#AceNewsReport – Dec.08: Australia should use its influence to press Vietnam to take concrete action to reverse its abysmal human rights record,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “Many people in Vietnam have been persecuted simply because they tried to exercise basic civil and political rights that Australians often take for granted.”
#AceDailyNews reports that Human Rights Watch said today: Australia should Press Vietnam to Respect Rights at the dialogue over Hanoi Detaining at Least 176 Political Prisoners, Detainees
In a December submission, Human Rights Watch urged the Australian government to use the dialogue to press Vietnam to end its systematic suppression of fundamental civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion and belief. Australia should also demand that Vietnam immediately release all political prisoners and detainees, and revise its problematic penal and criminal procedure codes to bring them into line with international human rights standards.
An Australian citizen, Chau Van Kham, has remained in a Vietnamese prison since January 2019 on terrorism charges for his involvement in Viet Tan, a peaceful political organization focused on democracy and human rights in Vietnam. Securing his release, and enabling him to return to Australia to be reunited with his family, should be a top priority for Australia in the dialogue.
Australia’s bilateral relationship with Vietnam has continued to grow in recent years. In 2021 Australia was one of the top 10 trade partners with Vietnam. In November, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne visited Hanoi, but she did not raise human rights concerns publicly during her visit.
#AceWeatherDesk says that after a bridge collapses, people rescued from floodwaters in New South Wales and Queensland according to Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is carefully watching catchments as far south as Victoria after days of drenching rain across eastern Australia……
People in two cars had lucky escapes when a bridge they were driving over collapsed in floodwaters in New South Wales.
A ute fell into the water as the Nyrang Creek Bridge, between Canowindra and Eugowra in the state’s central west, gave way.
The passenger, a 30-year-old man, climbed out the car window, before pulling the female driver to safety.
She was taken to Orange Hospital in a stable condition while the man did not need to go.
A second car following the ute had no time to stop and was forced to jump the collapsing bridge.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is watching a number of catchments across southern Queensland, New South Wales and eastern Victoria.
Senior meteorologist Sarah Scully said, in NSW, a warning issued for the Hunter River at Muswellbrook, Denman, Singleton, and Maitland has been upgraded, with major flooding expected on Saturday night.
“The good news is that the main rain band has moved offshore, however showers and thunderstorms remain on the forecast for much of eastern Australia.”
In the NSW central west, warnings have been issued for the Lachlan River with major flooding expected at Jemalong and moderate flooding at Namami and Condobolin.
Major flooding is also expected at Mandagery Creek at Eugowra on Saturday afternoon, while moderate flooding is occurring along the Belubula River at Canowindra.
With soils across most of eastern Australia near saturation and dams at capacity, any further rainfall risks exacerbating already swollen rivers.
Warragamba Dam spills
Sydney’s main water catchment, Warragamba Dam, is overflowing after reaching capacity about 9pm Friday.
“Projections hold steady around at an estimated peak rate of 60-80 gigalitres per day,” WaterNSW spokesperson Tony Webber said.
“We expect some impacts in the river downstream.”
With another 5-10 millimetres expected to fall on Greater Sydney, there is potential for minor flooding on the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley at North Richmond and Colo.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.26: James-Robert Davis was arrested in March and initially faced three charges related to alleged slavery and sexual servitude, accused of manipulating a woman in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra over several years to 2015.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Says says according to ABC News an alleged sex ‘cult’ leader James-Robert Davis faces 18 new charges, court hears
But those charges against the 41-year-old former ADF soldier were withdrawn in September and alternate charges were laid.
At the time of his arrest, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) issued a statement saying the alleged victim had been manipulated for a “so-called cult”.
Mr Davis faces more than 20 other charges, including sexual intercourse without consent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, torturing an animal and detaining a person.
He’s also been charged with offences related to the alleged possession of unauthorised firearms and ammunition.
Central Local Court on Thursday heard 18 additional charges were laid on Monday, although the court did not hear what those were.
The ABC understands Mr Davis now faces a total of 58 charges.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) requested an extension of time to file a charge certificate, a document to confirm which charges will proceed.
Mr Davis’s lawyer, Abigail Bannister, said she was “concerned” about the extension because the required six-month period for the certificate to be issued had “long passed”.
Ms Bannister said that meant the magistrate needed to be satisfied an extension was in the interests of justice, a factor she said wasn’t addressed in the DPP’s material filed to justify the move.
“We’re not hearing about the complexity of the matter, what we’re hearing about is a delay in bringing charges,” she said.
