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“We were taken from Mosul to Syria. There were thousands of young girls and ISIS members in the ISIS centre we were taken to. Young girls were being raped here. Young girls were forcibly brought and savagely raped, then were made to marry [ISIS members]. Those who didn’t agree were tortured and beaten up.

“We were forced to pray and read the Quran. They wanted us to wear black clothing and cover up our hands with gloves. They would sell the women who didn’t agree to this.”

WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents published on March 6, dubbed “Vault 7”, describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into Apple and Android mobile phones.

By hacking into entire phones, the CIA is then reportedly able to bypass encrypted messenger programs such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. However, contrary to many news reports, the documents do not show the CIA has developed tools to hack these encrypted services themselves.

The scene is one as old as the long history of the Middle East. A child mixes straw and dung to light a fire, some of the straw on his knee. His face is obscured by a beanie so that this child ­– not an infant but still young – could be any child.

Behind the child is a wall. Such structures are common throughout the Middle East, but it seems symbolic. The dribbles of concrete from its construction make the wall, in rural Homs, seem to weep, for this child and for Syria.

The V8 Supercars race through Newcastle East will leave behind a trail of destruction even before the checkered flag goes down next November.

Former Liberal leader Mike Baird and Labor Party mayor Nuatali Helms announced that the race would be held in Newcastle late last year following not very transparent negotiations.

The apparent secrecy has continued and residents are still asking how they are supposed to live with high speed racing just outside their front doors.

More than 300 people demanded answers to these questions at a rally on March 5.

Sex workers and their allies rallied for law reform and an end to stigma in Brisbane on March 8. It was the first public rally held by Respect Inc, a peer-led rights and support organisation for sex workers. Twenty people wearing red, holding signs and displaying red umbrellas gathered in Queens Garden and marched to Parliament House.

Speaking out against Queensland's 17-year-old sex work laws and chanting, “Nothing about us without us,” workers demanded the Labor state government consult with them to ensure legal changes that would decriminalise their work.

Trevor Grant passed away on March 6, after a long battle with asbestos-caused mesothelioma.

Trevor was well known as a sports reporter, particularly for his reporting on AFL, for many Melbourne newspapers. While the mainstream media has focused on that aspect of his life, what was not mentioned was the contribution he made to the community via 3CR, a community radio station in Melbourne, and as convenor of the Tamil Refugee Council.

Commonwealth Bank to repay superannuation

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has agreed to repay employer superannuation to more than 7000 part-time workers that was not applied to overtime over the past eight years.

The CBA will repay the superannuation to all part-time workers since 2009, including those who have switched to full-time positions or have since left the bank. The average payment is $180 a year.

The CBA maintains it was not breaking the law by only paying superannuation on ordinary hours to part-time staff rather than extra hours or overtime.

“Water is life!” was the cry heard throughout Washington, DC on March 10 as thousands of people marched for Indigenous rights and the sovereignty of native nations, Common Dreams said that day.

"Former NSW Premier Mike Baird has enthusiastically accepted a job at the National Australia Bank as chief customer officer, in order to spend less time with his family," The Chaser revealed on February 28.

"Baird has reported an exhausting five weeks spending quality time with his children. According to Lucy Baird, his eldest daughter, Baird's return has polled badly among the family, following his controversial policy of putting his children to bed two hours earlier than they were previously used to.

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as people from six majority-Muslim countries, from entering the United States, Democracy Now! said on March 7.

In contrast to the fanfare that accompanied Trump’s rollout of January’s ill-fated travel ban, the March 6 signing was a decidedly low-key event. Trump signed the executive order out of public view.

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