MP raped woman on office couch: court
A woman has accused Victorian state MP Theo Theophanous of raping her on a couch in his office.
Policeman 'tried exorcism on boy'
A POLICEMAN has been stood down after trying to perform an exorcism on a 15-year-old boy.
Myles suspended as Roosters hit new low
The Sydney Roosters' season has hit a new low, with Nate Myles suspended after allegedly defecating in a hotel corridor while in a drunken stupor.
Sydney man shot after robbery heroics
The family of a Sydney baker, who was shot while trying to stop an armed robbery, wish he hadn't gone to help.
Police fear for boy missing with mother
Police say they have grave concerns for the safety of a young boy who has disappeared with his mother.
Rates on hold now, but cut may be close
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has opted to leave the cash rate unchanged for a third straight month, but is keeping the door open for a cut later this year.
Julia Gillard 'disappointed' by wage freeze
ACTING Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the country's lowest-paid workers will face a drop in real income following the wage umpire's "disappointing" decision not to lift the minimum pay rate. - it is typical of the ALP to promise much and deliver little. Working families will struggle under Gillard. - ed.
Protests continue in China's Urumqi city
Hundreds of Han Chinese carrying bats, knives and shovels marched in the centre of China's Urumqi city on Tuesday, two days after deadly unrest, an AFP reporter says.
Aus far from happiest place on earth
If you want to live a happy life, don't live in Australia - you're better off moving to Costa Rica, Vietnam or even Iraq.
Channel Ten chided over Obama blooper
Channel Ten has been chided for failing to caption Barack Obama's historic inauguration for hearing......
Image of acid attack suspect released
Police have pieced together a computer image of a man wanted over a racially motivated acid attack......
Vietnam War 'architect' Robert McNamara dies
ROBERT McNamara, the US secretary of defence who was one of the main architects of the US war in Vietnam, died yesterday, The Washington Post reported. He was 93.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Palin Calls It Quits!
Did family matters and countless legal battles push her out?
Plus, what's Sarah's NEXT move?
Most are saying that Jackson is worth more dead than alive. You have to admit that is weird - but probably true. It will take someone smart to work Jackson's estate - but the numbers could end up being through the roof.
=== Comments ===
Thong Dee had more documentation than queue-jumping asylum seekers
LET’S hope our new baby pachyderm (from the Greek pakhudermos, meaning thick-skinned) lives up to his scientific name and pays no heed to the elephant-deniers who wish his mother had never come here.
That’s right. There are Australians who fought for years to keep new mum Thong Dee and her sisters out of Australia.
They claimed that elephants had never successfully been bred in captivity in Australia, so there was no point bringing in new stock or trying new methods.
As Asian elephants are thought to number fewer than 50,000, opponents of the Australian zoos’ breeding programs claimed that the Thai elephant brides should stay in their own country where they were more likely to have offspring.
But the real argument was that the zoos were bringing the elephants in for secret commercial purposes. Conservation, argued RSPCA chief Hugh Wirth four years ago, was a smokescreen.
“The zoos want the elephants because they are zoo icons the public flocks to see,’’ he said. “It is well known and accepted that elephants do very poorly in zoos ... they suffer through boredom.’’
Dr Wirth also rejected zoo claims that the animals would be introduced for fertility studies and breeding.
``No elephant has ever bred in an Australian zoo, so that argument has no merit,’’ he said. ``There is nothing wrong with the fertility of Asian elephants in Thailand, so why do Australian zoos feel the need to research the subject?’’
Speaking of arguments without merit, Dr Wirth, four more of the new Australian elephants are pregnant and due to calve over the next 18 months. - I remember reading a Frank Devine column in which he looked at the future. He envisioned a time, about 2020, when the Tran twins would get sponsorship to develop their safe fusion power stations from the US. They were born in Australia and went to school here, but couldn’t get funding in Australia because they weren’t ‘really’ Australian.