There was also a delay in analysing electronic devices and transcribing interviews which took place “months ago”, Ms Bannister added.
“It seems to be more of a resource issue than a complexity issue.”
A court has previously heard the case was “very defendable” and Mr Davis was living with multiple partners in “a consensual polyamorous relationship” which “may include BDSM”.
Mr Davis, who is also an ex-prison guard, referred to himself as the patriarch of a group known as the “House of Cadifor”, according to investigators.
In arguing for the extension, DPP solicitor Laura Goodwin revealed there were six complainants in the matter and some of their recorded statements were “of considerable length”.
One interview lasted more than 11 hours and took place over three days in August, the court heard.
Ms Goodwin highlighted the seriousness of the offences, some of which carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, along with the “voluminous” brief of evidence compiled.
“Crucial parts are very detailed and give rise to a number of complexities,” she said.
The state DPP had also only been involved in the matter for five weeks, the court heard.
Magistrate Robert Williams granted an extension for the certificate to be filed until December 21.
He took into consideration that legislation setting down time limits is designed to provide “certainty” to defendants.
However, Magistrate Williams also said it was clear interviews with six complainants had led to the delay.
“I do note the charges before the court are serious matters,” he said.
According to court documents, Mr Davis’s weapons charges relate to his alleged possession of items including three smoke grenades, a signal flare, an automatic rifle and an unknown Chinese brand .22 air rifle, along with ammunition.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm offences are alleged to have taken place as far back as August 2001.
Amongst the dozens of charges are also child pornography and kidnapping offences, along with several counts of using a carriage service to prepare or plan to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16.
Mr Davis did not appear in court and did not apply for bail.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.26: Initial testing of the package indicated it contained approximately one kilogram of cocaine concealed with the packaging and the matter was referred to ACT Policing.
#AceDailyNews ACT Court Report: Earlier this month, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers based in Sydney intercepted a package sent from Nigeria.
Publish date: Thursday, 25 November 2021, Publish time: 9:09am
Click to View Gallery of images ( showing 1 of 4)
The cocaine was removed and replaced with an inert substance, and the package was forwarded to an address in Gordon.
Yesterday (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) detectives from the Drugs and Organised Crime Team and Task Force Nemesis executed a search warrant at the Gordon address and arrested a 23–year-old resident.
He was charged with attempting to possess a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug. He is scheduled to appear in the ACT Magistrates Court today.
Anyone with information about the manufacture, sale or distribution of illicit drugs is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Information can be provided anonymously.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.24: The foster-mother, 56, and foster-father, 54, were charged last week in relation to the alleged assault of a child at a home on Sydney’s upper north shore….
#AceDailyNews says according to a Sydney Court Report: William Tyrrell’s foster-parents to enter plea over alleged assault: The two cannot be named due to legal reasons, while a non-publication order also restricts reporting the nature of the allegations” Those arguments will be back before the court on Dec.03:
The child is not William Tyrrell.
The foster-parents did not appear before Hornsby Local Court today, where the matters were mentioned for the first time before Magistrate Robyn Denes.
Each of the defendants’ lawyers indicated they would enter a plea when the cases return on December 7.
The court heard a “mini brief” was served on each party yesterday.
The foster-parents were excused from attending court on the next occasion.
A lawyer representing media organisations sought to challenge the non-publication order over the nature of the allegations.
She told the court her clients wanted to be able to report on the cases on a “deidentified basis”.
But Magistrate Denes questioned why there was such a level of public interest.
“In fact, only last week I dealt with a far more serious allegations involving a five-year-old child and no-one was here, very interested in that,” she said.
Magistrate Denes said the allegations were “not the most serious” a court sees “by any stretch”.
“What’s the public interest, other than the, dare I say it, clickbait issue in relation to this matter particularly?”
All parties, including the media, were given a timeline by which to make submissions about why the interim non-publication order should stand or be altered.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.17: Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress,” Google boss Sundar Pichai said at the initiative’s launch in Sydney.
#AceSocial News Desk says BBC Business Report: Google says the money will be used to build a research hub, increase its cloud computing capacity and fund partnerships with local organisations.
By Katie Silver Business reporter
It is the US technology giant’s largest investment in the country to date: The move – named the Digital Future Initiative – is expected to directly create 6,000 jobs and support 28,000 overall.
Also attending the event, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the plan: “The decision by Google has major benefits for Australian businesses as we engage with the economic recovery before us.”
