US judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction requested by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued the immigrants would face persecution in Iraq because they are considered ethnic and religious minorities there.


Goldsmith said the injunction provides detainees time to challenge their removal in federal courts. He said many of them faced “a feverish search for legal assistance” after their deportation orders were unexpectedly resurrected by the US government after several years.

Goldsmith wrote, in his 34-page opinion and order, that the extra time assures “that those who might be subjected to grave harm and possible death are not cast out of this country before having their day in court,”

The decision effectively means no Iraqi nationals can be deported from the United States for several months.

It was not immediately known whether Goldsmith’s ruling would be appealed by the US government. A representative for the US Attorney’s Office in Detroit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There are 1,444 Iraqi nationals who have final deportation orders against them in the United States, although only about 199 of them were detained in June as part of a nationwide sweep by immigration authorities.

The ACLU sued on June 15 to halt the deportations of the detainees. They argued the Iraqis could face persecution, torture, or death because many were Chaldean Catholics, Sunni Muslims, or Iraqi Kurds and that the groups were recognized as targets of ill-treatment in Iraq.

Those arrested by immigration authorities had outstanding deportation orders and many had been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from homicide to weapons and drug charges, the US government said.

Goldsmith sided with the ACLU, expanding on June 26 an earlier stay which only protected 114 detainees from the Detroit area to the broader class of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals nationwide. Goldsmith’s Monday decision came hours before that injunction was set to expire.

The ACLU argued many Iraqi detainees have had difficulty obtaining critical government documents needed to file deportation order appeals, and also that the government has transferred many detainees to facilities in different parts of the country, separating them from their lawyers and families.

“The judge is giving them a realistic and meaningful opportunity to make their cases,” ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman said after the decision.

The roundup of Iraqis in the Detroit area followed Iraq’s agreement to accept deportees as part of a deal that removed the country from Trump’s revised temporary travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries.

Some of those affected came to the United States as children and committed their crimes decades ago, but they had been allowed to stay because Iraq previously declined to issue travel documents for them.

That changed after the two governments came to the agreement in March.


Coke plays down Woolies’ water blow

Shares in battling bottler Cola-Cola Amatil have taken a further dive following news Woolworths will pull all but two of the beverage giant’s Mount Franklin water products from shelves.


Woolies will only stock the two most popular Mount Franklin products – 20 and six-bottle still water packs – from August, and single bottles will still be available at the front of stores.

Investors reacted to the news, with Coca-Cola Amatil shares down 4.4 per cent to $8.19 by 1353 AEST on Tuesday – taking the stock to a new 12-month low.

A Coca-Cola Amatil spokesman said Woolworths was not targeting the beverage giant but simply reducing availability of multiple brands across several manufacturers, while expanding Woolies’ own private label water range.

He noted the Coca-Cola Amatil’s most popular grocery water products will remain on Woolworths’ shelves.

“This decision will have minimal effect on Coca-Cola Amatil,” the spokesman said.

“Our water strategy isn’t about just one brand, it is about a full portfolio including Mount Franklin, Pump, Neverfail and others with a strong focus on immediate consumption channels.

“Grocery water sales are important to us but are only one part of the strategy.”

It is understood bottled water sales are around 20 per cent stronger than at the same time last year.

A Woolworths spokesman said the move was designed to meet customers’ growing thirst for a variety of water options.

“Our customers are purchasing a wide variety of water options – both branded and non-branded – and as the category continues to increase in popularity we will respond to meet our customers’ demands in the space,” he said.

The Mount Franklin announcement is the latest in a string of bad news for Coca-Cola Amatil, with Woolworths earlier this month confirming it won’t stock the new Coca-Cola No Sugar and pizza giant Domino’s awarding a supply contract to Coke’s bitter rival, Pepsi.

Health of mentally ill must be a priority

The physical needs of the mentally ill are being overshadowed by their mental health condition, and with fatal consequences.


That’s the warning of the Chairman of the National Mental Health Commission Professor Allan Fels, who says Australians with a serious mental illness live between 14-23 years less than the general population.

In a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday, Professor Fels listed the “distressing” and “shocking” health outcomes of Australians living with mental illness.

“Among many other disparities, people with a mental illness are six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and four times more likely to die from respiratory disease. This must not continue,” Professor Fels said.

These vulnerable people are not dying early because of suicide but from preventable diseases, said the former boss of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Four out of every five people living with a mental illness have a co-existing physical illness.”

Prof Fels laid the blame for the poor health outcomes on poor access to services, affordability and stigma.

“Stigma and discrimination which is still widespread, particularly towards those with serious mental illness, can also discourage an individual from seeking help,” he said.

“And health professionals still all too regularly demonstrate stigma and discrimination against those with mental illness – by ignoring them or by dismissing or diminishing the symptoms they report, by not investigating as frequently or by not treating as assertively as they otherwise might if the person did not have a mental illness.”

