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Perception correction.

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Copyright 2003-present


* Other Things *

Campbell Newman should start acting now if he’s really listening

Acland, August 2013

Lock The Gate [21/7/14]:

If Campbell Newman wants to show he is listening to the people of Queensland, he should immediately announce his government will not accept any expansion of the Acland open cut coal mine, says Lock the Gate Alliance.

Lock the Gate’s national president, Drew Hutton said the LNP promised to stop any expansion of the huge mine, west of Toowoomba but then reversed that decision after the election after the LNP received a large donation from the mine owners.

New Hope mine and its Australian parent company, Washington H Soul Pattison, donated about $700,000 to the Queensland LNP and the federal Liberal Party over a three-year period.

Multiple donations of $100,000 and a single payment of $250,000 were contributed by New Hope and its parent company between 2010 and 2013.

Mr Hutton said Campbell Newman should also introduce legislation to give landowners the right to say "no" to mining companies coming onto their land, to restore the power of communities to object to mining projects and to be able to take mining approvals to court.

"The Newman government's arrogance is seen at its worst in the way it treats landowners threatened by coal or coal seam gas,” he said.

“If they want to show they have changed for the better, they should implement these measures as a matter of urgency."

Santos’ Pilliga exploration approval leave serious water problems unresolved [Lock The Gate Media Release - 22/7/14]

Chronicle [22/7/14]:

A construction company that was tasked with laying a gas pipeline from the Surat Basin to Gladstone has been unsuccessful in its bid to appeal against an earlier non-approval of compensation after it claimed the company that issued the contract had breached its contractual responsibility.

The company was requesting additional time to appeal an initial decision made last year.

The dispute arose after McConnell Dowell Constructors mobilised its workforce to construct the 528-kilometre underground pipeline, only for construction to be temporarily suspended because it claimed the company behind the project, QCLNG Pipeline Pty Ltd, had not received the necessary approvals.

McConnell Dowell Constructors claimed in the Brisbane Supreme Court it had a contract dated August 23, 2010, to design and construct a natural gas pipeline and associated facilities for QCLNG.

The contract was worth $730million.

The court heard McConnell Dowell Constructors had mobilised its workforce and was ready to start works on February 23, 2011, but was prevented from undertaking those works until June 12, 2011, after QCLNG ordered the suspension of work.

The court heard McConnell Dowell Constructors claimed the reason for the suspension was that QCLNG had not obtained environmental approvals required by Commonwealth and state legislation.

The suspension was lifted when the approvals were given for the work.

McConnell Dowell Constructors claimed that it ought to be compensated for the period of suspension as it had to pay for an idle workforce and equipment.

However, the Brisbane Supreme Court found there were many other factors at play which resulted in QCLNG suspending work, and concluded those factors reduced the chances of McConnell Dowell Constructors being able to appeal the decision based on points of law.

Justice David Jackson dismissed McConnell Dowell Constructors' application.

Volunteers And Workers Clean Up 15 Tonnes Of Crude Oil Spilt Onto A Canary Islands Diving Beach

The Spain Report [20/7/14]:

White-overalled volunteers and workers have once more been called upon to clean up a Spanish beach this week, in images that recall those seen during the Prestige disaster in Galicia in 2002.

15 tonnes of oil covering some 200 metres of a beach frequented by divers in Agüimes (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands) are being cleaned up by volunteers and workers covered in a thick, black, oily substance.

Canary Islands’ First Minister Paulino Rivero said the oil slicks: “should raise our awareness of what our coastlines mean and the damage even a small spill can do”.

Oil spills, he said: “could ruin our future by wasting one of our most precious assets: our coastline”, he said.

The spill comes at a time when there is much political debate and tension in the Canary Islands over plans to prospect for oil in the waters of the islands.

Spain’s state broadcaster, TVE, reported a series of oil slicks stretching for up to a kilometre could be seen off the coastline.

Spanish authorities are investigating the origin of the spill.

It has been suggested that the current spill originated either from a leak during a bunkering operation to transfer fuel between ships at sea, or that the oil came out of a ship’s bilges at some point.

Antonio Morales, the mayor of Agüimes, told El País that he was almost sure flora and fauna in a nearby nature reserve had not been affected.

The port chief in Las Palmas, Pedro Mederos, told the newspapers that the spill was “unpleasant” but not serious.

Environmental groups have warned that the Canary Islands do not have enough clean-up equipment to cope with a bigger spill.

At the end of June, Spain’s Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to Spanish energy company Repsol to begin prospecting for oil in the waters off the Canary Islands.

Italy's Eni has signed a deal to explore for oil and gas in the Republic of Congo's coastal basin, boosting the company's portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa, it said in a statement Sunday.

At a signing ceremony in the capital Brazzaville, new Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi signed the deal with energy minister Andre Raphael Loemba covering deepwater acreage which extends from onshore Mayombe to the deep offshore.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, on three-day tour of African countries, attended the signing ceremony.

Eni, which has been active in Congo since 1968, said in February it had discovered fields with estimated reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil and 30 billion cubic meters of gas in Congo's Marine VII offshore block. ... [Platts - 21/7/14]

Where were you back in 2012 Media Watch 'n friends?

And where were you when the ALP unleashed fracking across the state of Queensland?

CSG is a good news story for Australia [APPEA - 13/8/12]:

Despite misinformation and fear campaigns, the truth on co-existence between CSG and farming is still occasionally reported.

Two notable examples are a story on ABC TV’s Queensland 7.30 Report telling how a farmer and a CSG company joined together for their mutual benefit and a Courier Mail article showing how most people in the town of Tara are actually supporters, rather than opponents, of the CSG industry.

ABC TV’s Queensland 7.30 Report reports how a Roma farmer has embraced the coal seam gas industry and how the CSG company has minimised its impact on his farming operations. He says CSG is a “worthwhile part” of his business. Other locals speak about new jobs and opportunities brought by the CSG industry.

Elsewhere in Queensland’s Western Downs, Courier Mail journalist Des Houghton visited the town of Tara to see the situation for himself. His story begins:

Tara is as mad as hell and is not going to take it any more. The tiny town on the western Darling Downs says it has repeatedly been maligned by Greens and “blockies” demanding an end to coal-seam gas mining.

Tara has been depicted as a town full of rebels. I couldn’t find any the day I visited.

Suggestions that Tara is leading the charge against gas is a misconception advanced by the media. The truth is that most Tara townsfolk support the gas industry with the appropriate environmental safeguards. And so do businesses in the district.

Mr Houghton’s impressions are supported by an APPEA survey of small business owners in Gladstone, Toowoomba and the Surat Basin that found widespread optimism.

Of the 100 small businesses surveyed:

75% believe the CSG industry will generate more business and economic activity over the next five years;
80% find current business conditions favourable;
93% believe the areas need a diverse range of industries to sustain the town’s small businesses;
84% believe business conditions will improve in the next 12 months due to coal seam gas developments, mining and industry growth; and
73% would prefer farming and gas operations to exist side-by-side.

The CSG industry now employs more than 12,000 people and is committing capital investment at a rate of more than $30,000 a minute.

Gas companies are diversifying local economies by sourcing local goods and services from the areas in which they operate.

They are working hard to make sure places like Chinchilla, Roma, Dalby, Toowoomba and Gladstone benefit from their presence through active social responsibility programs, sponsorships and charitable donations.

In more good news, the CSG industry is using some of the most advanced and least disruptive drilling technologies in the world.

Baby whale dies after becoming entangled in shark net, Gold Coast

MYGC [22/7/14]:

A baby humpback whale has died after getting entangled in a shark net off Bilinga on Sunday.

Specialist crews were called in to free the whale but were unable to do so.

The humpback calf is the second whale to be caught in a shark net in Queensland this migration season.

Anyone who sees a whale or other marine animal tangled in a shark net should call the 24-hour Shark Hotline on 1800 806 891.

Humpbacks & High-Rises [22/7/14]:

This whale could still be alive. We told the government which nets are to be removed during whale migration and this net was one of them.

Let us pray the pies are hot!

Australian Christian Lobby [22/7/14]:

... This year’s conference in Canberra will bring church and community leaders together with parliamentarians. We are pleased to announce that Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will be our keynote speaker.


Young boys parentless as dealer mum and dad jailed

Sunshine Coast Daily [22/7/14]:

A young couple's decision to courier drugs between the Sunshine Coast and Mackay has left their sons parentless for six months.

Police watched Mark Anthony Dreghorn, now 30, and Melissa Rose-Ann McPhee, 28, exchange something with a drug trafficker, who was under surveillance, at the Ettamogah Pub at Palmview on April 7, 2012.

Officers intercepted them a few hours later at Childers where they found 1000 pills in the glove box, almost 10kg of marijuana in one-pound lots (445-453g) in the boot and $5805 cash.

Their new car, which McPhee had picked up from Brisbane earlier that day, was seized and a further search, months later, uncovered another 590 ecstasy tablets with 12.9% purity (about 25g) concealed in the wheel jack storage area and methylamphetamines inside a cigarette lighter.

Dreghorn and McPhee, who met at school and have two sons - aged five and eight, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to a variety of drug offences after a trafficking charge was dropped.

The parents sobbed as they were led out of the courtroom to serve their 29-month jail sentence.

Dreghorn will be released after serving 10 months and McPhee after serving six months.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said the 1000 blue pills, consistent with an anticipated exchange police heard during telephone intercepts, turned out to be a cough suppressant drug found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines.

She said Wikipedia suggested the drug had some recreational use but it was not unlawful to possess the drug.

Ms Farnden said Mr Dreghorn's fingerprints were on cannabis and ecstasy packages and the Crown believed his wife was actively involved in the transaction.

"There were messages on her mobile phone that were drug related and refer perhaps to incoming supply being taken back to Mackay," she said.

Defence barrister Anthony Collins said the young couple had shifted their children to another school in the Mackay area so they could live with McPhee's parents when they went to jail.

He said the pair owned a construction company with four employees and had minor drug histories.

"They are persons who have been involved to a degree in drug consumption themselves but there is nothing which takes this beyond the suggestion they are acting as couriers for another person," he said.

Justice Glenn Martin said he had no trouble concluding there was a commercial element to the offending considering the drug quantities.

He said he gave McPhee a lower sentence "because it is important that young children not be separated from at least one parent for any longer than society will demand".

"But society does require that these types of offences be denounced through at least the imposition of some period of imprisonment," he said.


Three ACBPS officers resign following joint ACLEI investigation

ACBPS Media Release [22/7/14]:

Three Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers have resigned after being subject to a joint integrity investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and ACBPS.

ACLEI today published its report on Operation Myrrh, which investigated personal illicit drug use among a small number of officers based in Sydney.

The ACBPS Integrity and Professional Standards Branch assisted with the operation.

It led to the officers involved being subject to targeted drug tests under the ACBPS’s mandatory drug and alcohol testing programme.

Two officers returned a positive result for cocaine use and subsequently resigned while subject to Code of Conduct investigations. A third officer also resigned over his involvement in the matter. All three were found to have breached the Code of Conduct.

ACBPS CEO Michael Pezzullo said the public release of the Operation Myrrh report demonstrated the success of integrity measures introduced by the Service since 2012 to safeguard against corruption, serious misconduct, and criminal activity.

“Any form of illicit drug use is incompatible with service as a Customs and Border Protection officer,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“This position is known, understood and supported by the vast majority of honest, diligent and hard-working officers.

“The message should now be loud and clear: there is no place in the Service for so-called recreational or hard drug use,” Mr Pezzullo said.

Measures to strengthen ACBPS’s integrity framework include: the mandatory reporting of corruption and serious misconduct; random drug and alcohol testing; the creation of an integrity support and referral network; targeted integrity testing; and the power for the CEO to make a declaration that an officer has been terminated for serious misconduct.

ACBPS has been a committed partner with ACLEI since the Service came under its jurisdiction on 1 January 2012.

The Operation Myrrh report can be found on the ACLEI website.

Three-year-old girl's nursery sprayed with bullets in drive-by attack, Sydney

Nine MSN [22/7/14]:

A volley of shots was fired into the nursery of a three-month-old girl in a midnight drive-by attack on a house in Sydney’s west.

Police are investigating the shooting but said around five shots were fired through the window of the house on Station Street, Guilford, with at least one lodging into the wall about the crib where the child was sleeping.

At least eight people were inside the house at the time of the shooting, including the three-month-old girl. No one was injured, although the flurry of gunshots shattered a window.

Detectives are now speaking with the family who have claimed the shooting is a case of mistaken identity.

A black Mazda hatchback was seen nearby and police want to speak with the driver or anyone who may have seen the incident.

Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Suspicious building fires, Kuraby

QPS Media [22/7/14]:

Police are investigating a series of suspicious fires that have occurred at a complex of townhouses in Kuraby.

Around 10.30pm last night, police were called to the Bradford Street address to find one building well alight.

One townhouse was completely destroyed as result of the blaze, and two sustained minor damage.

On Friday, July 18, three townhouses were damaged in two separate fires that occurred around 2am and 8.30pm.

None of the six properties were occupied, and no one has been injured as a result of the incidents.

Police will conduct forensic examinations at the scene throughout the day as investigations into the cause of the fires continue.

Police for appealing for anyone who may have seen any suspicious behavior around the time of the fires to contact Crime Stoppers.

Truck rolls off Gore Highway at Westbrook

Chronicle [22/7/14]:

The Gore Hwy at Westbrook is open again this morning after a truck roll over temporarily closed it to traffic.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said a cotton truck had rolled off the highway near the Moore Rd intersection about 4.30am.

The 50-year-old male driver of the truck was transported to Toowoomba Hospital with a shoulder injury.

The @PalmerUtdParty will stand in all key seats at the next Queensland election with enough candidates to form a govt

"tweeted" by @CliveFPalmer [22/7/14]

Punishment culture, racism and class war [Premier and Minister for Education, Training and Employment - 21/7/14]:

... Under the State Government’s Strengthening Discipline in Queensland State Schools reforms, principals have been empowered to deal with disruptive behaviour quickly, effectively and with fewer regulatory burdens. ...

Dickensian ALP and LNP engage in partisan quibbling over boot camp tender [Morning Bulletin - 22/7/14]:

A decision to award a tender to run a boot camp in Hervey Bay has Rockhampton MP questioning the process and a minister's performance.

Member for Rockhampton and Shadow Police Minister, Bill Byrne, says the Attorney-General's decision to award a boot camp tender to a group ranked as the 10th most suitable applicant by an independent panel raises even more questions about Jarrod Bleijie's performance as a Newman Government Minister.

"On Monday the Premier announced cosmetic and self-serving changes to previous decisions of his government in an effort to repair some of the damage Jarrod Bleijie has done," Mr Byrne said.

"Most of the controversial issues that have lost the LNP support have been the direct responsibility of Jarrod Bleijie, yet the Premier is so politically weak he cannot risk sacking the Attorney-General.

"Any other Premier to the same position would not have allowed Jarrod Bleijie to leave Monday's Cabinet meeting as a Minister."

Mr Byrne said his questioning of Mr Bleijie at last week's State Budget Estimates hearings aimed to get to the bottom of what appeared to be an extremely dubious decision last year to appoint Hard Yakka to run the boot camp at Hervey Bay.

"I am not satisfied that, despite extensive questioning, Jarrod Bleijie as Attorney-General has offered a credible explanation as to why he decided, at the last minute and against independent advice, to award the tender to an organisation that had been so poorly judged by an independent assessment panel.

"This was a decision that continues to trouble me greatly. On the very day the successful tenderer was announced, the Attorney-General took it upon himself to over-rule the panel's advice that the contract should go to the PCYC.

"He now says he took that decision because one of the panel members was a police officer and there was a potential conflict of interest.

"This does not ring true because the Rockhampton boot camp tender was given the PCYC and the Attorney-General did not raise a conflict of interest issue.

"In any event, having decided to exclude the top-ranked applicant, why did he not select the second or the third or the fourth?"

The Bulletin has requested a response from the Attorney-General's office.

Camp Fear [Mother Jones - November 2000]:

... Juvenile boot camps got their start in the mid-1980s, when officials in Louisiana and Georgia experimented with putting teenage boys in military-style settings. At first the camps housed young burglars, drug abusers, and auto thieves, but before long they were filled with a surprising number of truants and petty shoplifters, like Gina Score. The burr-headed ex-military men who usually ran the camps may have rubbed liberals the wrong way, but at first glance they hardly seemed like sadists. Like many voters who supported boot camps, they genuinely believed that for kids immune to other forms of correction, nothing short of a radical departure from their lives would get their attention. "Nobody can tell me from some ivory tower that you take a kid, kick him in the rear end, and it doesn't do any good," declared then-Governor Zell Miller of Georgia, an ex-Marine and early proponent of boot camps. Politicians eager to appear tough on crime could soon point to images on the local TV news of previously smart-mouthed teenagers marching crisply, doing push-ups, and shouting, "Sir, yes, sir!"

Yet in state after state, public officials have ignored persuasive evidence that most boot camps don't work. A growing body of research, from private studies to federal investigations, has shown the camps rarely reduce recidivism or save the fortunes their promoters promise, and often permit horrific abuses of kids by underpaid and undertrained staff.

