Hollande vows to destroy IS

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to destroy the Islamic State group after its atrocities in Paris, promising tough new anti-terror measures at home and intensified bombing of Syria.


France and Belgium staged dozens of raids on suspected extremists as the manhunt continued for an eighth jihadist, including in a known radical hotspot in Brussels where some of the attackers are thought to have lived.

Describing the co-ordinated attacks that killed at least 129 people as “acts of war”, Hollande urged a global fightback to crush IS and said he would hold talks with his US and Russian counterparts on a new offensive.

Friday’s “acts of war… were decided and planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium (and) perpetrated on our soil with French complicity,” Hollande told an extraordinary meeting of both houses of parliament in Versailles.

“The need to destroy Daesh (IS) … concerns the entire international community,” he told lawmakers, who burst into an emotional rendition of the Marseillaise after his speech.

Hollande said the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to “triple our capacity to take action” against IS in Syria.

“We will continue the strikes in the weeks to come … There will be no respite and no truce,” he said.

On the domestic front, Hollande called for an extension of the state of emergency by three months and announced 8,500 new police and judicial jobs to help counter terrorism.

A government source told AFP that those returning from Syria could be placed under house arrest and said the presidency was considering amending the constitution to allow for tougher security measures.

With emotions running high, thousands paused in the streets of Paris for a minute’s silence to remember those killed at nightspots and at the national stadium.

Investigators identified two more extremists involved in the assault, including a Frenchman previously charged with planning a terror attack and a suicide bomber found with a Syrian passport, which has yet to be authenticated.

As indications grew of a Belgian connection, Tuesday’s Belgium-Spain football friendly was cancelled because of security concerns after Belgium raised its terrorist threat level to severe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a G20 conference in Turkey, said the attacks proved the need for an international anti-terror coalition.

“I spoke about this at the United Nations… and the tragic events that followed have confirmed that we were right,” he said.

US President Barack Obama said a new deal had been agreed with France to speed up intelligence-sharing.

His secretary of state, John Kerry, landed in Paris late on Monday to discuss the attacks and described IS as “psychopathic monsters”.

During pre-dawn raids in the southeastern French city of Lyon, police found “an arsenal of weapons”, including a rocket launcher and Kalashnikov assault rifle.

More than 100 people have been placed under house arrest, 23 arrested and 31 weapons seized, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

As authorities scrambled to find those responsible, the grieving French tried to return to normal life.

Late on Sunday, French planes bombed the IS stronghold in northern Syria and more raids were reported Monday.

The manhunt continued for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, one of three brothers linked to the attacks.

One brother blew himself up in the Bataclan concert venue and was identified from a severed finger, while the third was arrested in Belgium but released without charge.

The brothers lived in the rundown Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, which has a reputation as a hotbed of Islamic militancy and where police have made several arrests.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 28, a Belgian of Moroccan descent also from Molenbeek and thought to be fighting for IS in Syria, is believed to be the mastermind of the attacks.

Five of seven known attackers have been identified, but it is unclear if other gunmen fled after the carnage.

Two of the gunmen behind the bloodbath at the Bataclan, where 89 people were killed, have been identified as 29-year-old Paris native Omar Ismail Mostefai and 28-year-old Samy Amimour. Both detonated suicide bombs.

A Turkish official said its police had twice warned France about Mostefai, who was one of 10,000 people tagged by French intelligence as an extremist.

Amimour was charged in France in 2012 for “conspiracy to commit terrorism” over an attempt to travel to Yemen and was wanted on a global arrest warrant after violating the terms of his judicial supervision.

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Indonesian MP warns IS can attack anywhere

Extended coverage: Fallout from Paris attacks

The former commander of an elite Indonesian counter-terrorism unit says security forces are closely monitoring more than 100 foreign fighters who have returned from battlefields in Syria and Iraq, but warns that no country can be immune from attack.


Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security, Luhut Panjaitan, who is attending a summit on countering terrorism financing in Sydney, said on Tuesday that terrorist groups such as Islamic State “can attack you anywhere, anytime”.