Professor Fels says it’s an “unacceptable” but “fixable” situation.

As part of a push to close the life expectancy gap, Professor Fels called for the physical health of those with a mental illness to be made a national priority and used his Press Club address to launch the Equally Well Statement.

“Equitable access to health care is a basic human right for all Australians. We need to improve outcomes for people who live with a mental illness and reduce the life expectancy gap,” he said.

One of the core reforms the statement calls for – which has the support of more than 50 organisations and governments – is for person-centred care rather than provider-centred care.

“Better screening, early treatment and management of co-existing physical health conditions, will help people with a mental illness, and the costs to the national health system will be reduced,” Prof Fels said.

Docker Logue learns from Riewoldt trickery

Fremantle youngster Griffin Logue learned an invaluable lesson when he was tricked by St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt earlier this month.


Logue gave away a 50m penalty at a crucial stage of the round-15 AFL loss to St Kilda when he threw the ball back to the wrong player.

The 19-year-old was meant to throw the ball back to Tim Membrey.

But with his childhood hero Riewoldt pleading for the ball, Logue obliged.

Riewoldt stepped away as the ball came towards him to make sure the umpire noticed Logue had thrown it to the wrong player.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon was scathing of Logue’s mistake after the game, and the first-year Docker accepted full blame for the incident.

“The Nick Riewoldt situation is something I can learn from,” Logue said.

“It was just heat of the moment. It’s a matter of me making sure I’m staying switched on and seeing who takes the kick.

“I’ll learn from that for sure.

“I kind of supported the Saints when I was a lot younger. He (Riewoldt) is definitely a footballer I looked up to.”

Logue, who was taken with pick No.8 in last year’s national draft, has played nine games in his debut season.

The 193cm defender produced his best performance to date in last week’s 52-point loss to Hawthorn, tallying 15 disposals and eight marks.

Logue said living with skipper Nat Fyfe had given him a first-hand look at what it takes to be an elite footballer.

Defender Alex Pearce also lives in the same house, with the trio enjoying a strong table tennis rivalry.

“His preparation is second to none,” Logue said of Fyfe.

“This whole concept of going from a kid to becoming a pro, it’s what I really want to try to tap into.”

Young Dockers trio Connor Blakely, Luke Ryan, and Brennan Cox have all copped club-imposed suspensions over the past month.

Blakely was axed from the senior side after going on a surfing trip just a day after leaving the club early citing sickness.

Ryan and Cox were punished for breaching the team’s alcohol policy following the western derby loss to West Coast.

Logue said the standards set by the player group were crystal clear, and everyone was on the same page.

Fremantle have lost seven of their past eight games, and will start underdogs in Saturday’s clash with Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium.

Tom Harley to be next Sydney AFL chief

Former Geelong dual premiership captain Tom Harley has been entrusted with the job of succeeding the hugely successful Andrew Ireland as Sydney’s next AFL chief executive.


Harley, who played 198 games for the Cats, was appointed the Swans’ head of football in late 2014 after spending time as the general manager at AFL NSW/ACT.

He will take over from Ireland at the end of 2018.

“The Swans have reaffirmed my passion for the game, so it’s a real privilege and an honour to take this opportunity,” Harley said.

“Under Andrew Ireland, I’ve had a great learning experience and I think our team, from the football department to the broader staff, understand what I stand for.”

Ireland notified the board in 2016 of his longer-term intentions.

“I’m rapt that Tom will be my replacement as I’m certain he has all the attributes to be a strong CEO for the Sydney Swans,” Ireland said.

“He’s a great leader and culturally a terrific fit for the club.”

Ireland has developed a reputation for being one of Australia’s most astute and shrewd sporting administrators.

Since he joined the club in 2002 as general manager of football, Sydney have reached five grand finals, winning two flags.

They have played finals in 13 of the last 14 seasons and achieved record growth in all commercial areas of the club since he became CEO in 2009.

Prior to joining Sydney, former Collingwood player Ireland oversaw the remarkable turnaround in fortunes of the Brisbane AFL team.

From the perennially struggling Bears based on the Gold Coast, through their relocation to Brisbane and amalgamation with Fitzroy, to becoming the Lions, and onto the start of their premiership hat-trick in 2001.

Ireland won’t be lost to the Swans, as their succession plan includes him remaining as a board director and long-term consultant in the areas of business operations and list management.

“Andrew Ireland is among the most respected and experienced football administrators in Australia and his contribution to the Sydney Swans cannot be overstated,” Swans’ chairman Andrew Pridham said.

“He played a pivotal role in winning the 2005 premiership, our first in 72 years, and has been a fundamental driver of a culture and process that has delivered sustained high performance on and off the field.

