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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Chats: Taxes & the Sharing Economy, Australia Royal Commission investigation on family, domestic violence calls

Australia Royal Commission investigation on family, domestic violence calls
for overhaul of courts systems, increasing of accountability of perpetrators - Guardian Read more on theguardian.com --- You May Be Paying More in Taxes Than You Actually Owe Nancy Mann Jackson Nancy Mann Jackson 146 SHARES      Ever felt like you’re paying too much in taxes? You might be. “If you’re not educated about tax credits and deductions—and you don’t take the ones you’re entitled to—you’re throwing money away and unnecessarily overpaying income taxes,” confirms Stephen Slater, a Certified Public Accountant and managing director at UHY Advisors in New York. Even if you don’t qualify for well-known tax savers like the hefty home mortgage-interest deduction, there are plenty of others you might be able to claim. We’ve rounded up nine credits and deductions that can help you hold onto more of your money this year. Tax Credits A credit reduces your tax liability by an exact dollar value, and is the same for all taxpayers. For example, if you owe $2,000 in taxes and you’re eligible for a $1,000 credit, you’ll only owe $1,000. Some credits are valid even if they result in a negative tax bill, in which case you’ll receive a refund. 1. Retirement Savings Contributions Credit Whether you contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k), or have an IRA, you can earn a credit of 10, 20 or 50 percent of your savings, up to $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly), depending on your adjusted gross income (AGI). For 2015, qualifying incomes are capped at capped at $61,000 for married couples filing jointly and $30,500 for singles and married people filing separately. (The threshold is slightly higher for 2016.) 2. Earned Income Credit Those who are relatively new to the workforce may be eligible for the earned income tax credit. “This was intended to help low-income families, but young adults who are just starting out may earn lower incomes that qualify,” Slater explains. “For instance, if you graduated in the middle of the year then only worked a partial year, your income won’t be as high.” For 2015, people without dependent children who earned $14,820 or less ($20,330 if you’re married filing jointly) can get a credit up to $503. 3. Education Tax Credits If you’re going back to school—whether it’s to earn a degree or acquire new job skills—you may be eligible for a big education credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, available for students in their first four years of higher education, offers $2,500 for qualified expenses. And the Lifetime Learning Credit, which can be used for undergrad, grad and professional degrees, as well as other training, credits 20 percent of the first $10,000 spent on education for a maximum of $2,000 per year. (There are income limits, though.) 4. Child Care Tax Credit If you pay for child care for your dependents under the age of 13 so you can work, you can score another credit, says Robert Charron, partner-in-charge of the tax department at Friedman LLP, a New York-based accounting and consulting firm. The amount depends on how much you’re paying, your number of dependents and income. The range is between 20 percent and 35 percent of up to $3,000 worth of care expenses for one dependent and up to $6,000 for two or more dependents. (Note that for married couples to qualify, both spouses must work unless one is incapacitated or a full-time student.) Tax Deductions Unlike credits, deductions are subtracted from your taxable income, not directly from the amount you owe. But since they lower the income on which you’re taxed, they’ll also lower your tax bill. Every taxpayer can take the standard tax deduction, which is $6,300 for an individual taxpayer in 2015. (If you’re married filing jointly, it’s $12,600.) But if you qualify for a number of deductions, you may save more than that by “itemizing”—or listing out each deduction—on Schedule A of Form 1040. Aside from the standard deduction, Charron says deductions you can take without itemizing include student-loan interest, tuition and fees, IRA contributions, moving expenses and alimony. 1. IRA Deduction If you contribute to a traditional IRA, you may be able to deduct some or all of your savings, depending on your adjusted gross income and whether you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you do have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account, like a 401(k), you can deduct the full amount you contribute if you’re single and earn $61,000 or less, or you’re married filing jointly and earn $98,000 or less. Single people earning between $61,000 and $71,000, as well as married people filing jointly who earn between $98,000 and $118,000, are eligible for a partial deduction. However, if you do not have access to an employer-sponsored plan, you can deduct your full contribution, regardless of income. But if your spouse has a work-sponsored retirement account, you can only deduct the full amount of your contributions if your combined AGI is $183,000 or less. If your income falls between $183,000 and $193,000, you can take a partial deduction. 2. Employee Business Expense Deduction Did you know you don’t have to be self-employed to deduct certain business costs, thanks to the Employee Business Expense Deduction? If you use your own cell phone, iPad or home office for work, those all represent deductible expenses, Charron says. And if you use your car for business purposes, the IRS allows you to take a deduction of 57.5 cents per mile. “These types of expenses are deductible if the taxpayer itemizes deductions, and if they exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income,” Charron says. “Meticulous records are important, so you get every deduction you’re entitled to. Even more important, if you were audited, the IRS requires you to prove the 5Ws: who, what, where, why, when—and also how much.” 3. Charitable Contribution Deduction If you write a check to a church, synagogue or charity, you may realize that amount is tax deductible. But don’t forget that you can also generally deduct the fair-market value of in-kind donations, like old clothes, furniture and household items given to qualified nonprofits. Again, remember to keep good records. If possible, ask for a receipt, including the name of the organization, date and donation amount. 4. Casualty, Disaster or Theft Loss Deduction If you’ve suffered damage to your home, household items or vehicle—say, you had a break-in or you were rear-ended by an uninsured driver—you might find some relief through this deduction. “However, the loss must be reduced by any insurance proceeds,” Charron says. To determine what you can deduct, add up how much you lost due to casualties this year and subtract $100. (If there were multiple events, subtract $100 from each.) Then reduce the entire amount by 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, and that’s what you can deduct. 5. Job Search Expense Deduction “Millennials tend to have many jobs during their careers,” Charron says. “Expenses of looking for a new job in the same line of work are deductible, as long as they are not unemployed for a substantial length of time, in which case the IRS may disallow the deduction.” (And unfortunately, you can’t deduct if you’re looking for your first job, either.) But you’re in luck if you’ve spent money on, say, travel expenses to interviews and fees to employment agencies. Like the deduction for employee-business expenses, these are considered “miscellaneous deductions,” so you’re required to itemize and the total amount must exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. March 8, 2016 Taxes -- Tax Tips for “The Sharing Economy” Business Income March 29, 2016 / TurboTaxBlogTeam A laughing pretty chinese woman with a hat on driving somewhere with her friends in the backseat As technology continues to advance at a quick pace, how we interact with one another and perform our daily tasks is constantly changing. Many entrepreneurs and companies have been able to capitalize on these opportunities, and create a movement around sharing instead of owning. You may have heard of people referring to this as the gig economy, the on-demand economy, collaborative consumption and of course, the sharing economy. Whether you realize it or not, you probably already participate in the sharing economy. Ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft, house renting apps like Airbnb, errand services like TaskRabbit and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter all fall under the sharing economy’s umbrella. And if you made income this way in 2015, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by Intuit, about 3.2 million Americans are already part of the “sharing economy”, and the number is expected to grow to 7.6 million by 2020. Being an entreprenuer within this economy means you may have one or more micro-enterprises or small businesses going on. With April 18th quickly approaching, here are some useful tax tips and tricks for all of the ride-sharers, home-renters, task-doers and more. Report income from Forms 1099-Misc and 1099-K By now you should have received a Form 1099-K, Form 1099-Misc, or both. If you earned income as a freelancer working in the sharing economy, your income will typically be claimed on Form 1099-Misc. Form 1099-K reports income processed through third-party networks, such as PayPal. A payment processor must report income to the IRS using Form 1099-K if your gross payments: •Exceed $20,000, and •Exceed 200 transactions within the tax year So, there would be no Form 1099-K reporting requirement if you made $5,000 on the side selling your handmade items on Etsy. However, you are still responsible for reporting that amount to the IRS by including it as self-employed income. At tax-time, QuickBooks Self-Employed gives you the ability to export your Schedule C information from QuickBooks Self-Employed to TurboTax Online Home & Business to make your annual tax filing easier. Take tax deductions you didn’t know were possible Working in the On-Demand Economy as a freelancer allows you to take tax deductions you would not be eligible for as a W-2 employee. To help make sure your side gig is profitable, take advantage of business expense deductions, like start-up costs, computers, vehicle expenses, and computers. Self-employment tax obligations are not optional You may not think of yourself as self-employed as you engage in your on-demand economy gig, but the IRS does. If you still need to file your taxes don’t worry. Whether you are working as a contractor or you are enjoying making money in the fast growing gig economy, managing your taxes just got easier with QuickBooks Self-Employed and TurboTax Online Home & Business. --- Uncle Sam is waiting for his cut from American taxpayers, including those who participate in the sharing economy - doing side gigs like renting out apartments, driving for Uber or running random errands for strangers on TaskRabbit.com. Join us on March 30 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT to discuss how the sharing economy will impact your tax return. Plus, you’ll get tips to avoid unexpected tax bills (or worse). Follow #ReutersTax to join the conversation or watch it right here. ---- Sarah Young Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung Q2: How do I know what income is reported to the IRS? #ReutersTax 3m Kerry Freeman EA ‎@kerryfreemanea KerryFreemanEa Fron Phoenix AZ #ReutersTax http://reuters.com #ReuterTax 25s Sarah Young Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung Don't forget to use #ReutersTax hashtag to answer your qs cc @JBarrettNYC :-) 3m Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung cc #ReutersTax https://twitter.com/Amyw1119_CPA/status/715238554591498240 … 31s Reuters Money Retweeted Amy Wang, CPA ‎@Amyw1119_CPA A1: We all are! If you use @Airbnb @Uber @lyft or other cell app services, you’re taking part #aicpatax #ReutersTax https://twitter.com/LaurenYoung/status/715237675091951616 … 1m Alyssa Witt ‎@azagrobski A2: Also any 1099 income could be reported from crowd funding sites #ReutersTax 34s Sarah Young Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung How the 'Sharing economy' can complicate U.S. tax filings http://reut.rs/23IQwKu #ReutersTax View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 4m Reuters Money Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung What to do (and not to do!) when you cannot pay your taxes http://reut.rs/1MSzAXc via @CaitlinKellyNYC #ReutersTax View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 1m Reuters Money Retweeted Chris Taylor ‎@christaylor_nyc A2: If you're getting 1099s, the IRS knows about it #ReutersTax http://gph.is/15x8bIe?tc=1 GIPHY ‎@giphy 1m Sarah Young Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung 3.2 million Americans are already part of the sharing economy, with the number expected to grow to 7.6 million by 2020. #ReutersTax 6m Reuters Money Retweeted Trish Evenstad, EA ‎@TrishEvenstad A2:1099 forms are reported to the IRS. You are responsible for reporting all income regardless of if it is reported to the IRS. #ReutersTax 1m Experian Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung Q1: Who is part of the “sharing economy”? #ReutersTax 7m Sarah Young ‎@sthurberyoung @LaurenYoung A1L: Not sure if I fit but our family shares as much as we can with each other & community. #ReutersTax 49s Ubiquity Savings ‎@ubiquitysavings A2: All your income should be reported to the #IRS. No one wants that audit! #ReutersTax https://twitter.com/LaurenYoung/status/715238692802039809 … 54s Reuters Money Retweeted Wise Bread ‎@wisebread A2: Better safe than sorry! Don't get audited, report all income regardless of whether or not a client reports it.. #ReutersChat #reuterstax 1m Reuters Money Retweeted Jennifer Barrett ‎@JBarrettNYC Q2. Businesses must file1099s for payments of $600+/yr. But you’re required to report ALL income. #ReutersTax https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099msc.pdf … 1m TurboTax Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung HAPPENING NOW: #ReutersTax chat. Ask us your tax qs. 1m Reuters Money Retweeted Navicore Solutions ‎@navicorePR A2 Report you 1099 forms #ReutersTax 1m Reuters Money Retweeted Everlance ‎@everlance Sharing economy refers to p2p sharing of access to good and services, 3 main participants are suppliers, consumers, platforms. #ReutersTax 1m Reuters Money Retweeted Jennifer Barrett ‎@JBarrettNYC Q2. Common myth = If you don't get Form 1099 or if check =<$600, it's not taxable. Not true, says IRS. #ReutersTax https://www.irs.gov/uac/Reporting-Miscellaneous-Income … 2m =========================== Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung Tips for sharing economy workers to get their paperwork in order http://reut.rs/1XAJ66S @WaveApplication @SherpaShare #ReutersTax Photo published for 'Sharing economy' can complicate U.S. tax filings 'Sharing economy' can complicate U.S. tax filings Uncle Sam is waiting for his cut from American taxpayers, including those who participate in the so-called sharing economy - doing side gigs like renting out their apartments, driving for Uber or... reuters.com 5h Benita Matofska Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung 3.2 million Americans are already part of the sharing economy, with the number expected to grow to 7.6 million by 2020. #ReutersTax 5h Benita Matofska Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung How sharing economy workers can find tax help: http://reut.rs/1XAJ66S #ReutersTax Photo published for 'Sharing economy' can complicate U.S. tax filings 'Sharing economy' can complicate U.S. tax filings Uncle Sam is waiting for his cut from American taxpayers, including those who participate in the so-called sharing economy - doing side gigs like renting out their apartments, driving for Uber or... reuters.com 4h Global Economist Retweeted NAEA ‎@Tax_Experts A big shout-out to @TropicalTax @kerryfreemanea @TrishEvenstad for participating in the #ReutersTax chat this afternoon! 3h Lauren Young Retweeted NAEA ‎@Tax_Experts A big shout-out to @TropicalTax @kerryfreemanea @TrishEvenstad for participating in the #ReutersTax chat this afternoon! 3h Reuters Money Retweeted NAEA ‎@Tax_Experts A big shout-out to @TropicalTax @kerryfreemanea @TrishEvenstad for participating in the #ReutersTax chat this afternoon! 3h Cameron Huddleston Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung #ReutersTax shout out to @TTaxLisa @DebbiKing @azagrobski @IRAGuru4EdSlott @CHLebedinsky & more for awesome tax tips! The hour flew by... 4h NAEA Retweeted Trish Evenstad, EA ‎@TrishEvenstad Find an enrolled agent http://www.eatax.org #ReutersTax #EnrolledAgent https://twitter.com/TaxAcctFirmsUSA/status/715251311785156610 … 4h NAEA ‎@Tax_Experts A big shout-out to @TropicalTax @kerryfreemanea @TrishEvenstad for participating in the #ReutersTax chat this afternoon! 3h Jose F. Retweeted TurboTax ✔ ‎@turbotax A6: Tax deductions for #bloggers can = BIG tax #savings! Here are a few: http://tax.sh/2321JEr #ReutersTax Photo published for Unknown Tax Deductions for Bloggers Unknown Tax Deductions for Bloggers Running your own blog can be both rewarding and challenging. You have the satisfaction of being your own boss, working on your own schedule, providing for the family, and and meeting your career go… blog.turbotax.intuit.com 5h Lauren Gard Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung Got a tax question? We've gathered a team of experts who are online for the next 45 minutes to give you answers. Be sure to use #ReutersTax. 5h john maina Retweeted Reuters Money ✔ ‎@ReutersMoney TODAY 2 pm ET/11 am PT #ReutersTax sharing economy chat w/ @christaylor_nyc & more. Details http://reut.rs/1XAHxGd View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 7h Kerranna Retweeted Lauren Young ✔ ‎@LaurenYoung 3.2 million Americans are already part of the sharing economy, with the number expected to grow to 7.6 million by 2020. #ReutersTax 5h Bob Moulton Retweeted Tax Acct Firms USA ‎@TaxAcctFirmsUSA #ReutersTax @LaurenYoung And don't be afraid to seek professional #tax help; it may save you time & money. View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 4h Ubiquity Savings Retweeted Jeffrey Levine, CPA ‎@IRAGuru4EdSlott ICYMI: For the last hour a great twitter chat on #taxes going on. Use #ReutersTax to see what you missed 4h SJCS Retweeted NeighborWorks ✔ ‎@neighborworks RT @ReutersMoney: Haven't done your taxes yet? You can still get expert help http://reut.rs/25uuIDf #ReutersTax View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 5h SJCS Retweeted NeighborWorks ✔ ‎@neighborworks A5: Don't forget to fund your IRA or myRA. Learn more about myRA #retirement savings: http://ow.ly/1063hq #ReutersTax 5h SJCS Retweeted NeighborWorks ✔ ‎@neighborworks RT @LaurenYoung: The IRS never phones: four ways to avoid tax scams http://reut.rs/1UdIJB8 #ReutersTax View image on Twitter View image on Twitter 4h SJCS Retweeted NeighborWorks ✔ ‎@neighborworks Workers in the sharing & gig economy have to plan for the downtimes: http://ow.ly/1060Yo #ReutersTax Photo published for The Uber business model loses some of its sheen The Uber business model loses some of its sheen The Uber business model, it seems, is losing some of its sheen and isn't one size fits all. Inside the shifting American workforce. cnbc.com 5h Acorns Retweeted Grow ‎@Grow_mag You may be able to deduct work-related expenses as itemized deductions

