Kids returning from swine flu countries banned from school
School students returning from countries affected by swine flu will be ordered to stay away from school for seven days, as the national toll hits 17.
Labor MP doesn't know deficit figure
It's claimed the Rudd Government is ashamed of its own budget deficit, with one Labor backbencher failing to recall the $58 billion figure.
Recession forces more middle class Aussies out on the street
Families are finding themselves out on the street at an alarming rate as the recession takes its toll on Australia.
Man's body found in Sydney kitchen
Police have taken a man into custody after the discovery of another man's body in the kitchen of a......
Light rail may relpace Syd metro plans
A solution to congestion in Inner Sydney may be just 12 months away, with a new proposal to expand......
Man severely burnt in suspicious fire
A man has suffered burns to 30 per cent of his body in a house fire at Harris Park in Sydney's......
Fire crews extinguish Sydney Tower blaze
Clouds of thick, black smoke billowed into the sky from Sydney Tower on Monday morning as fire trucks raced to the CBD tourist attraction.
'Peeping Toms' terrorising Bondi women
Women in Sydney's eastern suburbs say they're being terrorised by a number of 'peeping Toms'.
Thousands remain isolated by NSW floods, water contaminated
Another 2,000 people have been isolated by floodwaters on the NSW north coast, despite a break in the weather.
Aussie film Samson and Delilah wins Cannes first film prize
Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah, was on Sunday awarded the Camera d'Or first film prize at the Cannes festival.
Gilchrist leads Deccan Chargers to IPL title
Former India captain Anil Kumble produced a magnificent bowling performance for the Royal Challengers Bangalore but could not prevent the Deccan Chargers from winning the Indian Premier League final by six runs at the Wanderers Sunday.
Coca-Cola Amatil battles through GFC
Things are going well for Coca-Cola at the moment, or rather Coca Cola Amatil Ltd (CCA), the bottler of the soft drink and a slew of other products here, in Indonesia, PNG and New Zealand.
Susan Boyle passes latest Talent stage
Susan Boyle made a new television appearance on Sunday on Britain's Got Talent, showcasing once again her soaring voice.
=== Comments ===
French and Belgian jihadi wannabes attempt to join their brothers in glorious martyrdom. Hilarité ensues:
After getting ripped off in Turkey and staggering through waist-deep snow in Iran, the little band arrived in Al Qaeda’s lair in Pakistan last year, ready for a triumphant reception.
“We were expecting at least a welcome for ‘our brothers from Europe’ and a warm atmosphere of hospitality,” Walid Othmani, a 25-year-old Frenchman from Lyon, recalled during an overnight interrogation in January.
Suspicious Al Qaeda chiefs grilled the half-dozen Belgians and French. They charged them $1,200 each for AK-47 rifles, ammunition and grenades. They made them fill out forms listing next of kin and their preference: guerrilla fighting, or suicide attacks?
Then the trainees dodged missile strikes for months. They endured disease, quarrels and boredom, huddling in cramped compounds that defied heroic images of camps full of fraternal warriors.
No wonder these idiots are so keen on suicide attacks. For them, it’s better than being alive.
“What you see in videos on the Net, we realized that was a lie,” Othmani told police.
You can’t believe anyone these days.
Violent and squalid Aboriginal camps in the Northern Territory are to be taken over by the Rudd government, following Jenny Macklin’s visit to one of the worst camps:
An exasperated Ms Macklin said the time for negotiation was over.
CHK CHK JOE
We must reevaluate our opinion of Clare Werbeloff in light of the indisputable fact that she deliberately made up a story and deceived millions of people all over the world.
I certainly have and now I love her even more.
BETA IS ALPHA
Robert Stacy McCain hasn’t much time for Beltway girlymen:
A disdain of blunt expression is natural among those who make their living in the wussified environment of contemporary elite journalism. To be a journalist in Washington is to live one’s life surrounded by men who have never driven 110 mph, never spent a night in jail, and never won a fightfight in their lives.
The upper echelons of American journalism have become the exclusive monopoly of former teacher’s pets, who as children were never sent to the principal’s office, who as teenagers were never suspended for showing up drunk for chemistry class, who as college students never woke up at 6:30 a.m. on the porch of the ATO house, who never played in a rock band or sold a pound of weed or dove from a 50-foot cliff into an abandoned rock quarry.
