Friday, March 06, 2009
Headlines Friday 6th March 2009
Pakistan identifies cricket attackers, admits security lapse
Pakistan authorities say they have identified the men who ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team and conceded security breaches in failing to prevent the attack....
Church hits out at 9-year-old's abortion
Brazil's influential Catholic Church on Thursday raged against an abortion carried out on a nine-year-old girl who had been pregnant with twins after allegedly being raped by her stepfather....
'Govt ignored my shark warnings'
A shark-spotter claims he was ignored by the New South Wales state government when he raised alarm bells about an increase in sharks off Sydney beaches months ago....
Kuwait stuns A-League Socceroos
An A-League-based Socceroos outfit has failed to get the job done against Kuwait, suffering a shock 1-0 Asian Cup qualifier loss at Canberra Stadium....
Ponting looks to play the pace card... again
Captain Ricky Ponting has again cast doubt over the chances of Australia playing a specialist spinner in Friday's second Test against South Africa. ..
Australian dollar buoyed by China's stimulus plan
The Australian dollar ended the local session higher on Thursday as investor sentiment rose on a fresh stimulus plan for China's economy....
Chris Brown charged over Rihanna assault
R&B singer Chris Brown has been charged with assault following an alleged attack on his pop-star girlfriend Rihanna in Los Angeles last month, prosecutors said....
Police seize Hanson Today Tonight tapes
Queensland police have requested tapes of a television program that showed One Nation founder Pauline Hanson becoming emotional as she was questioned over electoral funding.
Chris Brown hit Rihanna until "her mouth filled with blood": LAPD affidavit
A sworn affidavit from an LAPD detective detailing the alleged beating of pop star Rihanna at the hands of Chris Brown has been released as the R&B star faces court.
'Whining bitches': Singo launches scathing attack on advertisers
Macquarie Radio majority shareholder John Singleton has launched an extraordinary attack against the advertising industry, accusing it of foolishly neglecting the top-rating Sydney talk station, 2GB.
7-yr-old locked up 'for years' by parents
A couple has been arrested on suspicion that they kept their 7-year-old son locked up in a bedroom over the course of several years, a prosecutor said on Thursday.
Cyclone forms off north Qld coast
Strong winds and high seas are expected off the north Queensland coast as Cyclone Hamish makes its way south.
NT intervention extended three years
Rudd clashes with freelancing Costello
Gandhi items sell for $A2.8m
Sleeping on the job... Would YOU get away with it?
A NSW minister has been caught snoozing in Question Time, but how many of us would get away with sleeping on the job? Chris Smith certainly wouldn't.
CREATURES IN THE NEWS
You’ve seen the killer hamster. Now meet business cycle cat.
Peter Roebuck last year, following Australia’s decision to cancel a tour of Pakistan due to security concerns:
Doubtless, it seems safe on the ground in Pakistan. Conceivably, there is a strange sense of peace in the streets, a beguiling calmness that contrasts with the fevered dispatches that appear around the world …
Of course, the dangers have been exaggerated. That is the nature of security advisers and governments. Even in the worst places in Pakistan, it surely is riskier to drive a car than to be an Australian, let alone one closely protected by the vast resources of the state.
Let’s see how the “vast resources of the state” protected Australians and others in Lahore during Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack:
Australian cricket umpire Simon Taufel says he and his colleagues were left “helpless" and completely alone as bullets rained on their van in Pakistan this week.
This view is shared:
Fellow umpire Steve Davis … criticised security arrangements saying his van, which was behind the Sri Lankan team bus, was left without any security when it was being fired upon.
Match referee Chris Broad has launched a scathing attack on Pakistan’s security forces, accusing them of fleeing the scene of Tuesday’s terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
“I am extremely angry that we were promised high security and that in our hour of need our our security vanished,” the former England cricketer said.
Roebuck is yet to comment on the issue, at least in print.
UPDATE. Paul Kent deals with Simon Barnes, “the type of Englishman that turns up to Wimbledon wearing a ponytail and a tweed jacket.”
UPDATE II. Roebuck finally reacts:
All that can be said regarding events in Pakistan is to commiserate with the fallen and wish the standing the best of luck. When next the game can be played on that patch of ground is hard to assess. Everyone says be brave and defeat the cold killers with inflamed minds but that is getting harder.
They’re cold but we’re inflamed. Interesting.
UPDATE II. Another condemnation:
Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, the greatest wicket-taker in the game’s history, launched a stinging attack on Pakistan’s security forces, adding weight to the testimony of Australian umpires Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, who described how they were abandoned during the gun battle.
WITNESS TO HISTORY
The best lines following Gough Whitlam’s 1975 dismissal didn’t come from Gough. They came from Norman Gunston:
THE PRESIDENT IS TURNING WHITE
Well, his hair is:
Just 44 days into the job, and President Obama is going gray …
Mr. Obama’s graying is still of the flecked variety, and appears to wax and wane depending on when he gets his hair cut, which he does about every two weeks. His barber, who goes by only one name, Zariff, takes umbrage with bloggers who alternately claim Mr. Obama, 47, is dyeing his hair gray (to appear more distinguished) or dyeing it black (to appear younger). “I can tell you that his hair is 100 percent natural,” Zariff said. “He wouldn’t get it colored.”
Zariff said he is not about to start ribbing Mr. Obama. “We do not tease about the gray at all,” he said.
