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  • Things you might not be aware of: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is currently in Iraq. The reason you mightn't be aware of it is because the Prime Minister's notoriously prickly office prevented a film crew sent by major media networks from entering Iraq, and severely limited press access during his official duties in the war-torn nation. Abbott made the short-notice visit to meet up with his Iraqi counterpart, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and discuss Australia's military involvement in the region. In past visits, including ones made by John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, major media companies have pooled resources together to send a team to Iraq with the political convoy to cover the trip. These teams usually consisted of a camera crew, a radio journalist, a journalist from the AAP, and two print journalists - one from Fairfax and one from NewsCorp. But in this instance, even with a crew scrambled together with the assumption that they would be flying into Baghdad with the Prime Minister as has been the case in previous visits, upon arriving in Dubai the team was told they'd be staying there, with them being barred from boarding the RAAF Hercules dispatched to collect the PM and his team. Instead, footage is being provided to media companies by the officially sanctioned team from the Prime Minister's Office directly - a crew that is employed by the PMO and consists of a sole camera operator and photographer - both classified officially as political advisors. Coverage of the trip is being restricted to simply Abbott's speech in front of Australian troops, and a joint statement issued by both Prime Ministers. No questions from Australian journalists were heard.
  • TONY Abbott’s office has triggered frustrations with the media by excluding a TV crew from the Prime Minister’s sudden visit to Baghdad, limiting access to his speech to Australian troops and joint statement with his Iraqi counterpart. A camera crew sent by the major TV networks was left in Dubai when Mr Abbott flew into Iraq with his personal staff, forcing the media to rely on footage provided by the Prime Minister’s office. The Australian was told the “unique” approach was a significant departure from previous visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, when media companies have “pooled” their resources to send a small crew with the Prime Minister. On previous visits — including those by John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard — the pool crews have usually comprised a camera crew, a radio journalist, a journalist from Australian Associated Press and two print journalists, one from NewsCorp Australia and one from Fairfax.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has updated its travel advice to Indonesia after the United States warned of a possible threat against US-linked hotels and banks in Surabaya. DFAT is advising Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, due to the high threat of terrorist attack. The overall advice from DFAT for Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia has not changed. But the Government's Smart Traveller website has posted new information about a potential threat in Surabaya, against hotels and banks associated with the US. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said terrorism is treated as the highest of national security issues and Australia is monitoring the developing security threat in Indonesia "very closely". The US recently warned of a potential threat against US-linked hotels and banks in the East Java city.
  • "Alert has no link to AirAsia Flight 8501, which took off from Surabaya, Indonesia's 2nd-largest city" The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has issued a warning to Americans about a potential threat against U.S. associated banks and hotels in Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya. An embassy spokesperson said Sunday there was nothing linking the warning with AirAsia Flight 8501.The plane crashed into the Java Sea a week ago after taking off from Surabaya, killing all 162 passengers and crew on board. The U.S. Navy is taking part in an international effort to recover bodies and locate the wreckage. The alert was issued to U.S. citizens on Saturday without giving details.
  • Among the countries scouring the Java Sea off Indonesia for the wreckage of the AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA) jetliner that crashed 10 days ago, one name stands out: Russia. Russia sent two aircraft and 22 deep water divers on Jan. 2 at the request of the Indonesian government, Eduard Chiziykov, the head of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry operations group in Indonesia, told reporters today in Central Kalimantan. The Russian role in the search contrasts with its absence from the international effort to find Malaysian Airline System Bhd. Flight 370, which disappeared in March.
  • The Russian search and rescue mission is prioritizing the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501's black box. "Our main purpose here is to get AirAsia’s black box. We will start working on Sunday," Russian deputy chef-de-mission Alexander Shilin said on Saturday in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, as quoted by Antara news agency. He added that the amphibious aircraft was equipped with various technologies such as sonar and a small submersible vehicle, which could go as deep as 300 meters and carry 22 deep-sea divers. (nvn) (WHY????????)
