SPRING HILL VOICE

The Australian website where spooks, media advisors, media monitors, partisan shills, sentiment miners, establishment media purloiners, fabricators, marketing and PR people start their day!

... There's no rationalisation for what you do and you are satan's little helpers. ... Bill Hicks

I feel sorry for Americans

STOP THE WARS! TAX THE RICH!

FREE THE REFUGEES!

Perception correction.

Bearing witness.

Unfashionable.

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time ... but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." - Lilla Watson, aboriginal educator and activist, Brisbane

Peace.

Copyright 2003-present

 



* Other Things *

 

So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand.

Thucydides

Iraqi government shells teachers' houses, Fallujah

Image: @IraqiSpringMC [19/10/14]

Iraqi Spring Media Center [19/10/14]:

Summary of security events which have been witnessed in Anbar during last days:

- Qa'im , Ana and Rawa districts witness calm and are still controlled by insurgents ....

-Hadeetha is still controlled by government's forces ,police and awakening militia , the city witnesses economic deterioration and increasing of prices due to the shortage of basic goods in the markets as insurgents besiege the city.

- Baghdadi nahiya has shelled by artillery ,government's and alliance air forces resulted in killing of woman and her two daughters as they cross the street in Sabkha village and wounding of two of people of Mahdaniyah village ..........

-Heet city witnesses calm and is controlled by insurgents ,also the displaced families come back to their areas as food and basic humanaterian aids are available so the normal life is restored in the city.....

- Fallujah:battles and clashes have continued for week around Fallujah University -Hayakil "Al-Nu'eimiyah"......

-west of Baghdad and at the entry of Anbar , another battle supported by planes has taken place since last night in Zoba'a villages paralelled to Amiriyat Al-Fallujah from river side resulted in billowing of smoke in the sky ......

-Eye witnesses said that the planes have shelled mistakenly a site of army at Mikassar road in Amiriyat Al-Fallujah .

- At the same context , the insurgents have shelled by mortar Amiriyat Al-Fallujah near police directorate.....

Iraqi troops arrive with heavy weapons, armored vehicles in northern Babel [IraqiNews.com - 20/10/14]

ISIS suicide bomber kills Major General in Anbar [IraqiNews.com - 19/10/14]

Suicide Bomber Kills 15 at Baghdad Shiite Mosque [Naharnet - 19/10/14]

The fiercest fighting in days shook the Syrian border town of Ain al-Arab overnight as ISIS fighters attacked Kurdish defenders with mortar bombs and car bombs, sources in the town and an anti-regime monitoring group said Sunday. ... [Daily Star - 20/10/14]

US Military Conducts Aerial Resupply of Kurdish Forces Fighting ISIL, Syria
[Centcom - 19/10/14]

75 Killed in Five Days of Fighting in Libya's Benghazi

Naharnet [19/10/14]:

Nine people were killed Sunday in new violence in Benghazi where pro-government forces have launched an offensive against Islamist militias, raising the toll to 75 dead in five days, medics said.

In the latest violence a woman was killed in a bomb attack that targeted the vacant house of former general Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the offensive launched Wednesday, a military source said.

The woman was walking past the house with her daughter, who was wounded in the bombing, said the Benghazi Medical Center, adding that it had also received the bodies of eight other people including two soldiers.

Fierce fighting raged in several parts of Libya's second city between pro-government forces led by Haftar and Islamist militias, an AFP correspondent and witnesses said.

Air raids carried out by units of the air force loyal to Haftar pounded Islamist positions.

On Saturday the United States joined Britain, France, Germany and Italy in calling for an "immediate" end to long-running violence there between government forces and militias.

Since a 2011 revolution that toppled Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi, interim authorities have failed to establish a regular army and had to rely on state-backed militias.

The European powers and the United States said they were "concerned" by the operations carried out by Haftar, although he has the backing of army units while civilians too have taken up arms.

"We consider that Libya's security challenges and the fight against terrorist organisations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority which is accountable to a democratic and inclusive parliament," a joint statement said.

PNG: School, staff hurt in police raid

The National [20/10/14]:

A school in Port Moresby was raided by police last week, destroying properties and injuring staff, it has been revealed.

Juha College director of operations Angel Tepua said they wanted an explanation from police why the school had been raided.

Tepua said the raids which took place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week had traumatised teachers and students who had refused to return to classes.

“Grade 12 students who had to sit for their exams were affected and we had to find alternative venues for them,” Tepua said.

“I call on NCD metropolitan superintendent Andy Bawa to have these policemen arrested, charged and dismissed from the force.”

Bawa had said last week that the policemen were reacting to an attack on a colleague at a settlement at 9-Mile. He said the Hohola incident would be investigated.

The Juha College and adjacent PNG Institute of Sports Coaching and Refereeing Ltd have engaged Pokea and Associate Lawyers to take the case to court. Lawyer Nel Yapa who will be handling their case has written to Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki about the raids.

In a letter last Thursday, Yapa said: “We act for Juha College Ltd (and) PNG Sports and Coaching and Refereeing; its directors, staff members and students who have fallen victims of unwarranted illegal entry and raid by fully armed mobile squad (policemen).”

Yapa told Vaki that the policemen had entered the school without a “valid court order or search warrant.”

Israel to supply gas to Egyptian company

Times of Israel [19/10/14]:

Israel on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding with a company representing nongovernmental consumers in Egypt, under which the offshore Tamar gas field would supply up to 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year for the next seven years.

The arrangement with the Dolphinus Holdings company is estimated at some $500-700 million a year, according to TheMarker, Haaretz’s financial newspaper.

The Globes business daily, however, reported that the agreement includes a clause that allows the supplier to cut the gas exports with little notice.

Due to the flexible arrangement, the Egyptian company did not commit to purchasing a minimum amount, while Tamar agreed to supply a minimum of 5 BCM of natural gas over the next three years.

The gas will be transferred via the Israel Natural Gas Lines through the East Mediterranean Gas Company pipeline, which has been damaged by Islamist groups in the Sinai peninsula in the past few years.

Up until 2012, when its gas pipeline was destroyed and a 20-year deal terminated, Egypt had supplied Israel with natural gas.

However, recent discoveries of its natural resources off the coast of Israel have ended Jerusalem’s dependence on Egyptian companies.

In early September, Israel signed a memorandum of understanding with Jordan to supply the Hashemite kingdom with $15 billion worth of natural gas from its Leviathan energy field over 15 years.

The Jordanians turned to Israel because their supply of natural gas from Egypt had been halted by repeated terrorist attacks on the gas pipeline from Egypt, a Channel 2 report said.

Israel decided last year to export 40 percent of the country’s offshore gas finds, and has since signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal with a Palestinian firm, and in June signed a letter of intent to supply energy to an Egyptian facility as well.

In March 2013, Israel began pumping natural gas from the Tamar deposit, which, discovered in 2009 and located some 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Haifa, which holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In addition to Tamar, in 2010 an even larger deposit, Leviathan — which boasts an estimated 16-18 trillion cubic feet of gas — was discovered 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa. It is expected to become operational in 2016.

The finds are expected to transform Israel from an energy importer to a major world player in the gas market.

Greek Cypriots’ demand to return to North refused by USA Federal Court [Cyprus Observer - 16/10/14]

Cyprus Gas Crisis – A Mountain or a Molehill? [Cyprus Observer - 12/10/14]

Squatters expelled near main Vanuatu airport

RNZI [20/10/14]:

Police in Vanuatu have begun enforcing an eviction order against about 300 people living illegally near Port Vila's airport.

Reports say police have arrested ten people for erecting road blocks and cutting trees in a bid to stop the security forces clearing the settlement called Destination.

The eviction order came following an application by Efate custom land owners against settlers from other Vanuatu islands.

The acting police commissioner, Aru Maralau, says the force did not step in to destroy their houses because the residents willingly move out from the area.

One of the resident, Jeffrey Owen, says families who have no place to go have put their belongings on the main road while awaiting government assistance.

He says mothers and children are the most affected by the eviction order as they can now no longer go to school.

Auckland students protest fee hikes

RNZI [20/10/14]:

Students at the University of Auckland have chained themselves to the Vice-Chancellor's office and the roof of his building, saying it represents how students are chained to debt.

They are angry about what they describe as the constant above-inflation rises in fees of 4 percent a year.

The small protest is being taken seriously with the arrival of two police vans and a car-load of police, as well as extra security guards.

Between them they now outnumber the students who are protesting.

Sit-in organiser Tim Lamusse said fee rises turn away potential students.

It excludes those who don't want to have the risk of having to pay a $30,000 loan back, it automatically excludes some of the most marginalised students.

And for those who do take on a student loan, how can they expect to start saving for their first home when they can't even afford to pay back their student loan?

Mr Lamusse said there will be a rally outside the building at 1pm.

The protest comes before the University's fee-setting meeting later today.

Canary Islands: Flood water rips through Tenerife streets

BBC [19/10/14]:

Local media say five people have died after two and a half hours of heavy rain on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera.

Heavy rainfall has led to flooding on the Canary Islands since Saturday.

Ravines became rivers and several streets, houses and garages have flooded.

...

Tropical Storm Batters Southern Mexico Coast, Kills Six

Naharnet [19/10/14]:

Six people were killed as Tropical Storm Trudy -- since downgraded to a tropical depression -- lashed Mexico, prompting evacuations and stranding 16 communities, authorities said Sunday.

