Monday, April 13, 2009
Headlines Monday 13th April 2009
Major banks cash in on crisis
THE big banks are raking in millions more from mortgages than before the downturn.
Crash: Flight Centre cutting jobs
Hostage rescued in high seas shootout
US forces kill three Somali pirates in a rescue mission to save a hostage from being shot dead.
Retaliation: Pirates vow revenge
Sex attack DVD ringleader boasts of crime
THE victim of a notorious sex crime DVD is taunted in a song posted on the web.
Girl, 9, fights off two abduction attempts
A LITTLE girl is left with a bloody nose after twice escaping from two men who tried to grab her.
'Branson in strife over champ's girl'
TEMPERS flared when Richard Branson chatted with a racing car champ's model girlfriend.
'No safe amount' of alcohol for teens
RESEARCH finds teenagers who drink even small amounts of alcohol are at greater risk of alcohol abuse or risky sex.
Thai protesters tear-gassed by soldiers
THAI soldiers have fired tear gas into a group of several hundred protesters in Bangkok under a state of emergency.
Warning: Aussies told to leave
'Obama's brother refused visa to UK'
Man dies rescuing sister, friend
Bomb sniffer dog for trains
Stalking croc shot dead
Madonna's son 'an AFL fan'
JEB BUSH: Obama Should Focus on His Job, Not My Brother
Editor’s note: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush talked with FNC’s Sean Hannity in an interview that aired on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10. This is an excerpt from the April 10 interview.
“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing everything in the context of ‘everything was bad before I got here’ and focus on his duties, which we all want him to succeed. But constantly pushing down the previous president to make yourself look good, I think is a bad thing.”
MICHAEL GOODWIN: Biden Was Wrong, Obama Will Be Tested Constantly
By Michael Goodwin
New York Daily News Columnist/FOX News Contributor
Blame Joe Biden. His warning last fall that “it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama” with “an international crisis” has spawned a cottage industry of premature declarations.
Calls of “this is it” have greeted every development in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran. Lately it’s been the Somali pirates’ turn to be labeled the test.
By the veep’s standards, each incident qualified as the Big One. Except, of course, none was. Each faded and was replaced by a fresh crisis that, briefly, laid claim to fulfilling Biden’s prophecy.
The problem is that Biden had it wrong. There isn’t going to be just one international test of Obama’s mettle. There will be a string of them until friend and foe alike gauge where Obama is willing to draw a line and defend it.
Some crises will be the inevitable clash of interests, but most will be a deliberate decision to probe the uncertainty about Obama’s ultimate objectives and stomach for risk. It’s an uncertainty Obama has helped to foster.
LESS IS MORE
Squatting advocacy group Take Back the Land find themselves out-squatted:
Take Back the Land has had to compete with less organized squatters, said Max Rameau, the group’s director.
“We had a move-in that we were going to do one day at noon,” he said. “At 10 o’clock in the morning, I went over to the house just to make sure everything was O.K., and squatters took over our squat. Then we went to another place nearby, and squatters were in that place also.”
Those other squatters may be “less organised”, but they’re the ones with a roof over their heads.
ATTENTION BLIND READERS
Dogs not pure enough for you? Then get a seeing-eye horse.
(Note to cities where this idea catches on: commence installing horse troughs and similar horse-assisting structures now, or face the inevitable civil rights actions.)
(Note to unscrupulous seeing-eye dog suppliers: just sell your blind clients a dog anyway and tell ‘em it’s a really little horse. To stay on the safe side, be sure to use a breed with horse-like characteristics, like the Whinny Hound or a Hertfordshire Dressage Spaniel.)
Another doomed renaming campaign from our friends at Peta:
Pop group Pet Shop Boys have revealed they have turned down a request by animal rights group Peta to rename themselves the Rescue Shelter Boys.
THEY DID OK BUILDING ISRAEL
According to Antony Loewenstein:
Yes, destruction is a Jewish trait
A good move on Good Friday:
A Catholic priest has defied the ban on religious symbols at Royal North Shore Hospital’s chapel, returning the Bible and cross to the altar for Good Friday.