Tim was spot on when he observed, in the last article, that ALP talk a good game, but don’t do it. Green activists and their political affiliates don’t even talk a good game. They promise to betray their ideals in order to achieve the anarchy they desire. The communists, and the anarchists that preceded them have not got progressive dreams. They dream only of becoming the dictators of the past. - ed.
HAPPY ONE DAY, 102nd THE NEXT
On Sunday, according to AFP summaries of a New Economics Foundation survey, Australia was the third-happiest place on earth:
Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth, and one of the most environmentally friendly, according to a new survey by a British non-governmental group, which puts Australia in third place …
Australia scored third place, but other major Western nations did poorly, with Britain coming in at 74th place and the United States at 114th.
But by Monday, according to reports about the same study, Australia had slumped all the way down to 102nd:
Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth, and one of the most environmentally friendly, according to a new survey by a British non-governmental group.
Australia was 102nd, largely because of its poor carbon footprint rating. Other major Western nations also did poorly, with Britain in 74th place and the US 114th.
How fascinating. Australia – the place with the “poor carbon footprint rating”, leading to unhappiness – generates just 1.4 per cent of global carbon emissions.
UPDATE. The report itself, which features several pictures of poor people (and some trees) being happy.
UPDATE II. Tim Worstall takes down the NEF’s “survey”. Incidentally, Jamaica replaced Australia as the third-happiest place on earth. People there are so happy that 1,600 murders are committed every year, within a population of less than three million.
John Hawkins asked me seven years ago: “After the United States topples Saddam Hussein, do you think we’ll hit Iran next if their government hasn’t already toppled by then?” I was optimistic:
Hopeful answer: Iran implodes out of fright, and no attacks are needed. It could happen. They’ll have a great view of Saddam’s demise, after all.
Possibly – possibly – that optimism is turning out to be justified, although the implosion to date is more due to citizen fury than mullah panic. Here’s Christopher Hitchens:
Did the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the subsequent holding of competitive elections in which many rival Iraqi Shiite parties took part, have any germinal influence on the astonishing events in Iran? Certainly when I interviewed Sayeed Khomeini in Qum some years ago, where he spoke openly about “the liberation of Iraq,” he seemed to hope and believe that the example would spread. One swallow does not make a summer. But consider this: Many Iranians go as religious pilgrims to the holy sites of Najaf and Kerbala in southern Iraq. They have seen the way in which national and local elections have been held, more or less fairly and openly …
Iran’s biggest group of clerics has declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate and condemned the subsequent crackdown …
“It’s a clerical mutiny,” said one Iranian analyst. “This is the first time ever you have all these big clerics openly challenging the leader’s decision.” Another, in Tehran, said: “We are seeing the birth of a new political front.”
APRIL’S NEWS TODAY
The Kevin Rudd cover story recently seen in regional editions of dying newsweekly Time was written more than eight weeks prior to publication, according to trustworthy corporate moles. That claim seems to check out; Time‘s dateline for the Rudd piece is Cockburn, Western Australia – visited by Rudd on April 21. Finger on the pulse, international weekly newsmagazine!
Joe Hildebrand on the looming actors’ strike:
I was distressed to read last week that Australian actors are threatening to go on strike. Such a move would have a disastrous effect on the industry.
I refer of course to the hospitality industry. With no auditions to go to – or endless post-theatre drinks reliving the glory days of Act I, Scene III – Sydney’s cafes and bars will be flooded with cheap white middle-class labour.
Previous reader views on the threatened thespy hissy fit here. Also, Piers Akerman deals elegantly with elephant deniers.
NO TO HUGO
Honduran babes reject the Chavez News Network (from the 42 second mark):
Honduras is at a tipping point.
UPDATE. James Taranto: “Why won’t Obama listen? Does he have something against wise Latina women?”
THEY SAY IT LIKE IT’S A BAD THING
A terrible climate warning:
Sydney’s weather will be much more like Brisbane’s by the end of the century …
Bring it on. Maybe 52,245 former Sydney residents wouldn’t have fled to Queensland during 2006/7 if Sydney was a little warmer. Lately the place is more similar to freezy Melbourne.