The retired general and former commander of Indonesian army’s elite counter-terror unit, known as Detachment 81, said that regional partners can however “contain the threat if we work together closely”.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, is also wrestling with the problem of extremism, with about 800 of its citizens having travelled to the Middle East to join Islamic State, also known as ISIS, of which about 50 had been killed.

More than 100 had already returned to Indonesia, where in 2002 more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, were killed in attacks in Bali.

“We know where they are and we already arrested some of them and we’ll see what (will) happen but to be honest … our police and our intelligence agency (have been) successful so far to monitor activities of the ISIS within the country,” General Luhut said.

“But again, no country (is) immune from this kind of threat.”

He said it would be difficult to detain all extremists in Indonesia but that the country’s security organisations are “working very hard” to minimise their activities.

General Luhut said the government of Indonesia condemned “this heinous attack” in Paris which had cost the lives of at least 129 innocent people.

“Nothing whatsoever can justify this barbaric act,” he said.

He said as the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia had a significant regional role to play in preventing extremism and terrorism.

Earlier at the summit, attended by French Consul General Nicolas Crozier, a minute’s silence was held in recognition of the scores killed and injured in the Islamic State’s assault on Paris.

“The tragic events that we have witnessed across the world in recent weeks are a sobering reminder of the dire threat that we all face,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

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Staff threatened over Arabic Optus ads

Optus has been forced to remove signs written in Arabic from a south-west Sydney mall after staff at the store was threatened, the company says.



The calls for the signs to be removed from Casula Mall came after a customer posted a picture of the poster advertisement on the Optus Facebook page saying: 

“Can I just ask why Optus is advertising at Casula Mall in middle eastern language and not in English? This is an outrage, this is Australia not Syria. You are hypocrites, saying sorry for Paris etc. etc. but advertising for only Muslims to read.”

An Optus staff member named Dan responded saying: “We believe Australia is a welcoming and inclusive society”.

“We welcome all our customers, and where we can, we love to be able to assist our customers in their native language,” he wrote.

“The sign is just letting any Arabic speaking customers know that we have a staff member who can help them in their native language.”

Another customer then commented below: “I’m contacting everyone I know to let them know [a]bout the Casula advertising and urging as many of them and their friends to leave Optus asap”.

Related reading

Other customers have since hit out at the posters, including one customer who wrote on Optus’ Facebook page: “If you want to push your multicultural barrow, why aren’t the offending signs also in Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian etc? Oh, and English of course. The Optus message regarding consideration for all is inconsistent. This promotes feelings of exclusion. I doubt Optus meant for a large portion of the community to feel excluded and offended. But it seems to be both practical and reasonable for Optus to correct this situation by removing or modifying the signage”.

Optus responded: “We do have signs in English at every store in the country, as well as on all of our advertisements. This run of posters also has signs in Chinese and Vietnamese to let speakers of those languages know we can help them in their own language. The sign itself says ‘We speak your language, visit us in the branch and have a chat with us in Arabic’, a pretty welcoming and inclusive message”.

Other customers have responded postively to the signs, with some posting congratulations on the company’s Facebook page and encouraging to continue with using the posters.

An Optus spokeswoman told SBS News “in some communities we actively promote the bi-lingual skills of our front-line staff”.

“We recognise that sometimes customers find it easier to understand the detail of a phone plan when it’s explained in their first language,” she said.

“Optus remains committed to minimising and eliminating discrimination through our corporate culture, marketing activities, employment practices and interactions with the community. However, yesterday following a threat to our store staff, we made the decision to remove some materials that were published in Arabic. The safety and security of our staff is paramount.”

The spokeswoman declined to comment on other locations where the Arabic signs remained on display.

The Islamophobia Register posted screenshots of the complaints on their own Facebook page on Monday.

Post by Islamophobia Register Australia on Monday, 16 November 2015.


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Eye test works wonders for Ross Taylor

Star Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor has revealed how a trip to the optometrist played a key role in his record-breaking Test knock at the WACA Ground.


Taylor struggled to see the ball on the way to a seven-ball duck in the first Test against Australia at the Gabba, while he also battled during his second-innings dig of 26.

