family) were unjustly blamed by some people and I think they were viciously blamed by some elements of the media," he said. ... [Yahoo - 8/10/15]
... Making his closing speech for Mr Pharo, on trial over payments to a police officer who supplied information to the Sun, Mr Rumfitt complained that his client had been "blamed for misconduct way above him at that newspaper.”
He told the jury: “Someone removed all the aces, kings and queens in case they engage corporate responsibility." ... Sun trial lawyer: Is Murdoch covering up again? [Byline - 7/10/15]
Macquarie University study says children's learning development affected by Mount Isa smelting operations
North West Star [7/10/15]:
Neurological development of children could be affected by high levels of toxins found in mining towns such as Mount Isa, according to a Macquarie University study.
Professor Mark Taylor, co-author of the study, said data proved children in suburbs closest to Mount Isa’s smelting operations were 2.5 times more likely to struggle in more than two of five types of learning development.
The study examined other mining communities like Port Pirie and Broken Hill and compared Australian Early Development Census and NAPLAN results with areas of metal contamination levels.
The socio-economic status of children was considered when the results were compared.
“It actually looks like lead exposure compounds with socio-economic status,” Professor Taylor said.
“We don’t know the reason for that … it just confirms mining operations in these communities are significant and have long-term impacts on children.”
The paper drew on data from 2008 to 2013.
However, results were not projections.
Relevant mining companies invested a large amount of money in Mount Isa recently in improving the local environmental risks, Professor Taylor said.
“Exposure to toxic metals is a modifiable risk factor so it is not unreasonable to expect that future health and welfare strategies for mining regions should include approaches to reduce such risks,” he said.
“It’s important to know they (mining companies) have responded.
“There’s significant investments and they should pay dividends if they work,” he said.
A Glencore spokesperson said the company recognised its responsibility to ensure the safe and prosperous coexistence of operations and the community.
The mine has taken measures to reduce contaminants, the spokesperson said.
“More recently, this has included a refurbishment of the ventilation systems at our lead smelter to improve emission capture and having dedicated lead concentrate storage facilities fitted with dust extraction and scrubbing systems.”
Aurizon announces 74 job to be cut at Rockhampton and Townsville rail maintenance facilities [ABC - 7/10/15]
... Residents are being urged not to drink bore water after an investigation into groundwater beneath the local Army Aviation Centre at Oakey.
It's thought chemicals from fire-fighting foams, used in training exercises for more than three decades, might have contaminated the groundwater.
While the investigation is ongoing, some locals have reportedly returned blood tests with chemical concentrations 44 times the national average.
But an official statement from the Department of Defence refuses to outline the health risks of contamination. ... [Yahoo - 7/10/15]
Firefighters are struggling to contain a large, fast-moving bushfire burning south of Toowoomba, and fear it could threaten homes. ... [Yahoo - 7/10/15]
Australian movies set new box office record [WA Today – 7/10/15]
An over-reliance on using computers and search engines is weakening people's memories, according to a study.
It showed many people use computers instead of memorising information.
Many adults who could still recall their phone numbers from childhood could not remember their current work number or numbers of family members.
Maria Wimber from the University of Birmingham said the trend of looking up information "prevents the build-up of long-term memories". ... [BBC - 7/10/15]
8 October 2015