The priest’s move follows uproar over the hospital’s decision to remove the crucifix and Bible …
Mosman mayor Dominic Lopez said the unnamed priest was prompted by the overwhelming support for the Bible’s return.
“When he did his rounds of the wards, he was applauded for standing up against the ban,” he said.
Prediction: trouble. You can’t go around putting Bibles in chapels these days without serious consequences.
ON THE UP SIDE, HE’S FINALLY BOUGHT A DOG
The world according to Obama. Lots of distractions out there. So many distractions … meanwhile, lefty bloggers who supported Obama and other progressive entities are resentful that their efforts are unrewarded:
“They come to us, expecting us to give them free publicity, and we do, but it’s not a two way street,” Jane Hamsher, the founder of FiredogLake, said in an interview. “They won’t do anything in return. They’re not advertising with us. They’re not offering fellowships. They’re not doing anything to help financially, and people are growing increasingly resentful.”
Give them a break, Hamsher. They’re distracted.
UPDATE. Yet more distractions:
Even as negotiations resumed to free the American captain, pirates manoeuvred an Italian vessel toward the Somali coastline after hijacking it with 16 people onboard in a separate incident on Saturday, pirate sources said.
UPDATE II. Captive rescued, pirate sources (and distractions) reduced:
American sea Captain Richard Phillips was safely rescued Sunday from four Somali pirates, who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a U.S. intelligence official said.
Three of the pirates were killed and one was in custody after what appeared to be a swift firefight off the Somali coast, the official said.
Well done, US Navy and President Obama.
UPDATE III. Fighting words from a surviving source:
“The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now,” Hussein, a pirate, told Reuters news agency.
Like what? Bleed on them?
WARMY MOCKERY SPREADS
Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale reflects on his 40-1 home record with the Boston Celtics in 1985/6, during which players were largely unaware of their dominance:
“Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet or global warming yet,” McHale said. “If only we’d had Al Gore, we’d have known what we were doing.
“I don’t even know what the hell we were doing back then. We were just playing.”
That’s more than may be said for Gore, who is somewhat less of a player now that his TV company has ditched ambitious IPO plans.
These similarly-sized Sydney steaks differ a little in price:
Obviously, there will be differences in taste and quality. Which is just as well, because telling them apart by sight isn’t always easy here.
GREAT ALASKAN MELT
A challenge from Margo’s Maid:
Climate denialists, alarmists and those who are alert but not alarmed are hereby challenged to put their reputations on the line by predicting the date and time when the wooden platform on the Tenana River in Alaska will break through the ice in 2009.
POWERED BY WATER
There’s nothing special about an LPG-powered car reaching high speeds. But place a steam generator between the burning LPG and the rear wheels, and suddenly New Scientist hails an engineering miracle:
The car itself is 8.5 metres long and weighs 3 tonnes. It ispowered by demineralised water, which is pumped into a dozen 250-kilowatt boilers - equivalent to about 1200 electric kettles. These provide steam to a 268-kilowatt turbine that drives the rear wheels.
Using the same rules – don’t mention the fossil fuel! – one might claim that this is powered by oxygen.
“Onlookers saw her smile as she swam towards the bear …”
Too little applause for wild spending
Phillip Coorey is miffed:
Try to think of one significant Government measure that the Opposition has supported over the past six months. You will struggle…
Now, the $10.4 billion package, along with just about everything else the Rudd Government has done since, has either been flatly opposed or subjected to harsh criticism.
Such measures include the second stimulus package of $42 billion, the bank guarantees, the $6.2 billion in subsidies for the car industry, the $30 billion Rudd-bank guarantee, the recent $850 million in repackaged employment programs, and most recently, the $43 billion, eight-year broadband plan
Actually, Phillip try to think of one significant Government measure of those you’ve listed that should be supported.
Obama can kill
Barack Obama, if he signed off on this, has made a good start, if but a small one:
An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday and three of the pirates who held him for days in a lifeboat off the Somali coast were killed in a operation by U.S. Navy Seals that was approved by President Barack Obama, officials said.
