I’m no longer doing All the News That Fits

All the News That Fits was the news blog for apolitical.info.

However, as of November 2014 I’ve decided to stop doing it.

This is because I’m trying to set up a worker-owned cooperative, and I don’t have time to do that and ATNTF any more.

I’ll keep the old posts up here indefinitely.

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The family of a young Aboriginal woman who died in police custody say that police mocked and dismissed her pleas for treatment.

22-year-old Julieka Dhu was in prison for unpaid fines. Her grandmother, Carol Roe, wrote that Ms Dhu suffered “days of vomiting, worsening injuries and bleeding on her lungs” before dying.

Ms Dhu was twice taken to a local hospital but on both occasions declared well enough to be sent back to prison despite reportedly not being seen by a doctor.

Ms Dhu’s partner, Deon Ruffin, says that police repeatedly mocked and dismissed Ms Dhu’s pleas for treatment as those of “a druggie, and then a mental case.”

(Source: change.org, SBS News website, The Australian)

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Religious people are no more likely to act morally than the irreligious, according to a new study.

The study, ‘Morality in Everyday Life’, was published in the journal Science.

The study used text messaging to gather data from 1,200 people.

Among its conclusions, it found that “Religious and nonreligious participants did not differ in the likelihood or quality of committed moral and immoral acts.”

(Source: The Daily Beast, Science magazine)

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James Hardie Industries paid no tax on a decade of average annual profits of $204 million, according to a new report.

The report prepared by the Tax Justice Network and United Voice, found that the company avoids tax by operating subsiduaries in various low-tax jurisdictions such as Bermuda and Guernsey.

If the company had paid tax at the statutory rate, it would have paid an average of $61 million per year.

Other companies mentioned in the report include 21st Century Fox, who paid an average of 1.1% tax, and Sydney Airport, who paid 2.9%.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

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Record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change, five separate studies have found.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of NSW have concluded it is “virtually impossible” that the heatwaves that hit Australia in 2013 would have occurred were it not for carbon emissions caused by human activity.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald).

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The Australian Senate has passed the biggest changes to the powers of the nation’s intelligence agencies in 35 years.

The Abbott government’s first national security bill, also supported by Labor, increases the powers of agencies to gather intelligence.

The bill creates a new offence, punishable by up to 10 years in jail, for anyone who discloses or publishes information about “special intelligence operations”.

These operations are a new category of covert activity in which officers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) are granted immunity from criminal or civil liability as long as the conduct does not involve causing death or serious injury, sexual offences or ‘significant’ damage to property.

It also seeks to toughen penalties for intelligence agents for removing or leaking sensitive information.

(Source: The Guardian)

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Authorities have failed to prosecute smugglers secretly shipping ‘e-waste’ out of Australia without permits.

The Department of the Environment confirmed 21 containers of e-waste – old electronics such as televisions, computers, printers and mobile phones – had been intercepted without hazardous waste permits since 2010. However, no prosecutions have been launched.

Most containers were destined for ports in west Africa and Asia, with the three shipments stopped so far this year heading to Nigeria, Ghana and China.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has also admitted it does not keep records of cases referred to the Environment Department for investigation.

Former federal government adviser Mariann Lloyd-Smith, from the National Toxics Network, said the seizures were the “tip of the tip of the iceberg”.

In 2008 almost 17 million electronic devices were discarded by Australians, a number that is expected to swell to 44 million by 2028. It is estimated only about 4 per cent of Australia’s hazardous waste is recycled.

West Africa and Asia have already been singled out as hot spots for e-waste, which contains toxic chemicals including lead, mercury and cadmium that leach into the soil and contaminate the air.

There is also evidence the trade fuels child labour, with locals picking through e-waste dumps in search of valuable minerals found inside the electronics.

A recent study of 300 children near an e-waste dump in Kenya found about half had respiratory problems and one-third had blood abnormalities indicating heavy metal poisoning.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

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At least three victims of military abuse have taken their own lives while waiting for counselling and compensation from the government taskforce set up to deal with their cases.

Chairman of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART), Len Roberts-Smith QC, confirmed that “the taskforce has been told of three complainants who are now deceased due to suicide.

Victim advocates, compensation lawyers and defence observers said it was likely there had been other suicides, given the high rates of mental illness among abuse victims.

They said DART had, in some cases, been too slow to resolve claims.

“I know of cases where it’s taken over a year for the DART to determine that you’re [eligible for compensation],” said Jennifer Jacomb, secretary of military support group, Victims of Abuse in the Australian Defence Force.

“We’ve nearly lost two members because the DART refused to provide counselling.”

For many victims, making a claim is incredibly daunting.

Members of the support group have been critical of DART and its chairman Mr Roberts-Smith, who has announced he will step down in November.

Ms Jacomb questioned why DART did not disclose the suicides in its seventh interim report tabled in Parliament this week.

(Source: ABC News website)

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The Immigration Department intends to deport a nine-year-old autistic boy, in order to save the money that would be spent on his medical treatment.

Nine-year-old Tyrone Sevilla and his mother, clinical nurse Ma Cecilia “Maria” Sevilla, are likely to be forced to leave their home in Townsville due to the ruling.

Mrs Sevilla moved to Australia in 2007 to study nursing and make a better life for herself and her then two-year-old son. But six months later, Tyrone was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Despite the added difficulty of bringing up a son with this disability as a single mother, Mrs Sevilla completed her studies at TAFE and university, and rising to a clinical nursing position at Townsville Hospital.

This year, she applied for a 489 skilled visa, but the application has been refused because her son did not meet the health requirement enshrined in Australia’s Migration Act.

Mrs Sevilla said that “the idea that he can’t contribute because of his condition is just wrong. People with autism can be excellent at a whole range of things, he just needs to be given a chance!”

Mrs Sevilla described Tyrone as a “cheeky, happy little boy” who had up and down days, but he didn’t need special medication or attention from doctors. She said he can read and ride a bike, and he attends special school in Townsville.

(Source: news.com.au)

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Serious injuries on ACT construction sites have risen for the second year in a row on a per capita basis, two years after a major report into site safety called for a reduction of 35 per cent.

In 2012-13, Canberra’s construction workers suffered serious injuries at a rate of 31.5 people per 1000 population, easily the highest rate of any state or territory in Australia.

When the Getting Home Safely report into workplace safety was originally released in 2012, there were 24.5 serious incidents per 1000 residents.

At the time the report called for a 35 per cent reduction in injuries on ACT construction sites within three years.

CFMEU ACT secretary Dean Hall described the new figures as a “bloody disgrace” and said it was only a matter of time until someone lost their life on a construction site.

“It’s just pure luck there isn’t more people being killed. What we are seeing is reports of some serious near misses but also some very nasty accidents,” he said.

“Anyone who sends their loved ones into the construction industry on a daily basis, you’d be deeply concerned because unfortunately it’s only a matter of time.”

Mr Hall said he placed the blame for the poor figures squarely at the feet of the ACT Master Builders Association and the employers, who he said hadn’t taken the recommendations of the Getting Home Safely report seriously.

“We are having lives destroyed by serious workplace accidents. What you’re getting is people [suffering] serious disabilities, sending them into relationship breakdowns, alcohol and drug abuse – you’re seeing whole families being destroyed,” he said.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

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Quote of the Moment:

Madam Speaker, regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we’d like.

Regrettably, for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift.

There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others.

Tony Abbott, statement to Parliament, September 22.

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