A study by the Koch Crime Institute in Kansas found that "the fear of being incarcerated at a boot camp has not deterred crime," noting that nearly three out of every four children who pass through the camps are back in detention within a year. The National Mental Health Association concluded that "employing tactics of intimidation and humiliation is counterproductive for most youth" and has led to "disturbing incidents" of abuse. In Georgia, U.S. Justice Department investigators found kids being forced to crawl on their hands and knees to lunch, clean floors with their T-shirts, and run in summer heat while carrying tires. "The paramilitary boot camp model is not only ineffective, but harmful," the investigation concluded.

Abuses have been both far-reaching and extreme. At the Arizona Boys Ranch, a military-style boot camp that enjoyed wide political support, the staff made an incontinent 16-year-old boy, Nicholaus Contreraz, sleep in soiled underwear, eat meals on the toilet, and carry a yellow trash basket filled with his own vomit. On March 2, 1998, Contreraz collapsed repeatedly during strenuous physical training, prompting one staff member to say he deserved an Academy Award for faking. He died that evening from a massive, undiagnosed infection. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Boys Ranch had sparked nearly 100 complaints of child abuse in the previous five years, including reports that staff members hit one boy in the head with a shovel and burned another with hot water so severely he needed skin grafts.


The various horrors of these hulks to tell,
These Prison Ships where pain and penance dwell,
Where death in tenfold vengeance holds his reign,
And injur'd ghosts, yet unaveng'd, complain;


Four hundred wretches here, denied all light,
In crowded mansions pass the infernal night,
Some for a bed their tatter'd vestments join,
And some on chests, and some on floors recline;
Shut from the blessings of the evening air
Pensive we lay with mingled corpses there,
Meagre and wan, and scorch'd with heat, below,
We look'd like ghosts, ere death had made us so —

'The British Prison Ship' Written towards the close of 1780, and first published by Mr. Francis Barley, Philadelphia, early in the year 1781]

Sydney Morning Herald [22/7/14]:

Michael Gordon

Family members among 157 asylum seekers being held on the high seas are being held in separate rooms on a customs vessel but are allowed out for meals, according to documents lodged with the High Court on Tuesday.

While it was previously stated that 153 asylum seekers were on board a boat that was intercepted off Christmas Island more than three weeks ago, the documents say the actual number is 157.

A document filed by the Abbott government reveals that the national security committee of cabinet decided on July 1, two days after the boat was intercepted, that those on board "should be taken to a place other than Australia".

Their document says the asylum seekers are permitted "approximately three hours' outside during the day in natural light for meals", but says it would be unsafe to give them unrestricted movement.

The national security committee of cabinet includes Prime Minister Tony Abbott, deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Treasurer Joe Hockey, Attorney-General George Brandis, Defence Minister David Johnston and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

The document maintains they were acting within the scope of the Maritime Powers Act in detaining the asylum seekers on the customs vessel and had no obligation to afford them procedural fairness.

A challenge to the decision to hold the asylum seekers indefinitely on the high seas and not allow their claims to be assessed on Christmas Island is now being fought on behalf on one of the male asylum seekers on board.

In their defence, the government does not admit that he has family members on the vessel but confirms the asylum seekers are being held in three rooms, and that "families cannot be accommodated together while maintaining appropriate separation between men, women and children".

A directions hearing is set for today.

... As each asylum seeker enters detention the government should have pause to think: in the future, will this person claim damages for their treatment under our policy? Or even: will this person’s detention be the catalyst for an action for crimes against humanity?

These are serious questions that demand consideration. [The Erosion of Health in Detention (and the Erosion of Oversight), Benjamin Pynt - Humanitarian Research Partners - 22/7/14]

Open letter to the Prime Minister, Minister and Secretary for Immigration Dept regarding allegations of torture at Manus Island. [Humanitarian Research Partners - 21/7/14]

Federal Government files defence in Tamil asylum seekers' case, 19 hours after deadline

ABC [22/7/14]:

The Federal Government has filed its defence in the High Court case over 157 asylum seekers being held on an Australian Customs ship.

The papers were filed almost 19 hours after the court deadline.

The High Court will hold another hearing today on the fate of the Sri Lankan Tamil men, women and children who have been detained at sea for more than a fortnight.

A document lodged with the court by the asylum seekers' lawyers last week says they are being held against their will.

According to the defence documents, the Sri Lankans "do not have freedom of movement", are living in rooms with no windows, and families on the ship have been split up with the women and children separated from their husbands and fathers.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers have told the High Court the group does not want to be taken to Sri Lanka, Nauru or Papua New Guinea but want to be sent to Australia or another country that "has assumed the international law non-refoulement obligations".

Gaza death toll at 573 as Israel bombs homes, hospital

Al Akhbar [21/7/14]:

Nonstop Israeli jet, tank and naval attacks targeting homes and a hospital killed at least 56 people in Gaza Monday, bringing the death toll in a two-week-long assault on the besieged strip to 573.

And the Israeli army said another seven soldiers had been killed in fighting in Gaza, raising the overall Israeli death toll to 27, including 25 troops.

Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said air strikes and shelling killed 56 people across the enclave on Monday, and another 68 bodies were pulled from the rubble in areas hit by heavy fighting a day earlier.

The latest deaths included six people killed in two artillery strikes, three of whom died in the southern city of Rafah and another three in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

A nighttime air strike on a residential tower block in Gaza City killed 11 people, including five children, Qudra said, and a simultaneous strike in the central Strip killed another.

Of the 56 people killed on Monday, around a third of them were children, Qudra said.

Seven children were among nine dead in an early air raid on a house in Rafah, and another four children were killed in another strike on a house in Gaza City that killed nine people.

And Israeli tank shells slammed into the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip which housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters in Deir al-Balah, killing four people, among them doctors, Qudra said, indicating at least 70 people were wounded.

Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.

Another 33 people were killed in a series of air strikes and tank shelling across the strip.

Of the 68 bodies recovered on Monday, 13 were from al-Shujayeh, hiking the death toll from a ruthless Sunday attack to 74. Qudra said the vast majority were women, children and the elderly.

Another 23 of the bodies were pulled from a three-story house belonging to the Abu Jamaa family in the southern city of Khan Yunis which was hit on Sunday, raising the overall death toll from a single strike to 28, Qudra said.

So far, Palestinian figures show 558 Gazans have been killed and more than 3,350 wounded since the start of the Israeli campaign to stamp out cross-border rocket fire on July 8.

Later, Israeli war jets bombed the Qassas family home in the center of Gaza City, killing nine relatives, including four children.

Residents reported heavy fighting in al-Shujayeh and the adjacent Zeitoun neighborhood near Gaza City.

Three were killed in al-Shujayeh.

Locals also said there was heavy shelling in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip.

"It seems we are heading towards a massacre in Beit Hanoun. They drove us out of our houses with their fire. We carried our kids and ran away," said Abu Ahmed, he did not want to give his full name for fear of Israeli reprisals.

"It was a night of horror," the 50 year-old told Reuters.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has opened 61 of its schools to shelter more than 81,000 people who have fled their homes.

The Doctors Without Borders charity urged Israel to "stop bombing civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip", noting the majority of the injured arriving in the Al-Shifa hospital were women and children.


Gaza: UN issues emergency appeal, begins airlift to meet urgent humanitarian needs [UN Media Release - 21/7/14]

... “This is a watershed moment for UNRWA, now that the number of people seeking refuge with us is more than double the figure we saw in the 2009 Gaza conflict. We are seeing a huge wave of accelerated displacement because of the Israeli ground offensive,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness. ... [UN Media Release - 21/7/14]

Radar to unearth Fraser Island secret

Nine MSN [22/7/14]:

High-tech radar equipment is being used to uncover a dark chapter in Fraser Island's history.

It's been more than a century since a mission on the picturesque Queensland island was abandoned, leaving behind an enduring secret.

In the seven years the mission was open, more than 100 Aboriginal people perished from illness and malnutrition - the result of appalling living conditions.

Their bodies were buried, but those who ran the mission did not mark the graves.

Now scientists from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) will try to return that knowledge to the island's K'Gari community, with the help of ground-penetrating radar.

USC soil scientist Peter Davies said his research team would work with elders and others to find the graves, using the radar to produce 3D images of what lies beneath the surface of the ground.

"The radar is the ideal instrument to locate disturbed ground, human remains and artefacts and has been previously used in locating Indigenous burial sites up to 20,000 years old," he said.

Fraser Island Defenders Organization:

... Massacres of Aborigines were occurring quite openly and regularly in and around Fraser Island and Maryborough. In most cases “white volunteers” were assisted or led by the murderous Maryborough based Native Police in these sorties.

Many massacres of Aborigines which resulted from a number of confrontations have been documented in a paper by Raymond Evans and Jan Walker (Occasional Papers in Anthropology No 8 University of Queensland, 1977).

They noted: “Following these engagements, the Aborigines withdrew to Fraser Island which, according to the whites, they seemed to be using as a convenient natural fortress, for the avoidance of European reprisal raids.”

This led to considerable planning by white settlers to invade Fraser Island and remove “35 named Aborigines accused by European settlers of ‘murder and felony’ ”.

On Christmas Eve 1851 Commandant Walker, his officers and 24 of his infamous Native Police, supported by some local mounted squatters and sailors sworn in as “special constables”, set out to arrest some Aborigines for which there were warrants.

They spent eight days on Fraser Island carrying out what was euphemistically described as “examinations” of Aborigines. Subsequent reports indicate that this was a pretence for a series of massacres which occurred between Christmas Eve and 3 January.

Aboriginal oral history reports the biggest massacre was at Indian Head. It may have been seen as a little “silly season” sport for the squatters or a little hunting expedition over the Christmas holiday season.

Evans and Walker note that the official sketchy report strains credulity because the commandant let the Native Police out alone “to pursue hostile blacks” simply because he was too footsore to accompany them.

The “Moreton Bay Courier” subsequently described this as a “jaunt” covered with “extraordinary secrecy” and that “rumours are afloat that natives were driven in to the sea, and there kept as long as daylight or life lasted…”


Aboriginal Tent Embassy Canberra:

Don’t fall for the Con in Constitutional Recognition

As the world watches Israel mercilessly slaughter the unarmed civilians of Gaza under the apparent pretense of self-defense the world mourns for the countless life’s lost in the ongoing massacre.

The mainstream news fails to mention the extreme crimes against humanity taking place on our planet as an oppressed and occupied people of Palestine are bombarded with weapons of mass destruction claiming innocent civilians who have nowhere to go and hide from the explosions as the borders are closed on both sides.

The terror of a bomb being dropped on their homes come in the form of a telephone call, telling them to RUN they have 48 seconds to get out of their home.

Where are they supposed to run one asks, as the ground invasion of Gaza shoots them in the streets?

It the most inhuman thing I have ever witnessed in my life and it’s totally heartbreaking to see such blatant cruelty and savagery towards fellow human beings. Why is this happening? Has the human race learnt nothing from the mistakes of the past? Why are world leaders so eager to wage and support war and drop bombs on unarmed people? It totals insanity. When will peace prevail?

While all the carnage happens and with a death toll continuing to climb with over 500+ Palestinian civilians killed from attacks this Statement on the 14 July 2014 from the Zionist Federation of Australia, which Mark Leibler is the Executive President, states: "The Zionist Federation of Australia strongly condemns the continued indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip."

Rockets that have not claimed any lives and are no doubt in the name of true self defense from the cruelty and ongoing oppression of Israel towards them.


The author Nima Shirazi asks, why is Leibler appearing to be an avid campaigner and advocate for Australian Indigenous rights yet works for numerous Zionist organisations that are activity oppressing the rights of Indigenous people of Palestine and systematically cleansing them from their land?

He mentions that his biography reeks of hypocrisy entitling his article: The Hypocrisy of Mark Leibler: Indigenous Rights Advocate Denies Indigenous Rights to Palestinians.

From an Original Peoples perspective here in Australia we can see that Mark Leibler does not appear so hypocritical in his advocacy of denying Original land inhabitants their sovereign human rights and that what he is doing in Australia is part of a well-oiled government process and propaganda machine that has been in operation for many years in this country since the Original Peoples begun in the 1970’s to lobby and campaign for their Land Rights.


146 Fiji soldiers leave for Golan Heights today

Islands Business [21/7/14]:

A total of 146 soldiers leave Fiji today bound for duties on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria.

The soldiers also make up the first rotation of soldiers with a view that by August 18, all of the 501-plus troops who had been serving in Golan since July last year would be replaced.

Confirming the news, Fiji Military's Land Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jone Kalouniwai said the first contingent will also see to the handover of duties in Golan.

The next contingent will leave on 11 August before another set of troops fly out on 18 August till all troops currently on duty in Golan are replaced.

PNG Facts [26/3/14]:

Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill met with various bishops of the Kad-Esh MAP Ministeries International, who are based in Eilat, Israel.

This Christian ministry operates from Israel and reaches out to many nations worldwide. This contingent was headed by the Ministry Director, Dr. Dominquae Bierman accompanied by Bishop Phylis Lines; Rev. Elizabeth George and Rev. Joseph Walters; Pr. Charlie George and Pr Mollie George.

“The courtesy call paid on me was upon my invitation to re-emphasize Papua New Guinea’s already strong ties with Israel; enhancing Christianity,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.

He acknowledged the many books written by Bishop Dominiquae aiming to restore ‘The Church to its Original Apostolic Jewish Foundations’ and to call the nations to repentance.

“Her work is inspirational and restores the true Gospel as it was preached by the Jewish Apostles 2000 years ago. The most well-known of them is ‘The Healing Power of the Roots’," the Prime Minister said.

The courtesy call followed the ministry’s tour throughout the Highlands region, including the Western and Southern Highlands provinces recently.

“Bishop Dominiquae has been one of the Christain leaders, who has spearheaded the movement of restoration of the Sephardic Jews to their identity lost during the Spanish Inquisition and bringing them back to their promised home, the Negev Desert.

“Multitudes of them are being restored as she preaches God's Word,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.

Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill thanked the Kad-Esh MAP Ministries International for their good work in the country and expressed the government’s appreciation for their visit.

Ten - including a mother and three children - killed in air strike north of Baghdad

Reuters [21/7/14]:

Ten people were killed, including a mother and three children, in a government air strike on a militant-controlled town north of Baghdad on Monday, hospital sources and witnesses said.

The attack targeted the town of Hawija, 230 km (140 miles) from the capital, which is controlled by Sunni Muslim insurgents from the Islamic State and other groups opposed to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.

A tribal leader and former army officer said the dead were all civilians, and also included an elderly couple.

He blamed the deaths on the militants for locating a base in the center of the town.

Hawija has also seen infighting between the insurgents, with jihadist Islamic State fighters clashing in June with the Naqshbandi militants, made up of former army officers as well as loyalists of Saddam Hussein's former ruling Baath party.

The army, backed by Shi'ite Muslim militias and volunteer fighters, has been trying to push back the Sunni insurgents since they took over the northern city of Mosul on June 10 and swept south towards the capital.

The army's attempt to regain the city of Tikrit stalled last week in the face of insurgent defense and it has yet to recapture significant territory.

Further north, the Islamic State has been consolidating its control, driving Christians out of the city of Mosul with a weekend ultimatum to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy to the hardline Islamists, or face death by the sword.

On Monday, Islamic State fighters took over Saint Behnam monastery 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Mosul, ordering a monk and his assistant to leave, a church official and a Christian resident in the area said.

Also on Monday, gunmen from the Shi'ite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq seized 22 men from a village in Diyala province near the town of Baquba where they believed Sunni insurgents were operating, a colonel in the Baquba police force said.

Train With Bodies of Malaysian Boeing Crash Victims Leaves Eastern Ukrainian City of Torez

RIA Novosti [21/7/14]:

The train carrying the bodies of the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash victims has departed from the train station in eastern Ukrainian city of Torez, heading toward Ilovaisk in Donetsk region, self-defense forces protecting the train told RIA Novosti.

The representatives of the self-defense forces added that they were unaware of who ordered the train to depart, as lots of the victims’ personal belongings were left on the railway platform.

The Malaysian government delegation is waiting for the train in Donetsk, and will then move the train to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government and then to Amsterdam.

Malaysia Airlines' flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died, including 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Ukrainian authorities place the blame for the crash on independence supporters in the country’s eastern regions, while the latter maintain they do not have the means to shoot down a plane flying that high.

Russia urged not to use the crash for political goals and called for a thorough investigation.

"Speaking about the terrible tragic events that occurred in the sky above Donetsk, I would like to say once again how we in Russia treat these events that today happen in Ukraine. We have repeatedly called on all the conflicting sides to immediately stop bloodshed and sit down at the negotiating table," Russian President Vladimir Putin told Rossiya 24 television channel Monday.

Russia also believes that the investigation into the Boeing crash should be led by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine agreed on Monday to declare a ceasefire in clashes with pro-Kiev forces in the radius of 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to a leader of the self-proclaimed state. ... [RIA Novosti - 21/7/14]

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash - Moscow [RT - 21/7/14]

South Korea ferry boss Yoo Byung-eun death confirmed

BBC [22/7/14]:

Police in South Korea have said that a body they found in June is that of the fugitive boss of the operator of a ferry that sank in April, killing more than 300 people.

The billionaire businessman Yoo Byung-eun went missing shortly after the disaster, sparking a massive manhunt.

DNA samples from the body matched those of Mr Yoo's brother, police spokesman Woo Hyung-ho said.

Police had wanted to question him on possible criminal negligence charges.