Obama’s joke immunity continues.
No rapist should be free for being black
I confess I misled you last week:
I’ve tried - but failed - to imagine the circumstances in which a man who breaks into a house and rapes a four-year-old could escape jail.
Police died, cricketers didn’t
On the other hand, six Pakistani police died trying to protect the cricketers:
AUSTRALIAN and British umpires caught in Tuesday’s bloody ambush on the Sri Lankan cricket team have accused Pakistan’s security forces of leaving them like “sitting ducks”, amid mounting speculation their attackers had an accomplice within the team’s security detail.
Too many Pakistanis
A strange theory - illustrated by an even stranger example:
THE world is overpopulating itself to a catastrophic future of terrorism and climatic disaster, according to a Melbourne University professor of reproductive biology.
Professor Roger Short will tell an international conference in Sydney today that for the first time in history, human activity is outstripping the natural world’s ability to cope. The reason, he says, is exploding and uncontrolled population growth…
Pakistan was a perfect example of the problem, with rivers of young men with no hope of a modern education, job or a reasonable income, making them ripe fodder for much greater terrorism than currently seen.
It is true that too many people with not enough work or wealth can lead to poverty - and trouble. But Holland and Hong Kong are far more densely populated than Pakistan. India and China have far bigger populations. And Bangladesh, once part of Pakistan, is poorer. Yet none share Pakistan’s proclivity for terrorism, which seems driven far more by culture than population.
Put Bryce in her box
QUENTIN Bryce should be reminded there’s room in this country for just one prime minister. And she isn’t it.
Indeed, no-one ever voted to make Bryce our Governor-General, other than the Prime Minister himself.
Yet her new job seems to have gone to her head, because our Activist-General’s apparent pretentions to be the political leader we neither asked for nor should want have become alarming.
Last month, for instance, Bryce called in the head of the defence forces, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Michael L’Estrange, and the Treasury Secretary, Dr Ken Henry, for official briefings.
This was a first for any governor-general, her spokesman confirmed to The Australian.
And I’m not surprised: does this former sex discrimination commissioner think her titular role as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces actually gives her real power over our soldiers, sailors and airmen? In January, Bryce forgot herself even more completely, going to a big international conference in Dubai on renewable energy and calling on the world to fight global warming.
“We must act swiftly, act smartly and act together,” she declared. “Australia will play its full part in the global effort to make sure we seize that opportunity.”
Er, we will?
Even our real Prime Minister is now rethinking that plan, shaken by the recession, while the Opposition clearly wants Australia to wait a while before doing anything that will cost jobs.
So who was Bryce speaking for? Herself?
Lend me your cues
Perhaps less an orator than a gifted reciter of lines:
President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter. The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.
Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.
Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual – not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events large and small.
Our cash, their holiday
The tax-deductible conference rort really needs more scrutiny:
MAX Mosley, the motorsport boss who won a record privacy payout after being caught on camera in a sadomasochistic sex orgy with five prostitutes, will be one of the star attractions for Australia’s top judges and barristers at a tax-deductible European legal conference in London that coincides with the Ashes cricket series and Wimbledon.
One option may be to require them to be held either at home or in a third-world country that could do with the dollars. That, of course, would rule out the lovely conferences that Monash University schedules at its own Tuscan palazzo.
Hard Labor in Queensland
As Labor discovered last year in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, governments which cynically rush to an early election make voters rightfully suspicious:
THE Liberal National Party has edged ahead of Labor for the first time in the Queensland election campaign, with the latest polls revealing a swing against the Bligh Government of more than 5per cent.
In what may be a significant turning point in the campaign, a Galaxy poll has the LNP leading Labor 51-49 on a two-party-preferred basis, which raises the prospect of Queensland having a hung parliament as the state tries to respond to the economic crisis.
Rudd on making stuff up
From the 7.30 Report:
KERRY O’BRIEN: You said at the time of the first ($10.4 billion stimulus) package that it was the equivalent of one per cent of GDP, that it would create 75,000 jobs. Do you now have any evidence of what jobs have been created? Or even of what jobs have been saved or of what GDP growth your package has actually produced?
KEVIN RUDD: Well Kerry, let’s be statistically realistic about this. These payments flowed in December. That is about, you know, two or three months ago. In terms of putting together the complete retrospective analysis, the data, it’s simply analytically not possible at this stage.
KERRY O’BRIEN: But isn’t it true that it’s never really going to be possible to demonstrate it?
KEVIN RUDD: Well, on that basis you then flip into the camp of opinion which says the data’s always in complete and therefore do nothing.
Welcome to Canada
Canada’s National Post reports on an unusual choice of gatekeeper:
It’s well known that Khaled Mouammar wants Ottawa to remove Hamas and Hezbollah from a list of banned organizations and replace them with the Israel Defence Forces.
It’s well known that the president of the Canadian Arab Federation recently called Jason Kenney, the Minister of Immigration, a “professional whore” for supporting Israel and criticizing the presence of Hamas and Hezbollah flags at a recent protest, prompting Mr. Kenney to say he would review the CAF’s federal funding.
But it is less well known that Mr. Mouammar spent the 11 years prior to February, 2005, sitting as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, deciding whether refugee claimants from such North African countries as Morocco, Egypt, Algeria and Somalia should be allowed to stay in Canada.