Archive for January, 2014

American newspaper front pages Friday 31 January

January 31st, 2014 Comments off






2014-01-31_spauloDesemprego cai ao menor nível, mas renda sobe menos – Unemployment falls to lowest level, but income rises less



Otra fuerte caída de las reservas: 250 millones de dólares – Another sharp decline in reserves: $ 250 million

The Central Bank (BCRA) returned to halt the payment of imports yesterday, but could not prevent that stocks fell another 250 million dollars (793 million from Monday), to stay at 28.270 million. If today kept this rhythm, January is the month of greater drain of reserves since the beginning of 2006, when the Government cancelled its debt of more than US $9400 billion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The BCRA held yesterday the official at $8.03 dollar, very close to the level that days ago the Cabinet Chief, Jorge Capitanich, defined as “acceptable convergence for economic policy objectives”. Meanwhile, in the parallel market, with very few operations, the dollar fell 30 cents, to close to 12.65 pesos.






Perros están en la mira – Dogs are in the crosshairs

Last year sparked fierce controversy then that it knew that it would include the category of feral dogs as animals to hunt. It was officially announced that the hunting law passed in November of 2013 would not allow such action. A move that reassured the advocacy groups and public opinion opposed. But yesterday the discussion was revived after the reason for the Decree of the hunting law by the Comptroller, began to circulate on the internet document.





Categories: American media, Media Tags:

Neither El Niño nor La Niña and other news and views for Friday 31 January

January 31st, 2014 Comments off

Previous ministers are responsible. This week  the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved a project to dump dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of a project to create one of the world’s biggest coal ports at Abbot Point south of Townsville. The approved disposal site for the dredged sediment is located approximately 25km (16 miles) east-north-east of the port, GBRMPA said in a statement. The disposal operation would be “subject to strict environmental conditions”, it said.

Also this week the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, commissioned commission an independent review into the leaking bund wall at the Port of Gladstone.

The independent panel will:

  • examine and report on information relevant to the design and construction and functioning of the outer bund wall of the western basin reclamation area that has become available since the Independent Review reported on its findings;
  • provide advice as required to assist with the department’s current review of the outer bund wall leak incidents in 2011 and 2012;
  • consider the adequacy of monitoring requirements and operations; and
  • seek submissions from relevant stakeholders on the design, construction and other matters relating to the subsequent leaking of the bund wall.

The highlight of the Hunt statement was the deft way he pointed out that the Port of Gladstone Western Basin Dredging Project was approved under national environment law on 22 October 2010 by the previous government. No mention that the public servants who advised the previous minister are the same ones who have given the go-ahead for Abbot Point.

Neither El Niño nor La Niña. It might be hot over much of Australia but this time we cannot blame El Niño. The latest World Meteorological Organisation El Niño/La Niña Update issued this week says that the tropical Pacific continues to be ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña).

“Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to continue into the second quarter of 2014. Current model outlooks further suggest an enhanced possibility of the development of a weak El Niño around the middle of 2014, with approximately equal chances for neutral or weak El Niño. However, models tend to have reduced skill when forecasting through the March-May period. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and assess the most likely state of the climate through the first half of 2014.

Since the second quarter of 2012 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific (e.g., tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally been at neutral levels, indicating that neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions have been present.

The latest outlooks from climate models and expert opinion suggest that oceanic conditions and atmospheric anomalies associated with El Niño or La Niña are most likely to remain neutral into the second quarter of 2014, with virtually all models maintaining average conditions. However, by around the middle of 2014, model forecasts generally indicate the chance of El Niño increasing to a similar level as that for ENSO-neutral. For the June to August period, nearly one-half of the models surveyed predict a weak El Niño situation to develop, while the other one-half predict a continuation of neutral conditions. It must be noted that model outlooks that span March-May period tend to have particularly lower skill than those made at other times of year. Hence some caution should be exercised when using long range outlooks made at this time for the middle of the year and beyond. Of the one or two models that predict the development of La Niña, such conditions are reached only briefly during the next couple of months.

Overall, while there is a very slight chance for La Niña development in the next one to two months, ENSO-neutral is considered the most likely scenario into to the April to June period, followed by roughly equal chances for neutral or weak El Niño during the third quarter of 2014.”

An international view. News coverage from outside Australia seems to be getting less and less so if you are interested in an international view may I recommend my regular daily features on this blog – Asian newspaper front pagesEuropean front pages and American (north and south) front pages? Not tht I can’t be parochil too – there’s always my morning coverage of the Australian papers

Some other news and views noted along the way.