The 31-year-old booked himself in to see an optometrist after the Test loss to suss out what was going on.

The optometrist discovered that a condition called pterygium – a fleshy overgrowth of the eye’s mucous membrane.- was the reason behind Taylor’s woes.

Taylor left the appointment with a new set of eye drops.

And by the time he walked off the WACA Ground on Monday, he had 290 runs next to his name after producing one of the greatest ever Test knocks by a Kiwi.

“I had to get my eyes tested in between (the two Tests). I couldn’t really see the ball, so the eye drops obviously worked,” Taylor said.

“I have a pterygium in my left eye and I do that a lot (opens eyes wide).

“The optometrist said when it’s dark you’ll probably do this a lot, and I told the boys and they lost it because that’s how they take the mickey out of me.”

Taylor was sidelined for almost two months earlier this year after undergoing testicular surgery following a training mishap.

Doctors have warned Taylor that he risks further damage if he gets struck in the area over the coming months.

“There’s no discomfort,” Taylor said.

“(The doctors told me) to try not to get hit for the next four months.

“It’s an interesting thing to tell a player. I think I’ve got about two months to go so I’m counting down.

“It’s a bit nerve wracking when 160kmh is coming at you.

“But once you get into the fight, the adrenalin kicks in and the instincts take over and you just bat.”

Taylor’s 290 at the WACA was the highest Test score by a Kiwi in Australia, surpassing Martin Crowe’s previous mark of 188 set at the Gabba in 1985.

“I got a text from him last night and he jokingly said he was disappointed because that was his proudest moment having the record here in Australia,” Taylor said with a laugh.

“He’s very proud.”

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Global terrorism deaths rise by 80% in last year

The number of people killed in terrorist attacks jumped by 80 per cent to 32,658 last year as 11 nations suffered more than 500 deaths.


Terrorists linked to Islamic State and Boko Haram – which operates mainly in Nigeria – accounted for 51 per cent of the deaths in 2014, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The institute estimated the cost of terrorism last year at $A74.55 billion ($US52.9 billion).

Five nations – Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria – bore the brunt of the attacks, suffering 78 per cent of the deaths recorded.

Almost 10,000 people died in terrorist attacks in Iraq, while the number of deaths in Nigeria soared to more than 7,500, it said.

“The significant increase in terrorist activity has meant that its ramifications are being felt more widely throughout the world,” said Steve Killelea, the think tank’s founder.

“Terrorism is gaining momentum at an unprecedented pace,” he said.

“The Paris incident in many ways is a watershed within Europe. It shows that Isil has the capabilities to be able to launch sophisticated and deadly attacks in Europe.”

The index ranks the level of terrorism in 162 countries – representing 99.5 per cent of the world’s population – by measuring the number of attacks, injuries, deaths and property damage as a result of terror attacks.

Extended coverage: Fallout from Paris attacks

Killelea said 10 of the 11 nations most affected by terrorism were also among those with the highest rates of refugees and internal displacement.

“This highlights the strong interconnectedness between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and conflict,” he said.

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NZ deportee bill passes first reading

An urgent bill that allows the New Zealand government to monitor and supervise Kiwis deported from Australia because of their criminal records has passed its first reading in parliament.


The vote was 107 in favour and 14 abstentions from the Greens.

Justice Minister Amy Adams says about 20 New Zealanders are expected to return from Australia as early as Thursday, and there are serious offenders among them.

She wants her bill passed into law on Tuesday night, or Wednesday morning at the latest.

“We cannot stop Australia exercising its sovereign right to deport any category of people their parliament decides is lawful,” she told parliament when she launched the first reading debate.

“It is critical we have in place a regime that can manage and supervise the offenders who do return, many of whom have been convicted of serious offences.”

The bill allows authorities to impose supervision and monitoring conditions on the returning Kiwis in the same way as if they had served their sentences in New Zealand.

Labour is reluctantly supporting the bill.

“In principle we agree with the need for this,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“But it need not have been rushed … and there is nothing in it about reintegration.

