Police across Bangkok ordered to check CCTV cameras

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June 18, 2017 01:00

NHRC chief up in arms over proposed reconstitution of agency

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June 18, 2017 01:00


Source  :  nationmultimedia.com

Iraq VP accuses Qatar of having tried to split his country

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(Reuters) Qatar promoted a plan to split Iraq along sectarian lines, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi said on Saturday, voicing support for the isolation of Doha by some Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have broken off ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and courting regional rival Iran – allegations Doha denies.

Allawi is a secular Shi’ite politician who has some support within Iraq’s Sunni community. His position as vice president is largely ceremonial and his views do not reflect those of the government in Baghdad, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Abadi has refused to take sides officially in the Gulf Arab rift but criticized the sanctions imposed on Qatar, saying they hurt the population, not the Qatari government.

The prime minister belongs to the Dawa party, which traditionally has close ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.

“In Iraq, Qatar adopted a project similar to that of Iran; to split Iraq into a Sunni region in exchange for a Shi’ite region,” Allawi told a news conference in Cairo. “Unfortunately, some Arab states were silent when it came to Qatar.”

Allawi was in Cairo to meet Egyptian leaders including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for discussions about oil and the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

“It is time we all spoke honestly and made things clear (to the Qataris) so we can reach some results,” Allawi said. “After that confrontation, comes reconciliation.”


Source :  Iraqi News

Bomb blast leaves four wounded in western Baghdad

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Four persons were wounded due to a bomb blast that hit western Baghdad, a police source said on Saturday.

Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said “An IED placed near a store that sells construction materials in Khan Dari region in Abu Ghraib district, western Baghdad, exploded causing injury of four people.”

“Security troops cordoned off the blast spot and transferred the wounded to nearby hospital,” the source, who preferred anonymity, added.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

According to a monthly count released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, violence and armed conflicts left 824 Iraqis dead and wounded during the month of May.

Nineveh came on top of the most affected governorates with 354 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 470 injured. Baghdad came in second place with 86 victims and 22 injured. Anbar came third with a total of 136 casualties (47 killed and 89 injured)

The total number of victims marked a rise from 317 Iraqis in April. In March, the victims reached 1115, according to UNAMI.


Source :  Iraqi News


Revealed: How Gonski 2.0 would rip money from catholic schools to boost public school spending

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The multi-billion dollar transfer of taxpayer money from Catholic schools to public schools under the government’s “Gonski 2.0” funding model has been exposed in secret data given to the Senate crossbench ahead of a crucial vote this week.

The Department of Education data shows the country’s public schools would receive a $4 billion windfall over the next decade if the Turnbull government’s school funding changes pass while Catholic schools would be $4.6 billion worse off than under the current legislation.

The leaked modelling examines how public, Catholic and private schools around the country would be affected by the Senate’s decision to block or support the new funding model.

It shows Catholic schools would lose $705 million over the next four years if the new model is passed while public schools would gain $693 million.

The private school sector would see little change, picking up just an extra $12 million over the next four years.

The data will focus the mind of the Senate crossbench on the likely hit to public schools if they reject the government’s changes, and the consequent bonanza for Catholic schools.

The modelling obtained by Fairfax Media is based on a conservative “best case” scenario of how Education Minister Simon Birmingham would respond if its legislation is blocked.

It shows funding for NSW public schools would increase by $72 million over the next four years and $225 million over the decade compared to current legislation.

By contrast, NSW Catholic schools would lose $1.16 billion if the changes are passed and the NSW private school sector would be $138 million worse off.

Victorian public schools would be $202 million better off over the next four years and $1.24 billion better off over the next decade – an increase exceeded only by Western Australia.

Victorian Catholic schools would be hardest hit by the government’s changes and would be $1.6 billion worse off than under current arrangements.

The private school sector would see little change overall in Victoria, receiving $30 million less than under current legislation.

The data helps explain the ferocious response from the Catholic school sector to the government’s new funding model even though its funding is increasing overall.

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Christian Zahra said: “Minister Birmingham and his Coalition colleagues need to think long and hard about if they want this attack on Catholic education to be their legacy.”

Senator Birmingham said federal school funding would increase by almost $19 billion over a decade under the government’s plan, with spending on Catholic schools rising by 3.5 per cent annually.

According to the modelling, the government’s changes would save the budget $771 million over a decade because of the hit to Catholic schools.

Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday the Turnbull government was prepared to strike a deal with the Greens that would meet all the party’s major negotiating demands.

These include extra funding, a fast-tracked spending timeline and a new independent schools resourcing body as recommended by the Gonski review.

The benefit to public schools under the new model would be even more dramatic than the modelling shows if the government agrees to a further funding boost.

Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said: “The Greens only want to do what is best for public schools.”Ultimately, any decision on whether we can support the government’s proposal, or an improved version of it, rests with the party room.”

Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the Greens should not do a “dodgy” deal with the Coalition.

“The only proposal that’s on the table at the moment is a $22 billion cut to schools, with the hardest cuts hitting public schools,” she said.

The modelling compares the government’s new model to a scenario where it is blocked by the Senate.

The scenario assumes the government maintains the overall funding announced in this year’s budget, complies with the current legislation and gives so-called “non-participating” states such as Victoria 4.3 per cent annual funding growth.

The Turnbull government has repeatedly said it will not fund the final two years of the big-spending deals Labor struck with state governments in 2013.

Education Department officials recently confirmed the deals are not legally binding and can be terminated at any time.

Originally published on smh.com.au as ‘Revealed: How Gonski 2.0 would rip money from Catholic schools to boost public school spending‘.


Source  :  WA Today

Farrer house and cars set alight in suspicious fire

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Police are investigating a suspicious fire in Farrer that engulfed a house and a number of cars overnight.

ACT Fire and Rescue arrived on Lambrigg Street just after 11pm on Saturday to find several cars as well as parts of the house alight.

Farrer local Heather Wilkins rushed across the road to help neighbours battling the flames.

“We heard a car screeching and we thought it had crashed so we headed over and saw it was actually the cars in the garage that were on fire,” Ms Wilkins said.

“By the time I got out the front gate, most of the cars were completely engulfed…

“They were covered in flames, it was pretty full on.”

Ms Wilkins said fire crews arrived within minutes to extinguish the blaze.

Police believe the fire, which caused significant damage, was deliberately lit and have deemed it suspicious.

Ms Wilkins said both the house and garage were “quite burnt out” on Sunday morning.

“It seemed to take them forever to put [the fires] out, there was foam flowing down the street,” she said.

“The elderly neighbour next door was trying to hose [the garage] down over the fence, so I got him safely away.

“I don’t think the family were home at the time.”

Ms Wilkins had been celebrating her fiance’s birthday with friends and family when the fire started.

“We were toasting marshmallows on the fire and having a lovely night,” she said. “It was quite a brazen time for it to happen…everyone was around.”

The usually “quiet street” is home to mostly families and elderly people, Ms Wilkins said.

“We’ve got one neighbour who is in their 90s and others are in 80s, so it was a bit much for them at 11 at night,” she said.

“But we got everyone cleared out safe and I don’t think anyone was injured thankfully.”

Anyone with information about the fire is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, quoting reference number 6118136.


Source  : The Canberra Times