The heavy rains caused a landslide on a farm in the indigenous town of Tlacoachistlahuaca in the southern state of Guerrero, killing a 23-year-old man, a civil protection official told local media.

Two children and a woman were crushed to death when a wall collapsed in a mudslide in Ometepec; another person was buried in Cochoapa by a caved-in wall; and a swollen stream swept away and killed a 70-year-old man, officials said.

Some 2,000 people were evacuated from three towns in the mountain region hardest hit by Trudy.

Authorities urged residents not to return home for at least 48 hours, until the threat of landslides passed.

Another 300 people were evacuated Saturday night in three other Guerrero towns, where a river threatened to overflow and cause dangerous flooding.

Landslides and flooding also cut off access to 16 other towns and damaged a main road to Acapulco.

Last year, a twin hit from tropical storms battered both coasts, leaving 157 dead.

In September, Hurricane Odile killed six people and caused $1 billion in damage further north on Mexico's Pacific coast, wreaking havoc in the luxury resort area of Los Cabos.

Senate Estimates hears that this year it cost over $1 billion to incarcerate and torture refugees in offshore concentration camps

Canberra Times [20/10/14]:

The Abbott government has spent more than a billion dollars this financial year to house about 2200 asylum seekers in offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, Senate estimates has heard.

Running the detention centre on Manus Island has cost taxpayers $632 million, while the operational cost of Nauru was tabled at $434 million. There are 1167 asylum seekers on Nauru and 1060 on Manus Island.

Deputy secretary of Immigration Mark Cormack said the costs included health costs, escorting asylum seekers to and from the centres, the cost of staff and payments made to both countries to support them holding the asylum seekers.

...

Earlier this year, Transfield was offered a $1.2 billion contract for offering the security costs on both Manus and Nauru, while Save the Children were awarded a $99.9 million contract that expires in October next year.

The estimates hearing also heard that this during the calendar year 164 asylum seekers arrived in Australia, while 20,711 asylum seekers arrived the year before.

The dramatic drop in the number of asylum seekers has saved the government $2.5 billion, Senate estimates was told.

J'accuse coalition present 60k strong petition in the Senate Courtyard ...

Image: @GetUp [20/10/14]

PNG PM tells Abbott that security has improved at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island

No UN, no resettlement.

Nine MSN [20/10/14]:

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has told Tony Abbott that the security and management of the Manus Island detention centre has improved, during a meeting with his Australian counterpart.

Mr Abbott, along with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, made an unexpected visit to the Pacific nation on Sunday while en-route to Indonesia.

Mr O'Neill said he expressed his support of the work done by officials from both countries in resettling asylum seekers in Manus.

The PNG prime minister also assured Mr Abbott that measures have been taken to improve security and management at the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre after the "unfortunate incident" at the centre.

Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed during a clash between asylum seekers and guards at the centre in [BRUTALLY MURDERED IN A VICIOUS ATTACK ON THE CAMP] mid-February.

An independent review of the clash found some guards had bashed escaped inmates, according to the Human Rights Law Centre.

"There is now improved coordination between the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority, police and centre security, installation of CCTV cameras and the refugee status determination process is progressing," Mr O'Neill said in a statement following the briefing on Sunday.

He said that "due to a lack of understanding and support" for refugee resettlement in PNG communities, a new policy was also being prepared to build public awareness and support.

"The new policy will be considered by cabinet after these comprehensive public awareness and consultations are completed," Mr O'Neill said.

The prime minister told Mr Abbott that Papua New Guinea is committed to the policy, and "given its sensitivities, requires times to work through the issues".

The leaders also discussed the global response to Ebola and the importance of preparedness in the region.
Prime minister O'Neill is expected to join Mr Abbott in Indonesia on Monday to witness the inauguration of the newly elected president.

Concentration camps attract sadists

... One of the teachers who hated asylum seekers was Barbara ...

Refugee Rights Action Network WA [20/10/14]:

"I was an asylum seeker who left my country Iran to Australia for democracy, freedom,and better life for my two kids.Australia was not the wrong place but I didn’t get there in the right time.Yes, it was 24th of july 2013. 4 days after racists in Australia came to power. Our boat moved from kupang Indonesia crossed Indian ocean and I had a 25 hour meeting with death before we were intercepted by Australian navy .From the first day I helped the navy and after them customs with interpreting so I asked them to separate women and children to a better place and they did.They were taken to their ship.After 4 days we were all sent to a big ship and transfered to Xmas island.This journey took 4days .We stayed on Xmas island for 24 days.The immigration officer said that we entered Australia illegally and we were detainees of autralian immigration office and gave us a document that proves that .After 24 days they kidnapped us and sent us Paradise island(Manus). An island in the middle of the pacific ocean with disease like malaria ,typhoid,fungus,bad treatment and worst of all mental illnesses.

During my 75 days in the detention center in Oscar compound I always attended English classes. One of the teachers who hated asylum seekers was BARBARA .She taught us reluctantly.One day I asked her to give me some information about aboriginals she said what country,s aboriginals I answered the only country that has aboriginals is Australia.She said that she was not allowed to give us any information about Australia.I asked her who said that and she answered management and immigration wanted her not to give asylum seekers any information about Australia.She said that she was a believer Christian and believed in God and always gave us feeling of frustrationto us.

I answered her and the racist people who supported this attitude with a poem that describes such people in aussy community.I apologize if it gives you Australians bad feeling .

Nobody seen torture so much that I have seen
Nobody was forgotten as much as I have been
Where is your God who lied about justice before
Where is the liar who left me behind closed door
Where is the humanity you claim for
Treat homeless people on Manus off shore
Hatred I can see in your faces teacher
Your democracy is an upside down feature
History is repeated this time by the Aussies
Like what happened to the jews by the Nazis
I know what you have done to the owners of the land
Shame on you aussies left them all empty hand
You,re traped and deceived by your media
Shameful history you,ll have in the world encyclopedia
Be careful about the way you behave
I am a human like you not a slave
I will leave your land with no hate but love
Not because I forgive you but for my belief in above
I know how to put the words down and always remember Im an Iranian not a clown"

Spanish company Ferrovial wants to run Australia's offshore refugee concentration camps

Sydney Morning Herald [20/10/14]:

The board of contractor Transfield Services has advised shareholders to take no action regarding a cash takeover bid from Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial Servicios.

Ferrovial Servicios has offered $1.95 for each share, valuing the company at close to $1 billion, Transfield said in a statement on Monday.

"The Board of Transfield Services has considered Ferrovial's proposal with the company's advisers and has formed the view that the price of $1.95 per share does not reflect the underlying value of Transfield Services shares," chairman Diane Smith-Gander said.

The company will give its Spanish suitors access to its books as part of discussions for a potential takeover.

Transfield said it is willing to give Ferrovial access to its books for "limited due diligence on a non-exclusive basis".

"Transfield Services will advise shareholders of the outcome of the discussions with Ferrovial as soon as practicable. The process may take some time and there can be no certainty that an acceptable proposal will eventuate."

Shareholders will also be given a financial update at the company's November 5 annual general meeting.

The company revealed last month it had swung to a full-year net profit of $53 million from a hefty $254.5 million loss a year earlier as income from its core Australian and New Zealand infrastructure operations offset falls in its American business.

Transfield's shares closed at $1.50 on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of $769 million.

Transfield Holdings, a privately held company owned the contractor's founding family, last month sold its 11.3 percent stake in Transfield Services for more than $90 million.

...

Cambodia, Australia vow to honour refugee deal despite criticism

Daily Times [20/10/14]:

Cambodia and Australia have reiterated their commitment to comply with a refugee agreement they signed last month, despite persistent criticism from human rights groups and opposition parties of the two countries, a senior official said on Sunday.

The commitment was made during a meeting on Friday between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe summit in Italy, Kao Kim Hourn, minister attached to Hun Sen in charge of foreign affairs, said.

“At the meeting, both sides agreed to implement the agreement that the two countries signed last month,” he told a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from Italy.

The official said Cambodia is a signatory to the 1951 Refugees Convention and 1967 Protocol related to Refugees, so it is an international obligation for the country to take in asylum seekers.

“Cambodia will accept refugees from Australia based on a voluntary principle,” he said.

Australia and Cambodia inked the refugee deal on Sept. 26, under which Canberra will send refugees, who intend to seek asylum in Australia and are being held in an offshore detention camp in the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru, to resettle in Cambodia.

The deal has drawn criticism from human rights groups and opposition parties in both countries. They claimed Cambodia is not rich enough to take in Australia’s refugees and accused Canberra of shirking its human rights responsibilities to other poorer and under-resourced nations.

On Friday, more than 100 Cambodian human rights activists, youths and Buddhist monks marched in Phnom Penh in the latest round of protests against the deal.

Long Visalo, Cambodian Foreign Secretary of State, said last month that a small group of the refugees could be resettled in Cambodia by the end of this year or early next year.

Under the offshore processing scheme, which Australia says is aimed at deterring people-smugglers, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat or intercepted at sea is transferred to detention centers in Manus island of Papua New Guinea or Nauru for processing.

If their asylum claims were approved, they would only be allowed to settle outside Australia. Xinhua

Lies and the lying liars who tell them

Sydney Morning Herald [20/10/14]:

Australia has reached an agreement with Iraq for its special forces to support Iraqi forces in their fight against Islamic State, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.