Washington journalism is like some kind of perverse alternative reality where the Beta males are dominant.
I’m scoring five of McCain’s nine non-wuss qualifications. Not saying which five, however.
THEY REALLY HATE CARS
Grief in Greece:
Dozens of cars have been smashed, 14 people injured and 46 arrested in riots by Muslim migrants over the alleged defacing of a Koran by a policeman.
It doesn’t take much. In 2005, an inaccurate Newsweek report about a flushed Koran sparked riots that killed at least 15 people. Back to Athens:
Waves of illegal immigration in recent years have led to an influx of Muslims, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, living in run-down parts of central Athens. Greek rights activist Thanassis Kourkoulas said the protest showed the migrants “have a voice”.
Which they can presumably use to order a new book. From a longer piece:
In 2008, Greek authorities arrested more than 145,000 migrants entering the country illegally, a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 54 percent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.
This looks promising:
By the same fellow who brought you Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill. - and Daria - ed.
The Observer‘s Robin McKie and Ed Helmore note insufficient dynamism from US energy secretary Steven Chu:
Green groups have accused him of being “contradictory and illogical” and of failing to demonstrate sufficient dynamism in establishing a new, low-carbon approach to transport and power-generation in the United States.
They blame George W. Bush:
The real problem for the slight, softly spoken man is that America isolated itself over the issue of climate change for eight years under the presidency of George Bush …
The Observer‘s Ewen MacAskill notes an Obama speech gaffe:
Normally Mr Cool, he fluffed his opening, referring to the defence secretary, Robert Gates, as Bill, the Microsoft founder.
MacAskill blames Dick Cheney:
Part of the explanation for the bout of jitters is that Obama is struggling to contain an ever-growing row over the future of Guantánamo Bay … But there is another factor: the return of an opponent the Democrats had thought of as politically dead: Dick Cheney.
Paying first-timers to borrow too much
Are Kevin Rudd’s free-cash first-home-owners grants of up to $21,000 just postponing a correction - and making it worse?
Auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne approached 12-month highs as buyers capitalised on the federal Government’s $14,000 first-home owners grant, which could be abolished from July 1.
But research by market analyst Datamonitor has found 30 per cent of people who had bought their own home in the past year were suffering mortgage stress, while 21 per cent expected they would have difficulty repaying their home loans over the next five years.
THE average loan size for first-home buyers has risen by $52,000 - or 23 per cent - in the past two years, raising fears that the much-publicised government incentives for young buyers are artificially inflating the market.
A report commissioned by Brandmanagement, a market research firm specialising in the finance sector, says the average size of loans being taken up by young home buyers is jumping by an “unsustainable” amount.. Brandmanagement’s principal, Andrew Inwood, said the statistics - which indicate that property prices are rising in line with loan sizes - have raised questions about whether the government incentives were simply being used by consumers to buy into a bubble.
Pell attacks the green Baal
Unlike many church leaders, Cardinal George Pell understands that the great global warming faith is not just a threat to reason, but to his faith:
Evidence shows the wheels are falling from the climate catastrophe bandwagon.
Rudd no diplomat
Kevin Rudd may soon lack a single friend in Canberra - which will become a problem for him the instant the polls dip:
KEVIN Rudd personally blocked the appointment of a senior official he has known since his university days to a high-ranking ambassador’s post.
Hugh Borrowman, who until this year headed the international division in the Prime Minister’s Department, was put forward by Foreign Minster Stephen Smith to be Australia’s next top envoy to Germany. But in what officials characterise as unprecedented interference in what is typically a routine check-off, Mr Rudd rejected the advice, supposedly deciding Mr Borrowman lacked sufficient language skills for the role…
Insiders blame the decision on a murky personal history shared between the Prime Minister and Mr Borrowman, who have known each other since attending Australian National University. Mr Borrowman is said to have dissented from the often arbitrary decision-making process taken by Mr Rudd since coming to office…
Sources have told The Age several potential candidates had been offered Mr Borrowman’s previous job in the Prime Minister’s Department but had turned down this usually much sought-after position on the grounds that Mr Rudd interferes in the day-to-day running of the office.