Apple could use Brooklyn case to pursue details about FBI iPhone hack: source

Wed Mar 30, 2016 | 12:12 AM EDT Mar 28, 2016 | 01:13 Justice Department drops lawsuit against Apple Apple could use Brooklyn case to pursue details. By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - If the U.S. Department of Justice asks a New York court to force Apple Inc to unlock an iPhone, the technology company could push the government to reveal how it accessed the phone which belonged to a shooter in San Bernardino, a source familiar with the situation said. The Justice Department will disclose over the next two weeks whether it will continue with its bid to compel Apple to help access an iPhone in a Brooklyn drug case, according to a court filing on Tuesday. The Justice Department this week withdrew a similar request in California, saying it had succeeded in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters involved in a rampage in San Bernardino in December without Apple's help. The legal dispute between the U.S. government and Apple has been a high-profile test of whether law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data. Apple, supported by most of the technology industry, says anything that helps authorities bypass security features will undermine security for all users. Government officials say that all kinds of criminal investigations will be crippled without access to phone data. Prosecutors have not said whether the San Bernardino technique would work for other seized iPhones, including the one at issue in Brooklyn. Should the Brooklyn case continue, Apple could pursue legal discovery that would potentially force the FBI to reveal what technique it used on the San Bernardino phone, the source said. A Justice Department representative did not have immediate comment. In a statement, Apple said "we don't know" the FBI's technical solution, which vendor developed it or "what it allegedly achieves." A federal magistrate in Brooklyn last month ruled that he did not have authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone seized during a drug investigation. The Justice Department then appealed to a district court judge. After filing that appeal, U.S. prosecutors notified the magistrate in the San Bernardino case that a third party had demonstrated a new technique which could access the iPhone in question. The Justice Department disclosed the new technique to the judge one day after the demonstration, and then confirmed its success on Monday, according to court filings, though it did not reveal how its solution works. The U.S. government did not disclose any details in a letter to the Brooklyn judge on Tuesday. Instead, prosecutors only agreed with a request by Apple to delay briefing deadlines in the case, and said it would update the court by April 11 as to whether it would "modify" its own request for Apple's assistance. Law enforcement officials across the country have said they regularly encounter Apple devices they cannot access. Hillar Moore III, the district attorney in East Baton Rouge, said he has asked the FBI whether its new technique would access an iPhone to help solve a murder case he is overseeing. Moore has not yet received an answer. "Eventually we would like to know: Is this technology available to us, or is the third party going to sell it, and how much would it cost?" he said. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Bill Rigby)

Finance Department urges AFP to investigate Defence Housing Australia

Finance Department urges AFP to investigate Defence Housing Australia Exclusive by defence reporter Andrew Greene Updated 55 minutes ago RELATED STORY: Defence chief warns against privatising Defence housingRELATED STORY: Defence Housing boss quits, stoking privatisation fears MAP: Australia Federal Police have been asked to investigate the government agency which controls more than $10 billion worth of defence housing, sparking fresh concerns in the military about the future of the organisation. Defence Housing Australia (DHA) hit the headlines late last year when the ABC revealed its then managing director, Peter Howman, had suddenly resigned. The ABC has now confirmed the Finance Department has asked the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to investigate the organisation, but it is unclear what has prompted the request. "The Department of Finance has referred a matter concerning Defence Housing Australia to the AFP," a spokeswoman for the Finance Department said. "As this matter is the subject of ongoing AFP process, it would not be appropriate to comment further." Do you know more about this story? Email greene.andrew@abc.net.au The AFP would not give any details concerning the matter. "The AFP can confirm receipt of a referral from the Department of Finance concerning Defence Housing Australia," the AFP said in a statement. "As this matter is currently under evaluation, it would not be appropriate to comment further." Peter Howman and Captain Katherine Richards, RAN, open the first upgraded house of HMAS Cerberus. PHOTO: Mr Howman "was moved on was because he was so good at resisting the argument to privatise or asset strip it," said Neil James from the Australia Defence Association. (Dept of Defence: ABIS Dove Smithett) Former DHA boss Peter Howman said he was baffled by the Finance Department's move on the agency. "From what I understand, the statement from the AFP and Department of Finance is referring to Defence Housing Australia — it's not referring to myself, and it's really a matter for DHA to respond to, not myself and the Department of Finance and the AFP, and I wouldn't want to get involved with any discussions they may be having," Mr Howman said. Senior figures in the military said they believed some inside the Federal Government were pushing to privatise DHA, which manages a real estate portfolio worth more than $10 billion. At present, the organisation's two major shareholders are the Department of Finance and the Department of Defence. Defence Association against DHA privatisation Neil James from the Australia Defence Association said privatising the DHA would be a very negative step. "As the Chief of the Defence Force has made quite clear, and indeed so has the Secretary and the Minister — DHA should not be privatised," Mr James said. "This is not a common Government-business enterprise — this is a vital defence capability enabler and one of the reasons why Peter Howman was moved on was because he was so good at resisting the argument to privatise or asset strip it." DHA chairman Sandy Macdonald said he had "nothing further to add to the statements made by the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Finance". The Federal Government insists it has no plans to privatise DHA.

