Sunday, July 08, 2007

World Rocks for .. for .. ?

Ready to Rock
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel
Terrorists planning to use Australia as a site from which to detonate a bomb in the UK.

Fed's get blamed for state housing crisis, but unlike states, they work to fix it.

NSW Premier explains his extended vacations ..

The concert that will not end other concerts gets airplay.


Anonymous said...

Iemma told to shape up
By Sharri Markson
MORRIS Iemma's commitment to lead NSW has been questioned by high-profile former leaders and senior Labor figures, who have labelled him a part-time premier.

Former federal Opposition leader John Hewson said Mr Iemma was torn between family life and his job, and NSW voters perceived him to be "invisible''.

"I do think people have a right to expect that the place is being run and that, when needed, the leadership will be visible,'' he said.

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett described NSW as a basket case, while former NSW premier Nick Greiner questioned whether Mr Iemma was committed enough to the task of leading the State.

The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal there is concern in senior Labor ranks about Mr Iemma's desire.

A senior NSW Labor MP, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Iemma insisted he was home by 6pm most nights to spend time with his young children.

Mr Iemma, 45, and wife Santina have four children - Clara, 8, Matthew, 6, and twins Joshua and Luca, 3.

"He's trying to be a suburban house-husband, but he's got to realise he's the Premier,'' the MP said.

On election night on March 24, after holding off an Opposition under Peter Debnam's leadership, Mr Iemma told voters: "Don't believe the rubbish this is not a good government. It is and we will make it better. That's why I say it is back to work, back to work on Monday.''

But in the past six months, the Premier has had five weeks holiday - more than the yearly Australian standard of four weeks leave.

In January, Mr Iemma had two weeks away at Terrigal's Star of the Sea resort while Mr Debnam campaigned.

The Premier had a further week over Easter after the election and is currently on two weeks leave to coincide with school holidays.

This past week he refused to break his leave, despite Sydney's rail system collapsing again on Thursday night and plans for World Youth Day at Randwick in disarray.

Dr Hewson said Mr Iemma was torn between his family and his job.

"He'd be definitely torn, but you've got to strike that balance. When he misses about 15 key events, people start to wonder why he's not there,'' he said.

"On the crucial occasions, people say: 'Where's Iemma, I didn't see him - (he's the) invisible premier.'

"It's hard to strike a balance, but you've got pretty clear responsibilities as Premier. People expect you to be there.

"I probably gave too much time to my job and not enough to my children. They'd say that. Often when they need you most, you're not there.''

Mr Greiner said his family had suffered when he was in politics.

"Work-life balance was not an issue in my day ... so I have to say that my family suffered, which is probably why I'm a better grandparent than I was a parent,'' he said.

"When I was Opposition leader, I used to work 24/7. I virtually worked every day, including weekends, for five years. Sometimes, that was clearly at the expense of the family.''

Mr Greiner said Mr Iemma had perfected the new leadership model of self-flagellation and apologising for failure.

In March, after the rail system shut down yet again when a train was stranded on Sydney Harbour Bridge, crippling the city, Mr Iemma said: "It will never happen again. (If it does) I deserve the condemnation and a shellacking from the electorate.''

It happened again on Thursday night, but a holidaying Mr Iemma left Acting Premier John Watkins to deal with the fallout.

Mr Iemma's predecessor, Bob Carr, said voters knew the Premier put his family first when they elected him.

"I think there's a big challenge in it,'' he said. "When I appointed him health minister, he'd arrive at Parliament after a near sleepless night because of youngsters.

"He said from day one: 'My family comes first.' The public knew it. They were the terms on which he stepped forward to do the job.''

In total, 16 of the Government's 22 ministers have booked leave between now and September when parliament resumes.

Last week, the State was left in the hands of Deputy Premier Mr Watkins and Ports Minister Joe Tripodi, who spent his time in Newcastle overseeing the Pasha Bulker salvage.

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett said he sympathised with Mr Iemma's challenge of raising a young family while running the State.

"When I was premier, I worked seven days a week flat-out, believing I had to attend function after function. As a result of that, my wife left me for six months back in 1997,'' he said.

"It's easier for John Howard - his children have left home and are adults.''

Mr Kennett, chairman of depression advocacy group beyondblue, said NSW was a basket case and it was NSW voters' fault for re-electing the Government.

The Premier's office admitted yesterday it did not have a transcript of Mr Iemma's pledges to NSW voters in his victory speech.

Anonymous said...

Car bomb to be detonated from Australia - report
By staff writers and wires at
SUSPECTS linked to the foiled car bomb attacks in London allegedly planned to blow up the devices using mobile phones in Australia, a British newspaper has reported.

Eight people, including Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef in Australia, are still being held by police for questioning in relation to last week's two bomb attack attempts in central London and another at Glasgow Airport.

The British tabloid Daily Star today reported that during their investigations police had allegedly uncovered a plan to detonate one of the car bombs outside a London nightclub from Australia.

"They intended to blow it up by remote control - by calling mobile phones in the car," the newspaper said.

"Detectives believe the plot to set off the fuel-packed Mercedes E300 outside the capital's Tiger Tiger nightclub from Australia was intended to cause a spectacular show of global terrorism - but it failed."

"They intended to blow it up by remote control - by calling mobile phones in the car," the newspaper said.

"Detectives believe the plot to set off the fuel-packed Mercedes E300 outside the capital's Tiger Tiger nightclub from Australia was intended to cause a spectacular show of global terrorism - but it failed."