Betraying someone’s Queen
Yes, the Queen has had Anglo staff that have betrayed her, too. But I wonder whether ethnic bonds to some extent underpin the traditional loyalties on which she depends:
A royal chauffeur was suspended on Sunday after reportedly giving two undercover journalists a tour of Queen Elizabeth II’s official cars in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, a spokeswoman said.
The News of the World said its reporters, posing as wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen, paid the chauffeur 1000 pounds ($2100) to let them in… The royal driver, originally from Trinidad, also gave sensitive information including code names for two of the vehicles, pointed out security weaknesses in the cars, and revealed the queen’s private travel plans for the weekend.
The tour was arranged after the newspaper contacted the chauffeur’s 21-year-old girlfriend, described as a 200-pounds-an-hour Lithuanian prostitute...
Unions demand earlier retirement from Rudd
These unions should realise that a government that so careless runs up debts of $200 billion is going to make them pay in the end:
LEFT-WING trade unions have demanded Kevin Rudd dump his plan to lift the pension eligibility age from 65 to 67 or face a showdown over the issue on the floor of the Labor Party national conference in July.
Insisting workers should be allowed to retire at 65, the unions have also rejected a proposal by the Henry review that people also be prevented from accessing their superannuation until the age of 67.
The warnings came yesterday in a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, both influential in the Labor Party’s powerful Left faction.
The unions said they could not comprehend how a Labor government would demand that people who had spent decades in arduous manual labour extend their working lives.
From here on, Rudd is in trouble, with not a single person in Labor who’d save him just because he’s nice.
More Rudd spin unspun
Either the Rudd Government has now fixed hospitals - without many poeple noticing - or the threat was just more Rudd spin, as I said at the time:
HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has effectively ruled out the Government’s election threat to take over the state hospital systems to rectify poor performances.
Kevin Rudd warned before the 2007 election that if the Commonwealth and states had not begun putting in place a health reform plan by mid-2009, a Labor government would propose that the Commonwealth assume full funding responsibility for public hospitals.
Although the timetable subsequently slipped a little, Ms Roxon made it clear yesterday that the takeover was not on the cards...
Eco snobs and eco-tanties
Wendy Zuckerman in The Age feels humilated when she discovers that eco fruit, grown the way she’d demand, ends up costing more than a bicycle-pedaling green can actually afford. So she lashes out at the shopkeepers and their richer clients:
They are the eco-snobs, and although I am a vegetarian and do not drive a car, I fear them. Yes, they prioritise their life so they can afford organic groceries from a local farmer, but do they really have the right to look at the rest of us with such disdain?…
I had expected to be greeted by smiling and welcoming hippie types; I had anticipated friendly employees ready and eager to share their vast knowledge about how to live the organic way of life. But instead of salutations and acceptance, I got scorn…
The eco-snobs in the organic food store were clued in to my usual inorganic lifestyle by my wide-eyed look as I noticed the wholesome, non-GM, pesticide-free peaches they stocked. They knew from the excitement in my face that I was not accustomed to the colour and glow of these peaches… But then I looked at the price and realised that even with the latest instalment of the stimulus package in hand, $3.50 is an awful lot to pay for a single peach. With disappointment coursing through my veins I looked up at the eco-snob employees. They were peering back at me. They had known from the start that I was an impostor..
Of course, there’s a reason these fruits and vegetables cost what they do. It’s a lot of work, I imagine, for a farmer to avoid using pesticides and fertilisers and still make a decent living. I can’t, in all good conscience, really complain about the price of organics. But I certainly can complain about the attitude of the eco-snobs.
Macklin does a mini-Howard
Now it’s Jenny Macklin’s turn to intervene:
ALICE Springs’ notorious Aboriginal town camps will be compulsorily acquired by the Rudd Government after Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said she could no longer tolerate the “appalling living conditions” and endemic violence some 2000 residents are forced to endure.
The facts on the ground are swiftly ending the Left’s disastrous romance with “self-determination”. This is also a brave decision politcally for another reason - Macklin now owns this disgrace. Wish her luck, sincerely, in ending it.