"We have reached an agreement for a legal framework and now it will be a matter for our military when our special forces will be deployed," Ms Bishop said at the conclusion of a two-day trip to Baghdad that included meetings with senior Iraqi officials.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last Wednesday said that 200 members of the special forces had been waiting in the United Arab Emirates since mid-September because Baghdad had not offered them formal legal protections.

Ms Bishop told reporters the understanding would allow the Australian special forces "to be deployed here to advise and assist the government of Iraq in building up the capacity of the Iraqi security forces".

Australian fighter jets began hitting targets inside Iraq this month as part of the US-led coalition to beat back the radical group Islamic State, which controls territory in both Iraq and Syria.

The 200 Australian special forces soldiers will focus on strengthening the leadership ranks among the Iraqis to avoid the military collapses that allowed the Islamic State to seize large swathes of territory in recent months.

Earlier this month, Fairfax Media reported that among the troops will also be elite joint terminal attack controllers – special forces experts who can call in air strikes from the ground with great accuracy.

They would work with the RAAF Super Hornets and Wedgetail surveillance and control planes to hit moving Islamic State targets while the Iraqi army fight them on the ground.

During a press conference on Saturday with her Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Ms Bishop said Australia was determined to play its part to assist Iraq in its fight against Islamic State, which she said "poses not only a threat to Iraq but to the region and globally".

...

[New Zealand] Prime Minister John Key has confirmed training Iraqi troops is one of the options being considered in helping in the fight against Islamic State (IS) insurgents. ... [RNZI - 20/10/14]

Bronwyn Bishop and Stephen Parry personally added 'burqa ban' to official advice

Guardian [20/10/14]:

The Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, and the president of the Senate, Stephen Parry, personally added the controversial “burqa ban” in parliament house to official security advice because they feared a group was intending to disrupt parliament.

Parry said he had based his decision to add the “interim” ban on two pieces of advice, but one of the officials he cited as giving him that advice said she had not been told of any intended “disruption”, but only that a group wearing facial coverings intended to “enter” parliament house.

Parry also conceded that “ASIO and the AFP were not involved” in the decision.

...

Does any working journalist actually understand the foreign fighters legislation that is expected, shortly, to pass the parliament?

Guardian [20/10/14]:

... The LDP senator David Leyonhjelm is, meanwhile, running a quiz show. This quiz show is called ‘does any working journalist actually understand the foreign fighters legislation that is expected, shortly, to pass the parliament.’

It’s a pick-a-box sort of scenario.

Q: This legislation means that if the AFP broke into your house so they could get into the neighbouring property, and you told your neighbour about it later over the garden fence:

a: The AFP would be disappointed, but would respect your right to free speech.
b: Some federal police officers would never speak to you again.
c: You could go to jail.

Q: If the foreign fighters bill is passed, how will you be able to tell if a burglar entered your home or if it was the federal police?

a: A burglar would be messier.
b: The AFP would be wearing uniforms.
c: The AFP will send you a letter at some time in the future.

...

West Australian [20/10/14]:

A mother and her three children have been killed in a head on collision with a bus in the Goldfields.

The crash involving a bus carrying mine workers on the Goldfields Highway occurred about 30km south of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, just before 7pm.

...

Sunshine Coast Daily [20/10/14]:

It is a slippery road to work this morning for motorists traveling on King St at Caboolture.

A two-vehicle crash has caused 1000m of hydraulic oil to spill in the northbound onramp from the Bruce Highway.

No one was injured in the crash, but the oil is causing some delays at King St this morning.

Queensland Police Service have advised motorists to drive with caution while a clean up takes place.

Tweed Daily News [20/10/14]:

A man is in a critical condition after a head-on crash in Burringbar on Sunday night.

An Ambulance NSW spokeswoman said the man, aged in his 30s, was airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital with severe chest and shoulder injuries.

A woman, also in her 30s, suffered severe leg injuries, while a 6-year-old child only suffered minor injuries.

The woman and child were both taken to Tweed Hospital in a stable condition.

Minor injuries after bus and car crash, Rockhampton [Morning Bulletin - 20/10/14]

Morning Bulletin [19/10/14]:

Ambulance officers transported a woman to hospital last night after a car was hit by a four-wheel drive at an intersection near Gracemere Shopping World.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said they were called to the corner of the Capricorn Hwy and McLaughlin St at 7.10pm.

He said one woman was transported to Rockhampton Hospital with a sore leg.

Update: Fatal traffic incident, Stretton [QPS Media - 19/10/14]:

Police investigating a fatal traffic incident that occurred at Stretton yesterday are appealing for public assistance.

Around 4.30am, a man was struck by a utility in the westbound lanes of Compton Road.

The 19-year-old Crestmead man was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The driver of the vehicle was not injured.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating and appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the crash or seen the man prior to the crash to contact Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Russian Lawmaker Says German MH17 Crash Intel Points to Kiev

RIA Novosti [20/10/14]:

German BND foreign intelligence agency's conclusions on the alleged downing of the Malaysian Boeing crash in eastern Ukraine can be interpreted in a way that implicates Kiev in the crash, as mush as the local militias, a senior Russian lawmaker said Sunday.

"The German intelligence stated: The Boeing was downed by a Buk missile system 'captured by militias.' That means Russia was not involved. And the Buk could have been launched by the Ukrainian Armed Forces," Alexei Pushkov, who heads the Russian lower parliamentary house's foreign affairs committee, said on Twitter.

This came after BND President Gerhard Schindler claimed his agency had found that Donbas militia was responsible for shooting down the Malaysian Boeing using a Buk missile system, though no evidence was unveiled.

Schindler first presented a report on the MH17 crash, including satellite images and photographic evidence, to a parliamentary committee responsible for monitoring the work of German intelligence on October 8.

The review also discovered that some of the evidence on the MH17 crash provided by Kiev had been falsified, Der Spiegel reported Sunday.

Photographic evidence provided by Ukraine on the crash had been manipulated and "there are details indicating this", the newspaper cited Schindler as saying.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine on July 17. All 298 passengers onboard, four of whom were German citizens, lost their lives in the crash.

The official cause of the tragedy is still unclear, but according to a preliminary report issued by the Dutch Safety Board on September 9, the plane broke up in mid-air as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from the outside.

The Ukrainian government blames independence supporters of the eastern regions for downing the Malaysia Airlines plane, but the latter say they do not have weapons capable of bringing down a high-flying aircraft.

Australia's refugee policy unethical for doctors: Doctors for Refugees

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [19/10/14]:

Doctors for Refugees wholeheartedly endorses the J’accuse petition, to be presented on Monday 20 October 2014.

“We have grave concerns for asylum seekers and refugees denied appropriate, timely health services and for Australian health professionals working in immigration detention centres. These doctors and nurses are bound by unfair and draconian contracts which deny health professionals the right to advocate for their patients and place the interests of their employer above their duties to their patients,” say Dr Barri Phatarfod and Dr Richard Kidd, cofounders of Doctors for Refugees.

“The overriding ethical obligation for doctors must always be to their patients.”

The Medical Board of Australia has a Code of Conduct for doctors, which states “Doctors have a duty to make the care of patients their first concern and to practise medicine safely and effectively. They must be ethical and trustworthy”.

Section 3.8.2 of the Code states “Being aware that increased advocacy may be necessary to ensure just access to healthcare.”

This is aligned with the Australian Medical Association Code of Ethics and is also consistent with the Declaration of Geneva and the International Code of Medical Ethics, issued by the World Medical Association.

This Code is fundamental to the regulatory environment health professionals work in, that is enacted by the Australian Health Professions Regulatory Authority (AHPRA).

The community trusts doctors and nurses will do “the right thing”.

“In the past, society has severely judged health professionals who have breached international law based on these ethical considerations. The Nuremberg trials highlighted that just doing what you are told to do is no defence when human rights are abused,” reflects Dr Barri Phatarfod.

This expectation has been reinforced in Australia with Mandatory Reporting Laws, which demand, under threat of penalties, that health professionals report their colleagues to AHPRA when they believe a colleague is behaving in ways that could cause harm to patients.

“To be found in breach of these regulatory and ethical obligations may result in severe penalties including deregistration,” cautions Dr Richard Kidd.

More recently, in 2009, a new UN resolution was passed declaring: “States must never request or require anyone, including medical or other health personnel, to commit any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Doctors for Refugees urges the Minister to heed the voices of the medical communities and ensure the contracts respect and facilitate doctors’ regulatory and ethical obligation to make the care of patients their first concern and encourage them to advocate for asylum seekers and refugees and their children’s just access to healthcare.

Young refugees denied visas to reunite family

Canberra Times [19/10/14]:

Jane Lee

Hundreds of young refugees who arrived in Australia by boat as unaccompanied minors are being denied visas that would reunite them with their families.

Rejection letters began arriving this month. Fairfax Media understands at least two refugees in Melbourne tried to take their own lives after learning of the decision.

Offshore humanitarian processing centres have told lawyers all of the applications will be refused. This means refugees will have to risk their lives to see their families again or wait years to sponsor them in a more restrictive visa category when they become citizens.

The Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor Consortium estimates there were up to 400 applicants in Victoria alone.

Consortium lawyer Renuka Senanayake said most of the refugees sponsored their mothers because their fathers were killed in their homelands.

"They are alone. All their hopes have been built around this," she said.

All of the refugees are now adults who have waited years for the decision. Most are Hazaras from Afghanistan, with a small number from Sri Lanka and Burma.

Mustafa's mother and two brothers were refused visas in recent weeks. His family was first separated when the Taliban kidnapped his father, and they fled to Iran. They were separated again when Mustafa was deported back to Afghanistan and also kidnapped by the Taliban.

