Australian Businesses must consider Modern Slavery risks

Some forms of Modern Slavery

By et-oceanianode - 01 January 2019

The Bill had passed both houses of parliament, and the Modern Slavery Act took effect on 1 January 2019.

The law now introduces new obligations for large businesses operating in or from Australia to provide annual reports on the actions they have taken to address the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

Chris Crewther MP, Fiona McLeod SC, Dr. David Cooke (Konica Minolta Aust.) and Prof. Jennifer Burn (of UTS and Anti-Slavery Australia) see the act as a very positive step in addressing slavery, servitude, forced labour, deceptive recruiting for labour or services, trafficking in persons, and debt bondage in the business community.

Modern Slavery in the Asia-Pacific region

The importance of addressing modern slavery was recently highlighted in the United Nations report into the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery.  This report estimated that on any given day, approximately 40 million people are victims of modern slavery.

Donald Trump’s lawyer said on Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange should not be prosecuted and he compared WikiLeaks publications to the Pentagon Papers.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani

By Joe Lauria - Special to Consortium News -

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, said Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had not done “anything wrong” and should not go to jail for disseminating stolen information just as major media does.

“Let’s take the Pentagon Papers,” Giuliani told Fox News. “The Pentagon Papers were stolen property, weren’t they?  It was in The New York Times and The Washington Post.  Nobody went to jail at The New York Times and The Washington Post.”

Giuliani said there were “revelations during the Bush administration” such as Abu Ghraib.  “All of that is stolen property taken from the government, it’s against the law. But once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it,” Giuliani said, “for the purpose of informing people.”

“You can’t put Assange in a different position,” he said. “He was a guy who communicated.”

Giuliani said, “We may not like what [Assange] communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out,” he said. “Every newspaper and station grabbed it, and published it.”

Capsized migrants relieved when rescue arrives

Charities Call This BS

The UN has resorted to blaming big tech for failing to crack down on human traffickers who use their platforms to lure migrants "to their deaths" with false promises of safe passage into Europe, according to the Independent.

Companies such as Facebook and WhatsApp are “enabling criminal activity” by traffickers who entrap victims who are unaware of the dangers they face, according to the UN’s migration agency.

The warning comes amid a surge in migrants attempting to reach the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats, with almost 100 people intercepted by both British and French authorities while attempting to reach the UK from France since Christmas Day. -Independent

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has declared the migrant crossings a "major incident," cutting short his family holiday to meet with his French counterpart and officials from Britain's Border Force, as well as the National Crime Agency, in order to take "personal control" of the situation, according to immigration minister Caroline Nokes. 

Windhoek - 28. December 2018

Namib Mills (Pty) Ltd. and Bokomo Namibia (Pty) Ltd. have applied for permission and a licence to import, process and sell maize meal from GMO maize which is contaminated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

You can read and sign the petition HERE (already over 11,000 signatures - let's reach 15,000 and have yours included!)

GMOs have been proven to be NOT healthy for human or animal consumption.

Secondly since GMO maize its cheaper, local and especially smallholder farmers would not be able to sell their often even organically grown traditional, non-GM maize or corn for the a fair price, damaging the whole agricultural sector of the country.

As Namibians, the No GMO foods and feeds in Namibia Movement therefore launched this petition to STOP and prevent any import, processing and selling of any GMO maize or maize meal once and for all times. All sane people demand to rather support Namibian local smallholder farmers to produce organic, traditionally bred and improved maize, which also guarantees seed-availability and safety for the local farmers.

Protesters clash with riot police in Kasserine © REUTERS / Amine Ben Aziza
 
A journalist in Tunisia – the first country to face the Arab Spring – has set himself on fire, triggering a protest against unemployment and poverty. The case resembles the start of the 2011 Western-hailed revolt.
 

“For our people who have no means of subsistence, today I start a revolution,” journalist Abderrazak Zorgui told his audience in the poverty-stricken town of Kasserine.

Calling for people to rise up against poverty and poor living conditions, Zorgui then set himself on fire, invoking the well-known self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in late 2010.

Zorgui was soon pronounced dead at a local hospital, and his funeral service quickly snowballed into violent protests in Kasserine and other towns. Kasserine, home to 76,000 people, saw clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police who deployed tear gas to disperse crowds.

37 Sudanese were killed by police during protests against price hike and corruption. | Photo: Twitter / @imanahmeddd

Update: Among those killed are 4 South-Sudanese bystanders

By teleSUR - 25 December 2018

The protesters wer were shot dead over five days of protests against hikes in prices and downward spiraling economic conditions.

According to independent observers at least 37 Sudanese protesters have been murdered by police in the country during the protests that started Wednesday.