UPDATE. Melbourne residents should brace for extraordinary cold next Monday morning.
UPDATE II. Climate chaos during a Sydney weather report:
I blame global warming.
UPDATE III. The earth has cooled by .74°F since Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth three years ago. How … inconvenient.
James May meets Ken Block in a semi-disused airfield – it’s like a cross between Con Air and Climb Dance:
Sure, the Japanese may thrill to animated excrement (among other oddities). But at least they don’t leave it lying around in hotel corridors.
ALWAYS KEEP SCORE
Britisher Richard Beard investigates Australian sporting superiority:
The Australians are at ease with major sporting events because they’ve perfected the minor sporting events that make communities proud. From Sunday-morning swimming races to pub fun runs, there’s a cheerful efficiency that respects the importance of taking part, but never forgets the sustaining ritual of recording the result.
“Otherwise, why get out of bed?” a golfer asks me, out of bed and ready to take on the Manly golf course after his second, easily defeated heart attack. “If you don’t care who wins, why bother scoring?”
The Ashes begin on Wednesday night, Australian time. Brett Lee is reportedly out of the first two Tests due to a rib injury.
Is this yours?
Lost your head in New Zealand? Suddenly found your hat resting on your shoulders?
Det-Insp Craig Wonders said police were now appealing for the owner of the human skull to come forward.
This may be harder to do than the police realise.
It always depends who he’s talking to
The Prime Minister of Australia rhapsodises:
The most beautiful country on Earth...
He’s talking, of course, of (insert name here).
Neda the Christian martyr
Neda Soltani became the symbol of the protests against Iran’s theocratic dictatorship when she was shot dead in her hijab.
It turns out she may be an even more profound symbol, having been shot while wearing garb forced on her by the Ayatollahs despite being, it seems, of another faith:
Seas stop warming and rising
Distinguished climatologist Roger Pielke Sr examines three recent papers and says they confirm that the alarmists are wrong:
All of these analyses are consistent with no significant heating in the upper ocean and a flattening of sea level rise, and even more clearly, that these climate metrics are not “progressing faster than was expected a few years ago”.
Incidentally, this means Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will need to try again to explain why the planet isn’t warming as we’d expect if man’s emissions are to blame.
The latest global averaged satellite temperature data for June 2009 reveals yet another drop in the Earth’s temperature. This ... means despite his dire warnings, the Earth has cooled .74°F since former Vice President Al Gore released “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006.
Reader Beth was astonished upon opening her copy of a bestseller by a sceptical scientist:
My husband ordered Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth from Tim’s Bookshop in Kew. He said the staff were surly when he ordered it. Then - when the book arrived - the staff had inserted two newspaper reviews damning the book!
The sacrifices that Gwyneth Paltrow makes for the environment:
For Gwyneth, going green doesn’t mean giving up her designer duds. The actress recommends trying out Stella McCartney’s new Eco Collection, which ranges from US$435 to $1535 and is made from 100 per cent organic cotton and recycled materials, available at Stella McCartney stores.
Even the private jet she uses is recycled, I believe. As is her Mercedes SUV.
Pious drivers of the Prius hybrid feel this save-the-planet lifestyle is a little too slow for them, after all:
At the launch of the new-generation Toyota Prius in Sydney yesterday, chief engineer Akihiko Otsuka admitted the company had opted for a bigger, more powerful engine because customers had demanded it.
He said the new car, which remains the most fuel-efficient in the country, could have been designed to use less fuel than the 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres it achieves.
“With a different approach, we could have done even better. However, customers told us they wanted more performance. In response, we selected a larger engine.”
The car also has an eco-unfriendly power button that allows drivers to sacrifice economy for better acceleration.