Royal commission into domestic violence hands down findings – as it happened

Royal commission into domestic violence hands down findings – as it happened Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says all 227 recommendations will be implemented: ‘This is not about saving money, this is about saving lives’ Updated 2h ago Deputy Commissioner Tony Nicholson, Commissioner Marcia Neave, and Deputy Commissioner Patricia Faulkner at the opening of the royal commission into Family Violence last year. Deputy Commissioner Tony Nicholson, Commissioner Marcia Neave, and Deputy Commissioner Patricia Faulkner at the opening of the royal commission into family violence last year. Photograph: David Crosling/AAP Helen Davidson, and Melissa Davey in Melbourne Wednesday 30 March 2016 16.44 AEDT Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+ Shares 265 Save for later Key events Show 2h ago A summary of findings from the royal commission into family violence and responses 3h ago Family violence report has clear federal implications, stakeholders say. 6h ago "The human cost is unacceptable" 7h ago 'We will get this right' - Andrews 7h ago Royal commission makes 227 recommendations Show 2h ago 16:44 A summary of findings from the royal commission into family violence and responses Thanks for following our live coverage of the landmark report from Australia’s first royal commission into family violence. Melissa Davey signing off from Melbourne. To recap: Australia’s first royal commission into family violence has made a comprehensive 227 recommendations in its landmark report to the Victorian parliament, making it the most extensive document ever handed down on how to how to prevent and respond to the issue. It concludes 13 months of work lead by Justice Marcia Neave. There is an emphasis on breaking down a siloed system to increase transparency and cooperation between sectors, as well numerous recommendations to hold the performance of those sectors to account. Transparency and accountability of the system, including police responses, are highlighted. Removing the burden from victims in getting help and placing accountability on the shoulders of perpetrators is also a strong focus of the report. There is also a role for the state government in lobbying the federal government for change, the report says. The right to perpetrators to experience privacy through the court system should not trump the right of victims to be safe, the premier, Daniel Andrews, has said. For this reason, a secure central information point led by Victoria police and which stores databases from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice has been recommended so perpetrators can be tracked. Andrews has promised to implement every recommendation, saying it would cost the government “hundreds of millions”. A more solid figure will be revealed in the budget. No more excuses, Andrews says - violence against women will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be held to account. The report is expected to be followed by the state, territory and federal governments as well as by governments around the world grappling with family violence. A huge range of stakeholders have responded to the report, many of which we have covered in this blog below. The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service can be reached at 1800 737 732. The Men’s Referral Service provides anonymous and confidential telephone counselling, information and referrals to men to help them take action to stop using violent and controlling behaviour: 1300 766 491. Or call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au If you’d like to keep the conversation going, you can follow me either on Twitter or on Facebook. In the meantime, I’ve filed a further news piece on the commission’s report. You can read the full piece here. Thanks for joining us. Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 2h ago 16:27 Our Watch, the national organisation dedicated to the primary prevention of violence against women and their children, has welcomed the royal commission’s report and commended its focus on prevention. Chief Executive Officer, Mary Barry, said the commission’s recommendation that the Victorian government adopt a prevention strategy, with dedicated funding and performance measures, was good news. We are pleased that the Commission has reinforced the importance of primary prevention, and of stopping violence against women and their children before it starts by addressing the social norms and institutional practices that support and give rise to it. Importantly the Commission has also recognised that prevention programs are most effective when they form part of a coordinated approach. There’s no doubt that we will never prevent violence against women through disparate projects with short-term funding. To reduce and ultimately eliminate violence against women, we need a coherent, broadly supported strategy that can guide both policy and practice. What the Royal Commission has recommended today is most definitely an important step in the right direction.” Our Watch has also welcomed the Royal Commission’s recommendation that the Victorian Government mandate the staged rollout of respectful relationships education into every government school in Victoria from Prep to Year 12. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. Facebook Twitter Google plus 2h ago 16:20 Seniors Rights Victoria has sent through its response to the report: “Not only does the chapter on older people comprehensively and sensitively address the many issues involved in elder abuse – the whole report contains recommendations that will benefit older people,” says Seniors Rights Victoria’s manager, Jenny Blakey, who says: The report is a triumph for recognition of diversity in family violence. We are delighted by the underlying principles that recognise the particular experiences and needs of older people. Picking up on Seniors Rights Victoria’s submission to the inquiry, the report has specifically recommended more information on elder abuse for older people, better training of aged care service providers, the trialling of a Victoria Police elder abuse response team and more funding for Seniors Rights Victoria to provide expert training to the broader family violence sector.” Elder abuse is vastly under-reported, but the World Health Organisation estimates that up to 10% of older people worldwide are affected. It is defined as any act which causes harm to an older person by someone they know and trust. Like other forms of family violence, elder abuse is about one person having control over another. Older Victorians experiencing elder abuse can get help by calling Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821 Monday to Friday. See www.seniorsrights.org.au for more info. Facebook Twitter Google plus 3h ago 15:56 Family violence report has clear federal implications, stakeholders say. More from Dr Chris Atmore, senior policy adviser with the Federation of Community Legal Centres. Atmore gave evidence to the commission and was also present throughout the Luke Batty inquest. She is an expert in the field, having worked on sexual assault and family violence issues and volunteered and worked in the community legal sector for over 12 years. Atmore says: Today’s report has clear federal implications, and highlights the deep gulf between the Federal Government’s claimed commitment to ending family violence, and its actions in underfunding and cutting services in direct contradiction to a 2014 Productivity Commission report to which it has failed to respond. Speaking at the Victorian Premier’s press conference this morning, family violence campaigner Rosie Batty said that ‘Federal Government cuts to community legal centres have a significant impact for victims of family violence every single day’. We agree. Without free legal help with intervention orders, women and children are at far greater risk of abuse, injury and death – Federal Government cuts are placing barriers between women and children and their pathways to safety. She said the report makes welcome recommendations to strengthen the courts and the intervention order process, to reform the law, to include family violence experts in the development of solutions, and to take systemic measures that would build consideration of family violence into decisions about state government policies and initiatives. She said the report would also lead to a deeper focus on learning from family violence homicides to prevent future deaths. She called for the premier’s message that not responding to family violence had a much higher cost to governments than taking action to be taken to COAG. Facebook Twitter Google plus 3h ago 15:44 Here’s an overview of just some of the media reporting of the commission’s landmark report so far. Miki Perkins has written a piece for The Age highlighting some of the key recommendations, including the focus on abusers and the need to protect children. You can read her piece here. Meanwhile, this piece from the Gay News Network by Rachel Cook quotes Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Co-Convenor, Sean Mulcahy, who says: “It is encouraging that the Royal Commission has acknowledged that LGBTI people experiencing family violence have not been adequately supported. In this climate, it is not surprising that a half to two thirds of people in LGBTI relationships do not access support when experiencing family violence.” And Stephanie Anderson writes for the ABC that “Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has vowed to overhaul a “broken” family violence support system after a report called for sweeping reforms to prevent and respond to the problem”. Read her full piece here. Updated at 3.44pm AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 3h ago 15:35 Kate Fitz-Gibbon, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology with Monash University, has written a piece for the Conversation about the royal commission’s key recommendations. You can read the full piece here. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt: The commission recommended the statewide establishment of 17 safety hubs. These would be designed as local entry points to specialist family violence services, perpetrator programs, and additional support services. People will be able to approach a hub directly or be referred by another service. Hubs will conduct risk assessment and provide people with direct access to a range of relevant support services. Recognising the value of specialist responses to family violence, the commission recommended the government ensure that, subject to exceptional circumstances, within five years a specialist family violence court hear all family violence matters. This on its own is a game-changer for legal responses to family violence. Other court-based recommendations included greater resources for legal services and improvement of court facilities and infrastructure to better ensure victim safety when attending court. The report provides clear recognition of the inability of intervention orders to keep victims safe. The commission recommended a range of long-awaited strategies to improve effectiveness of the serving, monitoring and overseeing of these orders. Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 3h ago 15:33 There has been a huge reaction to the commission’s findings on social media, with #FamilyViolence and #RCFV [Royal Commission into Family Violence] trending on Twitter for several hours. Here are some of the reactions from Twitter: Facebook Twitter Google plus 3h ago 15:24 Thanks to Helen Davidson for updating this live blog with all of the reaction to the royal commission’s landmark report throughout the day. Melissa Davey back with you, after attending the lock-up this morning at parliament house and press conferences from stakeholders in the family violence sector. We’ll have a story up on the key responses shortly. In the meantime, it’s fair to say the family violence sector has responded overwhelmingly positively to the report, which spans seven volumes, some 1,900 pages and includes 227 recommendations. Those recommendations are broken down into sections, which include [and yes I’m going to name them all]: risk management and assessment, information sharing, specialist family violence services, children and young people, sexual assault, pathways to services, police, court-based responses, offences and sentencing, perpetrators, the role of the health system, family violence and diversity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, older people, people from culturally diverse communities, lesbian, gay , bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, people with disabilities, male victims, women in prison, male victims, women working in the sex industry, prevention, the workplace, sustainable governance data, research and evaluation, investment, and industry planning. So as you can see, it’s an extensive report and it will take some time for those in the sector and the Victorian government [and journalists!] to fully comprehend and comprehensively respond to the findings. It is so extensive that it’s also impossible to detail every sector and the recommendations made for each. However, you can access the full report here. If you have any questions about the report I’ll do my best to answer them: ask me either on Twitter or on Facebook. Updated at 3.27pm AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 3h ago 15:07 The Victorian Greens said today was “a long awaited step on the path” to reducing the harm caused by family violence. “To its credit, the government has committed to implementing all 227 recommendations,” said acting Victorian Greens leader Samantha Dunn. “The Commission attached timelines to many of the recommendations, so there is no excuse for delay. Some recommendations are well understood and could have been implemented before now, such as keeping victims and perpetrators physically separated when they go to court. We’ve known about problems like this for a long time and cannot afford to delay acting any longer.” Facebook Twitter Google plus 4h ago 14:42 Launch Housing, an anti-homelessness organisation has described the findings as a “game-changer”. “Our frontline staff are daily faced with the untenable choice - do they let a family sleep in their car, return to a violent situation at home or accommodate them in a dodgy rooming house,” said chief executive Tony Keenan. “The Royal Commission has explicitly stated that this is not appropriate and cannot continue and recommends funding to enable appropriate crisis accommodation for those who need it.” In November 2015, the Victorian government announced the allocation of $12m over four years to fund Family Violence Flexible Support Packages to assist people escaping violent situations. Packages of up to $7000 were to pay for things such as rental or relocation costs, furnishings, clothing and books for children, and security measures to improve safety at home. The program, announced during the commission’s run, is not yet up and running, but today’s report recommended its expansion. Keenan said the recommendations recognised the private rental market as the quickest way to get people rehoused. “We welcome the focus of the Royal Commission on keeping women and kids safely housed in their own home,” he said. “That is always the best option. In those circumstances where we can’t do this, we know that getting women and kids rehoused safely as quickly as possible in their own community will cause the least harm.” ===== Dr Chris Atmore from the Federation of Community Legal Centres said the commission and the government’s willingness not to beat around the bush about what is not working was refreshing. She said the courts needed to work better, and she was glad to see beefed up support for the court system. The recognition of family violence specialisation and skills and the need to ensure women get consistency in responses in their journey through the system was really important. It shouldn’t depend on which police officer they see or magistrate they see as to whether they will get helped. Also, to see a recommendation for independent oversight of the system is a huge relief. The commission really got it that those who have worked in the sector have seen things constantly change and policies change and an overarching body to independently oversee the sector shows they appreciate how important it is to have a dispassionate body analysing and assessing what works and what doesn’t.” Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 5h ago 13:58 With longer reports and analysis on the way from Melissa Davey and Gay Alcorn, let’s take stock of this morning’s events. The royal commission into family violence tabled its report to the Victorian parliament, and made an unprecedented 227 recommendations. It called for a complete overhaul of the courts system, information sharing between services and authorities, and statewide service hubs. It also focused on removing multiple and unnecessary burdens on victims who seek help, and increasing accountability of perpetrators. Premier Daniel Andrews reiterated his government’s promise to implement every single recommendation, but noted that the changes needed will come “from governments over time” and “we need a focus beyond the life of any one government”. He promised immediate action on two areas: a blitz on housing, and a boost in funding. Reforms in the culture and attitude which is at the heart of violence against women and children would take “some time”, he said. Andrews met with prime minister Turnbull this morning and intends to discuss the findings and the role of the federal government in addressing them at a COAG dinner tomorrow night. Implementing all the recommendations would cost the government “many hundreds of millions of dollars” but Andrews said it was about “saving lives” not money, and flagged big changes in the upcoming state budget. Legal groups, service providers, and anti-violence campaigners have welcomed the report and the positive government reaction. Rosie Batty called on state and territory leaders and voters to ensure family violence was on the agenda for this year’s federal election. Facebook Twitter Google plus 5h ago 13:47 As stakeholders and government agencies work on their responses to the report, here is a quick analysis from our Melbourne editor, Gay Alcorn. The first reaction to the commission’s report was that it was overwhelming - it’s seven volumes, plus a summary volume. It makes 227 recommendations and nobody yet has had the opportunity to absorb it all. And it’s so comprehensive - it covers everything from police, courts, domestic violence services and funding, housing, integrating services, training and mandatory respectful relationships programs in schools. It deals with big issues and small. For instance, it wants a an independent statutory body to oversee the implementation of the report and to hold the government to account and it also recommends that the government funds to ensure victims of family violence have counselling “for as long as they need”. It sounds prosaic, but the cost of these recommendations will be in the many hundreds of millions. The report acknowledges it, saying that it has “ substantial investment implications for government” and that for too long, the sector has been seriously underfunded. It points out too, that at the moment, the government has no real idea about how much it spends on family violence, and that needs to change. The commissioners go so far as to say that the new funds needed “may require investigating options for redirecting existing revenue sources towards family violence expenditure” and even “identifying new revenue sources” to afford it all. “In our view the community would support a substantial increase in funding to reduce family violence, provide better protection to victims and hold perpetrators accountable,” commissioner Marcia Neave told at a media conference. Premier Daniel Andrews was asked about whether he would consider a new tax to help fund the recommendations. He wouldn’t go that far, but he repeated his promise that the government would implement all 227 recommendations and said his officers were going through each one and working out how much they would cost the state. “This will be many hundreds of millions of dollars,” Andrews said. Yet he insisted it was an “investment” in a safer Victoria, and pointed out that the cost of domestic violence now - in lives lost, in injuries, in police resources to name just a few - was unacceptable. “This is not about saving money, it is about saving lives,” he said. “Family violence is costing us $3.1b a year (and) it’s 40% of police work.” Facebook Twitter Google plus 6h ago 13:39 It apparently weighs almost five kilos. Facebook Twitter Google plus 6h ago 13:33 Federal Labor has congratulated the royal commission, those who contributed to it, premier Daniel Andrews, and minister for Prevention for Family Violence Fiona Richardson. “Eliminating family and domestic violence requires a long term strategic approach by all levels of government and the Australian community,” said Terri Butler, the shadow parliamentary secretary for child safety and prevention of family violence. “Federal Labor stands ready, with already released policies, and a willingness to work with state and local governments, stakeholders, and the community, to eliminate violence against women and their children once and for all,” she said. Butler noted Labor’s existing commitments, including a pledge to make domestic and family violence leave “a universal workplace right” by providing for five days paid leave in the National Employment Standards. Facebook Twitter Google plus 6h ago 13:22 Melissa Davey Melissa Davey Annette Gillespie is the CEO of Safe Steps family violence response centre said the safety hubs - the 17 one-stop centres the commission has recommended be established throughout the state for victims to get help from police, counsellors, housing services and other providers - was a significant recommendation. “The safety and support hubs I think will give greater support to women and children in their local area. Also the commitment to fund frontline services and to have a blitz on emergency accommodation for women and their children to ensure there is efficient accommodation is a big shift in thinking . The history of keeping women safe has involved removing them from their homes and taking them to secret locations. These recommendations allow women to stay home and stay safe.” She said the recommendation calling for an independent government body to oversee the commission’s recommendations would be significant in holding the government to account as well as the organisations responding to family violence, such as police. That accountability was something Gillespie said she never thought she would see several years ago. Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 6h ago 13:15 Jacqui Watt, chief executive of the No To Violence / Men’s Referral Service, has specifically noted one recommendation. “The Royal Commission recommends that within 12 months men’s behaviour change programs are funded to meet the demand from men who are ordered to attend and also from those who volunteer,” Watt told Guardian Australia. “This is a first and represents a significant shift from how Victoria has approached its family violence prevention response to date. I’m pleased to see this recommendation from the Royal Commission and look forward to No To Violence / Men’s Referral Service assisting the government in implementing the expansion of men’s behaviour change programs across the state this year.” Royal Commission recommendation 92 Photograph: Royal Commission into Family Violence Facebook Twitter Google plus 6h ago 13:05 LGBTI groups have welcomed the report. “It is encouraging that the Royal Commission has acknowledged that LGBTI people experiencing family violence have not been adequately supported. In this climate, it is not surprising that a half to two thirds of people in LGBTI relationships do not access support when experiencing family violence,” said Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Co-Convenor Sean Mulcahy. “These recommendations are critical to ensuring that LGBTI people can access family violence services who understand their particular needs and without a fear of being turned away. The recommendations also highlight the need for inclusive community education and awareness campaigns that encourage LGBTI people experiencing family violence to seek help.” Facebook Twitter Google plus 6h ago 12:59 Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria, says it was encouraging to see the experiences of Indigenous women were front and centre in the report. “Too often Aboriginal women are silenced and invisible to policy makers,” she told reporters. “It was also encouraging to see that the royal commission is recommending that the government invest into Aboriginal community controlled organisations, those organisations that focus on women and children as well as legal services for victims. Also there were other recommendations around child protection [we are pleased with].” Braybrook said 80% of Aboriginal women in prison were mothers, and 90% of those had experienced family violence. “An investment into culturally safe, community controlled services will ensure all Aboriginal women have access to those services and safety.” Melissa Davey Melissa Davey Fiona McCormack from Domestic Violence Victoria is a bit disappointed there wasn’t more emphasis on a dedicated long term funding scheme, contributed to by both the state and federal governments. There was some emphasis on it she says, but there could have been more. === Among the 227 recommendations by the royal commission are several new approaches which it says are needed to address family violence. Below is a summary, set out in the report. Support and Safety Hubs in local communities throughout Victoria, to make it easier for victims to find help and gain access to a greater range of services new laws to ensure that privacy considerations do not trump victims’ safety—with a Central Information Point to funnel information about perpetrators to the Hubs an immediate funding boost to services that support victims and families, additional resources for Aboriginal community initiatives and a dedicated funding stream for preventing family violence a ‘blitz’ to rehouse women and children forced to leave their homes, supported by expanded individual funding packages an expanded investigative capacity for police and mobile technology for front-line police, including a trial of body-worn cameras more specialist family violence courts that can deal with criminal, civil and family law matters at the same time stronger perpetrator programs and increased monitoring and oversight by agencies family violence training for all key workforces—including in hospitals and schools investment in future generations through expanded respectful relationships education in schools an independent Family Violence Agency to hold government to account Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 7h ago 12:22 "The human cost is unacceptable" Daniel Andrews has delivered a response to the findings via video message. “Last year 37 Victorians were murdered by the people they trusted the most, and we failed every single one of them,” says Andrews. “One thing’s for certain, more of the same policies will only mean more of the same tragedies.” Facebook Twitter Google plus 7h ago 12:17 The full report from the royal commission into family violence is now online. Facebook Twitter Google plus 7h ago 12:12 Rosie Batty, anti-violence campaigner, former Australian of the Year, and the mother of 11-year-old Luke, who’s death at the hands of his father was among the incidents which prompted this inquiry, says the report is “a huge turning point in our society”. “It would have been great that it happened decades ago,” she says. “It’s sad that it happened through tragedy.” Batty says it’s “critical” that states keep pressure on the federal government over funding for anti-violence programs, and that the issue should be on the federal election agenda. Facebook Twitter Google plus 7h ago 12:05 Reactions to the findings are beginning to come in from stakeholders and spokespeople. The Victorian Council of Social Service described the report as “a landmark moment and a turning point in addressing the scourge of family violence in Victoria”. The organisation welcomed the focus on aspects like financial security, which it described as one of many “critical areas that are often overlooked”. “The Royal Commission’s report provides a framework for long-term, whole-of-government, transformational change across the family violence system,” said Emma King, VCOSS CEO. “Some of the recommendations will require significant new funding. We look forward to seeing this begin to roll out in the state government’s April budget. “Challenges will inevitably arise with such seismic change to the way the Victorian community, the service system and government work together to tackle the scourge of family violence. But it is incumbent on us all to make the most of what is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve real change.” Facebook Twitter Google plus 7h ago 12:01 Read Davey’s full report on the findings of the royal commission here. Overhaul 'broken system' of dealing with domestic violence, says royal commission Victorian premier Daniel Andrews pledges to introduce all 227 proposals, including support for victims to return to homes and get through court cases • Follow all the reaction to the commission’s recommendations here Read more Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 7h ago 11:59 Andrews says he spoke with prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull this morning, and will discuss the findings tomorrow night. Andrews and other state and territory leaders are having a dinner with Turnbull ahead of Friday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting. He says he’s not interested in fighting with the federal government and is confident Turnbull will hear him out on the federal government’s role. Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:48 Melissa Davey Melissa Davey Andrews is asked how he will fund the extensive overhaul of various systems. He doesn’t have a cost yet - his officials were working through the document still, which he only received yesterday, to figure it out. Some of the recommendations recommend funding and changes within months, others within years. However Andrews said implementing all the recommendations would cost the government “many hundreds of millions of dollars”. He is not deterred by this. “The budget will be delivered in just a couple of weeks time. Obviously here are some things that can’t wait. We will move quickly on those things that simply can not wait. That will come at a significant cost. This is not about saving money. This is about saving lives. Family violence is costing us at least $3.1bn dollars every single year. How do you put a price on a life lost?” Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:40 In the first clue about the extent of the work required, Andrews says the changes needed will come “from governments over time” and “we need a focus beyond the life of any one government”. Updated at 11.40am AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:37 There is a lot of optimism about the changes which can come from this report. The recommendations are many and ambitious, and the Victorian government has pledged to implement them all. ================== We need to get much better at helping victims of family violence to recover financially and psychologically, Neave says. She recommends a significant expansion of counselling and support systems for victims, including calling on the federal government to provide a medicare number for family violence counselling. It’s important to note the recommendations are to the Victorian government and not the federal government, so the report recommends the Victorian government use its role in bodies like COAG to lobby the federal government for changes like this. “The whole report is premised on the need for a whole of community response,” she says. “We know now right across the community there is a willingness to take action and support victims. But there is also limited understanding about how to help.” That’s why the report was recommending comprehensive and consistent family violence training and risk assessment procedures be adopted for those working in courts, the police, health workers and other workers in the sector, as well as more accessible information for those in the community through websites and education, she says. Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 8h ago 11:25 More from Neave: “Although there are good things being done by many services... the overall response to family response needs to be transformed. The 227 recommendations work together as an overall package.” Below are some of the key areas, as noted by Neave. Safety hubs “We recommend the establishment of 17 support and safety hubs throughout Victoria, operating as local entry points to specialist family violence services, perp programs, and specialist services to support families and children.” “Some victims want the violence to stop but don’t want to separate from the person who caused violence. The hubs... will ensure perpetrators who seek help can find it.” Focus on perpetrators “We know the system needs to focus much more on the people who visit violence on their families. Victims should not be held resposnbile to manage their own or their children’s safety. “Privacy should not trump victims’ safety. So the commission recommends... the establishment of a central information point which will funnel information relevant to risk from police, courts, corrections and other services to the hubs to keep victims safe.” Police and courts We recommend police are equipped with mobile tech to relieve them from unnecessary paperwork” and body cameras. We recommend more specialist family violence courts so within five years all family violence victims will have their matters heard in a family violence court. We also propose stronger perpetrator programs, increased monitoring and oversight by agencies, upgrades to court security so victims don’t have to come into contact with perpetrators. Children “We know children and young people are the silent victims of family violence. In around a third of police family violence call outs, children are present.” Recommendations: Integrated family support and family violence services. Much more access to intensive therapeutic services, and expansion of services which work on repairing mother child bond. Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:17 Volume one of the report has set out the stories of people who gave evidence, Neave tells the press conference. She describes the story of one woman and her children who escaped her husband after years of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. “Susan believed she had sheltered her children from the violence, until one of her son’s teachers drew attention to the fact that one of her children wasn’t speaking at school.” “After she did leave she and her four children were homeless for much of the year.” They lived in a public park, with the car parked near the children’s school. She was offered accommodation but only for her and two children, so she rejected it, and ultimately found help through a chaplain. Her husband was later convicted and jailed. “While each story is unique and while individuals suffer family violence in different ways, her story has a resemblance to other stories we heard from victims,” says Neave. Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:13 — Melissa Davey (@MelissaLDavey) March 30, 2016 "Too many women are dying. The #RCFV was our highest and most formal way to get the answers that we need" - Andrews. pic.twitter.com/ef4WgBirIA The press conference has begun. Andrews has introduced Commissioner Neave. The royal commission was “always designed as an acknowledgement that the system is broken,” he said. Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:10 'We will get this right' - Andrews Premier Andrews has release a statement ahead of his press conference. The Victorian Labor government has reiterated its pledge to implement every single recommendation from the report, and promised new laws, 17 statewide “safety hubs”, a boost to services and a “housing blitz” for women in crisis. “I refuse to look back in ten years’ time and admit we could have done more to safe innocent lives,” said Andrews. “We will get this right. “We will punish the perpetrators, listen to the survivors, and change the culture that allows family violence to happen in the first place. There can be no more excuses. Our work begins today to overhaul our broken family violence system from the bottom up.” Updated at 12.10pm AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:05 Royal commission makes 227 recommendations The findings from the royal commission have now been tabled to Victorian parliament. Melissa Davey and Gay Alcorn have spent the last few hours going over the report, which delivered an unprecedented 227 recommendations. From Davey: Australia’s first royal commission into family violence has made a comprehensive 227 recommendations in its landmark report to the Victorian parliament, making it the most extensive document ever handed down on how to how to prevent and respond to the issue. There is an emphasis on breaking down a siloed system to increase transparency and cooperation between sectors, as well numerous recommendations to hold the performance of those sectors to account. Removing the burden from victims in getting help and placing accountability on the shoulders of perpetrators is also a strong focus of the report. There is also a role for the state government in lobbying the federal government for change, the report says. We’ll bring you Davey’s full report shortly. Facebook Twitter Google plus Advertisement 8h ago 11:01 Melissa Davey Melissa Davey The handing down of the commission’s recommendations today is expected to lead to a flood of women seeking help for family violence situations, putting crisis lines and housing services under pressure. To pre-empt this, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews last week announced an immediate $10m in funding towards support services. This included $6m to meet an expected rapid rise in calls for help after the royal commission’s report is released, including to crisis accommodation, counselling, women’s health, behaviour change programs and services working with Aboriginal survivors. Andrews said funding was only the beginning of further funding announcements, expected to be made at his press conference later this morning once the commission’s findings have been made public. You can find a list of family violence support services here. Updated at 11.46am AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 11:00 Among the evidence heard by the commission, data from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s national homicide monitor revealed that in the decade to 2012, 1,088 of the 2,631 recorded homicides were “domestic”. This translated to an average of 115 victims of domestic homicide per year in Australia. Three-quarters of intimate partner homicides resulted in the death of a female. Children were the next most likely to be killed. Updated at 11.05am AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 8h ago 10:53 Melissa Davey Melissa Davey Melissa Davey spoke with a couple of the key family violence organisations in Victoria on Tuesday to get an idea of what they’ll be hoping to see when the commission’s list of recommendations are revealed today. As is to be expected, more secure and long-term funding was raised, as well as better integration of different sectors of the family violence system with each other. The chief executive officer of Domestic Violence Victoria, Fiona McCormack, who is also in the lock-up, said: We’re hoping for recommendations that support a more systematic approach to engaging with men who use violence. We’ve got a system that’s largely designed to provide support for women and children when they reach out, which is obviously critical, and obviously that needs to continue. But the cause of the violence is going under the radar and we’ve got to tilt the system so it is much more focused on the men who behave this way. We want to see the responsibility taken away from women to protect themselves and their children and to utilise opportunities to interrupt the violence and engage with men. We’ll be getting some reaction from McCormack once the lock-up is over. Updated at 11.06am AEDT Facebook Twitter Google plus 9h ago 10:48 Welcome to Guardian Australia’s live coverage of the findings from Australia’s first family violence royal commission. The recommendations from the 13-month inquiry are being tabled in Victoria’s parliament today. The family violence royal commission was announced by the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews shortly after his election in November 2014 and following a number of high-profile murders of women and their children. One of the most high-profile was the death of 11 year-old Luke Batty. Commissioner Marcia Neave was given wide-ranging terms of reference (pdf). Today’s report should include recommendations on best practise measures for the prevention of family violence, how to better support victims and hold perpetrators to account, the creation of systemic responses, and improvements in agency responses and reporting mechanisms. It heard evidence from more than 200 people and examined aspects of family violence including elder abuse, financial abuse, family violence among LGBTI people and in Indigenous communities, and the role of alcohol, mental illness and gender inequality. Guardian Australia’s Melbourne editor, Gay Alcorn, and journalist, Melissa Davey, entered a lock-up to read the recommendations at 9.30am. Once that is over and the report is tabled, they will bring you comprehensive coverage of its findings and a press conference with Andrews and Australia’s first minister for the prevention of family violence, Fiona Richardson. Andrews has previously committed to adopting every one of the reports recommendations, so all eyes will be on him to see how he will fund the recommendations and over what time frame. Stay with us. The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service can be reached at 1800 737 732 The Men’s Referral Service provides anonymous and confidential telephone counselling, information and referrals to men to help them take action to stop using violent and controlling behaviour: 1300 766 491