Residents of Harardhere, a port and pirate stronghold, were gathering in the streets after news of the captain’s release, saying they fear pirates may now retaliate against some of the 200 hostages they still hold.
Relatives of Italian seamen seized by pirates off Somalia are anxiously awaiting word of the fate of their loved ones. The 16-member crew of the Italian-flagged Buccaneer tug was seized Saturday in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
Here’s one problem in fighting Somali pirates who are earning some $40 million a year:
European Union and U.S. naval forces have captured dozens of presumed brigands in recent months after beefing up their presence in the Gulf of Aden, the world’s most dangerous waters. Most have been let go or dumped on the shores of neighboring Somalia because of a lack of evidence or confusion over what jurisdiction can prosecute them.
“International law is very clear about giving any warship from any sovereign nation the right to suppress piracy in international waters,” said John Kimball, a maritime expert at law firm Blank Rome LLP in New York. “But it’s a messy burden. They need to be processed and given trials. Not many governments are willing to do this.”
Human rights law is so tricky that...:
THE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Afghanistan a headache. Pakistan a nightmare
David Kilcullen, the Australian who was a specialist counter-insurgency adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House:
You just can’t say that you’re not going to worry about al-Qaeda taking control of Pakistan and its nukes… Pakistan has 173 million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control...
Who to blame: John Howard or gypsies?
The Australian discovers that some demonisation is actually applauded, when those demons vote Liberal:
Former Australia Council chairwoman Hilary McPhee, on holidays in Italy, warns against demonising after disasters:
DISASTERS bring out the best and the worst. Apocalyptic, random, part of the terrible lottery of living among the trees in Australia, on known faultlines in Italy, or in a place where there’s no escape (ie Gaza), disasters become folklore, turning us in on ourselves, feeding our need to demonise. Already stories are circulating here about looting stranieri, code for gypsies and refugees from north Africa and Afghanistan.
A little demonising from Hilary McPhee in The Age six days after the 2002 Bali bombings:
THE Prime Minister’s ability to project a total absence of self-doubt is enviable. Is it for real, or is it the art of the good politician? Was there not a moment, on being woken by the phone call at 6.40 on Sunday morning with the first news of the outrage, when he permitted himself the thought that occurred to large numbers of his fellow Australians: that the bombings in Bali might have been in some way connected to words uttered and actions taken by the Australian Government?
Fixing to give land away
Yes, the Rudd Government is stacking the court. The new Chief Justice removes all doubt that he’s of the Left - with all the Left’s disdain for principles that stand in the way of their I-know-better dreams:
NATIVE title claims could be revolutionised after the Federal Government committed to exploring the idea of shifting the burden of proof of connection to land from Aboriginal claimants to states, territories and others.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Government’s “mind is open” to reversing the burden of proof for some aspects of native title claims after High Court Chief Justice Robert French suggested reforms to the system…
Justice French said this week it should be presumed that indigenous applicants have the “continuous existence and vitality since sovereignty needed to establish native title”.
Many native title claims have failed because indigenous groups could not prove an ongoing cultural connection to land, often because they were dispossessed during colonisation. Justice French also argued the Native Title Act should be amended so extinguishment could be disregarded if the claimant and a state government agreed.
What this means is that Labor Governments can simply run dead in opposing land claims that have no merit, essentially meaning many can be waved through the courts. Native title will be established by political deals, not a legally proved entitlement.
The fix is (coming) in.
No knowledge in this tree
Why does spending yet another fortune on a mere myth of the Left seem so symbolic of our times?
THE role of the famed Tree of Knowledge in the birth of the Australian Labor Party has been confirmed as mere myth by new research.
Historians Peter and Sheila Forrest also say there is no evidence shearers met under the Outback Queensland ghost gum during the strike of 1891 - widely regarded as a defining moment in Australian political history.
The revelations come as a $5 million memorial to the tree under which the striking shearers were said to have sown the seed of the Labor movement is to be officially opened at Barcaldine next month