Mr Yoo, 73, was head of the family that owned ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

He went on the run shortly after the vessel, whose passengers were mostly schoolchildren, went down near Jindo island.

The Sewol ferry had been carrying 476 passengers, mainly school children, when it capsized in April.

The tragedy triggered widespread grief and anger over corruption and poor emergency response.

Yonhap news agency reported that police found a heavily decomposed body last month in a plum field in Suncheon, a city 300 km (186 miles) south of Seoul.

Mr Yoo was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate whether the disaster was caused by mismanagement.

Many of his family members have been arrested and his daughter, who lives in France, is currently fighting an extradition bid. His eldest son is still on the run.

Police raided a church belonging to Mr Yoo last month and arrested several people accused of helping him

In June, some 6,000 police officers stormed a church complex in Anseong city belonging to Mr Yoo.

Four church followers were detained on charges of assisting his escape and police said they were looking for several more who had helped the billionaire.

Outside the church, supporters held up a large banner that read: "We'll protect Yoo Byung-eun even if 100,000 church members are all arrested."

A reward of 500m won ($490,000) had been offered for information leading to his capture and 100m won for that of his son, Yoo Dae-Kyun.

The sinking of the Sewol triggered widespread grief and anger at the government, which has promised to overhaul its bureaucracy and improve emergency response.

Two separate trials, one for the ferry's captain and crew, and another for Chonghaejin Marine Co officials, began last month.

Boston Marathon bombing: Tsarnaev friend found guilty

BBC [21/7/14]:

A friend of one of the men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing has been convicted of hindering the investigation into the attack.

Azamat Tazhayakov discarded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's laptop and backpack in the days after the 15 April 2013 attack.

Tazhayakov, a Kazakhstan national who faces up to 20 years in prison, said another man threw out the potential evidence.

Three people died and more than 260 were injured in the blasts.

Lawyers for Tazhayakov argued another friend of Mr Tsarnaev's, Dias Kadyrbayev, was responsible for removing the items from a dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where Tazhayakov and Mr Tsarnaev were students.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued both men, who hail from Kazakhstan, were responsible for the decision to destroy the items, including altered fireworks, to protect Mr Tsarnaev.

The backpack and fireworks - emptied of their explosive powder - were later found in a Massachusetts landfill.

Mr Kadyrbayev faces a trial in September, while a third friend, US citizen Robel Phillipos, has been charged with lying to investigators in connection with the matter.

Mr Tsarnaev - who faces the death penalty if convicted - will stand trial in November.

He has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, of which 17 carry the possibility of capital punishment.

Prosecutors allege Mr Tsarnaev set off two pressure cooker bombs with his older brother Tamerlan, who later died in a police shoot-out.

Mr Tsarnaev will be charged under the federal death penalty law; Massachusetts abolished the use of capital punishment in 1984.

Argentina asks U.S. judge to put debt payment order on hold

Reuters [21/7/14]:

Argentina asked a U.S. judge on Monday to put on hold an order requiring it to pay bondholders who did not participate in debt restructurings following the country's 2002 default, while it seeks a "global resolution."

Ahead of a July 30 deadline to reach a deal or face a new default, Argentina filed papers asking a New York federal judge to stay a ruling that it pay the holdout investors $1.33 billion plus interest.

Argentina, which has been in settlement talks, said any deal must take into account other bondholders and factor in a clause in its restructured bonds that could open it up to further liability.

"As those risks remain, so does the necessity and appropriateness of a stay," Argentina's lawyers wrote.

The request is not the first time Argentina has asked for a stay, which U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa has previously denied.

Argentina separately filed a notice of appeal of a June 20 ruling by Griesa that prevented it from going through with a proposal by the country's economy minister to swap bonds governed by New York law for those under local jurisdiction.

On Tuesday, Griesa is expected to hear a range of requests by Argentina, bondholders and financial institutions over how to enforce his ruling requiring payment to the holdouts.

The payment to the holdouts, led by Elliott Management's NML Capital Ltd and Aurelius Capital Management, was due at the time of Argentina's next payment to the 92 percent of its creditors who participated in debt swaps in 2005 and 2010 following the country's $100 billion default.

Argentina last month attempted to make a $539 million payment to the restructured bondholders due June 30. But Griesa deemed it a violation of his order and told Bank of New York Mellon Corp to return the money.

A 30-day grace period is now in effect before a default can be declared.

In Monday's court filing, Argentina renewed arguments that the holdouts should not be allowed to put at risk its prior restructurings.

The country's lawyers said any deal needed to resolve not just claims by the plaintiffs but also those of other holdout creditors. Holdout creditor claims total as much as $20 billion globally, Argentina said.

Argentina argued any resolution must also be consistent with a clause in the restructured bonds' contracts that would open it up to billions of dollars in additional claims if triggered before it expires at the end of this year.

Argentina said it continues to participate in settlement talks before a court-appointed mediator, Daniel Pollack.

"But that process must take into account these legal and factual constraints," Argentina's lawyers wrote.

NML did not respond to requests for comment and Aurelius had no immediate comment Monday.

Scott Morrison backflips and grants visa to boy who arrived by boat

Sydney Morning Herald [22/7/14]:

Michael Gordon

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has granted a permanent visa to a refugee who arrived by boat, despite fighting the boy's case in the High Court and signalling he would not be swayed when the court found against him.

In a decision that could have implications for many others, the Immigration Minister announced the backflip in a letter to lawyers representing the 15-year-old Ethiopian on Monday.

It was greeted with incredulity and joy by the boy, who has been living in Melbourne after stowing away on a ship and arriving at Gladstone 16 months ago.

"It has saved my life," he said, confessing that his life had been a roller coaster, climaxing in a High Court decision that Mr Morrison signalled he intended to ignore.

"It's a huge relief to finally have an answer,'' the boy said through his lawyer, David Manne. ''Lots of things kept changing from good news to maybe bad news."

Mr Manne urged Mr Morrison to now take the same approach to other refugees who arrived without visas, saying it was essential that they have the chance to rebuild their lives.

The decision, believed to be the first by Mr Morrison to issue a permanent visa to a refugee who arrived by boat, follows the minister's determined, but so far unsuccessful, efforts to reintroduce temporary protection visas for unauthorised arrivals.

After the senate rejected TPVs, the minister imposed an effective freeze on the granting of permanent protection visas to about 1400 asylum seekers who had already been found to be refugees, with many thousands more claims still to be assessed.

After the court ruled last month that the freeze on visas was unlawful, Mr Morrison said: "The Coalition government will not be providing permanent visas to illegal boat arrivals.''

A week later, he signalled that he would deny the teenager a visa by personally applying a "national interest" test to every application for a permanent protection visa.

In a letter to the boy's lawyers, Mr Morrison maintained that it would not be in the national interest to reward "people who arrive illegally" with the same permanent visa outcomes available to people who "abide by Australia's visa requirements".

He also suggested the granting of such a visa would undermine "the integrity of Australia's visa systems and its sovereign right to protect its borders".

The letter gave the boy's lawyers 28 days to explain why he should been given a permanent visa. They replied last week, asserting that the test as described was inconsistent with the Migration Act.

It would also, they asserted, "transmute" the question of whether non-citizens were entitled to visas from legal decisions to political ones.

Mr Morrison said after careful consideration of the facts, "including the information provided by you in response to an invitation to comment on whether the grant of the visa is in the national interest", that he had decided to grant a permanent visa.

Mr Manne described the decision as "a great outcome for our client, the rule of law and the nation at large".

Meanwhile, the High Court challenge on behalf of asylum seekers being held on a customs boat on the high seas returns to the High Court for a directions hearing on Tuesday.

Reza Barati room-mate alleges Manus staff used torture to make detainees withdraw claims

The Age [21/7/14]:

Michael Gordon

Two asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island say they were forced to retract their eyewitness accounts of violence at the centre in February after being beaten and threatened by Australian officials at the centre.

They include the room-mate of the murdered Reza Barati, who has identified a number of staff at the centre as involved in the killing.

Their claims have been forwarded to Australian Federal Police and the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by Perth-based human rights advocate Ben Pynt.

“This is active interference with a police investigation and tampering with witnesses,” says Mr Pynt, who is director of human rights advocacy for Humanitarian Research Partners.

But they have been dismissed as false by the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who rejected outright claims the men have been badly treated.

Mr Pynt also claims three other asylum seekers who nominated to return to Iran were told they could only leave if they withdrew complaints against centre staff.

At least one who has opted to return has been told he will be required to remain in Papua New Guinea until investigations are complete.

The two asylum seekers allege they were subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” over a number of days last week before they say they agreed to retract their police statements.

They say they were taken to an area of the camp they had not seen before and fed bread and water for three days, sleeping on the muddy ground.

“We were crying and asking what is our fault?” one said in a Facebook post. “They said: 'Because you always object to all of our rules'."

They claim they were cable-tied to chairs and beaten about the body to avoid noticeable bruises and threatened with rape and murder if they did not retract their statements.

A spokesperson for the minister rejected the claims of inhumane treatment, repeating that Mr Morrison had been advised that “two men became abusive and aggressive and were moved in accordance with operational policy within the centre”.

The two men allege the episode followed a complaint on behalf of Iranian detainees about restrictions on internet access at the centre.

“They are terrified of reprisals,” says Mr Pynt, who says he has “every reason to believe these men, with whom I have been communicating for months”.

He told Fairfax Media the two men, who have asked that their names not be published, had asked him to do anything he could to keep them safe.

The Waigani Committal Court has struck out a submission to dismiss abuse of office and misconduct charges levelled against PNG Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki. ... [PNG Loop - 21/7/14]

Psychiatrist in Australia's refugee concentration camp on Manus Island <---- Is this a job for you?

International Health & Medical Services (IHMS) is a subsidiary of International SOS, the world’s leading international healthcare, medical assistance, and security services company.

IHMS is contracted to provide healthcare to people in immigration detention throughout Australia. We deliver these important and challenging services in a professional manner that is:

medically appropriate;
without any form of discrimination;
with appropriate dignity, humanity, cultural and gender sensitivity; and
with respect for privacy and confidentiality.


With a background in providing clinical and professional leadership in mental health, you will play a pivotal role in our mental health programme. This includes taking responsibility for the quality of the mental health programme & projects, ensuring onsite mental health team have the tools to work effectively, advising management on mental health strategy and to undertake clinics.This particular role is working at our off shore Manus Island Medical clinic.


To be considered for this position, you will have:

Full general registration with AHPRA
Fellowship with the RANZCP
Bachelor of MB BS or MB ChB or equivalent as recognised by AHPRA
Ability to speak multiple languages advantageous

This is an opportunity to make a difference in our rapidly growing organisation. In return we will offer competitive remuneration and opportunity to be involved in rewarding work.

*All applicants will be subject to a mandatory criminal history check as part of the recruitment and selection process. Offers of employment will only be made upon a satisfactory and successful criminal history check.

To apply, please send through your CV to recruitment@ihms.com.au

Pakistan: More than 100 rescued from private jail

Tribune [21/7/14]:

Law enforcement agencies on Sunday night swooped down a private jail of some influential landlords and freed more than 100 people trapped as bonded labour for many years.

According to officials, a heavy contingent of police raided a brick kiln in the suburban area of Hafizabad on the instruction of the CCPO Gujranwala.

The raid was based on the information provided by a 16-year-old boy, Irfan, who had escaped from the private jail four years back.

The police also arrested three persons – Saifullah, Mushtaq Ahmed and Muhammad Asif – who are allegedly responsible for keeping these people in subhuman conditions.

The freed people, including men, women and children, later revealed that they had to work on the kiln and on fields of the accused and they were neither properly paid nor provided sufficient food. They said their captors had killed six people who had attempted to escape from their clutches.

They revealed that some of the prisoners were also subjected to brutal torture, which crippled them. They said the blame for this torture was usually put on other prisoners and the culprits managed to escape punishment with the connivance of police.

They alleged that the landlords also raped their women. The boy, Irfan, also corroborated the account and said that his own father and two uncles had been tortured to death by the accused.

Taking notice, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sought a report on the incident. He has ordered that a case against the persons operating the private jail be registered.

RIP James Garner 1928-2014 He starred in 'The Great Escape' released in 1963, one of the greatest films ever made.

Image: @MarieAnnJonesUK [21/7/14]

James Garner has died; these five roles will remind you of his greatness [VIDEO - VOX - 20/7/14]:

... The Great Escape

Garner hit the peak of his stardom with second billing in this classic 1963 war film. Watching the action-adventure movie today might underline just how many films have ripped it off over the years. The film holds up incredibly well, and Garner and star Steve McQueen make a great onscreen combo. (The film's ensemble also includes Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson, among others.) Plus, the story of Allied prisoners of war escaping from a German camp during World War II is based on a true story, which gives all the action some gravitas.


Israeli attack kills seven children as Gaza death toll tops 500

Al Akhbar [21/7/14]:

A family of nine, including seven children, were killed Monday by an Israeli airstrike on their home in Gaza, said emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

Separately, the bodies of 16 Palestinians killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the south of the Gaza Strip were found Monday, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 509.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said they were killed in a strike on Sunday in southern Khan Younis during the bloodiest day in Gaza in years.

More than a third of Sunday's 120 victims were women and children.

The Israeli army said 13 soldiers had been killed inside Gaza on Sunday, raising to 18 the number of soldiers killed since the ground invasion began late on Thursday.

Late Sunday, the armed wing of Hamas said it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier, prompting celebrations in the streets of Gaza City and West Bank cities.

"The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades," a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address.

Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor denied a soldier had been kidnapped, saying: "Those rumors are untrue."

A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said they were investigating the claim.

On Sunday thousands of Palestinians fled from Shejaiya, near Gaza City, after a night of heavy shelling which killed 72, an AFP correspondent reported.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has opened 61 of its schools to shelter more than 81,000 people who have fled their homes.

The Doctors Without Borders charity urged Israel to "stop bombing civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip", noting the majority of the injured arriving in the Al-Shifa hospital were women and children.

"While the official line is that the ground offensive is aimed at destroying tunnels, what we see on the ground is that bombing is indiscriminate and that those who are dying are civilians," the French NGO said in a statement.

Netanyahu has blamed the civilian casualties on Hamas using innocents "as human shields."

He insisted on Sunday that the military campaign had strong international backing.

Thousands participated in rallies in France, Vienna, Stockholm and Amsterdam to oppose Israel's offensive, with a demonstration in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles descending into chaos as protesters set fire to bins and looted shops.

Israel attacks tunnels killing 10 Palestinians [Reuters - 21/7/14]

Maan [21/7/14]:

The Ministry of Higher Education in Gaza said on Saturday that 100 schools have been damaged in Israeli attacks in the last 12 days, warning that half a million students were suffering from "trauma" as a result of the ongoing assault.

The ministry said in a report that 50 percent of the victims in the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip have been children or students, and hundreds of the 2,385 injuries have been children and students as well.

The report highlighted that half a million minors in the Gaza Strip were suffering from trauma as a result of the offensive, which entered its 13th day on Sunday, and that large numbers of children were suffering from panic or fear attacks as a result of the assault.

At least 100 educational facilitates, including kindergartens and institutions of higher education, have been damaged, meanwhile.

The ministry demanded the international community, the United Nations, and human rights institutions act and hold Israeli military and political leaders responsible for the ongoing destruction of Palestinian life and Palestinian educational facilities.

Islamic Defenders Front Sends Volunteers to Gaza [Jakarta Globe - 21/7/14]:

Some 15 Islamic hardliners from Indonesia have left for war-torn Gaza where they hope to provide aid to the Palestinian people, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said on Friday.

“Five days ago, two of our members departed, along with 13 other volunteers from MMI and JAT, to Gaza from Yogyakarta,” FPI Central Java chapter head Syihabudin said, as quoted by news portal Kompas.com.

The two other organizations he referred to were hardline groups Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT).


In addition to the 15 traveling from Central Java, FPI Jakarta head Salim Alatas told the Jakarta Globe on Friday that he had “just finished lodging a visa application to Egypt today,” adding that he and 10 others planned to enter Gaza from Egypt.

Salim did not explain why he expected he – and other foreign hardliners – would be allowed to enter Gaza along the heavily controlled Egypt-Gaza border.

“The volunteers need to have skills; those who have experience in nursery, cooking and hisbah [war skills],” Syihabudin said.

He said that the volunteers had funded their own trips.

The Jakarta Globe was unable to reach FPI national spokesman Munarman for comment.

Salim said he would lobby the Indonesian embassy in Cairo to find them a way into the Palestinian territory, but did not elaborate further.

“We just place hope in their kindness to allow us to go,” he said.

Afghanistan: Heavy explosion rocks southern Helmand province

Khaama [21/7/14]:

A heavy explosion rocked Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on Monday, leaving at least two people dead.

The incident took place around 12:00 pm local time after a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives in to the vehicles convoy of the Afghan security forces.

Provincial governor spokesman, Omar Zwak, confirmed that two people including a police man were killed following the attack.

Zwak further added that fifteen others including eight policemen were injured following the explosion.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

20 killed in counter-terrorism operations in Uruzgan, Herat, Helmand, Faryab, Baghlan, Ghazni, Kandahar and Maidan Wardak provinces [Khaama - 21/7/14]:

... The statement further added Afghan national army, Afghan national police and Afghan intelligence – national directorate of security (NDS) operatives jointly conducted the operations.


