Brutal drug war in Philippines to continue and more zedlines

Philippines president unfeigned by a prospective International Criminal Court trial over his anti-drug war. Image Source: Flickr/VOCAL-NY

The country’s president Rodrigo Duterte said he will not be intimidated over an ICC trial to stop his "brutal" campaign against drugs after the campaign having claimed more than 8000 lives.

A former self proclaimed assassin from the Death Squad under the leader’s mayorship in Davot city has testified against him before the Philippine Senate and plans to file a case at the ICC.

Duterte has ordered the police force to shoot the suspects if in danger. He said he wants to see the criminals die rather than losing the security forces.


Maroon Festival to return Brisbane

The inaugural Maroon Festival will be back in town this May.

To help celebrate the start of the State of Origin the festival will host Queenslander spirit, interactive games and player meet-and-greets.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the event will be a great source of fun, football and tourism.


Artistic expressions of Indigenous people

Indigenous community members in the South Burnett region are reclaiming their artistic identity.

Since the financial pressures of the 1980s forced the state’s first commercial Indigenous art venture, the Barambah Potters, to close its doors, the community of Cherbourg have been fighting to reclaim their arts funding.

With the help of the Refired Program, the town’s Indigenous residents are now working to make, paint and decorate plates and bowls, for commercial sale.


Fairer tax regime demanded by craft beer industry

The craft beer industry is demanding fairer taxation.

Beer is taxed on the percentage of pure alcohol it contains, however smaller packages are taxed at $49 a litre, compared to $34 a litre for 50 litre kegs.

Small breweries claim this creates an obstacle for small businesses to sell smaller amounts of beer to local establishments, and makes it difficult to compete with the volume produced by big breweries.


Drug decriminalisation proposed to counter black market

A new report into drug-related deaths which proposes the decriminalisation of drug use has support from former high-ranking law enforcement officials.

The report, produced by non-profit Australia21, has received the backing of former police commissioners, two former heads of Corrective Services, a former Supreme Court Judge and a former Director of Public Prosecutions.

The report recommendations also include funding for harm reduction strategies and a regulated ‘white market’ for drugs to counter the lucrative black market revenue.


Israeli coalition government in crises after Public Broadcast agreement withdrawal

Israel’s Prime Minister withdraws from an agreement to establish a new public broadcasting authority, leading to a crisis in the coalition government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, initially ordered the replacement of the struggling Israel Broadcasting Authority, but reversed his decision drawing fire from coalition members.

Netanyahu has insisted coalition members must support the ruling Likud party in this decision, however Finance Minister and head of the Kulanu party, Moshe Kahlon said broadcasting will commence next month as planned.

Netanyahu associates have threatened a snap election, however others maintain this is a minor incident.