  • Monis claimed the unit was broken into and a number of items were stolen including an ­Islamic book, a gold necklace and some cash. In a transcript of the bail hearing, prosecutor Brian Royce said Monis’ claims that ASIO or the Iranian secret police were behind the break-in were fanciful. Mr Pierce disagreed, saying the claims should not be dismissed as “outrageous”. Mr Pierce said he would be “very wary” of coming to the view that ASIO or the Iranian secret police could not have been involved. “It could have been ASIO. We don’t know that it wasn’t,” he said. Mr Pierce then granted Monis and Droudis bail on the grounds that the case against them was “weak”.
  • Speaking at length on Sydney radio station 2GB to morning host Ray Hadley, Mr Scipione said the past seven days were "up there, definitely" as among his toughest in the seven years he has held the top job and indicated he will not seek to renew his position when it expires in September 2015. He said his wife and daughter had been inside the cafe on Monday morning and were shown around the store by its manager Tori Johnson - one of two victims of the siege - and left an hour before the hostage situation began.
  • Amirah Droudis is the partner of Man Monis who was at the centre of the Sydney Siege
  • "People in Sydney walking past the State Parliament buildings on Macquarie Street in recent weeks might have noticed a tall Muslim cleric who has taken up residence in a tent on the footpath outside. He is Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi, a liberal cleric who fled Iran four years ago after being very critical of the Iranian regime. Ayatollah Boroujerdi's wife and two daughters are now under house arrest in Iran, and he's hoping the Howard government will put pressure on the regime there to let his family join him here in Australia."
  • Lindt cafe victim Tori Johnson was shot dead in the final act of the Sydney siege, killed by Man Haron Monis as other hostages fled. Hostages held at gunpoint in a Sydney cafe for more than 16 hours were told they would be "dead in the morning", prompting them to smash a lock off a door and run for their lives. Sources have told 9NEWS Monis fired one shot from a sawn-off shotgun. Mr Johnson was shot in the head. AAP reported the gunman screamed at police: "look what you've made me do". Police are still trying to determine how fellow victim Katrina Dawson died, and are waiting for ballistic tests. More than 70 police officers are being interviewed to determine the circumstances of the final stand.
  • "Did you have access to firearms in the past?" police asked. "Yes ... when I was a security officer in Australia. I had a licence, then I got another licence of firearms," Monis said. Police asked Monis if his firearm licence was still current. "No, of course that has been expired many years ago," he replied.
  • He said gunman Man Haron Monis had a licence for his gun and questioned existing gun laws, saying: "there are questions to be asked when someone with such a history of infatuation with extremism, violent crime and mental instability should be in possession of a gun licence". Mr Abbott said he was not able say whether or not Mr Monis was on the FBI's watch list. "I can let you know that I have spoken to a number of Australia's international friends including President Obama," the Prime Minister told reporters.
  • Iranian police had requested the extradition of Man Haron Monis, the gunman who was shot dead in the Martin Place siege, 14 years ago but Australian authorities would not hand him over, Iran's police chief has claimed in comments to reporters.
  • by "Independent Media Solidarity" a collection of researchers who've made this epic film documenting facts and lesser known facts rather than focusing on theories. Highly recommended and its already being scrubbed from the internet by copyright claims by one of the Sandy Hook 'parents'.
  • Military tensions, cyber espionage accusations, a brewing currency war; with every passing day, the headlines paint a convincing portrait of an emerging cold war between China and the West. But is this surface level reality the whole picture, or is there a deeper level to this conflict? Is China an opponent to the New World Order global governmental system or a witting collaborator with it? Join us in this in-depth edition of The Corbett Report podcast as we explore China's position in the New World Order.
  • One of Australia's leading doctors has been appointed the country's Ebola tsar with the job of overseeing the response to the epidemic. The meeting came as Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) officials told a Senate committee that both the US and the UK had asked Australia to send personnel to help fight Ebola in West Africa. (why???????????)
  • this has created quite a stir in print and online media. this looks like theatre to me, i'd be interested in an NA deconstruction of it. meanwhile: "Tony Abbott backs Lateline host Emma Alberici over fiery Hizb ut-Tahrir interview" Prime Minister Tony Abbott has applauded Lateline host Emma Alberici over a fiery TV exchange with a spokesman for the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Wassim Doureihi appeared on Wednesday night's episode after Mr Abbott earlier in the day said the group "campaigns against Australian values and interests".
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