  • Beer Drone Can Buzz The Skies No More, FAA Says – “Lakemaid Beer is brewed in Stevens Point, Wis., and distributed to several states in the region. But it was a very local delivery that put the company out of favor with the Federal Aviation Administration. The Minnesota-based company is receiving a flood of support and condolences after the FAA ruled that its beer delivery drone, which had only recently taken flight, had to be shut down. Lakemaid calls itself the fishermen’s lager. It had hoped to use drones to deliver its beer to anglers in thousands of ice shacks, from the frozen northern lakes’ combination bait and beer shops. But the government says the brewer’s next test — which Lakemaid managing partner Jack Supple says was tentatively set for Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs and the Twin Pines resort — cannot proceed.’We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit,’ Supple says via email. He adds that the beer-makers ‘figured a vast frozen lake was a lot safer place than [what] Amazon was showing on 60 Minutes’.”
  • UK floods: January rain breaks records in parts of England
  • Amazon wants to send stuff before you order it. Are other retailers doomed? A couple weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal happened upon a 27-page patent for what calls “anticipatory” or “speculative” shipping, which sounds insane. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: The company crunches its streams of data to forecast generally where a certain item might be wanted, sends it on its way, and remotely directs it to the right address as soon as someone actually orders it. On the off chance that the item doesn’t actually get ordered, Amazon might discount it to the person at the place it arrived, or even give it away for free. It’s all based on probabilities: What people are likely to want at what time, based on user signals like wish lists and past purchases, and the cost/benefit calculus of time saved vs. packages erroneously delivered.
  • Thai polling stations might have to close if trouble on election day

And from the Owl’s review of the Asian newspapers




European newspaper front pages Friday 31 January

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Menschenrechte: Russland am häufigsten verurteilt – Human rights: Russia most frequently convicted

Strasbourg/Vienna – the European Court of human rights (ECHR) has determined the most violations of fundamental rights among the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe in Russia last year with 129 judgments. The annual statistics of the ECHR was presented on Thursday in Strasbourg and receives additional explosiveness through the upcoming opening of the Olympic Games on May 7. February in Sochi. The sporting event will be accompanied by protests by human rights activists, to a boycott call and complain about violations of the human rights Convention. Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann on Thursday criticized discrimination against homosexuals, decidedly in his speech to the Council of Europe Russia is not directly addressed. Faymann defended his trip to Sochi, a boycott of a sporting event was “not the appropriate means to support the legitimate concerns of human rights activists”.


La crise des émergents amplifiée par la Fed – The emerging crisis amplified by the Fed

The currencies of the countries of the South are affected by the American turn of the screw

Wednesday, 29 January, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) decided to further reduce its injections of liquidity in the economy, which will go from 75 to 65 billion dollars per month. The Central Bank has taken this decision because of the US recovery, without worrying about the potential impact on emerging countries. These are the tempetesmonetaires, due to their macroeconomic imbalances. Structured financial products increasing speculation against vulnerable currency. In 2013, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) wanted to free itself from the IMF and Washington, but they did not succeed, because their interests diverge.











Mediziner: Staat versagt bei Kinderschutz – Physician: State fails in child protection


Charité experts accuse Germans of collective denial of abuse / perpetrators mostly parents













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Asian newspaper front pages Friday 31 January

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Australian newspaper front pages Friday 31 January

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31-01-2014 smh

31-01-2014 heraldsun31-01-2014 australian

31-01-2014 cm

31-01-2014 age

31-01-2014 dt

31-01-2014 mercury

31-01-2014 ntnews

31-01-2014 gc

31-01-2014 advertiser

31-01-2014 cairns

31-01-2014 GEELONG


31-01-2014 The press

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American newspaper front pages Thursday 30 January

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Por la falta de dólares, el Gobierno frena el pago de importaciones – Due to the lack of dollars, the Government stops payment of imports

The Government yesterday halted the authorization of payment of imports with the aim of prioritizing the availability of foreign currency in the local market, much in demand from the easing of foreign exchange stocks, on Monday. The AFIP reported yesterday 28 million dollars were sold to save (41 million in three days). “Almost not passed anything of import”, committed an officer of a Bank of first line. “I think that the Central Bank was also very attentive to the sale [of dollars] in branches,” he added. “Virtually all customers who passed through the box did it to buy dollars for hoarding”, admitted yesterday in a National Bank.  After a start with obstacles, on the third day of the partial opening of the foreign exchange stocks, banks returned to face a strong demand for foreign exchange by the retail public. The Central Bank (BCRA) then chose to “stepping” practically in full the authorization of payment of imports and thus counter pressure on the official dollar, which closed at $8.02, and decrease the loss of their reserves. However, yesterday fell another $188 million (543 million since Monday, up 28.520). The blue dollar went back up and at the end touched the $13.