The investment will see the company partnering with local organisations, including Australia’s science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Joshua Kennedy-White of cyber investment company DivisionX Global called Google’s announcement a “huge win” for Australian technology:
“It takes money to move an idea into innovation and the first money is the hardest to come by.
“If Google cut $250k cheques to promising start-ups, they could fund 4,000 new tech companies in Australia,” he said.
‘Silicon Valley of the Southern Hemisphere’
The move marks another major boost for Sydney’s ambitions to become the ‘Silicon Valley of the Southern Hemisphere’.
Construction of Tech Central, a hub multi-billion dollar hub in central Sydney, is due to start next year and is expected to continue until 2026.
However, big technology companies have come under fire in Australia in recent months for not paying local news publishers for content carried on their platforms. They have also been accused of helping the spread of disinformation.
During hearings in Australia’s parliament in January, Google Australia’s Managing Director Mel Silva threatened to block its search engine in the country to avoid paying for content posted to its websites.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.24: The grandfather, 71, and the two boys, 13 and ten, were able to pull themselves out of the water, but the woman, aged in her 70s, needed more assistance….
#AceDailyNews says that a dramatic rescue has taken place after grandparents and two children washed from rocks at Stanwell Park Paramedics say they were knocked from their feet while walking along a rock platform near a remote bush track off Chellow Dene Avenue at Stanwell Park and her husband jumped back in to support her as she said that she had some back pain,” NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Norm Rees said.
“A doctor and a paramedic were winched in and retrieved the woman with the aid of Surf Life Saving, and they determined that she had spinal injuries.
“The two grandsons and the grandfather walked out with the aid of paramedics and sustained only minor cuts and abrasions.”
‘Quite a task’
Chief Inspector Rees said it was a tricky rescue from the moment the grandfather alerted emergency services his family was in trouble.
“They raised the alarm by phone from the site but the reception was intermittent, so he’d give part of the detail and then the next thing was he’d lost reception,” he said.
“It was quite a task — it was a long and hard walk in, 20 to 30 minutes, and that doubled to walk them out.
“I think there was about 15 to 20 emergency services personnel involved and everybody was rescued.”
The woman was flown to Royal North Shore hospital for further treatment.
Mr Rees said the man and the boys were relieved to see the paramedics arrive.
“They were all in very good spirits and glad to see us,” he said.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.24: Three thousand swabs were taken on Saturday, down dramatically from the 10,000 recorded late last week: Another 36 cases were confirmed yesterday, with 23 in Dubbo and six each in Orange and Bathurst….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Sydney Health authorities worried by low testing numbers in state’s Western region as another 36-cases were confirmed on Sundayand here’s what you need to know this morning with 825 cases reported on Saturday
The Western Local Health District’s chief executive Scott McLachlan said authorities were particularly concerned about Bathurst’s testing numbers.
“We know it’s nearly been a record low. We had an extra pathology team go there and they’ve sat around nearly idle all day wanting people to come and get tested,” he said
“So I’m really concerned that the people who’ve had confirmed cases in Bathurst, many of them were infectious in the community for quite some time.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new rules were about “doing everything we can” to stop the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, including extending the lockdown for another month until September 30.
People living in the 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern in south-west and Western Sydney are no longer able to leave their homes from 9:00pm to 5:00am. Exemptions apply for authorised workers, emergency situations or to seek medical treatment.
Exercise in these areas has also been limited to an hour a day.
Anyone found breaking curfew will be issued with a fine, sent home and could be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days under more powers given to police.
COVID again hits transport routes
Public transport timetables in Greater Sydney have again been adjusted from today after hundreds of staff were forced to isolate.
Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said that while their focus was on essential workers, services would continue to be impacted by the Delta variant.
“Transport for NSW will adjust services where we can, but we expect COVID-related staffing issues to continue to affect services,” he said.
“Please only use the network if you are making essential trips and please plan ahead before you leave home — this is really important as changes and cancellations can happen throughout the day.”
During the week, Sydney buses and trains will operate on a modified weekend timetable, with additional services at peak times to support essential workers.
COVID-19 closes more schools
A number of schools across Sydney have been closed after COVID-positive cases were identified.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to outline a plan this week to get students back to school.
Chullora Public School in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area has closed to staff and students to allow time for contact tracing and cleaning, after a member of the school community tested positive.
An infected staff member also forced the closure of Carlton Public School in Sydney’s south.
St Mary’s Public School, Lane Cove West Public and Leichhardt Public will all reopen from today following contact tracing and self-isolation periods for close contacts of positive cases.