Sunday, March 20, 2016

China's debut Westinghouse reactor delayed until June 2017: exec

Technology | Wed Mar 9, 2016 2:51am EST Related: ENVIRONMENT, CHINA China's debut Westinghouse reactor delayed until June 2017: exec BEIJING | BY DAVID STANWAY AND KATHY CHEN The world's first Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor will go into operation in June next year, more than three years behind the original schedule, the head of China's leading state nuclear project developer said. "We are forecasting that if everything goes smoothly, the first unit will go into operation in June 2017, and the second unit at the end of 2017," said Sun Qin, the chairman of the China National Nuclear Corporation, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament. "Construction has been delayed three years. At first we planned on December 2013 but there was just no way, with key pieces of equipment not available," he said. The "third-generation" reactor, designed by the U.S.-based Westinghouse, has been plagued by delays brought about by design flaws and problems with key components. Sun said new coolant pumps for the two reactor units only arrived at the end of last year. Westinghouse is a unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp. A rival third-generation design, the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), has faced similar problems, with projects in France, Finland and China all delayed. But Sun said he was hopeful that China's own third-generation model, known as the Hualong 1, will progress more smoothly. China's first Hualong unit is under construction at Fuqing in southeast China's Fujian province and is expected to be completed by around June 2020, he said. China has also started construction on an identical Hualong 1 unit in Pakistan and is waiting on Argentina to ratify another Hualong 1 deal. CNNC's rival, China General Nuclear, signed a deal with France's EDF to take a 6 billion pound ($8.5 billion) stake in a project to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point in Britain last year, with the understanding that a third unit would be a Hualong 1 and the state-owned French firm would help China gain approval for the model in Britain. Sun said that he remained confident about the construction of the 18 billion pound project, despite financing problems facing EDF, but Britain's first Hualong 1 would face delays. China is in the middle of an ambitious nuclear reactor building program at home and aims to have completed 58 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity with another 30 GW under construction by the end of 2020. "Looking at it now, with approvals stopped for around three years after Fukushima, we should have around 53 gigawatts in operation by 2020 with 38 to 40 gigawatts under construction, so the overall target should be no problem," Sun said. China's total nuclear capacity reached 28.3 GW by the end of 2015, with 30 units in operation and another 24 under construction, the government said in January. (Reporting by David Stanway and Kathy Chen; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger) EDITOR'S CHOICE

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mustafa Kamal served legal notice for calling Moazzam Ali 'a killer'

Mustafa Kamal served legal notice for calling Moazzam Ali 'a killer' SHARE TWEET Mustafa Kamal served legal notice for calling Moazzam Ali 'a killer' By News DeskPublished: March 17, 2016 18 SHARES SHARE TWEET EMAIL PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS Moazzam Ali Khan’s wife on Wednesday served a legal notice to former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal for allegedly maligning her husband in his media addresses. Moazzam Ali’s wife, Sadia Bano, sent the notice through her lawyer asking Kamal to tender an apology for his ‘mala fide’ wordings and calling her husband a killer even though case proceedings are still ongoing. Moazzam Ali is one of the three suspects under interrogation in connection with the murder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Imran Farooq. Mustafa Kamal launches political party after no-holds-barred tirade against Altaf Hussain While the two other accused have admitted their role in assassinating Imran Farooq in London, Moazzam Ali did not confess to the offence. The 50-year-old MQM leader was clubbed and stabbed to death near his North London residence in Edgware on September 16, 2010 on his way home from work. On March 3, former city mayor Mustafa Kamal broke away with MQM and formed his own political party along with leader Anees Qaimkhani. During his much-hyped presser, Kamal implied that a few MQM workers were involved in killing Farooq on directions of party supremo Altaf Hussain. Imran Farooq case: Key suspects admit role in MQM leader’s murder In the legal notice, Sadia’s lawyer maintained that the former mayor categorically called Moazzam “a killer” without any evidence and while the case was still proceeding. “…That you leveled this serious allegation against my client’s above said husband without any material/concrete evidence in a hearsay manner which cause serious mental agony and damage reputation of my client’s above said husband as well as our family in the eyes of vicinity,” the notice read. The notice demanded that Kamal tenders his apology in print and electronic media the same way he defamed Moazzam. “Failing which I have fully authorised and instructed (to) start legal action against your maliciously(sic) allegation at your own risk and consequences,” it added. Read more: Dr Imran Farooq , MQM , Mustafa Kamal Recommended Stories imran-khan-238-2Mustafa Kamal’s allegations: Imran demands judicial commission PTI chief says accusations should be investigated ik-finMustafa Kamal reaffirmed our stance that MQM chief is a terrorist, says Imran PTI chief hits out at Altaf Hussain, as well as PM kamal-10-2-2‘Mustafa Kamal to address rally in Lahore’ Qadri said his Tanzeem was a non-political forum consisting of civil society members, lawyers and businessmen You Might Also Like Sonam takes swipe at Deepika, Priyanka over Hollywood roles Sonam takes swipe at Deepika, Priyanka over Hollywood roles 5 Tricks to Learn Spanish (or Any Other Language) 5 Tricks to Learn Spanish (or Any Other Language) Honey Singh’s hiatus Honey Singh’s hiatus Forget Botox - Do This Once Daily Forget Botox - Do This Once Daily How Did She Grow Such Long & Strong Hair? How Did She Grow Such Long & Strong Hair? Indian student hacked to death for intercaste marriage Indian student hacked to death for intercaste marriage Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora set for divorce Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora set for divorce Diabetes Breakthrough That Will Bankrupt Insulin Companies Diabetes Breakthrough That Will Bankrupt Insulin Companies Aussie Mum Uncovers Incredible Weight Loss Catalyst Aussie Mum Uncovers Incredible Weight Loss Catalyst Fawad Khan comes to Afridi's rescue after India love row Fawad Khan comes to Afridi's rescue after India love row 4 behaviours that lead to divorce 4 behaviours that lead to divorce How This Regular Guy Learned 11 Languages How This Regular Guy Learned 11 Languages ? Reader Comments (2) ALL COMMENTSREADER'S RECOMMENDATIONS Napier Mole 5 hours ago Reply Good move. Media trial is becoming a norm in this country. This would serve to rein in the former mayor who has been throwing out allegations left, right and centre in the footsteps of Imran Khan. Recommend DevilHunterX 4 hours ago Reply None of them are LLM? Recommend Leave Your Reply Below Name (required) Email Location Web Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FEATURESHOT FEATURESAUDIOTFT BLOGGOOD TIMESARCHIVES Who killed Dr Imran Farooq - See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/who-killed-dr-imran-farooq/#sthash.jzGQfpjX.dpuf