Mustafa, a Hazara, fears the same might happen to his relatives, who he financially supports from Australia.

With no legal status in Iran, they rarely leave their basement home.

"What am I going to do if Iranian authorities catch my family?" he said. "The only thing I want is my family. I'm always hoping that I can live in a safe place with my family."

Migration agent Denise Gardner said refugees had left their families behind in dangerous circumstances.

"There are at least 70 people I have to sit down with and say 'Sorry there's nothing to be done for you. You may never see your family again in safety'."

A number of refusal letters say that the Department of Immigration accepted the refugees' relatives were subject to significant persecution and had a close family connection with Australia.

They acknowledge that they cannot be settled in any other country but say "Australia does not have the capacity to provide for permanent settlement of all close family proposed applicants at this time."

Until 2012, refugees could apply to sponsor their relatives for free and only had to prove they were genuinely related.

That year, the visa was scrapped and everyone, except unaccompanied minors, was required to prove their relatives were also refugees, on the recommendation of the expert panel on asylum seekers.

In April, the Abbott government retrospectively required unaccompanied minors to do this too.

The expert panel said a backlog of applications was increasing the incentive for boat arrivals and recommended 20,000 places be immediately added to clear it.

In July, the backlog was more than double, with more than 45,000 people hoping their relatives would fill the government's 5000 places this year.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said it would be "reckless" to change government policy "in response to any form of protest behaviour."

"The government determined that altering family reunion serves as an incentive for people to apply to enter Australia through the correct channels."

MOAS rescue 97 refugees in Mediterranean

MOAS [VIDEO - 19/10/14]:

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) on Thursday set sail for this year’s third and final mission, rescuing 97 people in less than 24 hours.

Phoenix, the 40-metre vessel being used by MOAS, was on Friday afternoon directed to the location of a rubber dinghy by Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

At 6.30pm, Phoenix spotted the migrant craft carrying 97 people, including four women, one of whom was six-months pregnant. The pregnant woman made the journey alone, except for a female friend who she met in Libya.

The rescued migrants had spent around 12 hours at sea after leaving Libya. They were originally from Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone and Benin.

MOAS took the migrants on board, where medical staff provided first aid, blankets, food and water.

Curfew imposed on Baghdadi district of Anbar

IraqiNews.com [19/10/14]:

The Iraqi Security Forces imposed the curfew on Baghdadi city of western Anbar.

Security source reported to IraqiNews.com, “The police forces and Sons of Iraq (Sahwa) forces ledby Shiekh Malallah Barzan al-Ubaidi in Baghdadi city of western Anbar decided to impose the curfew in the city due to receiving intelligence information over intentions of the terrorist group affiliated to the so called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to attack the city.”

The ISF and the Sahwa elements managed to foil an attack for the ISIL terrorists on the city and killed eight terrorists as well as damaging three vehicles for them, the source added.

The source mentioned that “The helicopters of the Iraqi Army also foiled another attack for the ISIL terrorists on Baghdadi city through bombarding their shelters and vehicles positioned in Heet city.” /End/

@AlArabiya_Eng [19/10/14]:

BREAKING: 30 extremists killed in coalition airstrikes west of #Ramadi, #Iraq, Al Arabiya News correspondent

Iraqi Spring Media Center [19/10/14]:

Government's army and militias have threatened villages 5,6,7, in Line section in Taji to leave their villages in3 days, otherwise;they are terrorists ......

10 persons have been wounded including a woman in government's shelling in Fallujah................

The American Sniper Trailer Will Haunt You After It’s Over [Slate - 3/10/14]

US artist withdraws Paris's ‘butt plug’ installation [France 24 - 19/10/14]

Afghanistan: 24 killed in fresh wave of violence

Pajhwok [19/10/14]:

One person was killed in a suicide attack in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province while five Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel and 17 militants lost their lives in separate security incidents, an official said on Sunday.

One person was killed and a civilian wounded in a suicide attack that took place around 8pm Saturday night when a car suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the 4th police district of Jalalabad.

The governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, told Pajhwok Afghan News the identity of the victim remained unclear. The bomber’s identity is also yet to be established.

According to another report, five (ANA) personnel and 17 militants were killed in separate security incidents. A statement from the Ministry of Defence said the soldiers were killed in roadside bombings and clashes with militants.

It added that 17 militants were also killed and 19 others wounded during separate incidents in Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Daikundi and Logar provinces in the past 24 hours.

A depot of weapons and narcotics was also torched in the operations.

Gunmen kill 8 laborers in southwest Pakistan

Daily Star [19/10/14]:

A Pakistani police officer says unknown gunmen have shot dead eight people and injured one in an insurgency-hit part of southwestern Pakistan.

Senior police officer Bashir Brohi said Sunday the victims were laborers from eastern Punjab province who were abducted and shot while working in Baluchistan province's poultry industry. Two locals were released unharmed.

Baluchistan is a sparsely populated province that is rich in mineral and gas resources province.

Baloch nationalists are demanding a greater share of economic proceeds from the area, while separatist groups have unleased a low-scale insurgency seeking complete autonomy.

They have targeted people from outside the province on several occasions in an effort to push them out of the area.

Hypocrites [Al Arabiya - 19/10/14]:

The United States and four European countries jointly called on Saturday for an end to violence in Libya.

The governments of France, Italy, Germany, Britain and the United States said in a statement that they “agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis” and expressed dismay that calls for a ceasefire had not been respected.

...

Germany has agreed to sell missile boats to Israel at a price hundreds of millions of euros below full value, reversing an earlier decision to withhold the discount due to the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories. ... [France 24 - 19/10/14]

OSCE Refuses to Use German UAVs for Monitoring in Ukraine: Official Representative
[RIA Novosti - 19/10/14]

Maslin parents who lost children on MH17 release statement

SBS [19/10/14]:

The parents of the three Maslin children, who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July, have released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The bodies of Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8, were returned to Australian soil on Thursday.

The children were three of 38 Australians who died in the disaster which claimed a total of 298 lives when a surface-to-air-missile shot the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane out of the sky.

The Maslin children had been travelling home to Perth for the start of the new school term with their grandad Nick Norris, while their parents stayed on in the Netherlands to enjoy a few extra days.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has released a statement on behalf of the family.

Here is the full text of the statement:

"We have brought home the bodies of our children, Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin (aged 12, 10 and 8) from the Netherlands, along with their grandfather, Nick Norris.

For the last three months, they have been lying in a cold room on the other side of the world.

Reconciling this fact with the knowledge that our children are here with us, spiritually, every moment is one of the most relentless and agonizing difficulties of our current life.

Our love and respect for our children remains unlimited and unconditional. It will never weaken – our children have been our entire world.

We have been two of the luckiest and happiest people on the planet. What remains for us now is to honour our children.

We honour Mo – his wisdom, his compassionate heart, and his total selflessness. Mo is peaceful and inclusive. Mo can accept people of all ages and backgrounds, make them feel special, and have them know they are with someone extraordinary.

We honour Evie and her boundless, unlimited love. She is empathetic, beautiful, funny, artistic and creative.

Her gentle spirit, warmth and absolute kindness are recognized by all who know her.

We honour Otis and his complete and humbling fascination with all things outdoors, big and small, near and far. Oti provides all of us with carefree joy and laughter – perhaps the most powerful gift of all.

Our children were taken from us by a war in which we, and our country had no part. It is impossible to understand the reason they were blown out of the sky.

Our lives are an ongoing hell. The pain we are enduring is unfathomable, and we grieve alongside families in the Ukraine, the Netherlands, Russia, Malaysia, Australia and elsewhere.

Please respect our children's memory, and stop this pointless war.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.

Thanks to DFAT and their international support team. Thanks also to our friends and our family for their support and love.

Love, only love, it is all we have left."

- Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris

South Korea Concert Planner Found Dead After 16 Die

Hollywood Reporter [18/10/14]:

A South Korean man involved in planning an outdoor pop concert where 16 people were killed after falling through a ventilation grate was found dead Saturday in an apparent suicide, officials said, as doctors treated eight others facing life-threatening injuries from the disaster.

The man, 37, an employee of the Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion, was found dead at around 7 a.m. in Seongnam, the city south of Seoul where Friday's accident occurred, said city spokesman Kim Nam-jun.

The site of his death was not far from where 16 people watching a performance by 4Minute, a girls band that is popular across Asia, were killed when the ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed. Eleven other people were seriously injured.

It was believed that the man, who was questioned by police Friday night over the accident, leaped from the top of a 10-story building, police inspector Park Jeong-ju said.

Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion was one of the sponsors of the concert, which was organized by the news site Edaily and was part of a local festival. About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was abruptly halted after the accident happened.

In a televised briefing on Saturday, Kim said there was a possibility that the death toll from the accident could rise. Of the 11 people treated at hospitals, eight were dealing with life-threatening injuries to the abdomens or lungs, he said.

Most of those who were killed were men in their 30s and 40s, while five were women in their 20s and 30s, fire officials said.

Photos of the accident scene showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate. Kim said it was believed that the grate collapsed under the weight of the people.

A video recorded by someone at the concert that was shown on the YTN television network showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

Dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters (10 to 12 feet) wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The collapse came as South Korea is still struggling with the aftermath of a ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

For a time, the sinking jolted South Korea into thinking about safety issues that had been almost universally overlooked as the country rose from poverty and war to an Asian power.