Presagian lo peor: hallan narcofosas – They presage the worst: find narcofosas


FOUND remains of weapons located ranches North of Coahuila with evidence of missing persons


ZARAGOZA.-Although there was no compelling elements, scientifically proven, at the end of editing the first findings bode the worst in Northern Coahuila: alleged clandestine pits located in different places of the municipality of Zaragoza and surroundings, where there would be incinerated people, and “kitchen” of “human pozole” (tambos to dissolve victims in acid).





Unesco: Chile incrementó su desigualdad escolar – UNESCO: Chile increased its school inequality

Level of learning among rich and poor detected slight differences in countries such as Chile «in fourth grade, but in the eighth the 77% of rich students achieved minimum levels, compared with 44% of the poor».








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In praise of Malcolm Turnbull for his ABC review and other news and views noted along the way

January 30th, 2014 Comments off

Protecting the ABC and SBS. The conspiracy theorists and Coalition government haters went into overdrive today when Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull released details of a study into the efficiency of the operations of the ABC and SBS. Almost without a moments thought the chant went up that examining operational costs as well as products and services in order to “increase efficiency and reduce expense” was actually a way of punishing the ABC for reporting things in  way the government did not like.  A moment’s calmer reflection would have resulted in the realisation that Malcolm Turnbull has actually saved the public broadcasters from the across -the-board cost cutting (strangely called an efficiency dividend by governments) affecting almost all other parts of public services. It is arbitrary cuts of that kind that would result in a lowering of standards of broadcasts. Under the arrangement Turnbull has got his Cabinet colleagues to agree to any spending cuts will be in the ‘back of house’ day-to-day operational and financial operations, structures and processes applied to delivering ABC and SBS programs, products and services. As the statement by the Department of Communication makes clear, “it is not a study of the quality of the national broadcasters’ programs, products and services, or the responsibilities set out in their Charters but of the efficiency of the delivery of those services to the Australian public.”

Who knows, if the inquiry actually identifies more efficient ways of doing bureaucratic things there might actually be more funds to spend on programming.

I doubt that the leaders of the anti-ABC cheer squad in Holt Street will be pleased at that prospect. They would have been far happier with the approach outlined on page one of The Australian this morning:

30-01-2014 cutting Here’s the full departmental statement on the review:

ABC and SBS Efficiency Study–Terms of Reference

The Study
The national broadcasters, ABC and SBS, receive $1.2 billion in funding a year from the Australian Government. It is a routine responsibility of all Government authorities to use taxpayers’ funds as efficiently as possible and to strive for operational improvements, and the
broadcasters are no exception.

Parliament has agreed over time to a broad range of responsibilities for the ABC and SBS which are incorporated into their respective Charters. The delivery against those Charter responsibilities, relative priorities and resource allocation are largely at the discretion of the
ABC and SBS Board and management. There is limited transparency to the Australian public, the Government and the Parliament of the breakdown of costs of delivering the ABC and SBS Charter responsibilities and whether these could be more efficiently delivered by the
national broadcasters.

This study will seek to clarify these costs, provide options for more efficient delivery of services (based on current practice in Australian broadcasting), identify risks and any impediments to change and assist the national broadcasters to continue to deliver their
Charter responsibilities in ways that minimise costs and maximise benefits for the Australian community.

The study will focus on the costs of inputs—that is the ‘back of house’ day-to-day operational and financial operations, structures and processes applied to delivering ABC and SBS programs, products and services. It is not a study of the quality of the national broadcasters’ programs, products and services, or the responsibilities set out in their Charters but of the efficiency of the delivery of those services to the Australian public.


The Department of Communications will conduct the study and will be assisted by Mr Peter Lewis, formerly Chief Financial Officer of Seven West Media Limited. ABC and SBS personnel will also form part of the study’s secretariat. It will focus on all ABC and SBS activities, other than those specifically specified as out of scope below, including:

• Television
• Radio (Analog and Digital)
• International services
• Digital services including online and catch-up TV
• Production—including facilities
• Advertising (SBS only)
• Enterprises/retail services
• Corporate overheads
• Asset management and capital expenses.

The study will not be limited to looking at these activities separately, and could also look at outputs on a cross-platform basis i.e. delivery of news and current affairs across TV, radio and digital, where useful. 

Out of Scope

• Transmission costs, which will be the subject of separate advice to Government;
• Changes to the ABC and SBS Charters;
• Editorial policies of the national broadcasters;
• Allowing advertising on the ABC;
• Quality of programs/products delivered by the broadcasters.