“I have the upmost confidence in Tom’s capacity to undertake the role of CEO with energy and imagination.”

Phelps racing ‘shark’ leaves viewers fuming

The 100m race was set up for Discovery Channel’s 29th edition of Shark Week – an annual programming block featuring shark-based shows.


A program schedule released by the channel claimed “the world’s most decorated athlete” would take on “one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet”.

The title for the show ‘Phelps vs Shark: Great Gold vs Great White’ left many eager to watch the race.

However, instead of racing against a real shark like many anticipated, Phelps was matched against a computer-generated shark with a simulated speed. 

Phelps and the shark also swam at separate times – with Discovery researchers first recording the time of the shark before letting Phelps swim by himself in the waters off the coast of South Africa.

Sharks are able to reach around 40km/h with ease, while humans typically reach a top speed of 8km/h in the water.

Phelps was given a wet suit to maximise his speed, however the shark still won by two seconds.

He hinted at a rematch, but many took to social media to voice their anger.

Rematch? Next time..warmer water. #SW30 @Discovery @SharkWeek

— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) July 24, 2017Should I feel silly that I thought Michael Phelps would actually be racing a shark??…in the water with an actual shark

— Alex Holley (@AlexHolleyFOX29) July 24, 2017smh Michael Phelps isn’t actually racing a shark. He’s just racing a simulation of a shark. Biggest scam of 2017

— Marcus ¬ (@M_Frosti) July 24, 2017Turns out “Michael Phelps races a shark” was really just “Michael Phelps swims alone and then compares his time to a shark’s time.”

— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 24, 2017find me a better metaphor for the state of western civilization than michael phelps losing to a digital simulacrum

— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) July 24, 2017

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Qld minister counselled over foul rant

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she’ll make Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne apologise to the disability sector after he launched an expletive-laden tirade directed at her office.


Mr Byrne reportedly called Ms Palaszczuk’s staff “f—tards” in response to their request he travel 60km to attend a media opportunity with the premier in far north Queensland earlier this month.

Mr Byrne has since apologised for the language used, saying his speech can be “more suited to the battlefield than the boardroom”.

“I can’t recall the precise words I used, but it may come as no surprise to those who know me that from time to time, colourful language does pass my lips,” he said in a statement.

Mr Byrne also denied he had intended to disparage developmentally disabled people by using the suffix “-tard”

“I categorically refute the allegation that I have at any time used language intended to insult or denigrate the disabled,” he said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the language used by Mr Byrne was unacceptable, and she had counselled him.

“I have made it very clear that I do not want to see that happen again and I don’t think he should be speaking like that to anybody,” she said

The premier said Mr Byrne had apologised to her personally, and was “quite sure” he would be happy to apologise to the disability sector as well.

It’s understood the outburst prompted the resignation of Mr Byrne’s chief-of-staff, his fourth since becoming a minister in 2015.

It’s not the first time Mr Byrne’s rambunctious style has raised eyebrows.

There were calls for him to stand down last year after it emerged he shot at rats at his Rockhampton home in the 1990s.

However, the premier stood by the then police minister, saying any offence would be outdated.

Mr Byrne was also pulled into line by the premier in 2015 after it was revealed he had enlisted dumped Labor MP Billy Gordon to appear in his place at official events.

The issue comes on the same day the state’s chief scientist was stood aside after being charged with fraud, and after Energy Minister Mark Bailey was last week sidelined over corruption allegations.

Ms Palaszczuk admitted it wasn’t an ideal time for the minority government.

“I would prefer these issues not to be occurring, I expect high standards from my ministers and I expect people to treat one another with respect.”

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the issues showed Labor had lost control of its internal processes.

“While this government lurches from crisis to crisis … they’re not governing for Queensland,” he said.

Tap and gone: Aussies waving cash goodbye

Australia’s age of paper payments is in definite decline with tap and go technology helping cards become the most frequent way to pay and ensuring Aussie wallets continue to get thinner.


According to new data from the Reserve Bank’s triennial consumer payments survey, while the use of cards has doubled in little under a decade, the big change in the way Australians pay has been the rise and rise of contactless, ‘tap and go,’ transactions.

Over 60 per cent of all point-of-sale card payments were contactless last year, the RBA said.

By monitoring participants’ payments details over a week, the survey provides a snapshot of the fundamental changes Australians are making in their use of cash and their digitisation as card-carrying consumers.

The bank has found tap and go cards are now largely ubiquitous, with 85 per cent of consumers waving them on a daily basis compared with two-thirds of respondents in 2013.

With around 33 per cent of all point-of-sale payments contactless in 2016 – compared to 11 per cent in 2013 – the way people pay is shifting and cash has become the first casualty of convenience.

Cash purchases have evaporated from 69 per cent in 2007 to just 37 per cent in 2016 – and the Aussie wallet is on average $15 lighter.