Colonel Burke takes flight to Pakistan - to do who knows what in our name.

Chronicle [21/7/14]:

Colonel David Burke expressed how much he enjoyed his time in Toowoomba at his recent farewell dinner hosted by the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce.

Colonel Burke will take up a posting in Pakistan soon.

He joined the Australian Army in 1989 and was commissioned into the Army Aviation Corps after qualifying as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.

He held a range of appointments within the 5th Aviation Regiment, including troop commander, regiment standards officer, Special Operations flight lead and squadron commander.

He was also a qualified flying instructor at the School of Army Aviation. Staff appointments have included operations officer for the 16th Aviation Brigade and aviation liaison officer to the United States Army based at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

His operational appointments have included service as a military observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in Israel and Syria and deployments to East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan.

He also participated in security operations in support of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2008 he was appointed as the first commanding officer of the 6th Aviation Regiment, and in January 2012 started his current appointment as the commandant of the Army Aviation Training centre.

Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Wielandt said the dinner went well and was a great success.

"I think it's really important we acknowledge what (the Department of) Defence does for our community."

Halliburton profit up 20 percent on higher U.S. drilling activity

Reuters [21/7/14]:

Halliburton Co (HAL.N), the world's No. 2 oilfield services provider, reported a 20 percent rise in quarterly profit as drilling activity increased in the United States and the Gulf of Mexico.

The company also increased its share repurchase program to $6 billion from $5 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $774 million, or 91 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $644 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $8.05 billion.

Iran completes process of eliminating enriched uranium

BBC [21/7/14]:

Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms, the UN nuclear agency says.

The conversion of its stock of 20%-enriched uranium was part of a deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme.

The US said last week it would unblock $2.8bn in frozen Iranian funds in return for Iran's compliance.

A four-month extension to talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions was agreed on Friday between Iran and world powers.

The talks are aimed at persuading Iran to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

The six world powers involved in the talks - the US, France, China, Russia, Germany and the UK - suspect Iran seeks atomic weapons, which Iran denies.

The country insists that it is enriching uranium for use in nuclear power stations and for medical purposes.

Correspondents say Iran's completion of eliminating its most worrying uranium stockpile is a promising sign that its leaders do not want to derail the diplomatic process.

A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran is observing all of its other commitments as well.

Iran had more than 200kg of 20%-enriched uranium when the preliminary agreement to convert it was reached last November.

At 20%, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon and experts said 200kg was enough to make one nuclear warhead.

Negotiations between the six powers and Iran are set to resume in September, with the deadline for an agreement on 24 November.

Despite the news, the BBC's Bethany Bell says a long-term solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions still seems a long way off.

The parties have been unable to reach agreement on imposing long-term restrictions over Iran's uranium enrichment and plutonium production - processes that could yield material for nuclear warheads.

In a joint statement after last week's talks, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "There are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort."

A deal could see the lifting of oil and trade sanctions on Iran.

Ozawa says Abe's policy shift risks taking Japan down dangerous path

Japan Today [21/7/14]:

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe loosened the limits of Japan’s pacifist constitution to drop a ban on its military fighting overseas, many experts said it was a step toward becoming a “normal country” able to do more in its own defense.

But Ichiro Ozawa, a one-time ruling party kingmaker who coined the phrase two decades ago, says Abe’s policy is fundamentally different and risks leading Japan down a path with dangerous echoes of prewar militarism.

Abe’s cabinet took a step away from Japan’s post-World War Two pacifism this month by dropping a ban on exercising the right of “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. That prohibition has kept troops from fighting abroad since 1945.

Ozawa used the phrase “normal country” in his 1994 book, “Blueprint for a New Japan”, written after the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The constitution’s constraints then limited Japan’s contribution to the U.N.-backed military mission to providing cash.

Many policy-makers were embarrassed when the failure to put boots on the ground was derided abroad as “checkbook diplomacy”.

“His ideas are different from the ‘normal country’ of which I spoke,” Ozawa, 72, told Reuters in an interview.

“Mr. Abe’s concept is for Japan to have a sort of prewar-style, great power military and economy - a kind of prewar revival,” he said. “He is a good person, but I feel there is something rather dangerous about his political views and ideals as a top leader.”

Ozawa has been a fixture in Japanese politics for four decades.

A heavyweight in the long-ruling Liberal-Democratic Party, now headed by Abe, he bolted the LDP in 1993 and led a succession of opposition parties.

These included the Democratic Party of Japan, which took over from the LDP in a 2009 landslide poll, but was ousted when Abe surged back to power in 2012. Ozawa is now leader of the small opposition People’s Life Party.

Abe’s government - which avoids using the term “normal country” - has rejected suggestions by China and some domestic critics that it aims to revive prewar style militarism.

Proponents say the policy shift, which revises a longstanding interpretation of the constitution’s pacifist Article 9, is vital for Japan to cope with a tough security environment, including the rise of an increasingly assertive China and an unpredictable North Korea.

Ozawa, however, has long argued that the constitution limits Japan’s military participation in conflicts not directly related to Japan to missions sanctioned by the United Nations.

Allowing participation in operations with allies in other conflicts not directly tied to Japan’s defence would require amending the constitution, he says.

“The cabinet can adopt whatever resolution it likes, but there is no scope for reinterpretation,” Ozawa said.

“To call for a revision of Article 9 would be logical, and that is what a proper statesman should do.”

As DPJ leader in 2007, Ozawa opposed a law allowing Japan to refuel foreign ships taking part in U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, one of the factors that forced Abe to resign abruptly in his first year-long term as premier.

He said the political tide that made him seem right-wing 20 years ago had shifted so much that he now comes across as leftist.

“In the past, I was called right-wing, now they call me left-wing. I have not changed at all,” he said.

Russia challenges accusations that Ukraine rebels shot down airliner

Reuters [21/7/14]:

Russia's Defence Ministry on Monday challenged U.S. and Ukrainian accusations that pro-Russian separatists were respnsible for shooting down a Malaysian airliner and said Ukrainian warplanes had flown close to the aircraft.

The ministry also rejected accusations by the United States and Kiev that Russia had supplied the separatist rebels in east Ukraine with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems, known as "Gadfly" in NATO, "or any other weapons."

"Russian air space control systems detected a Ukrainian Air Force plane, presumably an SU-25 (fighter jet), scrambling in the direction of the Malaysian Boeing," Lieutenant-General Igor Makushev of Russia's Air Forces told a news briefing.

"The distance of the SU-25 plane from the Boeing was from 3 to 5 kilometres (2 to 3 miles)," he said.

Another officer, Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov, also challenged the United States should produce any satellite images it may have to support its assertions that there had been a missile launch by the rebels.

He told the briefing "nobody (in the international community) has seen these images".

All 298 people on board the Malaysian airliner were killed when it came down in fields on Thursday.

Responding to the ministry's comments, a Ukrainian security source said Kiev stood by its information indicating the pro-Russian rebels had received a BUK-M1 (SA-11) radar-guided missile system from Russia, most likely with a crew.

"Earlier, the Ukrainian Security Service released information that militants were negotiating the delivery of Russian systems BUK," the source told Reuters.

Moscow to back UN resolution aimed at unbiased Boeing crash investigation in Ukraine

RIA Novosti [21/7/14]:

Russia will support the UN Security Council resolution if it calls for unbiased investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

"We have been engaged very actively today with the Australian delegation. The Security Council has already pronounced itself in its press statement on the 18th, it said it must be impartial international investigation. That's what we are looking for in the resolution, if this is impartial, international investigation, of course we are going to support it,” Churkin said.

“There are some ambiguities and we need to take care of this ambiguities,” he added.

Churkin confirmed to reporters that Russia has presented its draft resolution to the UN Security Council on the Malaysian plane crash.

Speaking on Australia’s draft on the issue, Churkin said: “The difference is that in our draft it's very clear it is impartial, ICAO led, international investigation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Monday for the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in Ukraine to be carried out under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near the town of Torez in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, killing 298 people.

Most of the people aboard the flight were Dutch, but there were also victims from many other nations, including Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Philippines.

Kiev has accused independence supporters of downing the Malaysian airliner. Self-defense militia members insist that they have no required technology to shoot a target flying this high.

BBC [21/7/14]:

Three Dutch investigators have examined bodies from the crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane at a railway station in eastern Ukraine.

All 298 people on board flight MH17 died. The US and other nations [Australia] say there is growing evidence of Russian complicity in the crash on 17 July.

The Dutch experts said the train may later leave the town of Torez, which is held by pro-Russian rebels.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting is reported in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk.

The clashes - involving heavy weapons - are continuing near the city's airport and the railway station, eyewitnesses say.

At least three civilians were reported killed, and one multi-storey building was seen on fire.

Residents are fleeing the city, report BBC correspondents on the ground.

Psychiatrists express sorrow and urge media sensitivity

RANZCP Media Release [21/7/14]:

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists expresses sorrow for the loss of life on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

We know that many Australians have been directly affected by this tragedy and that many more will be touched indirectly by it. There will be very few people who have not been shocked by the news of the disaster itself and the unfolding news of the events surrounding it.

College President Dr Murray Patton says the trauma of losing a loved one, especially in tragic circumstances can lead to considerable anguish and depression.

“We recognise and acknowledge the efforts of Australian officials to ensure practical support is made available to families and friends of the victims. We urge the relevant authorities to ensure that they also have access to skilled mental health assistance during this time,” Dr Patton says.

Dr Patton also urges the media to be sensitive when reporting on the tragedy and to avoid showing images of corpses for example.

“Media coverage of disasters can be confronting and distressing. We particularly need to consider the psychological impact on children of exposure to graphic media coverage and ensure that it is limited. Vulnerable people and those who may have previously experienced a disaster situation may find media coverage distressing.”

Chilcot Inquiry: Blair and Straw to get warning letters ahead of publication of report into 2003 invasion of Iraq

Independent [20/7/14]:

Sir John Chilcot, chair of the public inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is poised to send formal letters to those whose conduct he criticises in his final report.

The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, are among those expected to be sent what are known as "Salmon" or "Maxwellisation" letters in the coming weeks.

Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them before publication.

The letters are named after Lord Salmon, who held a public ethics inquiry in the 1970s, and the late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, who challenged the way criticisms of his dealings were handled in a public report.

The long-running inquiry is examining the period from summer 2001 to the end of July 2009, taking in the run-up to the Iraq war, the conflict and its aftermath.

The final report has been delayed, latterly as Sir John negotiated with Sir Jeremy Heywood, the country's most senior civil servant, as to what he could publish.

The limits on what can be published led to criticism that the inquiry could end up being a "whitewash" of a war that divided the nation and tarnished Mr Blair's 10-year premiership. However, Sir John and the Cabinet Office now appear to be close to agreement, as the Salmon letters could not be sent out until the "quotes and gists" have been finalised.

In a select committee hearing last week, Sir Jeremy said that he wanted the inquiry to publish "the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US [and] without revealing secrets that don't need to be revealed".

Tulisa Contostavlos trial collapses over Murdoch's "Fake Sheikh" Mazher Mahmood evidence

Guardian [21/7/14]:

The trial of Tulisa Contostavlos over drugs allegations has collapsed.

The singer was accused of boasting that she could "sort out" cocaine for a "journalist" and put him in touch with her rapper friend Mike GLC, who supplied the Class A drug.

The undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, dubbed the "Fake Sheikh", posed as a wealthy film producer called Samir Khan when he met the former X Factor judge at a string of luxury hotels and restaurants, jurors at London's Southwark crown court heard.

Contostavlos vehemently denied brokering the deal, which was exposed in [Rupert Murdoch's' the Sun on Sunday "newspaper" last June.

On Monday the judge, Alistair McCreath, told the jury that the case "cannot go any further" because there were "strong grounds to believe" that Mahmood had lied at a hearing before the trial started.

The 26-year-old star smiled broadly in the dock as the jury was formally discharged from trying the case.

Train derailment forces evacuations in Wisconsin town

Chicago Tribune [21/7/14]:

Authorities evacuated residents after a train derailment in Slinger, Wis. caused a propane explosion and a fuel spill Sunday night, authorities said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that three locomotives and several rail cars derailed about 9:15 p.m. Sunday at a crossing at State Highway 144.

The derailed train then struck another train, according to the Journal Sentinel and the Slinger Fire Department.

Two people on one of the trains were taken to a local hospital, said Daryl Otte, a retired Slinger firefighter who answered the phone at Slinger Fire Department early this morning. Their condition was not immediately known.

A propane tank adjacent to the train tracks exploded after the collision, Otte said. Fuel also began spilling from one of the trains, prompting authorities to evacuate residents living within a half-mile of the derailment.

About 1000 people live within that radius, possibly more, Otte said. Authorities have opened Slinger Middle School as an emergency shelter.

Dozens of firefighters were working into the morning to contain the spill, Otte said.

New Zealand: Fairfax cartoons insulting, tribunal told

RNZI [21/7/14]:

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has been told two Fairfax newspaper cartoons were insulting, discriminating and brought Maori and Pasifika into contempt.

The cartoons were about the Government's Breakfast in Schools programme and depicted obese brown characters taking advantage of the scheme and portrays them spending money on alcohol, cigarettes and pokies.

One of the cartoons shows two characters with Polynesian features, with one saying to the other, "If he can get away with this, there's more cash left for booze, smokes and pokies".

The other, shows a Polynesian family portraying a similar message.

Louisa Wall, the Labour Party's MP for Manurewa, laid the complaint and presented evidence on Monday.

She initially filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission but it ruled that the cartoons did not reach the level of racism but told her that she could take the matter to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Her case is that the cartoons were in breach of Section 61 of the Human Rights Act, inciting racial disharmony.

Louisa Wall told the tribunal on Monday that a majority of her electorate in Auckland is Pasifika and Maori, and all schools in her rohe have some sort of food in schools programme, in which the cartoons were about.

Ms Wall said the cartoons are insulting, discriminating, ignorant and brought Maori and Pacific into contempt and the ideas the cartoons portrayed created negative stereotypes of vulnerable whanau, who are in need of the breakfast in schools programmes.

Fairfax said at the time the cartoons were published and during the backlash from a number of people, that they weren't going to apologise and defended the publication of the images.

In Ms Wall's cross-examination, Fairfax lawyer Robert Stewart asked her about the hue of the colour of the skin in the cartoons, and if they implied that the characters were Maori or Pasifika, and he asked if she accepted that red hair, on some of the characters in the cartoons, was not associated with Maori or Pacific people.

Ms Wall said Maori having red hair is not uncommon, and said, for example, she mentioned Ngati Porou, an iwi where red hair was prevalent.

The tribunal also heard from Leonie Pihama, an associate professor at Te Puna Wananga at the University of Auckland and the director of Waikato University's Te Kotahi Research Institute.

She cited a number of reports which show evidence of the social inequalities within Maori and Pasifika - be it access to health or education - and how examples of negative stereotypes, such as the cartoons, contribute to those outcomes.

Dr Pihama said the cartoons are a racist representation of Maori and Pacific people and those types of portrayals play a role in driving people's negative perceptions of those cultures.

She said she believes it appears the editors did know the cartoons were discminatory before giving the all clear to publish them and any media outlet who publish this kind of view need to be called into account.

"The cartoon is not a representation of issues of obesity, or poverty, it is a representation that affirms fundametnal stereotypes that should have been gone in this country 50 years ago."

A youth worker in South Auckland also gave evidence. Ben Tamarua is part of a leadership group, Warriors of Change. He said many of his peers were offended and insulted by the cartoons and he felt that Maori were disgraced by the cartoons.

The hearing is set for five days featuring a number of witnesses, although one of them won't be the cartoonist, Al Nisbet.

Canada: First Nations members issue eviction notice to Vancouver

CBC [20/7/14]:

A standoff is brewing between the City of Vancouver and a group of protesters camped out in a Downtown Eastside park — but in a twist, the city itself has been handed an eviction notice.

On Sunday, just over a dozen tents stood at Oppenheimer Park. Those living in them tell CBC News they're homeless with nowhere else to live.

In the past three days, the campers have received two eviction notices from the city, which has bylaws prohibiting sleeping in parks and erecting structures on public property.

A 65-year-old man known as JT told CBC News he had a rude awakening Saturday morning as he slept in his tent.

"I could hear some rustling and some 'wake up,' you know, sarcastic laughable tone and, uh, 'Here, we want to give you this,'" he told CBC News.

The homeless pensioner was then handed an eviction notice from the city, telling him he had to leave within 24 hours.

But the deadline to leave, 7 a.m. Sunday, came and went without the city taking any action to remove the tents.

Now, some members of a local First Nation have stepped forward to challenge the city's right to issue the eviction orders — and issued an eviction notice of their own.

Audrey Siegl, of the Musqueam Nation, says her people couldn't stand by and do nothing while the homeless campers, many of whom are native, were kicked out.

"They were going to load up their few possessions that they have and take it to the dump and, the people would be forced out of here or arrested," she told CBC News.

So volunteers moved in, erecting a protest camp alongside the homeless camp that includes a tipi and a longhouse made of evergreen branches.

"Before this was the City of Vancouver, this was? Musqueam land. It still is," Siegl said.

Siegl says as long as the land's title remains unceded, the homeless and the First Nations protesters have a right to occupy it and the city needs to treat them with respect.

"They're not welcome here with the way that they're doing their business right now," Siegl said.