The tragedy exposed regulatory failures that appear to have allowed the ferry Sewol to set off with far more cargo than it could safely carry. Family members say miscommunications and delays during rescue efforts doomed their loved ones.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation, light punishment for violators and wide ignorance about safety in general — and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

... The fact is, as a nation, we’ve been far less willing to confront our racism, our sexism, our Islamophobia, and our homophobia in the places where it matters most, and does the most damage - our institutions and our halls of power. ...

New Matilda [19/10/14]:

Statement from New Matilda editor and owner Chris Graham regarding allegations of hacking leveled by Professor Spurr in The Australian newspaper.

Yesterday, The Weekend Australian published a story written by media editor Sharri Markson suggesting that myself and New Matilda Contributing Editor Wendy Bacon engaged in email hacking in the story associated with University of Sydney Professor Barry Spurr, and his racist, misogynistic statements regarding Aboriginal people, people of colour generally, and women.

At the risk of pointing out the bleeding obvious, what is noticeably absent from Professor Spurr’s statements to The Australian is an apology, or even a modicum of contrition.

Given the content of Professor Spurr’s correspondence over several years, I don’t imagine this comes as a surprise to many.

...

PNG: Pacific Islands News Association condemns attacks on NBC staff

PNG Loop [19/10/14]:

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has condemned the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault on three female staff of the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) by a group of men at Morata settlement in Port Moresby on Monday night.

PINA President, Moses Stevens on Friday 17 October says in a media statement these types of attack must not be tolerated by society.

“The safety and security of media workers must be guaranteed and the onus is on media organisations to ensure their workers, especially women are protected to carry out their duties freely without intimidation or harassment,” said Stevens.

PINA has urged Police and those in authority to take swift and decisive action to prevent any more attacks against media workers in Papua New Guinea or any other Pacific Island country in the future.

“Police and the court system must hold these perpetrators to account in a timely way to send them a signal that rape and other forms of sexual assault will not be tolerated.

PINA has noted the immediate response of the management of NBC to provide medical care and counseling services for the three female employees, their families and other staff members. NBC has also assured security escort for staff members who work in the evenings.

“The swift response of the NBC management is commendable.

“The attack in Papua New Guinea should serve as a wake-up call for all media organisations in the Pacific to strengthen and improve safety and security mechanisms in place for their employees, said Stevens.

The PINA regional media fraternity stands in solidarity with our colleagues in PNG in condemning the attack, urging authorities to bring the people responsible to court.

PINA’s condemnation has been supported by Fiji’s largest media organisation, the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC).

Assange to Open Human Rights Film Festival in Barcelona

TELEsurtv [18/10/14]:

Founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange will open the Festival of Cinema and Human Rights in Barcelona on Wednesday next week.

Following the screening of Mediastan, a film about Wikileaks, Assange will speak in a video conference from the Ecuadorean embassy in London and answer questions from the public and organizers around the theme of human rights.

The film recounts Wikileaks’ adventure through the Middle East up to finding the former soldier Chelsea Manning, who revealed the human rights abuses of the U.S. army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The festival, now in its sixth year, showcases the best of national and international cinema that draws attentions to, and in some cases denounces, global humanitarian issues.

This year, over 120 full-length and short films will be screened, drawn from countries including India, Greece, and Korea. All films center around the defense of human rights, from transsexuality, feminism and education, to repression, the right to a home, and international conflicts.

Assange rose to fame as a human rights activist through his work for Wikileaks, a website exposing previously secret government information. He currently resides in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, facing extradition to Sweden under allegations of sexual assault.

UK surveillance of Assange has already surpassed US$12 million.

Castro offers to cooperate with US on Ebola

Al Jazeera [19/10/14]:

Fidel Castro says Cuba is ready to cooperate with the United States in the battle against Ebola.

The 88-year-old former leader of Cuba wrote in state media on Saturday that such cooperation would be in the interest of "the peace of the world."

"We will gladly cooperate with American personnel in that task, and not in search for peace between the two states that have been adversaries for so many years, but in any case, for peace in the world, a goal that can and should be attempted," Castro wrote.

"The medical personnel who heads anywhere to save lives, even at the risk of losing theirs, is the greatest example of solidarity that a human being can offer, especially when one is not driven by material interest.

Cuba has already sent 165 doctors and nurses to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone and it plans to send 296 others soon to Liberia and Guinea.

Cuban officials said on Saturday that their health ministry would try to organise more aid for the affected countries in West Africa at a meeting with Cuban allies and international health organisations on Monday.

The South American county's efforts have already brought unusual praise from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was quoted saying that countries like Cuba had taken impressive steps to tackle Ebola.

The US, for its part, has already deployed hundreds of soldiers as well as health care workers to help control the disease. Washington has pledged to send up to 4000 military personnel to the region by the end of October.

...

Hong Kong street clashes erupt despite imminent talks

Reuters [19/10/14]:

Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong early on Sunday for a second night, deepening a sense of impasse between a government with limited options and a pro-democracy movement increasingly willing to confront police.

The worst political crisis in Hong Kong since Britain handed the free-wheeling capitalist city back to China in 1997 entered its fourth week with no sign of a resolution despite talks scheduled for two hours on Tuesday between the government and student protest leaders.

Beijing has signaled through Hong Kong's leaders that it is not willing to reverse a decision in August that effectively denies the financial hub the full democracy the protesters are demanding.

"Unless there is some kind of breakthrough in two hours of talks on Tuesday, I'm worried we will see the standoff worsen and getting violent," Sonny Lo, a professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, told Reuters.

"We could be entering a new and much more problematic stage. I hope the government has worked out some compromises, because things could get very difficult now."

Hong Kong's 28,000 strong police have been struggling to contain a youth-led movement that has shown little sign of waning after three weeks of standoffs.

Demonstrators in the Mong Kok district launched a fresh assault early on Sunday, putting on helmets and goggles before surging forward to grab a line of metal barricades hemming them into a section of road.

Hundreds of police officers hit out at a wall of umbrellas that protesters raised to fend off police pepper spray. Protesters screamed and hurled insults and violent scuffles erupted before police surged forward with riot shields, forcing the protesters back.

"Black Police! Black Police!" protesters shouted.

One activist in a white T-shirt and goggles was hit with a flurry of baton blows, leaving him bleeding from a gash in the head. Several protesters were taken away. Fire trucks with water cannons were stationed along the street but were not used.

Senior policeman at the scene Paul Renouf said 400 to 500 officers were deployed to force the crowds about 20 meters back from their original position near an intersection.

The clashes came hours after Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader Leung Chun-ying called for the talks on Tuesday.

They will be broadcast live.

...

Japan unveils first domestically made passenger jet in four decades

Japan Today [19/10/14]:

The first passenger aircraft to be made in Japan in nearly four decades was unveiled Saturday as its manufacturer pushed into the booming regional jet sector with an eye to taking on industry giants Embraer and Bombardier.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a military contractor best known for its “Zero” World War II fighter, pulled back the curtain on its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a fuel-efficient, next-generation aircraft that claims to offer more passenger comfort with lower operating costs.

The jet, which will be delivered to customers from 2017 and was built with assistance from aviation giant Boeing, was unveiled at a ceremony in Komaki, near Nagoya, on Saturday.

“The dream of a Japanese-made product that can be proudly presented to the world for top-notch efficiency and top-notch passenger comfort is finally coming true,” said Mitsubishi Heavy Industries chairman Hideaki Omiya.

“This wonderful aircraft that Japan has created after (a wait of) half a century carries with it many people’s hopes and dreams.”

The plane marks a new chapter for Japan’s aviation sector, which last built a commercial airliner in 1962—the YS-11 turboprop. It was discontinued about a decade later.

Teruaki Kawai, president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Aircraft, recently said that the plane boasted “state-of-the-art aerodynamic design, and a game-changing engine (that) will significantly cut fuel consumption, noise and emissions, helping airlines enhance competitiveness and profitability in the future”.

Japanese firms were banned from developing aircraft by U.S. occupiers following its defeat in World War II.

The country slowly started rebuilding its aviation industry in the 1950s, starting with carrying out repair work for the U.S. military, before expanding its scope to start licensed production of U.S.-developed aircraft for Japan’s military. Japanese firms have also long supplied parts to Boeing.

Mitsubishi’s short-to-medium-haul regional jet, which comes in a 70- and 90-seat version, was backed by the Japanese government and a consortium of major firms including Toyota, with research and development costs of around 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion).

...

Heavy Rains Leave 22 Dead in Nicaragua

Naharnet [19/10/14]:

Days of torrential rains in Nicaragua left 22 people dead and left homeless more than 32,000 others, according to an official report Saturday.

Nine of the victims died when a retaining wall collapsed and flattened four shacks near the capital Managua, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said.

The report said 4,544 homes were damaged or destroyed by floods or were evacuated due to flood risk.

The rains impacted 17 departments in the country and 5,630 people are in temporary shelters and receiving food aid, Murillo said.

Hawaii Hit by Winds, Rain as Hurricane Veers West

ABC News [19/10/14]:

Hurricane Ana was on course Saturday to miss Hawaii by more than a hundred miles while generating strong winds and heavy rains that prompted flash-flood warnings and lured surfers with high waves.

The center of the powerful Pacific storm was about 120 miles southwest of Honolulu, and it was losing speed as it churned southwest of the islands, the National Weather Service said.

"The intensity of Ana is slowly expected to weaken," said Chris Brenchley, a weather service meteorologist.

