Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Detainees moved off Manus Island

Papua New Guinea's Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Petrus Thomas, claims that only nine people remain at the asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island. Transfers have reportedly occurred daily since last week, with most asylum seekers moved to Port Moresby, including journalist and author Behrouz Boochani, who has written detailed accounts of the issues facing detainees. The refugees are being kept in hotels, but have been told accommodation facilities are being prepared. Shaminda Kanapathi, a Sri Lankan refugee, told the ABC it was the first time he had set foot outside Manus Island for almost six years. “I came to Manus not knowing my future and today I leave Manus, not knowing my future,” he said. Of the men deemed non-refugees, 53 have been put in a detention centre in Port Moresby. Concerns have been raised that the centre’s detainees are denied contact with the outside world, including with their families and lawyers. The Refugee Action Coalition accused the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments of merely “shifting the detention deckchairs” as they race to close Manus.

Gladys Liu China connections: The Liberal MP Gladys Liu has said she “cannot recall” being a member of two organisations connected to Chinese political influence operations. In an interview with Andrew Bolt on Sky News on Tuesday night, Liu suggested that her name had been put down as a member of two provincial chapters of the China Overseas Exchange Association, as revealed by the ABC, without her knowledge. In the interview she also refused to condemn Beijing's actions in the South China Sea as unlawful. 

Perth skyscraper parachuters: A 35-year-old Scarborough man has been summonsed to appear in court on a trespass charge, after a team of BASE jumpers disguised in business suits made it to the roof of Perth's 40-storey Exchange Tower on Tuesday before leaping off the edge. A car wanted in relation to the incident was tracked down to a house in North Perth, where the man was found. Police are calling on the public for help in identifying the three others. Alex Bennett, who works on the ninth floor of a nearby building, said he saw the jumpers land.“I was just doing my work and out of the corner of my eye I saw something strange,” he said. “I walked over to the window and saw one dude landing right here with a parachute and I was like, ‘What the hell?’”

West Bank annexation: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has detailed plans to annex almost 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank if he wins re-election next week, in a speech broadcast live on Israeli TV on Tuesday. About 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the area. Netanyahu said he was waiting to annex the territory “in maximum co-ordination with [Donald] Trump,”, suggesting the US President would soon release a Middle East peace plan that does not include a Palestinian state. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Netanyahu was a “a prime destroyer of the peace process”.

Christian Porter’s integrity commission
As ICAC exposes apparent corruption in NSW, focus is drawn on the government’s integrity commission, which, among other things, could not make findings of corruption. Mike Seccombe on anti-corruption legislation and how politicians avoid scrutiny.


“Dutton made scathing accusations against refugees, saying they self-harm only so they can come to Australia using the medevac laws. He claims advocates push them to engage in these acts. Dutton has always attacked the victims, rather than provide explanations for their actions. But his rhetoric is damaging for many reasons, not least because it denies refugees agency. He assumes advocates are influencing their decisions. He thinks of refugees as people empty of political will.” Lifeline 13 11 14


“Change arrives in the form of Father Ignatius (Sam Reid), an officious interloper despatched by a scheming bishop (John Bell) looking to maximise his property portfolio. The priest provides both context – it is 1999, the place is somewhere just off the coast of England – and an adversary, with his attempts to control the women turned around when they swiftly make him their captive. Even tied up, his (shirt-free) presence unsettles the trio, setting off survival schemes and flashbacks, often introduced by repurposed fairytales Iphigenia shares, as well as heretical acts.”


“Nick Kyrgios hunches into his black hoodie and glowers at the press. He has just eviscerated French wildcard Antoine Hoang at the US Open, playing, as he always does, with a mixture of languid insouciance and impetuous fury, like a wildcat in a box. He raged at the umpire for allowing a late challenge, fulminated when told to turn down his collar – which bore the words ‘Just Do You’ – yet still managed to whip forehands, thump serves and claim 40 winners in the match.”


“Facebook messages between two young people appear to expose teen arsonists responsible for an out-of-control fire in Queensland as police have established a taskforce to investigate who’s behind blazes across the state. Detectives investigating a fire on the Sunshine Coast have reportedly questioned teenagers after screenshots were posted online showing the young people blaming others for the blaze.”


“Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t 'know if climate change is manmade'. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is 'irrelevant' when considering the Coalition government’s response to intensifying bushfires, he told Guardian Australia he was unsure about the causes of the climate crisis but wanted to give the country the tools to adapt.”


“According to Shuar belief, dogs are a blessing from the earth mother, Nunkui, while Quichua view canines as gifts from forest spirits that can protect against mal ojo, the evil eye. And when their dogs become ill, these tribes use the plants around them as veterinary medicine. For example, ficus helps fight parasites, and Anthurium eminens treats botfly infections. In other cases, a mix of tobacco and ginger applied to the eyes can allegedly help dogs become better hunters by improving night vision. Dogs are so sacred in such societies that some peoples will even give them psychedelics.”


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.