In a statement sent by email Sunday, the city acknowledges that a disproportionate number of homeless people in the Downtown Eastside are also members of First Nations. It also said it has been discussing housing issues with the region's three host nations – the Musqueam, Tseil-Waututh and Squamish.

The city also re-iterated that camping and built structures are not allowed in city parks as they are safety concerns and create barriers for other city residents who wish to use the green space.

"Oppenheimer Park is the backyard of people in the Downtown Eastside, a popular gathering place for play and relaxation," the statement said. "We need to keep it open for everyone."


Philippines: Impeachment filed against Aquino

philstar.com [21/7/14]:

Protesters filed an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III today over the implementation of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The complainants, which include DAP petitioners, anti-Pork advocates, religious leaders, members of the academe, corruption whistleblowers and sectoral leaders, accused Aquino of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

They asserted that Aquino violated the Constitution by usurping Congress' power of the purse and undermining the principles of separation of powers and system of checks and balances.

They likewise accused Aquino of betraying the public trust by exacerbating the corrupt "pork barrel system," committing tyrannical abuse of his powers, violating his oath of office and perpetrating multiple counts of technical malversation and corruptions of public officials.

Furthermore, the complainants believe that DAP exacerbated the corruption in the "pork barrel system" by giving additional public "pork barrel" fund to lawmakers and local officials, in exchange for their support for the Aquino Administration.

Earlier, Aquino insisted that the DAP is a stimulus program done in good faith to strengthen the economy.

Yum, McDonald's apologize in China food supplier safety scare

Reuters [21/7/14]:

U.S. fast food chains McDonald's Corp and KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc apologized to Chinese consumers on Monday and said they will stop using a Shanghai meat supplier after Chinese regulators shut the firm down over food safety concerns.

A watchdog closed a Chinese branch of privately held U.S.-based food supplier OSI Group LLC and seized meat products suspected of being beyond their expiration date, according to a statement on Monday from the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration.

OSI products were sold to clients including Yum's KFC and Pizza Hut chains and McDonald's.

An official at Aurora, Illinois-based OSI in China said the firm was working with local government to investigate the matter, but declined to comment further. OSI, which has over 50 manufacturing facilities worldwide and had revenue of over $5 billion in 2012, has been supplying McDonald's in China since 1992 and Yum since 2008, according to its website.

The incident is a headache for Yum and McDonald's since the pair were hit by a food safety scandal in China in 2012. Yum suffered a sharp dive in profits early in 2013 after the safety concerns, and has only recently starting to bounce back in China.

"I think this is going to be really challenging for both these firms, and especially for Yum," said Benjamin Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.

"Yum had just started rebuilding credibility and had some decent sales news which just came out for the second quarter. I think this is going to really set them back," he added.

McDonald's and Yum are the two leading fast food chains in China by sales, according to data from research firm Euromonitor, but are facing a rising challenge as local firms try to tempt cost-conscious diners with healthy, homegrown fare.

Yum and McDonald's both said they have stopped using meat products purchased from Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a local unit of OSI, and were investigating the matter, according to statements posted on their official Weibo microblog sites on Monday.

Local Chinese television broadcast a program on Sunday saying an undercover reporter had seen the use of expired meat and poor hygiene practices in a local factory, local media said.

"Food safety is the most important thing for McDonald's, and we always strictly abide by national laws and regulations and related standards to ensure consumers can enjoy our products at ease," McDonald's said in the Weibo statement.

Yum said it did not tolerate any behavior from suppliers that breaks rules and had already started an investigation into OSI's Shanghai unit. It added it will actively cooperate with the work of relevant Chinese government departments.

Man admits attacking speed cameras across Adelaide

ABC [21/7/14]:

A man has admitted he damaged nine speed cameras across Adelaide but has told a court he cannot remember damaging 13 more.

Police allege Aaron Goods, 24, attacked speed cameras last November and December at places including Crafers West, Goodwood and Morphett Vale.

He has pleaded guilty in Adelaide Magistrates Court to nine charges of property damage relating to fixed cameras valued at up to $30,000.

Goods will contest another 13 counts of property damage because he cannot remember offending.

Police also have charged him with driving offences, a bail breach and with possessing a prohibited weapon.

It is alleged a crossbow was found at his home along with marbles police allege he might have planned firing at cameras.

The magistrate has suggested the parties discuss compensation over cameras damage ahead of another hearing in September.

Black Mountain man airlifted following quadbike crash

Sunshine Coast Daily [21/7/14]:

A 62 year old Black Mountain man was injured when his quad bike rolled on a private property in Kandanga, west of Gympie last night.

The Sunshine Coast based RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter flew to the scene and airlifted the man, who travelled in a stable condition to Nambour Hospital.

A Queensland Ambulance Service Flight Paramedic and Doctor on-board the chopper treated the man for a suspected spinal injury.

Arson charges, Beachmere

QPS Media [21/7/14]:

Police have charged a 30-year-old man following the arson of a vehicle last night in Beachmere.

It will be alleged that around 11pm last night, a man attended an address on Bishop Road and lit a vehicle parked in the front yard alight.

The 30-year-old man from Caboolture has been charged with one count of arson and will appear in the Caboolture Magistrates Court this morning.

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

Taskforce Maxima locate weapons and drugs on the Gold Coast [QPS Media - 21/7/14]

New Zealand: Officer forced to pepper-spray pitbull

RNZI [21/7/14]:

An Auckland police constable had to pepper-spray a pitbull that was attacking the teenage boy out walking it at the weekend.

Constable Ben Klinkenberg was called to a North Shore park on Saturday after witnesses heard screams from a 17-year-old walking his father's pitbull.

The dog latched on to and tore Mr Klinkenberg's protective vest and the 28-year-old needed stitches in his punctured arm.

The officer and teenager were taken to hospital and police said the young man would need plastic surgery.

The constable's commanding officer, Superintendent Bill Searle, told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday the use of pepper spray allowed the young man to escape.

Mr Searle said once the dog was sprayed, it turned on the officer and attacked him. He said the pitbull had been attacking the boy for up to 15 minutes.

“The net effect of this language system was not to keep these people ignorant of what they were doing, but to prevent them from equating it with their old, "normal" knowledge of murder and lies. Eichmann's great susceptibility to catch words and stock phrases, combined with his incapacity for ordinary speech, made him, of course, an ideal subject for "language rules.”

Hannah Arendt, 'Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil'

4 minutes in ---> Australia's Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison and Ray Hadley have a chummy old chin wag about the High Court -153 asylum seekers at sea - case [AUDIO - 2GB - 21/7/14]:

Hadley: ... What's your latest knowledge of the case?

Morrison: Well we've given an undertaking to the court that people would not be directly offloaded from this vessel to Sri Lanka and we've been consistent about that right through this issue.

But one thing we will continue to do Ray, and that is, we will use the the powers and the various authorities we have to ensure that people smugglers aren't able to deliver on their promise.

And we will take every step necessary to ensure that there are no successful ventures to Australia. And that's what we're in the process of doing.

And these matters come before the courts. And we will honour that process. And we will co-operate with that process.

But we will resist any people smuggling venture to Australia.

The previous government would have just sent out the water taxi and brought them to Crhistmas Island - that's not our response. We will work through all the options available to us.

Hadley: What about if they came from India as opposed to Sri Lanka? Can we, do we send them back to India if they didn't come from Sri Lanka?

Morrison: Well the report is that the vessel did come from India. We've got a very good understanding of where this vessel has comes from.

We've been having some dialogue with the Indian government. to work through these issues. What we want to ensure is that there are issues around this venture itself. But more broadly, we want to ensure there are no other ventures that may seek to come from India - or Sri Lanka for that matter.

And the partnership with Sri Lanka has been very important and the partnership with India is also very important, and that's on the top of my list of priorities.


A Reporter at Large - Eichmann in Jerusalem—I by Hannah Arendt [New Yorker - 16/2/1963]:

Reporter At Large about the trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann, former Nazi party official, accused of playing a principal role in the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews.

He sought refuge in Argentina after the war. He was kidnapped from there, May 11, 1960, flown to Israel, and brought to trial in the District Court of Jerusalem Apr. 11, 1961.

The prosecutor at the trial was Attorney General Gideon Hausner and the judges were: Moshe Landau, presiding, and Benjamin Halevi and Yitzhak Raveh. Dr. Robert Servatius, a lawyer from Cologne, was counsel for the defense.

The trial had far-reaching consequences in Germany. Even before its opening, a number of Nazis were arrested and tried in W. German courts. It was also revealed that some of the men in the present government were former Nazis.

A biography of Eichmann, born in 1906, in Solingen, Germany, reveals that he was a poor student and not happy or successful in his work. He joined the Nazi party in 1932, and entered the SS. He was often bored with the party work, until he became involved in the Final Solution of the Jewish question in Austria.

At first it was planned to get rid of the Jews by emigration. In line with this, Eichmann advocated Zionism.

Analysis of his character: he was apparently unable to think for himself and never recognized his own guilt.

UQ News [14/7/14]:

From dating to dieting, from music to sports, economics can be used to explain just about anything, according to award-winning economist Dr Andrew Leigh.

Dr Leigh will discuss how economics impacts on everyday life at the launch of his book, The Economics of Just About Everything, at The University of Queensland School of Economics on 31 July.

The launch will include a public lecture drawing on his previous experience as a professor of Economics at the Australian National University and his current role as Federal Member for Fraser, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Competition.


Great Barrier Reef 'in worst state since records began'

@GregHuntMP environment minister in name only...

Image: @wishart88 [21/7/14]

Guardian [21/7/14]:

The Great Barrier Reef is in the worst state it's been in since records began and will be "pretty ugly" within 40 years, Australian scientists say.

A Senate committee is investigating how the Australian and Queensland governments have managed the reef, with UNESCO to decide next year whether to list it as a world heritage site in danger.

Scientists have told the committee the reef is facing threats from coastal development, such as a massive port-related dredging project at Abbot Point, farm run-off and poor water quality. The reef cannot rejuvenate after times of stress as it once did, the scientists say.

The Australian Coral Reef Society – the oldest organisation in the world that studies coral reefs – says coral cover has halved since the 1980s, when the reef was listed as a world heritage asset.

By 2050 there will be fewer fish and large swathes of seaweed where complex coral structures once thrived, society president Peter Mumby said.

"It will be really pretty ugly," Mumby told the committee. "And the ability to earn a livelihood will be vastly diminished.

"The reef is in the worse state it's ever been in since records began. There is so much scope to improve governance."

The committee was told funding for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority had been cut, and the Commonwealth was set to devolve its environmental approval powers to the states, meaning major projects would only be assessed once.

The director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, said current efforts to help the reef were inadequate.

"The threats are escalating," he told the hearing. "It is time for a rethink. We are living in a fantasy land."

A protest was held outside parliament before the hearing began.

Environmentalists and mining lobby groups are due to give more evidence on Monday.

Tourists leave environmental concerns at home

UQ News [21/7/14]:

People who have environmentally friendly lifestyles at home often engage in environmentally harmful behaviour when they go on holiday, research shows.

The subjects of a University of Queensland study were aware of tourism’s negative environmental consequences, but displayed an attitude-behaviour gap, said PhD student Emil Juvan from UQ Business School, the report’s author.

Mr Juvan’s paper, The Attitude – Behaviour Gap in Sustainable Tourism, aims to lead the tourism industry and other stakeholders in finding new ways to increase the level of environmentally sustainable holiday behaviours.

“This research shows there is little evidence to suggest that people consider the environmental costs of their holiday, nor do their environmental concerns influence their holiday choices,” Mr Juvan said.

It also revealed some of the most common excuses people gave for ignoring environmental costs, included denial of consequences, responsibility and control.

“These categories present a promising starting point for developing interventions that will prevent tourists from using excuses for not making the right choices,” Mr Juvan said.

“An environmentally unsustainable tourism industry is not only harmful to the environment, but also to its own future as it depletes the very resources tourists come to enjoy.”

Mr Juvan’s PhD supervisor, Professor Sara Dolnicar, said much of the previous research in sustainable tourism assumed that people could be “trained and re-educated”.

“Emil’s work takes a totally different perspective,” Professor Dolnicar said.

“It accepts that people tend to find excuses for not doing the right thing.

“This is an extremely important piece of research because it makes the first step towards increasing the level of environmentally friendly behaviour of tourists while at the same time accepting that such behaviour does not come naturally to people who are investing a lot of time and money to relax and be free of the typical worries they have at home.”

Mr Juvan’s study has been published in the leading international academic journal Annals of Tourism Research.

Data retention isn't Big Brother: ASIO chief

ZDNet [21/7/14]:

Josh Taylor

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General David Irvine has said that safeguards in place for the access agencies have to stored telecommunications data means it is less of a "Big Brother" government intrusion into privacy than the model in the United States.

In evidence provided to the Senate committee investigating telecommunications interception and access legislation this morning, Irvine said that critics of the scheme that allows government agencies to access stored telecommunications customer data without a warrant do no understand that agencies like ASIO are only able to access the data in a "controlled environment"

"We don't work in a vacuum, we work in a layered accountability system that has been in place for decades," he said.

He said that the current agency request for telcos to keep the data for two years is not a "Big Brother arrangement".

"We're not seeking a Big Brother arrangement where the government itself stores all that data. We want the companies to keep that data. The problem is that as technology advances, the companies don't have the commercial need to keep that data as they once did," he said.

"We are not the United States. We have, in my view, a very adequate surveillance regime, which strikes an excellent balance between the privacy of the individual on the one hand, and the needs for national security on the other hand."

Irvine said he failed to understand why people were comfortable with handing over private information to commercial companies, but raised questions about ASIO's intelligence gathering.

"If you're going to be concerned about that, then frankly, you're going to be concerned about how commercial companies use your [personal] to sell you a new BMW or a new whatever," he said.

"For the life of me, I cannot understand why it is okay for your privacy to be invaded for a commercial purpose, and not for me to save your life."

He said ASIO staff are recruited and promoted on their ability to be accountable and to operate with integrity, and there were measures and levels of approval for intelligence collection.

He also said that ASIO is required to pay telecommunications companies each time data is requested.

"That's another restraint on this notion of mass surveillance," Irvine said.

"We'd be broke in a week."

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam suggested that Irvine's statement was a "red herring".

Irvine also reiterated that the data ASIO would seek to access under data retention would not include web browsing history, and if the agency sought access to that data, it would require a warrant.

"It's the surfing the net that is regarded as content," he said. "Search history. I have to have a warrant."

The government hasn't yet decided whether to proceed with new data retention legislation. Last week Attorney-General George Brandis said the government was "actively considering" the proposal.

Irvine said that the government would need to work with telecommunications companies on developing the policy should it proceed given the companies would be required to store the data for two years.

Security obligations would fall to the telcos, with Irving indicating that telecommunications companies generally already had a responsibility to protect customer data.

"If large volumes of data are being stored, what provisions need to be made to ensure the security of that data from unlawful access. This is an issue that relates, in my view, to the responsibility of telecommunications providers and doesn't relate only to stored data."

Irvine also revealed that in the time since the Edward Snowden leaks about NSA surveillance powers, many people ASIO had been keeping tabs on had switched to commercial encryption technology.

"In the last six to nine months, the prevalence of those evasive techniques, particularly since the Snowden revelations, has increased dramatically," he said.

One of the new powers slated for ASIO in national security legislation introduced into the parliament last week would see ASIO be able to access third party "innocent" computers in investigations. Irvine said that this would largely be targeted at innocent computers that are being used as part of "hacker attacks".

He said ASIO wouldn't be interested in the private data on those computers, only "their ability to communicate malicious information to other people."

Lex Wotton breaks silence as gag order ends

ABC [21/7/14]:

... Lex Wotton is now able to speak publicly after being placed under a four year gag order as part of his parole conditions.

He spent two years in jail for his part in the riots - which were sparked by the death in custody of Palm Island man Cameron Doomadgee in 2004.

Mr Wotton and his family are now leading a class action against the State of Queensland and the Police Commissioner, and said he hoped it would bring some justice to those affected.

"A lot of people say to me you know, I did the right thing. and this is actual politicians that said that to me, but they don't want to be named," he said.

Mr Wotton said the class action was not about compensation, but about getting answers for his community.

"With the class action hopefully.. all their homes were raided, children had guns pointed to their heads and traumatised... people are still very scarred and affected by what has taken shape at that time," he said.

"Hopefully there might be a good outcome."

ABC has sought comment from the Queensland Police Service.

Lex Wotton's gag order lifted [NIRS - 21/7/14]

NSW police chase criticised at inquest

Nine MSN [21/7/14]:

A police pursuit of a motorcyclist who died after crashing into a metal sign should have been terminated, a coroner has found.

Scott Pickford, 40, stopped at an RBT in Stockton, near Newcastle, NSW on Boxing Day in 2012 but when he was asked about his motorcycle license, sped away.

In the ensuing pursuit, Mr Pickford reached speeds of up to 160km/h before eventually colliding with a metal street sign.

He was thrown off his bike and suffered multiple injuries, including spinal fractures and a brain injury.

The 40-year-old was declared dead at hospital a week later.

In handing down findings into the inquest of his death on Monday, Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon said the officers involved in pursuing Mr Pickford did not cause his death.

But he said they should have terminated the chase once the 40-year-old entered Masonite Road as it posed too high a risk to the community.

