Thursday, July 19, 2007

Missing the Obvious

Ghosts of 911
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel
UN produces a fallacious report card for Australia.

Study on Australian teenage killers fails to observe that every single state and territory that had a dramatic rate increase was held by the ALP.

New York experiences another tragedy


Anonymous said...

One dead in rush-hour explosion
From By staff writers and wires
ONE person has died and more than 20 have been injured from a steam-pipe explosion in midtown Manhattan, the New York Times has reported.

The explosion, believed to be caused by cold water in the 24-inch pipe, sparked panic among commuters as dozens of New York City police and fire crews rushed to the destroyed area near Grand Central Station.

In Washington, a US Department of Homeland Security official said there was no apparent link to terrorism.

"Right now it is a localised incident," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

"At this point, we see no nexus to terrorism."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was no reason to believe "this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure".

Commuter panic

The explosion closed Grand Central Station and a handful of surrounding buildings were evacuated.

A witness reported that a building had collapsed, but police said it was still upright but "shaky". Bystanders were being kept at least a block away due to falling debris.

"There was a thundering noise like a hundred freight trains going by and a plume of what looks like steam as high as 10 stories," said one witness of the explosion.

"747 on a runway"

A reporter at the scene said the noise sounded like a 747 on a runway.

The explosion occurred just before 6pm (8am AEST) and sent crowds of people fleeing north.

New York has been on a heightened state of alert ever since the September 11 attacks of 2001 and any large scale emergency prompts a certain degree of panic among a nervous population.

The explosion came just a day after a US intelligence report suggested that Islamic extremists were intent on attacking the United States.

With AFP and Reuters

Anonymous said...

Study shows doubling in number of young male killers
By Mark Schliebs
THE number of young Australian men becoming killers has more than doubled in a 12 month period, according to figures released today.

A report has found that in the 2005-06 financial year, 57 males aged between 15 and 19 committed homicide, compared to just 22 in the previous 12 month period.

And the total number of homicides rose by 14 per cent in 2005-06 to 301 victims.

The latest National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) annual report also said that the number of women killed rose to 113 - 26 more than the previous year.

The NHMP found that one in ten homicides were committed in remote areas, while 63 per cent happened in major cities.

Australian Institute of Criminology director Toni Makkai said the report should be of note to politicians around the nation.

“It enables us to identify changes in risk markers associated with incidents, victims and offenders,” Dr Makkai said.

“Such information allows policy makers and law enforcement to target intervention/prevention policies in the areas likely to have the most impact.”

The report identified Tasmania as being the only state to have seen a decline in the number of homicides, falling from 11 victims in 2004-05 to just three last year.

ACT had the sharpest increase - up from two in 2004-05 to five in 2005-06 – while the number of homicides in the Northern Territory increased by 33 per cent in the same period.

While in New South Wales, ACT and NT, more homicides were committed over weekends, South Australia was the only state to have more killings on a Friday than any other day of the week.

In the other states, homicides were spread out throughout the week.

Anonymous said...

Australia gets a fail on UN report card
By Peter Williams
AN inaugural report on Australia's performance at the UN has given the Federal Government a fail mark.
Australia's efforts on the international stage were particularly poor on human rights and climate change, the 2007 Report Card by the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) says.
The document was written by academics, non-government organisations and UNAA officials.
It gives the Government a D for climate change and the global movement of people and a C for human rights and foreign aid.
Australia fares better in the peacekeeping category with a B, but did not receive an A in any of the 10 areas examined.
The association said Australia's participation in the "illegal" invasion of Iraq, treatment of asylum seekers and Aborigines and failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol had damaged its reputation abroad.
"I hope the Government will see it as a constructive contribution to the need to improve Australia's role and standing in the UN," former UN ambassador Richard Woolcott said at a launch of the report in Canberra.
Mr Woolcott, who was ambassador from 1982-88, said in recent visits to New York he had heard opinions that Australia's style had changed since the Howard Government took office in 1996.
"It's said that we tend to lecture more and listen less," he said.
"We're also seen as much more closely aligned with the United States Bush administration and a much less independent voice than we were, say in the early 90s."
Mr Woolcott challenged a recent article by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that argued Australia was held in high regard around the world.
"If we are so well respected in the international community now, why have we been unable to secure election to the (UN) Security Council since 1984?"
Federal Labor international development spokesman Bob McMullan made it possible for the report to be launched in Parliament House in Canberra.
He said Australia's engagement as an international citizen was at a low ebb.
"I cannot think of a time in history when it's been worse," he told the function at Parliament House.
Mr McMullan said he was happy to be associated with the damning report, whose disarmament chapter calls for Australia to adopt a non-nuclear defence policy.
He said he did not agree with the entire document and backed Australia's defence alliance with the US.
"It's quite possible to be an ally without being a puppet," Mr McMullan said.
UNAA president John Langmore said he did not think the report would be an embarrassment to Governor-General Michael Jeffery, who is patron of the association.
"The Governor-General is a patron of many organisations, it would be very surprising if many of those organisations agreed with every element of government policy all the time," Mr Langmore said.
"It would be irresponsible in fact if they did."