“People will be walking out of an airport with nowhere to go.”

The Greens are abstaining because the bill is being rushed through.

“This is not a national emergency, so it is unacceptable that there is no public submission period,” said co-leader Metiria Turei.

Ms Adams says she has a rough idea of the type of offences committed by those who are returning this week.

“They certainly include sexual violence, serious violence, robbery and drug offences.

“When they arrive they will be met by police, corrections staff and social agencies … then served with notices making them aware of their supervision conditions.”

Ms Adams says if they refuse to co-operate they can be locked up.

“They’ve served their time and punishment, offenders are released like that every day,” she said.

“But they should have the same oversight that we have over New Zealanders who have served their sentences here.”

She understands most of them will be coming from the Christmas Island detention centre, where there was a riot last week, and have chosen to return to New Zealand and appeal against their visa cancellations from here.

About 200 New Zealanders are reported to be in detention in Australia awaiting deportation.

According to Australian figures, there are 585 Kiwis with criminal records in the deportation pipeline.

Under new immigration laws, Australia can deport any non-citizen who has served a sentence of 12 months or more or failed a character test.

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Raiders lock up Wighton until 2018 in NRL

The pieces are coming together for the Green Machine and Ricky Stuart is understandably upbeat about Canberra’s chances of long-term NRL success after re-signing promising fullback Jack Wighton.


The 22-year-old is the latest Raider to commit to the club, extending his contract by two years until the end of the 2018 season – and there’s promise of more to come.

Canberra’s have locked up Joey Leilua, playmaker Aidan Sezer is in pre-season training after a switch from Gold Coast and back-rower Elliott Whitehead is on his way after a starring two-try effort at the weekend for England against New Zealand.

And with Queensland enforcer Josh Papalii and English Test hooker Josh Hodgson expected to ink new deals in coming weeks, there’s reason for optimism in the nation’s capital after missing the finals the past three seasons.

“They know that we’re building something special and Jack sees that and he’s a big part of it,” Stuart said.

Stuart last week described Wighton as a part of his “big three” along with Sezer and five-eighth Blake Austin and a central pillar of their plans.

“He’s a big part of the plan going forward,” Stuart said.

“Jack’s one of the favourites amongst the boys. He’s a very young NRL player who’s played nearly 70 games of (NRL) football. He’s a guy who’ll have the opportunity to play up around 250 games so he’s a big part of the plan going forward.”

Wighton has found a home at fullback after being shifted to the back towards the end of the 2014 season.

He has been mentioned as a future NSW State of Origin representative after an outstanding season in the No.1 jersey.

He said while he attracted interest from other clubs, he never seriously contemplated leaving the Raiders.

“There’s always interest but my heart was always here at the Raiders,” Wighton said.

“We’ve got a great core group re-signing and one of the main reasons also is my little daughter. I’m really comfortable with her here and she’s one of the biggest reasons to re-sign here.”

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Federal government won’t be rushed on subs

Australia’s next fleet of submarines will be agile, potent, affordable and sustainable but the federal government is in no hurry to make a decision on who will build them, a defence conference has been told.


With both the submarines and the wider Defence White Paper, the government will take the time to ensure it adopts the right strategy for a modern Australia, Defence Minister Marise Payne says.

“To meet our future challenges the government will deliver an Australian Defence Force with the highest levels of military capability and technological sophistication,” Senator Payne told the Submarine Institute of Australia conference in Adelaide.

Within that context, she says submarines remain a core strategic capability.

“We don’t see the submarine as an option but a necessity,” the minister said.

“Submarines are a vital element of our defence strategy today and will be so into the second half of this century.”

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, said if Australia wanted to play a role in deterring conflict and contributing to peace and security around the world it must have a defence force sufficiently lethal to sanction anyone who might use armed force.

“This is where the submarine features in Australia’s strategic reckoning,” he said.

“Our submarines deliver our government with the requisite lethality to achieve these outcomes.

“Such is the destructive power of submarines.”

The comments came after an industry spokesman said the defence portfolio had suffered from “decision paralysis” with three ministers over the past two years.