"It was abundantly clear from the time Scott entered Masonite Road he was not going to stop for police," Mr MacMahon remarked.

"From that time the continuation of the pursuit was futile and should have been terminated."

He questioned the reasoning of the two officers involved but said he was not satisfied that had the chase been called off Mr Pickford's death would necessarily have been avoided.

The inquest heard Mr Pickford had led a "turbulent life", which involved periods of drug use.

After his death methylamphetamine or "ice" was found in his system, with an expert pharmacologist telling the inquest it would have "significantly impaired" his riding on Boxing Day.

In the days before his death, Mr Pickford was also involved in two other driving matters, including a pursuit on December 23.

Trucks obliterated in fatal crash on Hume Highway

Nine MSN [21/7/14]:

Two B-double trucks were almost entirely obliterated in an horrific crash on the Hume Highway at Ingleburn this morning.

Around 9.40am, an Aldi delivery truck crossed the median strip and collided head on with another truck travelling city-bound.

The collision sent debris and household goods across the road and into another truck and a car.

The cabin of the delivery truck was partially ripped from the chassis of the vehicle.

Police said the driver of the southbound truck was ejected from the cabin of his vehicle and died at the scene.

The crash is causing major delays, with the Hume Highway reduced to a standstill.

Police have reopened two lanes city-bound and have advised motorists to avoid the area.

Putin: Taskforce at Malaysia MH17 crash site not enough, full-scale international team needed

RT [20/7/14]:

The tragic Malaysian MH17 flight crash must not be politicised and the international experts on the scene should be able to carry out their work in complete safety, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“There are already representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk working there, as well as representatives of the emergencies ministry of Ukraine and others. But this is not enough,” Putin said officially commenting on the tragic event on Sunday.

“This task force is not enough,” Putin emphasized. “We need more, we need a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of ICAO, the relevant international commission.”

“We must do everything to provide security for the international experts on the site of the tragedy,” Putin stressed, adding that Russia will also do everything in its power to help shift the Ukrainian conflict from a military phase into a political discussion.

“We need to do everything to provide its [ICAO commission’s] safety, to provide the humanitarian corridors necessary for its work,” Putin added.

“In the meantime, nobody should and has no right to use this tragedy to achieve their ‘narrowly selfish’ political goals,” Putin stated.

“We repeatedly called upon all conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed immediately and sit down at the negotiating table,” the President reminded. “I can say with confidence that if military operations were not resumed on June 28 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened.”

According to the latest figures from the Donetsk authorities, 247 out of 298 bodies have been recovered from the crash site. OSCE confirmed that a train with bodies of the victims is being stationed at a railway station in Torez and is set to depart for Donetsk. The bodies are being kept in especially refrigerated cars.

A team of ISCE experts and four Ukrainian forensics analysts are the only experts who have so far reached the area and are working on the investigation. A team of 12 Malaysian experts is yet to arrive at the crash site.

Experts from other European nations, including the Netherlands, France. Germany and the UK are en route to Donetsk.

The OSCE team has claimed that the black boxes have not been recovered, yet Aleksandr Boroday, the republic’s prime minister, told reporters that DPR might potentially be in possession of the MH17 black boxes.

"What we have is just some components of the plane. We are not experts; we think that they may be black boxes but we're not sure."

... Can't even look you in the eyes
You're cold and lost and you're doubled crossed
when you're marooned in a blizzard of lies ...

'Blizzard Of Lies', Dave Frishberg [1983]

ABC, AM [21/7/14]:

... CHRIS UHLMANN: Is it a distressing scene?

PHILLIP WILLIAMS: It's a very distressing scene. You see the personal items of those that have died, the bodies still, as I say, and there's added overlay that it does appear to me to be clear evidence of looting of their personal effects.

You see many of the bags open with the contents spread around and anything of value, if there's a handbag or a wallet or anything, it's got nothing of value left in it, so it does appear that people have come along whether they're rescuers, whether they're local villagers- we don't know but it is another unpleasant overlay to what is a really disastrous situation. ...

... Again, norms of various kinds emerge in disaster situations, sometimes antisocial norms. But to report these incidents as if they’re common—without nuance—it’s a departure from journalistic integrity, and they should be called out on it. I’ve seen these Twitter postings saying, “We’re all Haitains.” And the thing is, no, we’re not all Haitians, and to say that is offensive. It is impossible for those of us in the United States to understand what it’s like to live in Haiti, and to pretend that we do, especially with such lazy journalism, is wrong. [The Looting Lie - Generation Progress - 16/1/10]

Sky News apologises after presenter is seen looking through MH17 luggage

Guardian [21/7/14]:

Sky News has apologised profusely after one of its presenters was shown rifling through the personal belongings of a stricken passenger at the MH17 crash site.

In a live broadcast on Sunday afternoon, Sky News presenter Colin Brazier was shown picking items – including a set of keys and toothbrush – out of the opened luggage before saying: "We shouldn't really be doing this, I suppose."

The footage was met with a storm of criticism online, including media professor Joe Watson who described it as a "horrible moment for journalism" and others who accused Sky News of invading the privacy of the deceased.

BBC Sport presenter Jacqui Oatley said she was "absolutely astonished" by Brazier's actions, while BBC radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty added: "Sky!!! Get your reporter to STOP rummaging thru belongings at #mH17 crash site. "We shouldn't really be doing this" NO S**T Sherlock !! Those items are essentially sacred things now for the relatives. Just appalling."

The incident came amid concerns from air accident investigators that the MH17 crash site had been contaminated by the round-the-clock presence of armed pro-Russia separatists, locals and the international media.

A coalition of investigators are expected to arrive at the site for the first time on Monday, four days after the disaster which killed all 298 people on the Malaysian Airlines aircraft when it came down near Grabovo in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Sky News said: "Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused."

The spokeswoman said Sky News had received "a handful" of complaints from viewers in the hours after the broadcast, which was shared hundreds of times on Twitter. Some viewers said they would take their complaints to the media regulator Ofcom for the "appalling" breach of privacy.

Another Twitter user, named Shelly, said: "I have never seen something so disrespectful. Time to rethink my Sky subscription, I think."

Brazier, who was nominated for the presenter of the year award at this year's Royal Television Society Awards, later reported that he had come across scores of human remains at the site.

He said: "I've been walking around, coming across body parts all the time, many of them charred beyond recognition. Men, women and children, indeterminate frankly, you can't tell. Very often you are looking at charred spines, that's all that's left.

"There are flies. It is hot. There are stretchers lying by the roadside. They have not been used because many of the bodies were dismembered by the forces of the impact. It is a truly macabre, horrific situation. There is a degree of anarchy and lawlessness."

The LNP and ALP aren't going to repeal Queensland's anti rights (bikie) laws, and they and their buddies in media and academia are spinning bullshit - the Stafford by-election was an unpopularity contest

West Australian [21/7/14]:

A political analyst says the Queensland premier will probably lose his seat at the next election.

The Newman government will review its anti-bikie laws and controversial changes to Queensland's corruption watchdog after a savage by-election defeat.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls says Monday's cabinet meeting will discuss possible changes to some of the government's tougher "reforms", which have caused concern in the electorate.

Mr Nicholls says the review shows the government is willing to listen to the "feedback" voters provided at Saturday's Stafford by-election.


What happened to the promised drought relief for Queensland farmers Senator Joyce?

Daily Mercury [21/7/14]:

Aussie mateship is highly valued in the Pioneer Valley where hundreds of hay bales donated by compassionate farmers are being trucked west to Longreach to help drought-affected farmers.

With just 12 members, the Pioneer Valley Rotary Club may be small in number, but they are big in heart, as the club got behind a heavy-lift effort on Saturday to load dozens of heavy 1.2m-wide bales onto semi- trailers.

Loading got under way at a Finch Hatton property at 7am before moving on to Mirani.

Rotary clubs and groups like Aussie Helpers have now raised $55,000 to get hay and other useful products like molasses and dog food out to Longreach as part of a "care package" for a special Hay Day event on August 2.

None of the generous farmers wants publicity, being only too pleased to know their hay is going to where it is so desperately needed.

Project manager Ron Poulsen said the club became involved when a Rotary member told others about a desperate mate on a western property who shot all his hungry cattle then took his own life. Mr Poulsen said it was important to offer such moral support to farm families so they knew people cared.

The Pioneer Valley farmers would donate 700 bales by the Hay Day event when the feed and other goods will be given out to needy farm families.

"This will be ongoing. We will launch another project and we will not let it die as long as they need help," Mr Poulsen said.

The donated hay could not have been transported without the help of trucking company Crokers Fuels, which gave 200 litres of fuel and was supplying another 800 litres at discount.

He said people could give dog and chook food for the care packages at Mitre 10 stores in Sarina, Mackay and Moranbah.

To help or make donations phone Mr Poulsen on 0427 157 499.

Man bashed outside Rockhampton hotel

Morning Bulletin [21/7/14]:

A man in his 20s should have been celebrating his winning after he pocketed $600 from the pokies at a popular south Rockhampton pub. Instead he was nursing serious facial wounds and bruises after two men bashed him outside The Brunswick Hotel on Friday night.

The 24-year-old man from The Range was in the hotel's pokie room when four offenders approached him.

It was around 11.40pm on Friday.

A police media spokeswoman said the offenders told the victim to give them $600 of his pokie winnings.

The offenders then forced the victim outside, where two of them started to punch him.

He received a cut to his upper lip, grazes to his arm and bruising on the left side of his face, the spokeswoman said.

The Queensland Ambulance Service did not transport him to Rockhampton Hospital.

Police are aware of the suspects and want to speak with the two men, who are known to the victim.

On Saturday, Rockhampton CIB detectives obtained CCTV footage of the offenders and are continuing with their investigation.

They are urging anyone who saw the attack, or knows any information, to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or 131 444.

Burnt body found in Picnic Point park: Man's remains 'may have been moved' to Lambeth Reserve

ABC [21/7/14]:

Police are looking into the possibility that a dead man was taken into a Sydney park, dumped and then set alight.

A council worker found the man's body while opening the gates to Lambeth Reserve in Picnic Point just after 5am (AEST).

A post-mortem examination is expected to take place later today on the badly-burnt remains.
Superintendent David Eardley said it appeared the body was carried into the park from another location during the night.

He said it was a grisly discovery in an unlikely location.

"This is a very safe community," he said.

"There's no question about this. I think it would be very presumptuous to suggest anything otherwise.

"The circumstances of this person's unfortunate death is the subject of this investigation and it's certainly no slight on this area."

A local resident said she heard a noise similar to an explosion around 4:30am.

Anyone who may have seen activity in the area are urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Federal and State governments to defend reef plan at Senate Inquiry

There don't appear to be any media outlets covering it, but @fightforthereef is (or was) tweeting from today's hearing.

Noosa News [20/7/14]:

The Federal and Queensland governments will put their case that they are improving the management of the Great Barrier Reef in the first hearing of a Senate inquiry on the reef on Monday.

Bureaucrats from both governments will speak to the inquiry in Brisbane on Monday; among other stakeholders including the seafood, mining and ports industries and environmentalists.

It will be the first of three hearings held across Queensland this week, after a hearing originally scheduled for Gladstone was cancelled due to time constraints for the committee.

In a sign that the state and federal governments are collaborating on the reef's management, they have put together a joint submission arguing much has already been achieved.

One of more than 40 submissions to the inquiry, both government argue they "have made and continue to make, substantial investment and commitment to the protection" of the reef.

The document outlines limited progress on the World Heritage Committee's recommendations, including the "finalisation" of the strategic assessment of the reef and release of a water quality report card.

It also notes that despite six months passing since the independent review of the Port of Gladstone reporting, and several months since the bund wall review was completed, the federal response is still being prepared.

But the submission does not detail how funding cuts at both levels of government have affected the Reef Rescue program, or the resignation or retrenchment of several senior staff have affected the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Other witnesses expected to appear before Monday's hearing including the Queensland Resources Council, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association and independent reef scientists.

Great Barrier Reef Senate Inquiry:

On 25 March 2014, the Senate referred the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report.

The adequacy of the Australian and Queensland Governments’ efforts to stop the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, including but not limited to:

management of the impacts of industrialisation of the reef coastline, including dredging, offshore dumping, and industrial shipping, in particular, but not limited to, current and proposed development in the following regions or locations:

Gladstone Harbour and Curtis Island,
Abbot Point,
Fitzroy Delta, and
Cape Melville and Bathurst Bay;
management of the impacts of agricultural runoff;
management of non-agricultural activities within reef catchments impacting on the reef, including legacy mines, current mining activities and practices, residential and tourism developments, and industrial operations including Yabulu;
ensuring the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has the independence, resourcing and capacity to act in the best interest of the long-term health of the reef;
the adequacy, timeliness and transparency of independent scientific work undertaken to support government decisions impacting the reef;
whether government decision processes impacting the reef are consistent with the precautionary principle;
whether the strategic assessments currently underway are likely to protect the reef from further decline;
the identification and protection of off-limits areas on the reef coastline to help protect the health of the reef;
consistency of efforts with the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations on what is required to protect the reef;
the extent to which government decisions impacting the reef, including development of the strategic assessments and Reef 2050 Plan, involve genuine, open and transparent consultation with the Australian community, affected industries and relevant scientific experts, and genuine consideration of the broader community’s views in final decisions; and
any other related matters.

Submissions should be received by 2 June 2014. The reporting date is 25 June 2014.

On the 14 May 2014 the Senate granted an extension of time to report until 27 August 2014.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Upcoming Public Hearings

21 Jul 2014: BRISBANE,QLD
22 Jul 2014: MACKAY,QLD

Inhumane: Fisherman criticises Queensland shark control

Sunshine Coast Daily [21/7/14]:

Noosa local Bronte Wootton is no stranger to the waters he shares with sharks.

As a keen spear fisherman for the past eight years, the 22-year-old Noosa local is familiar with the shark nets and drum lines that help protect swimmers off our beaches.

But when confronted with three sharks, two bull one tiger, caught on a drum line off Castaways Beach three weeks ago, he thought there had to be a better way.

"I think it's a bit inhumane the way they do it," he said.

"It's slow and painful you think there would be a bit of a better option."

Mr Wootton captured a photo of one of the hooked sharks on his Go Pro which he then posted to his Facebook page.

The image was shared more than 100 times.

"Most people don't know that that's the way it goes," he said.

"I just find it kind of sad the way they go about it and the attitude about it, I think something should be done."

Consisting of a surface buoy anchored to the sea bed, drum lines feature a chain trace and baited hook used to cull a small number of the shark population in an area so there is a more plentiful food source for the other sharks to eat, in turn reducing the incidents of a shark attack.

There are currently 78 drum lines and 11 shark nets off beaches between Bribie Island and Noosa.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry shark control program manager Jeff Krause said drum lines and nets had been on the Sunshine Coast since 1962 and were checked every couple of days, weather permitting.

"We employ shark contractors to service the equipment and take the shark off the hook," he said.

Mr Krause said people occasionally voiced concerns about the use of drum lines and nets, which could trap other marine life, to the department, but said their statistics showed they were not having an unsustainable impact on the shark population.

"We have equipment on less than 0.5% or 1% of the entire Queensland coastline," he said.

"We average between 650 and 700 sharks per year throughout the Queensland coast the stats have remained reasonably static for many years now."

Research has been done into alternative options for shark management including electromagnetic barriers and Clever Buoys, a sonar technology used to detect sharks, but Mr Krause set the technology was still being tested and was not ready to replace the current drum lines.

He said recently installed "pingers" on shark nets had resulted in a 30% reduction in the number of dolphins caught and, so far, a successful reduction in the number of whales.

"We also have a 93% success rate in releasing turtles alive," he said.

If you do see an animal trapped in the shark nets, phone the Shark Control Program hotline on 1800806891.

Bechtel staff set to strike at Curtis Island

Gladstone Observer [19/7/14]:

... The disagreement is not about wages - Bechtel is offering a 13% pay increase - but rather lifestyle conditions such as workers wanting a shorter rotation roster and travel times.

But Bechtel management says it has to maintain the current roster as the entire foundation of the three major gas projects had been built around a four-week-on, one-week-off rotation roster.

The Australian Workers Union resolved in May to support the offer, which needs 50% plus one vote of 7000 employees to get it up, but this week the Fair Work Commission endorsed members from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to take protected industrial action against Bechtel.

CFMEU divisional branch secretary Jade Ingham said fly-in fly-out workers spend up to 29 days away from their families on 4/1 roster which puts enormous pressure on family relationships.

"It's not just about money. Bechtel refuses to acknowledge the Queensland industry standard roster," he said.

"It is causing a great deal of stress for our members and their families."

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said rostering could not change this far into the projects.

"The entire foundation of the projects - the concept, scheduling, funding - has been built around a 4/1 rotation, to make that shift (to 3/1) is a huge impact on the number of people needed to maintain the workforce," he said.

"We're willing to go in that direction but not during the course of these projects.

"Our workers have been exceptional during all of this, we've still been able to maintain our operations throughout the voting etc, they've continued to report to work without interruption."

CFMEU needs to give three days' notice before protected industrial action is attempted. Bechtel can then lock out any workers or sections of people unable to continue their work due to the action.

Workers who voted down the agreement for the second time last month voted themselves out of negotiated back pay to May 1.