Marches had been called by workers' assocations Tuesday going from Aby Janzir Square in central Khartoum to the presidential palace to demand that President Omar al-Bashir immediately step down after 29 years in office and for the formation of a transitional government.
The Association consists of a coalition of workers from the health, law, communications, education and engineer sectors.

“With further protest planned tomorrow, the fact that the security forces are using lethal force so indiscriminately against unarmed protesters is extremely troubling,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International's deputy director for East Africa, the Great Lakes and the Horn.

Official government data has said that only eight have been killed, but the number is much higher according to Amnesty International. Sudanese opposition leader Sadig Mahdi said that 22 have been killed.

Indonesian military uses chemical weapons in West Papua

A villager wounded in the Indonesian chemical weapons attack near Nduga in the West Papua central highlands.

- see CALL TO ACTION BELOW

The Indonesian military has employed airstrikes in West Papua – suspected to include the banned chemical weapon white phosphorus – reportedly as a retaliation for alleged murders following a flag-raising protest. 

By John Martinkus and Mark Davis - TSP - 23. 12. 2018

There are burns around the wounds. The flesh appears to have been torn open or burrowed into, the victims’ clothing melted or cut away. At least seven are dead. Thousands more have fled into the hills.

These are the first images of a major operation being conducted by the Indonesian military in the central highlands of West Papua. Other photographs show yellow-tipped bombs, collected by villagers. Some weapons appear to be white phosphorus, banned under international law for use of this kind.

White phosphorus is considered both an incendiary weapon and a chemical weapon. It burns through skin and flesh, down to the bone. It cannot be extinguished. The only way to save a person hit with it is to submerge them in water and attempt to remove the phosphorus. Many die from internal burns. Others from the phosphorous absorbed into their bodies, which can cause multiple organ failure.

Refugee agency’s IG office accused of promoting impunity


A victim displays an injury sustained after being attacked by UNCHR G4S-security officer in Nairobi on December 18,2018./Enos Teche

Inaction by the UN refugee agency’s Inspector General’s Office is aiding increased abuses, harassment and extortion of asylum seekers, refugee activists have claimed.

Speaking to the Star on condition of anonymity, seven refugees who have taken it upon themselves to advocate their rights and those of other refugees said the IGO’s office has rebuffed them and doesn’t want to listen nor take their complainants.

In 2017, the group blew the whistle on several UNHCR officers in Kakuma involved in fraud, threats, intimidation and gross misconduct. They gave leads that helped the IGO’s office investigate the cases fully, seeing three officers referred to Kenya police for action, whereas two were put on internal disciplinary measures.

“Since that time, we were told the UNHCR got a backlash and they no longer want to hear from us anymore because we are embarrasing them,” one activist told the Star.

- as they decry brutality, bribery and threats in Kenya

When you cry and weep, when you are miserable, you are alone. When you celebrate, the whole existence participates with you, so the saying goes.

To a number of urban refugees, sorrows and pain are the bane of their existence, and not even agencies mandated to protect them are standing up for them to put a smile on their face.

As their host countrymen and women troop for festivities and plan for the new year, theirs is anxiety and fear of being abused and beaten when the world isn’t watching, as it is engrossed in celebrations.

Daniel Kahura was among 11 refugees who visited the Star on Tuesday. Some were limping, others aided to walk by leaning on the shoulders of their colleagues.

“It is the festive season again,” he said. “That time when UN High Commissioner for Refugees officials or their agents take their abuses, threats and harassment against us a notch higher. This is the worst time to be a refugee in Kenya. They will raid our makeshift abode and descend on us with blows and kicks.” 

updated: - German Parlamentarians and Veteran Journalist John Pilger visit Julian Assange in Ecuador Embassy, London
- Ecuador Foreign Minister José Valencia only offers riddiculous statement (click Read more below)
 
U.N. rights experts called on British authorities on Friday to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuador embassy in London without fear of arrest or extradition
 
Holed up 6 years in the Ecuadorian Embassy: Julian Assange
A UN-endorsed team of experts has urged London to "immediately" allow WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy, as the court of last resort denied his appeal over a newly imposed set of 'censure' rules.
 

Seong-Phil Hong, chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, reiterated calls for the UK to abide by international law and allow Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy without any precondition.

"It is time that Mr Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom," the UN experts demanded in a statement on Friday.

- how the UAE is profiting from the chaos of civil war

The Emiratis’ strategy in Yemen shows how a small and very ambitious nation is projecting its power beyond its borders.

The UAE-backed ‘Security Belt’ militia (commanded by Abu al-Yamama, seated at centre) near their base north of Aden, Yemen. Photograph: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad for the Guardian

Four years ago, Ayman Askar was in a prison in south Yemen, serving a life sentence for murder. Now he is a wealthy and important man whose friendships cut across the many lines of the fragmented civil war that has destroyed the country. Askar has recently been named the chief of security for a large district in the southern port city of Aden – appointed by the government of Yemen, on whose behalf Saudi Arabia has been bombing the country for three-and-a-half years. But Askar is also a friend and ally of the United Arab Emirates – the most aggressive partner in the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced from office by the Houthi rebellion in 2015.