Uphold the plan, ignore the pain
It’s the Left’s weakness to talk plans and principles, rather than their consequences. Take the Sydney Morning Herald as it demands an end to the Northern Territory intervention:
(THE intervention) represents the return of a paternalistic approach to indigenous affairs, which most would have thought had been discredited and superseded in the 1970s or perhaps even earlier. Anti-discrimination laws represent the approach which superseded paternalism. The granting of equal rights to indigenous Australians, and welfare programs targeted to address their disadvantage, formed part of it. Those rights still exist. They must at some stage, preferably soon, be returned to indigenous Australians living in communities. For better or worse - and quite possibly, let us admit, worse in the initial stages - they must live unsupervised, and by the rules which govern the rest of us.
Reader Tom Drake-Brockman objects:
IF paternalism is so odious, the least you could have done was to suggest alternatives that have not already been tried and found hopelessly wanting. Your glib recourse to political correctness is a pathetic response to this horrific national crisis.
I have no pity for voters who couldn’t figure that Anna Bligh’s rush to an early election was just a cynical attempt to get re-elected before the nasty facts got out:
Recently, Galaxy research suggested that Labor’s vote in Queensland had collapsed and if there were an election now the ALP would lose badly. The poll showed that 56 per cent of Queenslanders, including one in three Labor voters, believed the Premier had lied to them during the state election campaign and 72 per cent felt they had been misled. Normally, re-elected governments get a honeymoon and their political stocks remain reasonably strong for some time. There is no honeymoon for Bligh.
Bligh conned voters, who belatedly see that now, too. I say nothing now that I didn’t say at the time. Early elections shouldn’t fool anyone.
A boy president plays with nukes
I’m not sure I feel safer now that the President of the United States is implementing a defence policy dreamed up by a student:
BARACK Obama’s trip to Moscow to hammer out nuclear arms reductions is the first concrete step towards the fulfilment of a long and passionately held vision: a nuclear-free world. In a student magazine article written 26 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, the Columbia postgraduate weighed up how the US and Russia might “dial down the danger humanity faces” in pursuit of total nuclear disarmament.
It’s seems that Obama’s thinking on nukes hasn’t grown more sophisticated in a quarter of a century. Change he can’t.
Prove you’re fair to Labor’s man
Bosses are now to be presumed guilty of a crime that’s notoriously hard to even define:
THE Fair Work Ombudsman will use new powers to investigate companies for discriminating against workers, prompting employers to claim they risk being treated as “guilty until proven innocent”.
Employers said the inclusion of anti-discrimination provisions in the Fair Work Act was the “great unknown” in the legislation. The new laws carry a reverse onus of proof so an employer must show the alleged discrimination did not occur.
I predict this law will actually be fairest to lawyers.
Michael Stutchbury predicts the worst from Labor’s new Fair Work Australia:
But reviving the institutional power of the industrial tribunals, the unions and the award system will not meet Labor’s pre-election “forward with fairness” promise to kick-start a “third round of economic reform to meet the challenges of our 21st-century economy”. Reviving the collectivist mindset forged out the pre-modern conflicts of Australia’s 1890s depression will not deliver a “new industrial relations system based on driving productivity in our private sector”.
Rudd’s promises are homeless
Yet another showy promise turns out to be more spin than substance:
KEVIN Rudd’s much-vaunted war on homelessness has been stalled by federal and state bickering, with a flagship $800 million national program that was to start last week yet to get off the ground. A week after the money was to begin flowing, three state and territory implementation plans for the national homeless partnership are still to be finalised and the prime ministerial council on homelessness charged with driving the reforms has not been established…
The Prime Minister has vowed to halve the number of homeless by 2020… (D)ata expected out this week (is) likely to show another rise in their numbers.
Add this to the following headline-hogging promises that never delivered what they never could:
FuelWatch, GroceryChoice, an emissions trading scheme by 2010, taking Japan to court over whaling, taking Iran’s president to the international criminal court, ending Aboriginal disadvantage on the back of a “sorry”, an ideas summit to produce an agenda for 2020, a new Asia forum, a federal takeover of hospitals if no big improvement, a big cut in our emissions, an end to “reckless spending"…
At some stage even voters will wonder whether Rudd is all promise and no follow-through.