Truck roll over closes Gore Highway

Chronicle [21/7/14]:

The Gore Hwy north-east of Goondiwindi was closed temporarily this morning after a truck roll over near Wyaga.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the truck carrying small goods and paint rolled off the highway about 60km north-east of Goondiwindi about 5.20am.

The driver was not injured in the accident.

The truck remained on its side in a table drain beside the highway which was closed while emergency services cleared the scene.

The highway is now open again.

Hundreds in Detroit Protest Over Move to Shut Off Water

New York Times [18/7/14]:

At least 300 demonstrators marched through downtown streets on Friday, protesting a move by the city’s Water Department to force tens of thousands of delinquent customers to pay up or face a cutoff in service.

From the Cobo Center to Hart Plaza on the banks of the Detroit River, protesters chanted, “Fight, fight; water is a human right.” Others carried placards that read “Thirsty for Justice.”

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department began cracking down on accounts in March. The number of delinquencies swelled over the winter when the department, fearing frozen pipes, continued to provide service to customers with past due accounts. From March to June 30, the department interrupted service to 15,200 customers, said Greg Eno, a department spokesman. About 92,000 customers are at risk of having service cut off, meaning they are at least 60 days past due or more than $150 behind.

In a statement released on Friday, however, Kevyn D. Orr, the city’s emergency manager, said that of the accounts where water was suspended, more than half were made current within 24 hours, and service was restored. He said that assistance was available for customers with “demonstrated financial need.”

In March, about half the department’s customers, including businesses, had outstanding balances, amounting to $118 million in charges, the department said.

One protester, Valerie Blakely, said a truck with “Detroit Water Collections Project” lettered on its side stopped by her house on Monday. She said that she kept workers from disconnecting her service, but that they turned off the water to nearly every house on her block.

“I told them they weren’t shutting mine off today, and put my foot over the access point,” said Ms. Blakely, who lives in Detroit with her husband and four children. She said she fell behind while trying to keep her house warm during one of the worst winters in Michigan history. Ms. Blakely, who owes about $1,000 on her water bill, said her neighbors are up in arms.

“They were all out in the street, not knowing what to do, not knowing how they were going to cook,” she said.

Tyrone Travis, a former General Motors autoworker who owns his home, said he, too, faced service interruption because of a $700 bill. “I’m on a fixed income like a lot of Detroiters, and by the time I get through buying medicine, gas and a little food, I just don’t have it,” he said.

Rome Adams works for Go Detroit, a community organization that is helping to get bottled water to affected residents. “This morning I went to one block and some people across the street who saw me with water came running out of their houses to see if I could give them some,” he said.

“I’ve lived in Detroit my whole life,” Mr. Adams said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Mr. Eno declined to comment on the rally, but said the number of customers who had made arrangements to avoid a loss of service rose to 17,000 through June from 11,000 in February. “This is what we’ve wanted,” he said. People are getting the message.”

The step up in shut-offs has riled many residents in a city that filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago and is seeking revenue where it can. On Tuesday, Steven W. Rhodes, the federal bankruptcy judge handling the case, said the city’s enforcement program was damaging Detroit’s reputation and called on the city to better address the issue. Mr. Orr defended the department’s efforts, saying customers could make arrangements to pay.

Actor Mark Ruffalo among hundreds of demonstrators protesting Detroit water cutoffs [M Live - 18/7/14]

Intimate partner homicide, the media and the Baden-Clay case

He has been tried before a jury of his peers and found guilty.

Conversation [15/7/14]:

Terry Goldsworthy - Assistant Professor, Criminology at Bond University

When Brisbane man Gerard Baden-Clay rang police to report his wife Allison missing on April 20, 2012, he set in motion a series of events that would lead to his arrest, trial and ultimately his conviction for her murder. He has been sentenced to life in prison.

But why did this particular domestic homicide case grab the attention of the media and the public? What made it different from the many other domestic homicides that occur? And how prevalent is intimate partner homicide in Australia?

In 2013, the National Homicide Monitoring program released data that showed that 36% (or 185) of all homicides in Australia between 2008 and 2010 were domestic-related.

Of those, 66% (122) were classified as being committed by an intimate partner. However, there has been a 16% decrease in domestic homicides since 2007-08. Unsurprisingly, 143 domestic homicides took place in a residential setting, most often the victim’s home.

The most common causes of death in domestic homicides were stab wounds (43%), beatings (36%), gunshot wounds (10%) and strangulation (9%). Of interest are the motives present in domestic homicides. In 49% of domestic homicides a domestic argument was the apparent motive. Other motives, to a far lesser extent, are jealousy (2%), money (1%) and termination of the relationship (5%).

Research conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology showed that between 1998 and 2008 107 intimate partner homicides were reported in Queensland. While intimate partner homicide may be the ultimate expression of domestic violence, in many cases it is not preceded by any incidents of reported domestic violence. Only one in three of the Queensland cases had an identified history of domestic violence.

In any murder investigation, the first 24 hours are crucial for police to move from a low-information state to a high-information state. The information can relate to motives, profiling of the victim, financial background, friends, associates, movements of the victim and suspect, and opportunities for the offence to be committed.

An additional challenge in intimate partner homicide is that often the primary and initial source of information about the victim is the potential offender. This is particularly so where the victim is reported “missing” or there is no obvious cause of death. This can hinder investigations.

Intimate partner homicide poses unique challenges for investigators. In the Baden-Clay case, a crucial issue was actually determining if an offence had been committed or if Allison had merely gone missing and suffered an untimely death. Allison Baden-Clay’s body was not located for ten days. When it was, forensic examination did not provide a clear cause of death.

In some intimate partner homicide cases, the crucial evidence is not so much showing what the offender did, but rather showing that the offender lied in their version of events provided to police. In essence, the case becomes circumstantial. This is where motive becomes important.

In many intimate partner homicide cases, physical and forensic evidence will be of little value given the existence of a relationship and the context surrounding the evidence found. For instance, DNA will be of little use in an intimate partner homicide investigation where the victim and suspect live in the same house.

The Baden-Clay investigation and trial have made for great media fodder. It has featured as front-page news both at the state and national level, feeding the public’s insatiable appetite for a blow-by-blow description of Allison’s mysterious disappearance and the trial itself.

Media stories, in particular crime stories, increase in social value and sell better when they include violence, notoriety, sexual connotations, scandal and children. The Baden-Clay case had them all. Even more enticing were the daily police briefings during the investigation and live blogging during the trial, both of which fit perfectly into the daily news cycle.

It had all the hallmarks of a captivating whodunit case. That there was no obvious cause of death, a glamorous victim, the mistress, the failing financial situation, and to some degree the facade of a happy normal couple only added to the intrigue.

The drip feeding of information both during the investigation and the trial also maintained the intense public interest. For example, so much was made of the scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face to the extent that official police photos were displayed in the media in the early stages of the case to highlight how unlikely they were to have come from a shaving accident.

To some extent, this case has proven to be a classic example of trial-by-media. Public opinion has no doubt been influenced by the blanket media coverage.

But this murder was not about sensationalist media stories. Rather, it was about a mother lost to her daughters and other family members. Since the beginning of this investigation, Gerard Baden-Clay has featured as the only plausible person responsible for his wife’s death, despite the cause of death being unclear.

He has been tried before a jury of his peers and found guilty.

While justice may have been served, there are no winners in this case.

Fighting intensifies in Libya, airport control at stake

CNN [20/7/14]:

Fierce fighting raged on the outskirts of Tripoli on Sunday as militias continued to battle for control of the airport in what's being called the worst fighting in Libya since the 2011 revolution.

Clashes were concentrated around the airport, the airport road and a number of residential areas where militias have fought over the past week, residents said.

At least five people have been killed, one local official said.

The latest assaults were launched by militias from the city of Misrata and an Islamist militia umbrella group in the capital known as the "Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room."

The airport has been under the control of militia from the Western Mountains city of Zintan for the past three years.

According to residents in different parts of Tripoli, thick plumes of black smoke rose from the direction of the airport and large blasts and gunfire echoed across the city.

Speaking by phone to Libyan television on Sunday, a spokesman for the municipal council of Qasr Bin Ghasheer, the area around the airport, said at least five people from the area had been killed in the fighting so far.

The spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, said it was hard to get an accurate casualty figure because of the intensity of fighting and limited movement in the area.

"Shells are falling on houses, children are terrified and most people have evacuated. Our area is suffering," he told the privately run al-Nabaa TV.

There was no official overall casualty figure for the fighting in other areas impacted over the last seven days.

At the airport, the Libyan government said 90% of planes parked there were damaged and images on social media showed various parts of the facility destroyed.

The United Nations and other international organizations and businesses have temporarily evacuated staff from Libya.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli said in a statement that some rounds from the fighting have hit near the compound, but all personnel "are safe and accounted for." It called for an end to the violence.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, Tarek Mitri, head of its mission in Libya, issued a stark warning.

"As the number of military actors mobilizing and consolidating their presence within the capital continues to grow, there is a mounting sense of a probable imminent and significant escalation in the conflict. The stakes are high for all sides," Mitri said.

"We are in the middle of an all-out confrontation between two major rival groups in the Libyan capital. That confrontation, born out of the deep political polarization, is playing itself out at the country's international airport." Mitri said.

Libya's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz also addressed the Security Council. He warned of Libya heading toward becoming a "failed state."

Abdulaziz said Libya needed more international support and asked the United Nations to consider a "stabilization and institution-building mission."

He insisted that his country was not requesting foreign military intervention.

The Libyan Interim Government said earlier in the week it was discussing the possibility of requesting international forces.

Three years after the revolution and NATO military intervention that overthrew the Gadhafi regime, a weak central government has been outgunned by increasingly powerful militias.

The militia fighting for control of the airport from the city of Zintan and Misrata are among the most heavily armed in the country.

Cholera kills six in northern Nigeria

France 24 [20/7/14]:

A cholera outbreak in northern Nigeria's Kano State has killed six people and infected scores, the state health commissioner said Sunday, although a local charity put the toll higher.

"Six people died out of the 46 cases recorded," Abubakar Labaran Yusuf told AFP of the outbreak this week in Kafin Dalawa village, 70 kilometres (43 miles) outside the state capital of Kano.

Contaminated water in the area was the most likely cause, he said, adding that teams had been dispatched to clean water sources and supply drugs.

But a local medical charity put the toll higher, saying at least 16 people had died and the outbreak was threatening to become a pandemic.

"We have recorded 16 deaths from the cholera outbreak in the past six days, which has so far infected 701 people with 20 severe cases," Surajo Alkassim of ISMA Medicare Initiatives told AFP.

He said the organisation had been treating patients in a make-shift hospital in the village since the outbreak.

"The outbreak is becoming a pandemic in the area because patients are trooping from neighbouring villages, which is putting a strain on our team and medical supplies," Alkassim said.

Cholera, a highly contagious intestinal infection, is transmitted by water soiled by human waste. The disease leads to diarrhoea, dehydration and death if untreated.

Outbreaks are most common during the rainy season, which roughly runs from April to October in Nigeria.

100 Palestinians killed in Israeli assault on Sunday alone

Palestinian analysts expressed astonishment at Israel claims that 1.7 million Gaza residents had been warned to leave their homes, asking: "Where in the world can they go?"

Maan [20/7/14]:

Israeli forces killed at least 100 Palestinians on Sunday including 66 in a single neighborhood of Gaza City, bringing the 13-day death toll to 437.

The assault on Gaza -- which has also left 18 Israels dead -- is the largest and deadliest attack on the besieged coastal enclave since 2008. More than 200 Palestinians have died since the ground invasion began on Thursday.

On Sunday, 66 bodies were recovered from the Shujaiyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, in what medical authorities called a "massacre" and a level of violence not seen before in the ongoing conflict.

At least 500 Palestinians were injured in Israeli attacks on Wednesday, with the total surpassing 3,000 as Gazan hospitals struggled to cope with the surge and facing shortages of medical supplies, doctors, and hospital beds.

Hospitals were also facing continuous power cuts, as electricity has fallen by more than 70 percent as a result of Israeli shelling and the siege itself, which even prior to the assault had reduced electricity availability to eight-hour stints.

60 thousand Gazans fled their homes on Sunday alone amid the mass killing in the Shujaiyya neighborhood, adding to a total number of displaced that has now hit 135,000.

Sources familiar with the situation argued, however, that there is not a single place safe from Israeli attack in the besieged coastal enclave, as shelling from land and sea as well as air strikes have not left any region untouched.

Palestinian analysts expressed astonishment at Israel claims that 1.7 million Gaza residents had been warned to leave their homes, asking: "Where in the world can they go?"

Israel has kept its border with Gaza shut tight to the flight of refugees, while Egypt has also maintained the seven-year-old Israeli-led blockade of the Strip by keeping its border closed as well.

Earlier in the day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the operation would continue until quiet was restored in southern Israel.

Operation Protective Edge was launched 13 days ago in what Israel said was an attempt to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which had increased after Israel launched a massive operation in the West Bank that left 10 Palestinians dead, 130 injured, and more than 600 Hamas-affiliated individuals in prison.

The operation, named "Brother's Keeper," was launched in order to find three Israeli teenagers who disappeared in June from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion in the West Bank.

Israel blamed Hamas for the kidnapping without any evidence, a charge which the group denied.

On Sunday afternoon, Israeli shelling fully resumed after a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire that it violated numerous times, and dozens more had been killed in the Gaza Strip as a result.

Rayan Taysir Abu Jami, 8, and an elderly woman named Fatima Mahmoud Abu Jami were killed and three injured in an air strike on Khan Younis on Sunday evening, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra.

Eight Palestinians were also killed in Israeli air strike on house in al-Ramal.

The dead were named by Al-Qidra as Samar Osama al-Hallaq,29, Kinan Akram al-Hallaq, 5, Hani Mohammad al-Hallaq, 29, Suad Mohammad al-Hallaq, 62, Saji al-Hallaq, Ibrahim Khalil Omar, Ahmad Yassin, and an 8th person, who was unnamed.

A man and woman, meanwhile, were killed in a strike on the Atatra house in Beit Lahiya.

Medical sources said Ahmad Abu Tayim, 27, died of injuries sustained on an airstrike on al-Zana are of Khan Yunis.

Aya Abu Sultan, 15, was killed in a strike on her house northern Gaza Strip.

Another man was killed, while four were injured in another strike on Gaza City earlier in the afternoon.

Palestinian medical sources also said that a child identified as Suleiman Abu Jami was killed in an Israeli raid on Khan Younis in the south.

Five other people were injured in Beit Hanoun in the north.

In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes in the afternoon killed four members of Abu Zayid family in al-Bureij refugee camp after destroying their home over their heads.

Medical sources also said Suleiman Abu Jami was killed in Bani Suheila in Khan Younis. Four others were injured in the same raid including one critically injured.

Al-Qidra said earlier that an elderly woman Najah Saad Addin Darraji, 65, and a 3-year-old boy Abdullah Yousif Darraji were killed in Rafah.

Reporter breaks down in tears while reporting what he saw in Al-Shejaiya [VIDEO - 20/7/14]

Ban meets with Abbas in Qatar, reiterates call for immediate ceasefire

The UN chief had been studying a request by Mr. Abbas which would place Palestine under an international protection system administered by the UN, according to the UN's top political official, Jeffrey Feltman.

UN Media Release [20/7/14]:

As the fighting raged in Gaza, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today met with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Doha, the first leg of his Middle East tour which aims to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians and help bring about a ceasefire.

“As I travel the region, I will continue to press for an [immediate] ceasefire – an immediate end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the rocket fire by Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Mr. Ban said at a press conference alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya.

He reiterated his demand that all sides respect international humanitarian law and put and stop the ongoing violence.

“While I was en route to Doha, dozens more civilians, including children, have been killed in Israeli military strikes in the Shejaiyah neighborhood in Gaza,” Mr. Ban said. “I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians.”

According to media reports, at least 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli Defence Forces were killed today in what is being called the bloodiest fighting to date in the nearly two-week offensive.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) said that 81,000 displaced people had now taken refuge in 61 UNRWA shelters in Gaza.

“This figure far exceeds the number seeking refuge with us in the 2008/9 conflict and it is continuing to rise,” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in an emailed statement.

Mr. Ban and other senior UN officials have repeatedly said that the only way to avoid the cycle of violence and the perpetual insecurity in the region can be to address the root causes of the conflict.

They have also urged a return to the negotiating table and talks for a two-State solution.

“Israelis, but also Palestinians, need to feel a sense of security,” Mr. Ban said at today's press conference.

“Palestinians, but also Israelis, need to see a horizon of hope.”

The UN chief had been studying a request by Mr. Abbas which would place Palestine under an international protection system administered by the UN, according to the UN's top political official, Jeffrey Feltman.

During the press conference, Mr. Ban said that he looked forward to the meeting with Mr. Abbas which would “continue our discussions and find the way to peace.”

Mr. Ban heads next to Kuwait City, followed by Cairo, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman before returning to New York by the end of the week, according to his spokesperson.

Mr. Ban has said he may change his schedule to visit “some other countries wherever I need to be.”

We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about.

Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush - 10 April, 2003

Reuters [20/7/14]:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out what he called overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as international horror deepened over the fate of the victims' remains.

Kerry demanded that Moscow take responsibility for actions of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine whom Washington suspects of downing the jet with a missile, and expressed disgust at their "grotesque" mishandling of the bodies.


In Washington, Kerry criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and threatened "additional steps" against Moscow.

"Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site," he said on NBC television on Sunday. "What's happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do."


RT [20/7/14]:

Items presumed to be the data recorders from the crashed Malaysian plane have been found and delivered to Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, according to the leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk.

“Aircraft parts looking like black boxes were found at the site of the plane crash. They are currently in Donetsk, in the People’s Republic’s (DPR) government headquarters, under my personal control,” Aleksandr Boroday, the republic’s prime minister, told reporters.

The self-defense forces are ready to hand the data recorders over to international monitors “in case they arrive,” he said.

Boroday said that the found items “cannot be given” to Kiev representatives since in that case they could possibly damage them to “falsify the results [of the recordings].”

Another official for the DPR, Sergey Kavtaradze, said that what he thought were the flight recorders looked undamaged on the outside. He added that since there are no aviation experts in the DPR, they cannot be absolutely sure that the found items are the black boxes. The items will be passed to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which will lead the investigation into the crash of flight MH17.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman said that Kiev had suspected that the boxes were in rebels’ hands for several days, Reuters cited.

A group of international experts has yet to arrive at the site of the tragedy. They are expected to be in the region on Sunday evening, according to DPR’s Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Purgin.

“A huge crowd of experts are sitting in Kiev for some reason and. They will probably come here only on Sunday,” Purgin told Russian News Service on Saturday.

Earlier, the DPR said it would guarantee the safety of specialists investigating the plane crash in the area if Kiev agrees to a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, observed Sunday a train with bodies of the plane MH17 crash victims which are to be sent to Donetsk.

So far, 223 bodies of passengers killed in the Boeing 777 crash on July 17 have been recovered. The Malaysia Airlines plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board, including 15 crew members. The search operation in the conflict-torn east Ukrainian region is continuing.

OSCE Monitors Inspect Train with Bodies of MH17 Air Crash Victims [RIA Novosti - 20/7/14]

Train with 198 Bodies of Boeing Crash Victims Leaves for Donetsk [RIA Novosti - 20/7/14]

At conference, UNAIDS chief calls for end to 'hypocrisy' in fighting HIV/AIDS

He urged world leaders to “stop the hypocrisy and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

UN Media Release [20/7/14]:

The head of the United Nations agency dealing with HIV and AIDS today urged world leaders at an international conference in Australia to end the hypocrisy on sex and make treatment and reproductive health education universally available.

In his opening remarks to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) received wide applause when he declared, “I'm calling for an end to AIDS by 2030.”

He urged world leaders to “stop the hypocrisy and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

The five-day conference is being held under the banner of “Stepping up the pace.” It is being held as the international community is pushing towards accelerated progress on the eight anti-poverty goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and laying the foundation for a sustainable development agenda that will begin after their 2015 deadline.

“The post-2015 agenda should explicitly embrace human rights,” Mr. Sidibé said underscoring the importance of equal access to health and HIV/AIDS treatment for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

In his video message for the occasion, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “tackling AIDS will help end extreme poverty, address underlying issues and advance universal healthcare.”

Mr. Ban also paid his “highest tribute” to the people traveling to the conference who were killed in the crash of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine. Among the casualties was a staff member of the World Health Organization (WHO), Glenn Thomas.

“In the epidemic's early days, affective groups and civil society refused to accept defeat,” Mr. Ban said.

“Now, let us take strength in the commitment of those who are no longer with us and carry on their work to realize a world free of AIDS by 2030.”

Also killed in the crash was Joep Lange, the former head of the International AIDS Society.

In his address, Mr. Sidibé called Mr. Lange, his “friend and mentor” who inspired him in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

On the sidelines of the conference, UNAIDS organized the inaugural 'Cities for Social Transformation' meeting where participants from cities and local leadership agreed to work towards meeting UNAIDS's goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.

“They have the resources and the architecture to deliver essential social and health services,” said Mr. Sidibé, adding that it is time to focus on local epidemics and city governments as the driving force of change.

“They are the catalyst for forging new partnerships between communities, civil society and government.

“We will not end the AIDS epidemic without harnessing the power of cities,” he underscored.

The event included mayors and representatives of 18 cities, governors, senior members of parliament, health ministers, a Head of State and senior health professionals.

The leaders committed to a rapid scale-up of prevention, treatment, care and support programmes, as well as addressing the needs of people at higher risk of HIV infection.

Snowden seeks to develop anti-surveillance technologies

Yahoo [20/7/14]:

Edward Snowden, a former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of major U.S. surveillance programs, called on supporters at a hacking conference to spur development of easy-to-use technologies to subvert government surveillance programs around the globe.

Snowden, who addressed conference attendees on Saturday via video link from Moscow, said he intends to devote much of his time to promoting such technologies, including ones that allow people to communicate anonymously and encrypt their messages.

"You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programs and protocols by which we rely every day," he told the New York City conference, known as Hackers On Planet Earth, or HOPE.

"That is what a lot of my future work is going to be involved in," he told hundreds of hackers who crowded into an auditorium and overflow rooms to hear him speak from Moscow, where he fled to last year.

He escaped the United States after leaking documents that detailed massive U.S. surveillance programs at home and abroad - revelations that outraged some Americans and sparked protests from countries around the globe.

Snowden did not discuss the status of a request he made earlier this month to extend his Russian visa, which expires at the end of July. The United States wants Russia to send him home to face criminal charges, including espionage.

At the HOPE hacking conference, several talks detailed approaches for thwarting government surveillance, including a system known as SecureDrop that is designed to allow people to anonymously leak documents to journalists.

Attorneys with the Electronic Frontier Foundation answered questions about pending litigation with the NSA, including efforts to stop collection of phone records that were disclosed through Snowden's leaks.

Snowden is seen as a hero by a large segment of the community of hackers attending the HOPE conference, which includes computer experts, anti-surveillance activists, artists and other types of hackers.

The conference featured about 100 presentations on topics ranging from surveillance to hacking elevators and home routers.

Suspected Islamists kill more than 40 in northeast Nigeria

Reuters [20/7/14]:

Suspected Islamists raided the remote northeast Nigerian town of Damboa over the weekend, shooting dead more than 40 residents and burning down houses in a familiar pattern of killing that has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes this year.

Witnesses and a security source said the gunmen, thought to be members of Boko Haram, struck before dawn on Saturday. They added that the near total lack of phone network meant no one could call for help.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, has relentlessly targeted civilians this year, mostly in the remote, hilly region bordering northern Cameroon.

Survivor Abdul Bulama, a resident who fled Damboa to the nearby town of Biu, said 46 bodies had been recovered for burial. A security source in Maiduguri, the main city in the northeast and birthplace of the insurgency, said more than 40 had died.

"Everybody is in fear now that Boko Haram may return for more attacks," Bulama said. "The town is deserted."

Damboa has been attacked before this year, and Bulama said life was just "getting back to normal".

A military operation in the northeast has so far failed to quell the rebellion and has triggered reprisal attacks that are increasingly targeting civilians, after they formed vigilante groups to try to help the government flush out the militants.

The sect sees all who do not believe in its austere brand of militant Sunni Islam as enemies who must be killed.

A wave of bombs across the country since April, including three in the capital Abuja and one in the commercial hub of Lagos, in the southwest, have demonstrated their ability to strike across Africa's top oil producer and biggest economy.

More than 200 school girls kidnapped by the rebels last month remain in captivity.

Rescue workers find bodies of 18 asylum seekers on overcrowded migrant boat

Daily Mail [20/7/14]:

The bodies of 18 people were found yesterday by rescuers on board an overcrowded migrant boat.

Italian and Maltese naval vessels assisted by a passing Danish cargo ship rescued some 400 migrants from the smugglers' boat in waters between Malta and Libya - and found the bodies inside.

The Italian Coast Guard said one rescued migrant died on board one of its Coast Guard motorboats, raising the death toll to 19. Maltese authorities said many of the bodies were in the vessel's hold.

There was no word on the nationality of the survivors, who were taken to Italy. Malta said that since Thursday some 5,000 migrants have been rescued by Italy, many with Maltese help.

Italian authorities said engine fume inhalation was the apparent cause of death in this case. The boat was spotted in the night by a Danish ship south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The Maltese military was immediately alerted and requested assistance from Italian coast guard to help rescue the asylum-seekers from the wooden 82ft (25m) boat.

Two other merchant ships passing by were also scrambled. Two of the migrants were evacuated by helicopter to hospital in Palermo in Sicily in a serious condition.

Meanwhile a merchant vessel, the Panamanian-flagged City of Sidon, arrived in Porto Empedocle port in Sicily on Saturday with 61 migrants on board - the survivors of another shipwreck tragedy close to Libyan waters.

Their boat was found on Thursday 36 nautical miles north of Tripoli and it sank as they were being rescued with 102 people on board, meaning that 41 are feared dead.

The survivors were from Gambia, Ghana and Mali. Another merchant ship, the Liberian-flagged Jamila was also headed for Porto Empedocle with 206 migrants on board.

A navy warship also arrived yesterday in the port of Salerno with 2,186 migrants rescued in recent days, hailing from Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Somalia and Syria.

The navy said a second warship had begun another rescue of a migrant boat south of Lampedusa, which is Italy's southernmost point and is closer to the African continent than mainland Italy.

There has been a sharp rise in migrant landings in recent weeks because of the calm summer weather and growing lawlessness in Libya, with hundreds of migrants now being intercepted by Italian authorities every day.

Around 80,000 migrants are now believed to have landed in Italy so far this year - higher than the previous record of some 60,000 arriving in 2011 at the height of the turmoil triggered by the Arab Spring revolutions.

Carlotta Sami, a spokesman in Italy for the UN refugee agency, told RaiNews24: ‘The conditions of these journeys are becoming ever more perilous and are killing dozens of people every day.

Over the past 48 hours we have seen uninterrupted rescues by merchant vessels, military ships and the coast guard. There is a huge number of boats on their way.’

Most of the migrants come from Eritrea, Somalia and Syria but there are also asylum-seekers arriving from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of Asia as well as sub-Saharan Africa.

Thousands have died in the crossings, either by drowning, dehydration or being suffocated by toxic fumes.

Earlier this month, Italian officials discovered the bodies of 45 migrants in the hold of a fishing boat, where they appeared to have suffocated after being locked in by traffickers.

Bernard Tomic beats Ivo Karlovic to win ATP tournament in Bogota

ABC [21/7/14]:

Bernard Tomic has beaten world number 29 Ivo Karlovic to win the ATP event in Bogota, Colombia in three sets on Monday morning.

Tomic came through a 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) winner against a player ranked 95 rungs above him in ATP standings.

Tomic took the first set in a tie-break, before Karlovic hit back to win the second set and level the match.

Both players exchanged breaks of serve in the opening two games of the deciding set, before the match went to a deciding tie-break.

Tomic won a crucial sixth point against serve to take a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, before holding both of his serves to eventually win the decider 7-4 for his second career ATP title.

Armed robbery – Helensvale

QPS Media [21/7/14]:

Police are investigating the armed robbery of a bottle shop at Helensvale last night.

Around 6.20pm a man entered the Siganto Drive premises and picked up a bottle of alcohol from the shelf.

The man attended the counter and place down the bottle before reaching down and producing a hatchet from a bag. He made demands for money but the store attendant refused to hand over any cash.

The offender grabbed the bottle of alcohol and ran out of the store. He was seen to get into a stolen grey 2012 Hyundai i20 with Queensland registration 326 SMC being driven by a woman.

No one was injured during the robbery.

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 house fire, Eagleby

QPS Media [21/7/14]:

Police are investigating a suspicious house fire that occurred last night in Eagleby.

Around 7.15pm, police were called to the Swallow Street address after a neighbour heard a loud bang and saw flames coming from the residence.

Witnesses reported seeing a white van bearing South Australian registration S792AVE flee the scene shortly after noticing the fire.

No one was home at the time of the incident, but the blaze caused significant damage to the house.

Police guarded the scene overnight, and will conduct forensic examinations this morning.

Police are urging anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious behaviour or seen the white van in the vicinity of Eagleby last night to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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.

Shooting incident, Camira

QPS Media [20/7/14]:

Police are currently investigating an incident that occurred this evening at Camira in which a man appears to have sustained a single gunshot wound to his leg.

Officers were called to Ron Street, Camira at around 6.10pm following reports of a man with a gunshot wound.

The man has been transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with a leg wound.

It is believed the man was standing on Ron Street when the incident occurred.

A crime scene has been declared at this location and police are asking for people to avoid the area.

Investigations are continuing.

No further information is available at this time.

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

Serious assault police charges, Wavell Heights [QPS Media - 20/7/14]

Look how many people travel on public transport when it's free

Around 5.30 PM, Surfers Paradise - still packed in like sardines! [20/7/14]

The Gold Coast Light Rail should be free ALL the time - it's only fair after what construction has done to local business from Southport to Broadbeach.

Economist [19/6/13]:

... But making the buses free could work even better.

It's not as crazy as it sounds. Fares bring in a lot of money, but they cost money to collect—6% of the MTA's budget, according to a 2007 report in New York magazine.

Fare boxes and turnstiles have to be maintained; buses idle while waiting for passengers to pay up, wasting fuel; and everyone loses time. Proof-of-payment systems don't solve the problem of fare-collection costs as they require inspectors and other staff to handle enforcement, paperwork and payment processing.

Making buses and subways free, on the other hand, would increase passenger numbers, opening up space on the streets for essential traffic and saving time by reducing road congestion.

In New York, the idea of free buses and subways dates back to at least 1965, when Ted Kheel, a lawyer, first floated the idea—and pushed for a doubling of bridge and tunnel fares to make up for lost revenue. Kheel died in 2010, but the modern version of his plan, which would include a congestion charge for cars and trucks entering the Manhattan business district, lives on.


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30 November 2013 29 November 2013 28 November 2013 26 November 2013 25 November 2013 24 November 2013 23 November 2013 22 November 2013 21 November 2013 20 November 2013 19 November 2013 18 November 2013 16 November 2013 15 November 2013 14 November 2013 13 November 2013 12 November 2013 10 November 2013 7 November 2013 6 November 2013 5 November 2013 4 November 2013 2 November 2013 1 November 2013

30 October 2013 29 October 2013 27 October 2013 25 October 2013 23 October 2013 22 October 2013 20 October 2013 17 October 2013 15 October 2013 13 October 2013 11 October 2013 8 October 2013 6 October 2013 4 October 2013 3 October 2013 2 October 2013

30 September 2013 28 September 2013 26 September 2013 25 September 2013 24 September 2013 22 September 2013 20 September 2013 17 September 2013 13 September 2013 11 September 2013 10 September 2013 8 September 2013 6 September 2013 5 September 2013 3 September 2013 2 September 2013 1 September 2013

2 August 2013 4 August 2013 5 August 2013 7 August 2013 10 August 2013 13 August 2013 14 August 2013 16 August 2013 17 August 2013 18 August 2013 19 August 2013 21 August 2013 23 August 2013 25 August 2013 26 August 2013 28 August 2013 31 August 2013

2 July 2013 5 July 2013 7 July 2013 10 July 2013 12 July 2013 14 July 2013 16 July 2013 19 July 2013 21 July 2013 23 July 2013 25 July 2013 26 July 2013 28 July 2013 30 July 2013

2 June 2013 4 June 2013 5 June 2013 7 June 2013 9 June 2013 12 June 2013 16 June 2013 17 June 2013 20 June 2013 23 June 2013 26 June 2013 30 June 2013

5 May 2013 6 May 2013 12 May 2013 15 May 2013 17 May 2013 19 May 2013 22 May 2013 26 May 2013 28 May 2013 29 May 2013

7 April 2013 14 April 2013 21 April 2013 28 April 2013

February 2013

6 January 2013 13 January 2013 20 January 2013 27 January 2013

2 December 2012 9 December 2012 16 December 2012 23 December 2012 30 December 2012

4 November 2012 11 November 2012 18 November 2012 25 November 2012

7 October 2012 14 October 2012 21 October 2012 28 October 2012

2 September 2012 9 September 2012 16 September 2012 23 September 2012 30 September 2012

5 August 2012 12 August 2012 19 August 2012 26 August 2012

1 July 2012 8 July 2012 15 July 2012 22 July 2012 29 July 2012

3 June 2012 10 June 2012 17 June 2012 24 June 2012

6 May 2012 13 May 2012 20 May 2012 27 May 2012

1 April 2012 8 April 2012 15 April 2012 22 April 2012 29 April 2012

4 March 2012 11 March 2012 18 March 2012 25 March 2012

5 February 2012 12 February 2012 19 February 2012 26 February 2012

1 January 2012 8 January 2012 15 January 2012 22 January 2012 29 January 2012

4 December 2011 11 December 2011 18 December 2011 25 December 2011

6 November 2011 13 November 2011 20 November 2011 27 November 2011

2 October 2011 9 October 2011 16 October 2011 23 October 2011 30 October 2011

4 September 2011 11 September 2011 18 September 2011 25 September 2011

7 August 2011 14 August 2011 21 August 2011 28 August 2011

3 July 2011 10 July 2011 17 July 2011 24 July 2011 31 July 2011

5 June 2011 12 June 2011 19 June 2011 26 June 2011

29 May 2011 21 May 2011 14 May 2011 7 May 2011

January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011

January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010

January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009

June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008

May 2008 April 2008

March 2008 February 2008 January 2008

December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007

December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 2005




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