A tropical storm warning was issued for Kauai and a tropical storm watch remained in effect on Oahu but was lifted for Maui, Lanai and the Big Island.

On Oahu, tourists and surfers at popular Waikiki Beach enjoyed ample waves created by the storm in the early afternoon that later gave way to choppy water.

"When the waves are good, you've got to get in," said surfer Emile Meder, 23, who squeezed in a session before heading to work. "Every time we have a hurricane we know it's going to be good."

Rain fell early in the day on the island's North Shore and Koolau Mountains, and slickened the island's southeast shores. Waves were expected to crest to 10 to 20 feet on the south shores of the islands and remain high through Sunday.

...

Ozone recovery not enough to stop global warming

3News [19/10/14]:

For the first time in 35 years the Earth's protective ozone layer is beginning to recover.

The ozone hole is shrinking, and while that is good news for New Zealand and the rest of the world, experts are warning that as the ozone hole reduces, climate change could worsen.

For 15 years NIWA's Dan Smale has been monitoring the ozone hole over Antarctica.

"This machine measures chlorine monoxide," says Mr Smale. "When chlorine monoxide is high, ozone is very low; therefore, there is a big ozone hole."

The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas around the Earth that protects humans from harmful ultraviolet rays. Since 1980 the ozone hole has been getting bigger.

"The ozone hole is directly above us right now [in Antarctica]," says Mr Smale.

Its depletion has been linked to skin cancer. But the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to phase out ozone-destroying substances, has seen the ozone hole stabilise and start to recover.

"I think it is amazing," says Mr Smale. "I think it is great. It shows you that science is working and they said 'stop the chlorine and the ozone hole will recover', and that is exactly what's happened."

Now internet giant Google is taking to the skies. Called Project Loon, balloons are launched in Tekapo to cruise the upper atmosphere.

"We are hoping through this project to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics and processes that happen in the stratosphere that contain the ozone hole, for example," says Dr Greg Bodeker.

The balloons don't carry Google cameras; instead a computer plots their location and tracks air particles. The plan that Google has is to have tens of thousands of balloons in the upper atmosphere at any one time, a lot of them over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

"The vortex affects the ozone hole, the ozone hole affects the vortex – there is a coupling between the two and it affects the climate," says Dr Bodeker. "It does affect the climate."

As the ozone hole reduces, there are now questions what effect it will have on climate change.

"What is going to happen to the climate when the ozone hole starts to recover?" asks Mr Smale. "What are the implications for New Zealand in terms of wind and rain and temperature?"

Those are questions that will only be answered in time. Antarctica's ozone hole will be a major player when it comes to climate change.

The Qld Sadies are in Bundaberg! Look who they found! @theqldpremier @LockTheGate #qldpol #politicalpigsty

Image: @TheQldSadies [19/10/14]

Protestors call for end to dredge spoil dumping in Great Barrier Reef

ABC [19/10/14]:

Dozens of protesters in Townsville and the Whitsundays have staged a flotilla to call for an end to the dumping of dredge spoil in reef waters.

On shore, people marched with placards, chanting "sea dumping never, Barrier Reef forever".

Organiser Jacinta Tonkin said the future of the Reef's health is under threat unless Governments introduce a blanket ban on offshore dumping.

"The Reef isn't in a healthy state and it is declining," she said.

"We really need to minimise all the risks and dredging, and dumping of spoil is one of the risks we can definitely eradicate completely.

"We don't need to be doing it."

Last month the Federal and Queensland Governments announced they had reached a decision allowing 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point development to be dumped on land and not at sea.

Protesters said the decision was an ideological victory, and the reef was still in danger because of other development proposals.

A former environmental director of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Adam Smith said stricter policies were needed.

"There's five or six other large developments and we really need transparent policy to protect the Reef and also to restore it," he said.

"We want a healthy, great Great Barrier Reef for our kids and future generations."

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman would not say if the Government would consider a ban on dumping dredge spoil in reef waters.

But he said the state and federal governments had a long term plan to protect the reef.

"I'm very confident that plan will see the Reef being turned around," he said.

Burglary with violence, Bethania

QPS Media [19/10/14]:

A man has been charged following investigations into an incident where two men were threatened in a home at Bethania on Saturday morning.

It will be alleged around 5.30am two men, one armed with a knife, the other with a pole, forced their way into the King Arthur Boulevard address and woke the two male occupants.

It will further be alleged the two occupants were forced into the same room where one man was assaulted before the intruders demanded money.

The intruders then allegedly bound the pair with rope before conducting a search of the home and taking property before leaving.

The two occupants managed to free themselves before raising the alarm around 7.30am.

The 28-year-old occupant received a non-life threatening head injury. The 33-year-old was not physically injured.

A 24-year-old Beenleigh man has been charged with enter dwelling with intent at night in company, and two counts each of armed robbery in company used personal violence and deprivation of liberty. He has also been charged with unrelated drug matters. He is expected to appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Monday (October 20).

Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Suspicious car fire in Lamb Street, Bundaberg

News Mail [19/10/14]:

A car has been destroyed by fire on Lamb St in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bundaberg Police are treating the incident as suspicious.

Senior Constable Fred Foster said the blaze was reported to have started around 1.30am on Sunday.

"We had a fire in a vehicle overnight in Lamb St, Walkervale," he said.

"It was unattended, someone set fire to it - they're classing it as suspicious.

"The vehicle was totally destroyed."

Snr Const Foster said it was believed the car was parked on the street at the time of the incidient.

Bundaberg Police Criminal Investigation Branch are investigating.

Anyone with information should contact Bundaberg Police on 4153 9111 of Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Gold Coast car crash takes out traffic lights

Nine MSN [19/10/14]:

A car has taken out a set of traffic lights in a two-vehicle crash outside Movie World on the Queensland Gold Coast.

The female driver and her two children were driving along Entertainment Drive at 2pm when she collided with another car and smashed into the traffic lights.

The woman and her children suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Queensland police accused of prejudice in comments made after arrests

ABC [19/10/14]:

Queensland detectives are accused of prejudicing the trial of Vincent O'Dempsey, who is charged with the murders of Brisbane woman Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters 40 years ago.

Ms McCulkin, 34, Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, disappeared from their Highgate Hill home on a January night in 1974 and their bodies were never found.

O'Dempsey, 76, and a Torbanlea man, 67, were on Saturday charged with killing the family and are due to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

In 1980, O'Dempsey, who was a former associate of Barbara's estranged husband Billy McCulkin, and Gary "Shorty" Dubois were accused of the murders after a coronial inquest, but the charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

When announcing the arrest on Saturday, Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan commented that police had "a significantly stronger case" compared to the 1980 charges after the public had come forward with fresh evidence.

Lawyer Terry O'Gorman, who represents O'Dempsey, said it was up to the courts not Detective Supt Holahan to determine the strength of the case.

Mr O'Gorman was also critical of police revealing that the Crime and Corruption Commission conducted 31 days of closed hearings his year.

"This is highly prejudicial commentary and if I had made such comments I would be at risk of criminal charges for breaching the secrecy provision of the law relating to CCC Star Chamber hearings," Mr O'Gorman said.

"I am not going to sit idly by and see in the O'Dempsey case a repeat of the police prejudicial media tactics which reached its heights in the Baden-Clay case and continued with the recent Tostee murder arrest.

"If Detective Superintendent Holahan or other senior police continue to make prejudicial comments about the O'Dempsey case while it is before the courts I will take every step available to bring this unacceptable police tactic to an end so as to ensure Mr O'Dempsey can obtain a fair trial."

Premier Campbell Newman thanked police for continuing to pursue the case and said his thoughts were with the McCulkin family.

"This must be a very positive thing for them after 40 years of uncertainty," he said.

Police have charged a man in relation to the armed robbery of a food outlet in Hope Island on September 3. ... [QPS Media - 19/10/14]

Police have charged two men following an incident in Cooroy last night. ... [QPS Media - 19/10/14]

Police have charged a woman after a dangerous driving incident in Ipswich on Friday night. ... [QPS Media - 19/10/14]

At the Rally against #war, #Islamophobia and attacks on civil liberties! 1pm, State Library #Melbourne

Deaths by domestic violence: one a week
Deaths by domestic terrorism: none
Spot the emergency

Image: @AlinaRockChic [19/10/14]

Image: @nrlala_ [19/10/14]

 

Bourke Street, Melbourne stop anti-muslim racism [VIDEO]

21-year-old man remembered as ‘top bloke’ as alleged assailant is charged with murder

Nine MSN [19/10/14]:

A 21-year-old man who was fatally bashed outside a Melbourne fast food restaurant has been remembered as a “top bloke” by loved ones.

Joshua Hardy was standing outside a McDonald's on St Kilda Rd just after 1am yesterday morning, when a fight allegedly started involving two men.

The University of Melbourne Arts student was allegedly thrown the ground and kicked in the head.

He died from his injuries an hour later in hospital.

Friends took to Hardy’s Facebook page yesterday to post tributes to their fallen mate.

“[He was] an absolutely top bloke, true mate (and) one of the few people in this world that could bring a smile to all,” Shaun Hutchinson wrote.

“Joshua Hardy, you will be truly missed by all as we say goodbye to a truly genuine, spirited and kind-hearted young man. R.I.P. bud,” he said.

Another friend said Hardy was “one of the most bubbliest people I had the pleasure of knowing”.