Calls to help local Afghan students
More than 12 schools in Sydney and Newcastle have called out for help for their students from Afghan backgrounds.
The counselling service for refugees or STARTTS said it had been approached in the last week by mainly high schools in Western Sydney, where the bulk of the community resides.
Chief executive Jorge Aroche said the fall of Kabul in Afghanistan to the Taliban has been distressing for refugee families, and children in particular.
“There’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the situation, so that will affect their [students] behaviour,” Mr Aroche said.
‘In some cases they will be acting out. In some cases they will be depressed and basically not wanting to engage in things.”
He said his organisation had well-developed school liaison programs after working with refugees and trauma for 30 years. Youth workers and child adolescent counsellors from STARTTS will now work with the schools to support Afghan students.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.24: Richard Nelson, a software engineer in Sydney, has found an “obvious” security flaw in the Express Plus Medicare app allowing him to make vaccine certificates with any name and date of birth and featuring the background animations meant to prevent forgery……
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says #COVID19 vaccine certificates can be forged within 10 minutes due to ‘obvious’ security flaw and Near-perfect forgeries of the federal government’s vaccine digital certificate can be made in 10 minutes using free software, a member of the public has discovered this is how a vaccine passport could work
The Prime Minister has previously said the certificates are a “credible and effective” way for states to administer exemptions from aspects of lockdowns.
The discovery of the flaw could put a hold on state and federal governments allowing the vaccinated more freedoms.
Mr Nelson found the security hole in the current system (which was launched more than two months ago) while mucking around with the Express Plus Medicare app one evening last week.
“It’s a very basic flaw. I thought surely there would be some kind of mitigation to stop this kind of attack, but there wasn’t.”
Other security experts have confirmed it’s the kind of obvious vulnerability that would have been picked up in a basic security audit of the app.
To demonstrate how easy it is to forge certificates, Mr Nelson took 10 minutes to make a counterfeit certificate with the name of this reporter (who hasn’t yet had all their shots).
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to get it out there among the anti-vax crowd,” he said.
“People who don’t have a valid certificate can fairly easily present one — the implications of that are left up to the imagination.”
After discovering the flaw, Mr Nelson sent detailed instructions to the government, but has not yet heard back.
In response to questions from the ABC, a spokesman for Employment Minister Stuart Robert, who has ministerial responsibility for data and digital policy, said the government has “iteratively updated proof of vaccination certificates”.
“The government will continue to iteratively update the proof of vaccination certificates … including bolstering security measures,” he said.
From the response, it wasn’t clear if the government would be patching the vulnerability (which would require an update of the Medicare app).
The senator used “a few graphics tools” to make a forgery of the PDF export of the vaccine certificate.
This only works on the PDF, as the certificate within the app itself is protected against counterfeiting by an animated tick, a live clock and a shimmering coat of arms (similar to the type used for digital drivers’ licences).
As can be seen in the video above, Mr Nelson’s more sophisticated forgery includes these anti-fraud features.
Mr Nelson said the flaw would have been “absolutely” raised in a security audit.
“Or, they didn’t do a security audit,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the experienced software developer has poked holes in government IT systems.
He was one of the tech community that found important vulnerabilities in the COVIDSafe app last year, including the fact that the tracking app did not work properly on a locked iPhone.
Privacy expert Vanessa Teague, another prominent member of the tech community, said the Medicare app flaw was “unsurprising after experiencing COVIDSafe”.
“Oh yeah, wow,” she said.
“It’s very easy to fix that flaw. It would take five minutes.”
‘Certificates need QR-code digital signatures’
The certificates also have a bigger security problem, she said.
Other designs, such as that used by the EU, have a digital signature in the form of a QR code that can be verified as a defence against fraud.
Such a system would be much harder to trick.
“They still have to do something a bit like what the EU has done,” Ms Teague said.
“There has to be some cryptographic way of verifying that the information is correct.”
The Prime Minister has flagged the vaccine certificate will get an overhaul in October, though it’s not clear if the new version will only be used for international travel and work alongside the existing vaccine certificates.
In early July, the Australian Digital Health Agency, a statutory body responsible for implementing various digital health initiatives,issued a Request for Tender for a smartphone app for storing digital vaccination certificates, along with the results of COVID-19 tests.
The proposed mobile app will be ready “prior to December 2021” and feature “multiple authenticity and anti-fraud measures”.
The spokesman for Mr Robert did not respond to questions about whether the government was working on a new type of vaccine certificate.