Dr Imran Farooq had always been a rigid idealist. He joined the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO) when he was in Sindh Medical College, and had soon become a close aide to Azeem Ahmed Tariq and Altaf Hussain. He went on to become the first and only Convener of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in 1984, when the party was founded. Upright and true to the cause of the party, Dr Imran Farooq was a hardcore Mohajir nationalist and was never afraid of taking the hard line. When Altaf Hussain was arrested for the second time on November 2, 1986 – after his famous Hyderabad public rally – it was Dr Imran Farooq who threatened to respond violently in an interview. On December 14, as soon as Dr Imran Farooq gave an ultimatum for Altaf Hussain’s release, 120 people died in political violence. Some say he orchestrated the riots and approved the use of violence for political gains. They say he believed the thousands of unemployed lower middle class Mohajirs suffering from ethnic discrimination had nothing to lose. A poster issued during the 1992 Karachi operation declares Dr Imran Farooq a wanted criminal A poster issued during the 1992 Karachi operation declares Dr Imran Farooq a wanted criminal In the chaos that followed a law-enforcement operation in Karachi initiated by the PML-N government in 1992, Dr Imran Farooq ran the party in the absence of Altaf Hussain from an undisclosed location. His father, a former legislator popularly known as Farooq Bhai, still lives in a modest house in a lower middle class locality of Karachi. “He was an honest man who dedicated his life to the MQM,” he says. But Brig (r) Janjua – who was part of the 1992 military operation – disagrees. “He was instrumental in running MQM’s kill teams during the 1990s and was even behind assassination of some of their own leaders,” he alleges. On September 8, 1999, Dr Imran Farooq travelled from Karachi to London under an alias, and claimed political asylum in the UK. In London, where he began to live after he was granted asylum, MQM had become a corporation not anything like Dr Imran Farooq had known. It had a chief operations officer and a chief finance officer, as well as political advisers. The party began to flourish with the backing of the Musharraf regime. But he found no space in the new MQM. From 2001 to 2007, Dr Imran Farooq was suspended from the party four times. An MQM insider said he was still very close to Altaf Hussain. “Only Altaf Bhai could call him, and he would only listen to Altaf Bhai’s phone calls – such was the relationship between them.” “We stabbed him and hit him with bricks until he died” On September 16, 2010, only two days before Altaf Hussain’s birthday, a Karachi city government official named Khalid Shamim called London. “What is the status?” he was asked. “The cake has been cut,” he responded. Investigators say the KWSB official had also called one of Dr Imran Farooq’s assassins 12 minutes after his murder. In a massive probe that followed, investigators from Scotland Yard, London’s Metropolitan Police, the ISI and FIA carried out more than 4,000 interviews. In a case registered in Pakistan, Khalid Shamim, Mohsin Ali Syed and Moazzam Ali were among the key suspects. They are being held in Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail, in the custody of a special Pakistan Rangers unit. Dawn News reported on January 8 that Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali Syed had confessed before a magistrate, but Moazzam did not. But in April last year, Moazzam was reported to have named ex-MQM worker Hammad Siddiqui as the ‘big fish’. Siddiqui had been in touch with him, he said, and had introduced the two boys to him. “Hammad took oaths from all of us not to reveal anything about the plot,” he reportedly told Rangers. Hammad Siddiqui has not been named as a suspect in the case so far, and that has raised suspicions. “We bought knives from the one-pound shop,” Mohsin told an anti-terrorism court. An active member of the MQM, Mohsin was arrested along with Kashif Khan Kamran by intelligence officials from the Karachi Airport as soon as they landed in Pakistan. The two had been declared wanted by London police. “We hid the knives close to Dr Imran Farooq’s house. One day, after a signal from a senior MQM member based in London, Kashif stabbed him and hit him with bricks until he died.” MQM chief Altaf Hussain and party leader Muhammad Anwar are also named in the FIR. The party rejects these allegations as “absurd and unfounded.” “The MQM is aware of reports in the media that individuals held in detention by Pakistani authorities have allegedly confessed to the murder of Dr Imran Farooq,” it said in a statement issued on January 7. “These individuals have allegedly named MQM personnel as having ordered the killing. We categorically state that no party personnel have had anything whatever to do with the tragic death of Dr Farooq. We mourn the loss of a man who was our friend and colleague for many years.” tft-50-p-1-k But as the prosecution’s story goes, Khalid Shamim was tasked to kill the two assassins, Mohsin and Kashif. He was arrested from an ATM a day after they were to show up at the airport. He was alleged to be in contact with Sarfraz Hussain, the nephew of Altaf Hussain. Sarfraz was arrested for conspiracy to murder, and is out on bail. Dr Imran Farooq had been running a parallel chain of command in the party, the prosecution says, and even nominated MPA candidates in the 2008 elections in Sindh without the party leadership’s approval. Altaf Hussain’s own bail in England ends in February, and that is perhaps why the case is on a fast track in Pakistan. Some argue that the case is being pursued in order to implement the “minus-Altaf Hussain formula”, in which the party would be allowed to function, but under a different leadership. “The case has been grossly mishandled on our end,” says a very senior military source. “The previous administration thought to use the two arrested men for leverage, until they found out that any testimony from them would not be valid.” In August last year, two senior detectives from Scotland Yard were allowed to question the suspects in Pakistan after intense negotiations with Pakistan. But many believe there are a lot of loose ends in the prosecution’s story. The MQM asserts they are the aggrieved party in the case. “MQM welcomes any assistance that may be provided to the British Metropolitan Police Service, who continue to investigate the death of Dr Farooq,” their statement said. Print Friendly - See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/who-killed-dr-imran-farooq/#sthash.jzGQfpjX.dpuf

Friday, March 04, 2016

Low oil prices forces Azerbaijan to turn off street lights at night to save money.

Twitter | Search Home Connect Trends Me M2_tab_indicator Tweet Serge Serge @Zinvor Jan 28 Jane's @IHS reports #Azerbaijan will cut military budget by 40% due to low oil prices. Best step to #NKpeace so far. janes.com/article/57500/… View details · Reply Retweet Like Serge Serge @Zinvor Feb 16 Low oil prices forces Azerbaijan to turn off street lights at night to save money. "Bright Lights of Baku" no more. rferl.org/media/video/az… View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Serge Serge @Zinvor Oil price so low that an ex-US Congressman has quit an Azerbaijani lobby group after @azpresident failed to pay him. rferl.org/content/former… 4:34 PM - 4 Mar 2016 Ex-U.S. Congressman Quits Azerbaijani Lobby Group, Citing Nonpayment A former U.S. congressman has resigned as chairman of a central player in the multimillion-dollar Azerbaijani lobbying effort to court American support for the ex-Soviet republic's authoritarian... RFE/RL RFE/RL @RFERL 2 Retweets 3 Likes Reply Retweet Like More Enter a topic, @name, or fullname Settings Help Back to top · Turn images off

Four countries ink deal for $10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project

By Zafar Bhutta Published: March 4, 2016 4 SHARES Share Tweet Email A gas sales and purchase agreement had been signed in 2013 that set the pricing mechanism under which gas price at the Turkmenistan border would be around 20% lower than the Brent crude price. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD: The four nations that are part of the $10-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project have signed an initial investment agreement, a move that will clear the way for updating the feasibility study and finalising the pipeline route in Afghanistan. The agreement was inked by representatives of the four nations and the Tapi Pipeline Project Company in Istanbul last month. Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline under shadow of politics They had already registered the company in November 2014 in which Afghanistan, Pakistan and India would have 5% shareholding each and the remaining 85% stake would be held by Turkmenistan. The investment agreement pertains to the 5% shareholding of each of the three gas-importing countries, which means an initial investment of around $200 million. “We have initialed an investment agreement in Istanbul and the final deal will be signed soon,” Interstate Gas Systems Managing Director Mobin Saulat told The Express Tribune. Pakistan would contribute 5% of the financing for different activities of the project, he said. Leaders of the four countries performed the groundbreaking of Tapi pipeline in December last year, a scheme aimed at easing the energy deficit in South Asia. The Tapi pipeline, also dubbed the peace pipeline, is expected to bring peace and stability in the region in the wake of regional cooperation as Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be depending on each other. It will also connect South Asia and Central Asia. “We are currently working on three pipelines including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline from Gwadar, Tapi and the North-South LNG pipeline,” Saulat said, adding the Tapi project was expected to be completed by the end of 2019. PM inaugurates TAPI gas pipeline project in Turkmenistan He said Pakistan was facing gas shortages and the project would help ease energy crisis in the country. The government is working on three gas import programmes which will bring about 4 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd). This includes 1.325 bcfd from Tapi, about 750 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) from the Iran-Pakistan pipeline and about 2 bcfd from LNG imports. At present, Pakistan produces 4 bcfd of gas against demand for 6 bcfd. For bridging the shortfall, the government has signed a long-term LNG deal with Qatar. First vessel under the agreement reached Pakistan earlier this week. Turkmenistan will make an investment of around $25 billion to deliver around 3.2 bcfd of gas to three energy-hungry countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – by December 2019 for 25 years. Of the total, $15 billion will be poured into developing the gas field whereas $10 billion will be spent on laying a 1,680km-long pipeline. A gas sales and purchase agreement had been signed in 2013 that set the pricing mechanism under which gas price at the Turkmenistan border would be around 20% lower than the Brent crude price. At the present rate of crude oil, the Tapi gas will cost around $3.2 per million British thermal units, which will rise to $6.5 per unit after including the tolling tariff and transit fee to be paid to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is estimated to receive about $500-600 million in transit fee from Pakistan and India and will ensure security of the pipeline. India will also pay about $250 million in transit fee to Pakistan. Gas pipeline: Bangladesh wants in on TAPI, says Abbasi Pakistan and India will each receive 1.325 bcfd of gas while Afghanistan’s share has been set at 500 mmcfd, which will also be up for grabs either by Islamabad or Delhi if Kabul does not need it. Turkmenistan is expected to achieve financial close for the project by December 2016 for developing the gas field and constructing the pipeline in three years – by December 2019. Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2016. Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

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