Kyle Zandipour, of Melbourne, was charged with murder and faced an out-of-sessions court hearing yesterday evening.

He spent the night behind bars and will face Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

A second man who was assisting police with inquiries has provided a statement and will not face any charges, police said.

Police said yesterday that attack appeared to be unprovoked.

"He was grabbed by the arm and violently thrown to the ground head-first, and then kicked to the head," homicide squad Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon said.

"He lapsed into unconsciousness immediately."

Both men involved in the alleged assault fled south along St Kilda Road, Det Sgt Solomon said.

University of Melbourne statement on Trinity College student Joshua Hardy [19/10/14]

Victoria rallies for women's right to safety

Nine MSN [18/10/14]:

Speakers at Melbourne's annual Reclaim the Night rally have called for increased state and federal government support for women subjected to violence and harassment.

Organisers say around 2000 people attended Saturday night's protest, on what was the 35th anniversary of the event.

Reclaim the Night spokeswoman Natalie Pestana said one in three women in Australia were victims of violence or harassment, but community and legal services were unable to cope because of chronic underfunding by government.

She said the community believed women had the right to move about freely, without being attacked.

"It's important that we start to change the current culture of victim blaming and shaming of women who experience harassment and violence," she said.

"Tonight the Melbourne community loudly declared that they want a society free from violence and harassment and will continue to make gender inequality and violence against women and children an election priority," she said.

Two men charged, Cooroy

QPS Media [19/10/14]:

Police have charged two men following an incident in Cooroy last night.

It will be alleged around 7.40pm the two men entered a residence and assaulted a number of people before leaving. No items were taken.

Police have since located and charged the two men.

A 37-year-old Cooroy man is facing charges of enter dwelling with intent by break in company and assaults occasioning bodily harm.

A 34-year-old Cooroy man has been charged with enter dwelling with intent by break in company.

Both men have been bailed to appear in the Noosa Magistrates Court on November 11.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Armed robbery, Virginia

QPS Media [19/10/14]:

Police are investigating the armed robbery of a service station in Virginia.

Just before 1am, a man entered the Sandgate Road business armed with a metal rod and demanded cash.

The attendant co-operated and the man ran off with an undisclosed sum of cash.

The attendant was not physically injured during the incident.

The man is described as 180cm tall, slim build with tan skin.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.

Armed robbery, Moorooka

QPS Media [18/10/14]:

Police are investigating an armed robbery at a liquor shop in Moorooka this afternoon.

Around 5.10pm a man has entered the shop on Tarragindi Road, produced a knife and demanded cash from a staff member.

The staff member complied and the man then left the store heading north on Tarragindi Road.

The man is described as Latin American in appearance, approximately 175cm tall, with a proportionate build.

He was wearing a dark coloured jumper and ¾ length shorts.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area or who have any information in relation to the matter to contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or Policelink on 131444.

Yesterday and today Detectives from Task Force Maxima executed simultaneous search at Bulwer on Moreton Island. Searches of were also made of a number of fishing vessels with the assistance of Brisbane Water Police. This operation was targeted at the unlawful activities of participants of the Bandidos Criminal Motorcycle gang. ... [QPS Media - 18/10/14]

NT police officer faces deception charges

Yahoo [18/10/14]:

A Northern Territory police officer has been charged with two counts of criminal deception.

The 32-year-old has been suspended from work and will appear in the Darwin Court of Summary Jurisdiction on November 6.

Police wouldn't provide any details about the alleged offences as the matter is before the court.

Griffith quad bike death, police search for second rider

Yass Tribune [19/10/14]:

Police are appealing to the public to help them find a man who can assist their investigation into a fatal quad bike crash near Griffith on Saturday.

According to police, a 25-year-old man was riding a quad bike on Stacy Road at Willbriggie when he was involved in a collision with another quad bike just after 4pm.

Emergency services were alerted and the man was taken to Griffith Base Hospital, where he died a short time later.

It is believed the rider of the other quad bike ran from the area.

Griffith police are investigating the events leading up to the crash and have appealed for public assistance to locate the other rider.

He is described as being 170- 175cm tall, thin build, Caucasian, with a tanned complexion, brown hair and unshaven facial hair.

The accident comes after a horror week involving motorcycles on Riverina roads.

On Tuesday, a motorcycle rider - believed to be from Darlington Point - was killed when his bike and a panel van collided on the Kidman Way at Willbriggie, about 5km north of Darlington Point.

Last weekend, 24-year-old Wagga man Scott Fisher died after the motorbike he was riding crashed into a tree.

Scott had travelled less than two kilometres along Perkins Road in the Bago State Forest near Tumbarumba when the accident occurred about 2pm last Saturday.

Scott's funeral service in Wagga on Friday remembered him as a friend and a legend.

Lotus sports car bursts into flames in Goulburn

ABC [19/10/14]:

A rare sports car has burst into flames outside the Goulburn Police Station in southern New South Wales.

Local police said the driver of the Lotus car belonged to a racing club, and a possible fault in the restored car caused the rear to catch alight.

Goulburn resident Henry Tunks was the first at the scene on Sloan Street this morning.

"The car was parked out front and I could see smoke so I've run and grabbed a fire extinguisher," he said.

"As I came to the car the gentleman was trying to get back into it and the car has just started burning, you could smell the plastic and it was very quick.

"The gentleman that owned the car was devastated as he said to me it was one of 263 Lotuses left in the world, and you could see on his face he was just gutted."

Mr Tunks said the man was unharmed thanks to to quick work of authorities.

"The police responded well, the fire brigade came down in a timely fashion," he said.

"The gentleman himself was fine, he had his family and friends around him.

"A whole lot of people came and hugged him, it was like a family member had died."

Tasmanian Devil killed at US zoo

West Australian [19/10/14]:

A Tasmanian devil at a US zoo has had its skull crushed when a block of asphalt was thrown at him.

Police don't know if a member of the public or a zoo employee was responsible.

Jasper was one of four Tasmanian devils shipped from Australia to the Albuquerque Bio Park Zoo in New Mexico last December.

It appeared he did not die instantly, with evidence from an examination by the zoo's head veterinarian Ralph Zimmerman suggesting the injured devil crawled to a log in the enclosure before dying.

"The first suspicion of how the devil died was that it was possibly killed by another devil," the police report states.

"After the necropsy was completed and veterinarian Zimmerman found a small piece of the devil's skull fractured, staff went back into the enclosure."

A chunk of asphalt 10cm thick and the size of a dessert plate was located.

It appears the killer threw it at Jasper.

The devil's body was found on Wednesday morning, and zoo staff and visitors are the focus of the investigation.

Surveillance cameras are located on the zoo's walkways, but not on the enclosure.

About 4.30pm on Tuesday two young boys and an adult male can be seen on footage walking away from the enclosure area.

The zoo is one of only two in the US with Tasmanian devils and hopes to breed them.

"It looks like there was malicious intent and essentially our poor Tasmanian devil was killed, intentionally, by what seems to be blunt force trauma to the head," Albuquerque mayor chief-of-staff Gilbert Montano told TV station KRQE.

Trade leak highlights tensions among Pacific nations

ANU Media Release [17/10/14]:

The latest leak over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) highlights ongoing tensions between the 12 nations trying to negotiate the trade pact, says Australian National University trade law expert Dr Matthew Rimmer.

With the next round of negotiations due to take place in Australia next week, anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has released the latest version of the intellectual property chapter of the TPP.

Dr Rimmer, an ARC Future Fellow at the ANU College of Law, said it was outrageous that Australians must rely on leaks to find out what is being discussed at the trade talks.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping trade agreement, spanning the Pacific Rim. It is outrageous that the text of the agreement has been kept secret, and we are forced to rely upon WikiLeaks to gain glimpses of the hidden text,” Dr Rimmer said.

“The TPP reveals geopolitical tensions between negotiating countries in Southeast Asia.

“The US and Japan are pushing for stronger and longer intellectual property rights. A rebel alliance of Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and other Pacific Rim countries have pushed back, arguing for recognition of public objectives for intellectual property – such as the protection of public health, access to knowledge, and competition.

“The Australian Abbott Government has argued for stronger protection of private intellectual property rights.”

Dr Rimmer said the leaked TPP text raised new concerns about a copyright crackdown in Australia, and could have implications for Australia’s laws for plain packaging of tobacco and access to essential medicines.

“Doctors Without Borders have criticised the Australian government for siding with the US and Japan on a number of issues related to patent law and public health. There are concerns about how the TPP will impact on access to essential medicines, which is a timely issue, given the current public health crisis over Ebola,” he said.

“It is disturbing that the Australian government has not sought to protect tobacco control measures – like graphic health warnings and plain packaging of tobacco products – in the Intellectual Property Chapter of the TPP.

“The US is pushing for criminal procedures and penalties for the disclosure of trade secrets in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Such provisions could impact upon not only corporate espionage, but the work of journalists, media organisations, information technology activists, and whistleblowers.”

He said the leaked text reveals a push for a Mickey Mouse copyright term extension, with tough protections for digital locks, rights management, cable television, and an arsenal of civil and criminal penalties for copyright piracy.

“Much of the discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been revived in the trademark provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said.

“The deal seeks to expand the rights and remedies of trademark owners to address counterfeiting and domain name cybersquatting.”