The Saudis have attracted the bulk of the world’s displeasure for their bloody intervention in Yemen, but the UAE plays a more forceful role on the ground – and its allies in the south, including local militias, Salafi fighters, and south Yemen separatists who want to break away from Hadi’s government, have been known to fight against the Saudis’ own proxies in the country.

Evidence against Syrian White Helmets presented at UN

White Helmets are shown in Syria’s Idlib province in this September 2015 file photo ©  Reuters / Khalil Ashawi

The ‘White Helmets’ are not a rescue group but an extension of jihadist militants, and should be designated a terrorist organization, Russia’s envoy to the UN argued at the presentation of evidence into the group’s wrongdoing.

Praised in the West as humanitarian rescue volunteers, in reality the ‘White Helmets’ work with Islamist militants in Syria, harvest organs from the victims they pretend to be “rescuing,” stage false chemical weapons and other attacks for cameras, and loot the bodies and homes of Syrians killed and injured in the war, according to Maxim Grigoriev, director of the Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy.

Grigoriev presented the results of the Foundation’s research into White Helmets at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the evidence shows the group is dangerous.

A Full Moon And Meteor Shower - Don't Miss Tonight's Winter Solstice Display

By Trevor Nace - FORBES - 21. December 2018

Winter landscape in the mountains at night. A full moon and a starry sky in the Carpathian Mountains Credit: GETTY

The winter solstice, falling on December 21, 2018, will mark the shortest day of the year as well as a full moon in the night sky. The upcoming full moon named the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon will be visible during the longest night of the year.

The two events don't perfectly align. The peak full Moon will occur on December 22 at 12:49 p.m. EST while the winter solstice falls a day earlier on December 21. However, to the typical person viewing the moon, it will appear full for several days.

The winter solstice marks a transition period where days begin getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere and shorter in the Southern Hemisphere. The evening of the winter solstice will be the longest of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. This is because Earth's poles create a maximum tilt away from the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere and maximum tilt toward the Sun in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Winter Solstice Full Moon

The moon will appear to be a full moon tonight, however, the technical full moon of December isn't until Saturday, December 22. The Full Cold Moon, named after the full moon marking the beginning of the coldest part of the year, will add to the overall experience tonight.

Tokyo first denied report by Kyodo news agency that government will reveal its decision by the end of the year, but then admits - see update below.

Japan says its official position on commercial whaling and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has not changed. Photograph: JEREMY SUTTON-HIBBERT / HANDOUT/EPA

Japan is to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial whaling next year, a report claimed on Thursday, in a move that drew condemnation from Australia, with other anti-whaling nations expected to follow suit.

Japan will inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, Kyodo news agency said, months after the body rejected its latest bid to resume commercial whaling.

Kyodo quoted unnamed government sources as saying Japan would abandon its controversial, and expensive, expeditions to the Southern Ocean and instead permit whaling fleets to operate in its coastal waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

A fisheries agency official denied the report, however, insisting no decision had been taken on whether to withdraw from the IWC, which banned commercial whaling in 1986. {* tuned out to be a false denial}

Maasai Mara: 26 elephants dead in three months, 11 from poisoning - report

The second elephant carcass reported in the two-day period of September 14 and 15./MEP
 

A total of 26 elephants have died in Maasai Mara in the past three months, 11 of them may have been poisoned according to the Mara Elephant Project report.

Six deaths were reported in the Triangle and Lamai Wedge in the Northern Serengeti.

In a report released on December 14, MEP said the deaths were reported in September, October and November.

SEPTEMBER

During this period, the Project reported three unknown elephant deaths.

The three were carcasses all found in close proximity in protected areas of the Mara ecosystem all within a three-day time period.

In all three deaths, Kenya Wildlife Service and MEP rangers took samples that were sent to a Kenya Wildlife Service lab for analysis.

The report noted that they are looking for evidence that poison was used intentionally to kill the elephants.

What if protesters in Paris win, and the French government gives in to all their demands?

What if taxes are reduced, wages increased, President Macron steps down?

I am not talking only about the fuel tax; attempts to impose it have been already abandoned. I am not talking about increase of the minimum wage – the government already agreed to rise it by 100 euro per month.

What I am talking about are real, fundamental changes which many protesters seem to be desiring:substantial tax reduction for the majority of French citizens, generous increase in wages and enhancement of social benefits for all.

So, if the Yellow Vests manage to win all this, then what will happen? Who would benefit? But also, who would lose?

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