LAST night in Hoppy’s Camp, a town camp on the outskirts of Alice Springs, little children were trying to sleep in houses crammed with as many as 16 other people. Chances are they were kept awake by the noise of adults drinking and shouting. Other children might have slept on the dry bed of the Todd River, taking their chances with packs of feral dogs rather than the violence that pervades the town camps....
In 2007, Alice Springs was reported as having the highest number of stabbings per capita in the world. This year, local media tagged the town the “dog attack capital of Australia"…
In July 2008, Tangentyere Council and the Australian and NT governments signed an agreed work plan, including 40-year leases and reformed tenancy management arrangements. But the council has now backtracked on a number of fronts including on the commitment to a fair and consistent system of tenancy management…
Of course, decisions should be made in consultation with the community. But the Government cannot agree to a system where upgrades and maintenance may not be delivered, or where housing allocations and waiting lists may not be determined with objective standards of transparency and fairness.
We explored all possible avenues for reaching an agreement and have made 35 concessions in our negotiations with Tangentyere Council. At each stage we were told that a deal was close. We have extended the deadline for agreement three times. Last month, we increased our offer for 40-year leases from $50 million to $100 million to upgrade infrastructure and housing in the town camps… Last Thursday, the deadline for agreement passed… I cannot walk away from my responsibility as minister to protect women and children in the Alice Springs town camps.
Rudd on the turn?
Glenn Milne sniffs a change:
SOMETIMES you can just smell a transitional week in politics, even without knowing about the party research to back up your olfactory senses… Did you catch the ABC’s Insiders yesterday morning? ... Sunday it was compulsory viewing for one reason; almost the entire program was devoted to ridiculing the Rudd Government.
This is exceptional, because normally Insiders is broadly a serious and balanced program. Not yesterday...The fact is that in the two weeks since the budget, the Government’s political position has deteriorated from one of respect to ridicule. And its done it all itself.
Which is also what’s starting to show up in Liberal Party research.
Shock news! Reef not dying!
How often has Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg warned us that the Great Barrier Reef is about to die any second now from man-made warming? Example:
...between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef could die within a month.
And how often have his predictions proved wrong?
That hasn’t stopped him from being showered by millions and hailed by the ABC as a noble prophet. It hasn’t stopped his latest scare from being laughed out of court. But now, bit by bit, the evidence against his alarmist is building, even in the New Scientist:
In oceans around the world, heat-resistant algae are offering the prospect of a colourful future for corals. The reef-forming animals are upgrading their symbiotic algae so that they can survive the bleaching that occurs in waters warming under climate change.
“The most exciting thing was discovering live, healthy corals on reefs already as hot as the ocean is likely to get 100 years from now,” says Stephen Palumbi of Stanford University…
What’s more, during a heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2006, an Australian team found that many corals that survived the hot period had swapped their algae for more heat-resistant ones… The heat-tolerant algae allow corals to survive 1.5 °C rises in temperature above their usual range. In some regions, this may be enough to survive through to the end of the century despite global warming. Palumbi says that other experiments in American Samoa suggest corals may have more tricks to survive in warmer seas.
This is the 20th boat since Kevin Rudd weakened our laws against asylum seekers last September:
A BOATLOAD of 77 suspected asylum seekers has been intercepted near Ashmore Reef off Australia’s northwest coast.
This lot, on previous government figures, will cost us $3 million to process.
Humbugs, hypocrites and lapdogs of dictators
Modern socialists fete a dictator as they enjoy their privileges, extracted from the sweat of the working man:
MP Shelley Archer went on a $5000 taxpayer-funded junket that allowed her to join her husband, union boss Kevin Reynolds, in communist Cuba just weeks before her retirement on Thursday.
Ms Archer cleaned out her imprest bank account several weeks ago to join Mr Reynolds in Cuba for the annual International Workers Day march presided over by President Raul Castro… This week Ms Archer, who is facing corruption charges, officially retired from parliament. ... It was Mr Reynolds’ third trip to Cuba, paid for by his union, the CFMEU. The multi-millionaire socialist, who flies business class, is a fan of the Castro regime.
Hello, hello, hello. What’s the trouble here?
Matthew Coutts on the limits of multiculturalism:
When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I’ve had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offence.
It turns out, it wasn’t a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighbourly and—to me—entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief “good morning” as I passed my neighbours on the way to work.
The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.”