According to the RBA, last year an Australian wallet contained $40, down from $55 in 2013.

Consequently, Australians also aren’t hitting the ATM as frequently.

In all four of the previous surveys, Australian’s ‘topped-up’ their cash one-and-a-half times a week, now they don’t even do it once a week.

The central bank said the increasing use of cards for cheaper, daily transactions – 40 per cent of in-person payments under $20 in 2016, compared with just 10 per cent in 2007 – reflects the normalisation of contactless technology throughout the economy.

“Cards are now the most commonly used payment method for all but the lowest-value transactions and as a result, the median value of card payments at the point of sale continued to decline from $40 in 2007 to $28 in 2016,” the bank said.

Pay cut threat to home visits: doctors

Doctors are warning after-hours home visits will come to a screeching halt if their pay is cut in line with recommendations by an independent taskforce.


The federal government’s review of Medicare items has investigated a boom in urgent after-hours home visits following concerns by professional medical bodies, and official data showing a huge growth in costs.

In an interim report the review has recommended restricting the rebate paid for urgent services – but doctors say this will mean a “savage” pay cut of 60 per cent to just $45 an hour.

The review found growth was being driven by a boom in medical deputising businesses which provide after hours care.

It said some are claiming taxpayer-funded benefits for “urgent” services worth $153 for matters that could be dealt with in the daytime by a regular GP at a quarter of the cost.

The taskforce wants rebates for urgent after-hours services to be restricted only to GPs who normally work during the day, but are recalled after-hours for a patient in need of urgent assessment.

Medical deputising services would still be able to access the non-urgent after-hours rebate, worth $75.

Umberto Russo has been making after-hours home visits for 26 years, but says he will give it away if the “insulting” 60 per cent pay cut becomes reality.

“These patients definitely will end up in hospital emergency departments because I won’t be seeing them and many other doctors will not be working for $45 an hour to be seeing these sorts of patients,” the spokesman for the National Association for Medical Deputising told AAP.

“It’s a savage cut – there is no way our doctors will work for such a rate.”

The association has warned the taskforce home visits would immediately disappear in cities like Hobart and Darwin, and regional centres such as Townsville, before impacting major cities including Sydney and Melbourne.

The taskforce report says the use of urgent after-hours services swelled 150 per cent in the five years to 2015/16. Meanwhile, the benefits paid increased 170 per cent – from $91 million to $246 million.

Claims that the growth of urgent after-hours home visits had a significant impact on hospital emergency departments were not convincing, it said.

But the association insists usage has now plateaued, after it temporarily boomed while the sector rapidly expanded in recent years.

It says one in three calls received are not billed – with patients instead told to see their GP the following day – meaning a higher proportion of the patients treated are urgent cases.

It insists independent modelling by Deloitte shows states and territories will be coughing up $724 million over four years if home visits dwindle and patients instead present at hospital emergency departments.

The taskforce will make final recommendations to the government later this year.

Trump teaches 40,000 teenagers about ‘fake news’ at Scout jamboree

Donald Trump has railed against the “fake news” and the Washington “sewer” in front of 40,000 chanting and cheering Boy Scouts in West Virginia.


“Who the hell wants to speak about politics?” Trump boomed, telling the boys he wanted to talk about how to achieve their dreams.

But politics proved too hard for Trump to resist on a day he spent pleading for Republican senators to vote to advance his long-promised health care overhaul and watching his son-in-law Jared Kushner being grilled on Capitol Hill about contacts with Russia.

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It didn’t take long for Trump to veer from inspiration to denigration. The teenaged boys loved it, cheering wildly at each sick burn, hooting and hollering like they were at a wrestling match.

“Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, DC you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that,” he told the teenaged boys.

“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians and I see the swamp and it’s not a good place,” said Trump.

“In fact, today I said we ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to the word ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer.’ It’s not good. I see what’s going on and believe me, I’d much rather be with you, that I can tell you,” Trump said.

He told the boys that the media were dishonest and would not show the size of their jamboree on television.

“Fake media, fake media,” Trump said, eliciting a chorus of boos and cheers.

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Trump recounted his election night victories, state by state, the boys from Wisconsin cheering when they heard their state mentioned, the boys from Michigan doing the same.

I’m an Eagle Scout. Trump using the 30,000 BoyScouts as his props tonight was a scene out of Triumph of the Will. Shocking abuse of children

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) July 25, 2017

Trump said he has 10 former Boy Scouts serving in his cabinet and White House, and brought a few on stage as examples of Boy Scout leadership in action, including Tom Price, his health secretary.

“Hopefully he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare,” Trump said, as the boys booed.

“He better get them, otherwise I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired!'” he said, borrowing the catch phrase from his reality television show, The Apprentice.

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