However federal police have rejected the report.

"There is no evidence to substantiate these media claims," an AFP spokesman has said.

Mr Ruddock also played down the report. "It probably misstates what is in the public arena," he said.

"That is that some of the people who had been in the United Kingdom who had now come to Australia as temporary residents left behind telephones and SIM cards which other people were using.

"I'm not sure there is a direct connection but I wouldn't want to foreclose any avenue of inquiry that the police are taking."

Doctor faces court

An Iraqi doctor, Bilal Abdulla, 27, was today remanded in custody by a London court after becoming the first of the eight suspects to be charged in connection with the attacks.

Dr Abdulla is facing charges of conspiring to cause explosions. He is not expected to face trial for several months. If convicted, he faces life in jail.

British detectives have been given another week to question five others being held in connection with the plots.

Jordanian doctor Mohammed Asha, 26, his laboratory researcher wife Marwah Dana Asha, 27, and Indian doctor Sabeel Ahmed, 26, can be held until July 14.

Two so far unidentifed men said to be trainee doctors arrested in Paisley, west of Glasgow, can be held until July 15.

He was coming to see child

Meanwhile the wife of Dr Haneef has said her husband was returning to India because she had just had a baby.

Dr Haneef has been detained in Queensland since Monday as authorities investigate whether he has any links to the failed car bomb plot, as well as to an underground network of radical Islamist doctors.

The 27-year-old registrar at the Gold Coast Hospital was arrested as he tried to leave Brisbane on a one-way ticket to India.

Dr Haneef's wife Firdous Arshiyu also said he booked a one-way ticket because they planned to return to Australia together.

"I only gave birth to a baby last week only, and only because of that he was coming here," Ms Arshiyu told the Nine Network.

"We all were going together, going back together."

It has been reported Dr Haneef is related to two of the UK bombing suspects and gave his mobile phone sim card to one of them.

"And only because of the SIM card he's been connected to all of this," Ms Arshiyu said.

The latest court order allows Dr Haneef to be kept in custody until at least 11.30pm (AEST) on Monday for continued questioning by Australian and British investigators.

- AFP and AAP

Anonymous said...

Land audit to tackle housing affordability crisis
THE Federal Government will conduct an audit of commonwealth-owned land to identify areas that should be released for new housing.

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said first home buyers are struggling to get into the housing market because house prices are high.

He said to get some balance in housing affordability more land needed to be released.

"It's not a demand problem it's a supply problem, you've got to boost the supply of housing," Mr Costello said on ABC TV.

"We need more houses to be constructed particularly for first-home buyers.

"We need more land release, we have to encourage land release, and of course first-home buyers are classically the people who buy houses on new housing sites."

Mr Costello said the Federal Government would urge the states to work in conjunction with the commonwealth to conduct an audit of all land.

"We should do an audit of all land, particularly on outer suburban areas, that should be released for new housing," he said.

"The commonwealth will look at any land that it has which would be released for housing.

"We will ask the states to look at any land that they have that could be released for housing."

Mr Costello said an audit of land held by the private sector would also be required.

"Of course a lot of this will also be held by private sector developers ... we will try and identify whether there's any reason why those developers are not releasing it."

Anonymous said...

Live Earth was a global TV flop
THE globe-spanning pop music extravaganza Live Earth fell flat for television viewers in the United States and Britain, drawing far smaller audiences than the Princess Diana tribute concert a week earlier.

But Australians flocked to watch the broadcast on Foxtel, with music channels Max and Channel V recording some of their highest daily ratings because of their coverage of the Sydney concert. Both channels exceeded their usual Saturday ratings by more than 30 per cent.

Fox 8's 22 hour broadcast of the global event was also watched by 1.34 million viewers

Least-watched program in US

The main three hour American TV broadcast on NBC averaged a meagre 2.7 million viewers, ranking as the least-watched US program on Saturday night and falling below NBC's summer prime-time Saturday average, Nielsen Media Research reported today.

Even rival network ABC's rerun telecast of the animated film Monsters Inc garnered a bigger audience - 3.3 million viewers. The most watched show of the evening was the CBS news magazine 48 Hours with 6.5 million viewers.

Diana eternally popular

By comparison, NBC averaged 8.8 million viewers with its hourlong broadcast of the memorial concert for the late Princess Diana the previous Sunday.

It was the same story in Britain, where BBC One coverage of the Live Earth climax at London's Wembley Stadium, leading up to Madonna's eagerly awaited finale, averaged 3.1 million viewers, compared with 11.4 million for the Diana tribute.

In Germany, the ProSieben network registered one million viewers for its Live Earth telecast, accounting for a relatively healthy 6.3 per cent market share.

The overall numbers amounted to a small fraction of the two billion people that Live Earth organisers had hoped to reach through TV, radio and internet coverage of the event, spearheaded by former US Vice President Al Gore to raise awareness of global warming.

Fans favour internet

It appeared the internet was the medium of choice for fans wishing to experience a worldwide music event from afar.

Microsoft Corp's web portal MSN said on Saturday that Live Earth concerts generated more than nine million internet streams, the most ever for an online entertainment event.

That number surpassed the previous record held by 2005's Live 8 concerts to fight global poverty, MSN said. ABC's Live 8 telecast, which also fell on a Saturday night in July, averaged 2.9 million viewers.