Australian Made Defence spokesman Chris Burns said the defence sector was looking to Ms Payne for a fresh outlook on defence acquisition.

“For years governments have failed to lead the nation towards a continuous shipbuilding strategy, as a result the Australian shipbuilding industry is being forced to lay off workers,” Mr Burns said.

“This is not just about the defence businesses, it’s about national security, sovereignty, skills and Australian taxpayer dollars.”

Tuesday’s conference also brought together the three groups from France, Germany and Japan bidding to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines.

If successful, the French plan to build a submarine called the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, which has been designed specifically for the Australian Navy.

The Japanese have proposed building a sub based on the Soryu Class currently in service and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has proposed an 89-metre submarine known as the Type 216.

All three groups must have their final bids before the federal government by November 30.

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Confidence suggests decent Xmas spend up

It’s being called the “Turnbull effect” when it comes to the growing confidence among Australians but it could equally be described as the “Teflon factor”.


The latest consumer sentiment reading shows only a modest easing after a weekend serving of intense media coverage of the shocking events in Paris, leaving confidence close to a near two-year high.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence gauge, taken on Saturday and Sunday, eased by 0.6 per cent, but it is still comfortably above its monthly average spanning back to 1990.

“This is a good sign ahead of the critical Christmas retail season,” ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said releasing the report on Tuesday.

The survey would have taken into account last week’s unexpectedly strong labour force report that showed the jobless rate tumbling below six per cent.

Confidence has been on the rise since Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott as prime minister in September, with consumers taking in their stride increased mortgage rates and the growing talk that the government may put up the rate of a broader GST to 15 per cent.

Opinion polls have also swung behind Mr Turnbull, the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing the coalition extending its two-party preferred lead over Labor to 56-44 per cent.

Mr Turnbull’s own standing as preferred prime minister has sky-rocketed to 69 per cent compared to just 18 per cent for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Confidence will play a role in the Reserve Bank’s interest-rate thinking in coming months.

The minutes of the central bank’s November 3 board meeting, also released on Tuesday, reiterated that the inflation outlook “may afford some scope for further easing of monetary policy, should that be appropriate”.

But it still anticipates economic growth strengthening gradually over the next two years as the drag on growth from falling mining investment wanes and activity progressively shifts to non-mining sectors.

Treasurer Scott Morrison is keen to get the economy growing at three per cent again after expanding by just 2.3 per cent in the last financial year.

“That’s what we need to get to,” he told Melbourne’s 3AW radio.

“It is a process of growing the economy, growing revenue and controlling expenditure and that will deliver a budget balance over the cycle.”

G20 leaders, including Mr Turnbull, in their final communique of the Turkish summit reaffirmed the Brisbane 2014 commitment to a collective extra two per cent growth target by 2018, even though growth remains uneven and weaker than expected globally.

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BP to try again with SA drilling plan

Oil giant BP will be forced to rework its plan to drill in the Great Australian Bight after falling short of environmental standards.


BP’s application to drill four exploration wells next year has been rejected by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

“NOPSEMA is a diligent and thorough regulator and we expect to have to work hard and take the time to demonstrate that we have got our EP right,” the company said in a statement.

The South Australian government agreed, saying the setback was evidence of the regulator’s diligence and efficacy.

But Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon will push for legislation giving the commonwealth the final say on drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

“It appears to be an accident of history that NOPSEMA has no ministerial oversight for decisions as vital as letting exploration drilling into the Great Australian Bight,” he said.

The Greens are likely to support the move, saying BP has a “shocking” environmental record.

“BP clearly hasn’t learned from their disastrous Deepwater Horizon spill five years ago,” Senator Robert Simms said.

The Wilderness Society of South Australia, which has campaigned hard against oil and gas drilling in bight, says BP would put marine life at risk.

“The Great Australian Bight is a haven for whales, boasting the world’s most significant southern right whale nursery as well as many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales,” director Peter Owen said.

The group last month released modelling showing an oil spill in the Bight risked closing all fisheries from South Australia to Victoria and Tasmania.

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