#GPJA [Global Peace and Justice Auckland] antiwar rally Area Square Auckland NZ

Image: @endarken [18/10/14]

White House says expired War Powers timetable irrelevant to Isis campaign [Guardian - 16/10/14]

Iraq says no to dirty diggers

ABC [19/10/14]:

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia will not be sending ground troops to fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

Ms Bishop has met with Iraqi officials to discuss Australia's role in the US-led coalition against IS militants.

Speaking at a news conference alongside her Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Baghdad, she said Australia is working with Iraq to see how best to provide further assistance in the region.

"We've not been asked and we've not offered to [send troops to Iraq]. So I do not envisage that that being part of our arrangements with Iraq," she said.

"We will only provide assistance at the invitation of and with the consent of the Iraqi government."

Mr Jafaari reaffirmed Ms Bishop's words and said Iraq considered sending in ground forces as "a red line".

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia's special forces had not yet been able to enter Iraq because the Baghdad government had not provided the necessary legal guarantees.

Mr Abbott wants the 200 Australian special operations troops to be offered indemnity from prosecution under Iraqi law, such as that offered to US soldiers.

Spain will begin training Iraqi forces later this year to battle Islamic State fighters but has ruled out taking part in ground operations in Syria, officials said Saturday. ... [Yahoo - 19/10/14]

America to send 800 Hellfire missiles to Iraq by November [IraqiNews.com - 18/10/14]

12 killed, injured in 2 explosions in Baghdad [IraqiNews.com - 18/10/14]

@ISMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [18/10/14]:

Salah-il-Deen: The outcome of shelling of government's army in Dhelo'iyah : Two explosive barrels in Bishkan, 3 in Albu Farraj , one at Dhelo'iyah Airport intersection and one in Khazraj .......

Salah-il-Deen : The random shelling of government's army on the civilian homes in Dhelo'iyah shown below..... .... http://fb.me/7e5zw0IY7

Salah-il-Deen/Beiji : Unmanned plane has shelled by two missiles near Mazra'a village in Beiji and no casualties resulted......

Salah-il-Deen/Dujeil district /torture and killing : The sectarian militias belonging to government tortured Mohamad Salih Abbas which was kidnapped for sectarian reasons from his home in Dujeil whom his teeth and eyes were pulled out and his ears were cut , his body was blazed then thrown to drainage after he was executed by shooting on all parts of his body ........ [GRAPHIC]

Omar Abdullah Rasheed Al-Jawari – a child- and four of his family have been killed and four wounded in Dhelo'iyah in Al-Haweeja Al-Bahriyah due to the government's army shelling ....... [GRAPHIC]

Iraqi parliament approves defence, interior ministers: State TV [Ahram - 18/10/14]

Free Syrian Army brigade says controls parts of Kobane

Al Arabiya [19/10/14]:

Video posted online Saturday allegedly shows a brigade aligned with the Free Syrian Army claiming to have taken control of parts of the Syrian border town of Kobane, the focal point of the U.S.-led coalition against targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The video allegedly shows members of the “Northern Sun Battalion” of the “1st Dawn Brigade,” an FSA group, inside the industrial sector of the town that borders Turkey.

Fighting intensified Saturday in the besieged Kurdish town as U.S.-led coalition jets struck suspected ISIS targets there.

U.S.-led coalition warplanes pounded suspected ISIS targets at least six times in Kobane after the fiercest shelling in days by the militants shook the town's center and hit border areas within Turkey, Reuters news agency reported.

Shelling continued after the strikes hit the center of Kobane. Several mortars fell inside Turkey near the border gate, called Mursitpinar, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.

...

Daily Star [18/10/14]:

Syrian activists say that government airstrikes on a rebel-held town have killed at least 16 people.

Local activist Hassan Taqulden and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that at least five air raids targeted buildings in the city of Douma. They said the bombings occurred Friday evening.

Taqulden said most of those killed were civilians. The Observatory said at least three children and one woman were killed. Both said the death toll was likely to rise because people were still buried under rubble.

Syria's military stepped up its shelling of Douma during the summer as part of its intensified battle to wrest back rebel-held towns around the capital, Damascus.

Activists say Syria's three-year civil war has killed more than 200,000 people.

US airstrikes/20 sorties over city of Ain Arab (Uppalapati) over last 2 days [VIDEO - Orient News - 18/10/14]

US airstrikes exacerbating humanitarian catastrophe: Water shortages, pollution at refugee camp on Turkey's border [VIDEO - Orient News - 18/10/14]

Lebanon blocks Syrian refugees from entering: United Nations [Reuters - 18/10/14]:

The Lebanese government has cut back sharply on the number of Syrian refugees it is allowing into the country, the United Nations representative in Lebanon said on Saturday.

Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, with one in four residents a refugee, many of them living in the poorest areas.

The government has said it cannot cope with the more than a million Syrians and has asked for funds to help look after them.

...

Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture [New York Times - 18/10/14]

Donetsk Shelling Kills Two Civilians, Clashes Near Luhansk Rage On: Militia

RIA Novosti [19/10/14]:

Shelling and clashes continued in Ukraine's turbulent eastern provinces despite the previously agreed ceasefire, killing at least two civilians in the besieged city of Donetsk, the local self-defense forces said in a statement Saturday.

"Ukrainian army troops fired Grad [missiles] at the Kirov district and Savrasov Street [in Donetsk]. Two civilians died after a shell hit a residential house," the statement published on the official website of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) government said.

Earlier reports said that Donetsk had been targeted for shelling throughout Saturday, with a mortar round hitting a pumping station in the Kuibyshev district and wounding several employees, according to the city hall.

Violence continues in the area near Smile, a village west of the city Lugansk, where militias are battling with pro-Kiev forces, according to both government and DPR sources. Smile (pronounced as smee-le) has been a flashpoint in the conflict this week.

The pro-government Channel Five TV channel cited a Ukrainian serviceman as saying Saturday that their army brigade had been encircled, while a source in the militia headquarters said they were following through on the ceasefire agreement and not attacking unless they had to defend civilians.

"At the same time, we are forced to act on the military provocations and stop artillery attacks on civilians," a spokesman at the Luhansk militia headquarters said.

In April, Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation in the country's Donetsk and Luhansk, where independence supporters refused to accept the new government that was put in power following a coup in February.

In early September, the warring parties reached a ceasefire agreement at a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk in the presence of Russian and OSCE representatives.

They agreed to stop all fighting in the east, pull heavy artillery from the line of engagement and let in OSCE monitors.

Since then, both Ukrainian troops and militia forces have accused the other of repeated shelling.

Phone hacking: UK MPs challenge prosecutors on evidence in Murdoch case

Independent [19/10/14]:

Britain's top prosecutor is facing questions about her evidence to Parliament regarding a possible future corporate prosecution of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, was questioned by MPs last week over the long delays at the Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard in deciding whether News International – recently rebranded News UK – should face corporate charges for phone hacking.

During her evidence before the Home Affairs Committee, Ms Saunders was asked about the "torture" and "torment" endured by as many as 30 News International journalists who had been left languishing on bail for as long as two years, with their "careers in ruins".

Keith Vaz, the committee's chair, raised their circumstances with the DPP, before asking: "As far as News International [is] concerned, you wouldn't consider it more appropriate to prosecute the company?"

Ms Saunders replied: "We haven't considered prosecuting the company as yet; that is not a case that has come forward for advice."

The Independent on Sunday can reveal that senior CPS prosecutors have been intimately involved in the potential corporate prosecution of News International for three years.

A file on the possible liability of News International was first passed to the CPS by the police as far back as 2011, with a formal request for legal guidance. Senior officials at the CPS – including Gregor McGill, head of the organised crime division, and Gareth Minty – have been providing "advice" on the company's potential liability since then.

When News International was formally told by police that it was a suspect in the summer of 2012 – following the return of a file to Scotland Yard by the CPS – it is understood that the legal "advice" was that corporate liability lay at "editor level".

...

Little Britain star David Walliams has accepted substantial undisclosed damages from News Group Newspapers (NGN) over phone-hacking claims. ... [BBC - 16/10/14]

Guardian [15/10/14]:

... Rebekah Brooks’s husband Charlie has lost his bid to recover the £600,000 in legal fees he incurred as a result of being a co-defendant in the phone-hacking trial.

Mr Justice Saunders also ruled on Wednesday that he was rejecting the application for costs by the News of the World’s former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner.

He said he was “satisfied that the defendants’ conduct brought suspicion on themselves and misled the prosecution into thinking that the case against them was stronger than it was”.

...

Dimitrov beats Tomic in Stockholm semis

Bernard Tomic [19/10/14]:

Bernard Tomic is out of the Swedish Open, beaten in straight sets in the semifinals by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who remains on course to fight his way into the ATP’s Tour Finals in London next month.

The second seed won 6-3 7-5 to set up a final against top seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who beat unseeded German Matthias Bachinger 7-6(7) 6-4.

Tomic, returning from a hip injury, had beaten seventh seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and third-seeded South African Kevin Anderson on the way to the semis.

It was a different proposition against Dimitrov who needed just one break in the first set.

Tomic imposed himself early in the second set to take a 4-1 lead.

But the Australian was unable to convert two set point opportunities on Dimitrov’s serve and, when Tomic served for the set at 5-3, a double fault proved costly.

Seven aces helped Dimitrov win the one-hour and 19-minute encounter and reach the final in the Swedish capital where he won his first ATP World Tour title last year.

 

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FEEDBACK

JUDICIAL CRITICISM OF THE MURDOCH MACHINE

BOB BROWN, THE FIRST GULF WAR AND UNITED NATIONS INTERVENTION

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