Terms of reference

The study will provide an objective assessment of the efficiency of the ABC and SBS in delivering their services. The study will:
• identify the real current and expected future costs of each output of the ABC and the SBS (as set out in Scope above);
• test those costs against better practice broadcasting operational models and practices  and quantify differences;
• identify the options available to the broadcasters to improve efficiencies and the  benefits and risks of such options;
• identify any impediments to implementation of such options—this analysis may go to operational, governance, structural, financial and cultural issues within each
• develop an ‘ideal cost-base’ for the national broadcasters and compare this with current cost base.
The study will also identify options to improve:
• transparency of the costs of national broadcasting services to maintain confidence in their expenditure of public funds;
• the processes and systems for decision-making across different genres, platforms and priorities; and
• operational governance and management practices/processes of the national broadcasters including ways of enhancing the efficient and transparent management of the organisations.
Without further limiting its scope, the study should:
• Consider the return on investment of the public funding for the national broadcasters,
including in terms of audience or other usage;
• Analyse costs at the level of services (eg ABC1, ABC2, Radio National etc); platform (television, radio, online); audience brands (eg ABC 4 Kids, or News); program
genre; and in relation to specific Tied Funding such as the National Interest Initiative;
• Provide breakdowns of these costs in States and regions, and by audience or user demographic; and
• Quantify, as far as possible, the costs of operating at locations across Australia.

In undertaking the task, the study will have regard to:
• The ABC and SBS Charters, legislated obligations and editorial and operational independence from government;
• Ratings, audience reach and other relevant audience measures for the ABC and SBS programming;
• Changing audience demand, particularly increasing use of catch-up and online services;
• The role of ABC and SBS in provision of emergency services information;
• The geographic spread of services and infrastructure, their importance to communities compared to the costs of maintenance; and
• The relative importance/performance of the ABC and SBS compared to other broadcasting services in local markets.
The report arising from the study will be provided to the Minister and the Chairs of the ABC
and SBS on completion.


The project will commence in February 2014 and deliver its final report in April 2014.

So you don’t think global warming is real? Tell that to the Fijians. From the Fiji Times of 15 January:


Maybe there’ll still be a role for people after all. Those self scanning things at supermarkets have a cost after-all. They may save on the wages of checkout operators but the cheating by the self-serving customers is apparently immense – 1.7 billion pounds a year from UK supermarkets according to a survey reported today


An international view. News coverage from outside Australia seems to be getting less and less so if you are interested in an international view may I recommend my regular daily features on this blog – Asian newspaper front pagesEuropean front pages and American (north and south) front pages? Not tht I can’t be parochil too – there’s always my morning coverage of the Australian papers

Some other news and views noted along the way.


  • On A Roman Street, Graffiti Celebrates ‘SuperPope’
  • Detention Of Al-Jazeera Journalists Strains Free Speech In Egypt – “The case has shown just how far Egypt has backslid on the goals of an uprising that began three years ago this week. Demands at the time included greater freedom of expression; this case has had a chilling effect on journalists based in Cairo. Of course, Al-Jazeera is a special case. The Egyptian government is angry with the wealthy Gulf nation of Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera, for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and accuses the channel of biased and sometimes untrue coverage. But for Fahmy’s family, the news is a shock. This fun-loving guy who was preparing to wed his fiancée is now in prison and accused of something they say they know is absolutely untrue.
  • U.S. readies financial sanctions against Ukraine: congressional aides
  • Russia to await new Ukraine government before fully implementing rescue: Putin – “President Vladimir Putin raised the pressure on Ukraine on Wednesday, saying Russia would wait until it forms a new government before fully implementing a $15 billion bailout deal that Kiev urgently needs. Putin repeated a promise to honor the lifeline agreement with Ukraine in full, but left open the timing of the next aid installment as Kiev struggles to calm more than two months of turmoil since President Victor Yanukovich walked away from a treaty with the European Union.”


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Pushing back the boats Greek style and other European newspaper front pages Thursday 30 September

January 30th, 2014 Comments off



30-01-2014 derstandard

Zinserhöhung in der Türkei verpufft an den Finanzmärkten – Increase of interest rates in Turkey fizzles out on the financial markets

Vienna – drastic rate hikes in Turkey and South Africa have hardly can curb the turmoil in the currency markets. The Turkish Central Bank has raised interest rates from 4.5% to 10%, to bolster the value of the own currency lira. The decision followed a roller coaster ride but, in the course of Wednesday, the currency eased partly drastically. Economists also warned growth problems because of sharply higher interest rates. At the descent of the currencies, also the Russian ruble has reached a new low.



Les soubresauts perpétuels de l’économie mondialisée – The perpetual turmoil of the globalized economy


In early November, Larry Summers, former Secretary to the Treasury, Professor at Harvard, warned: since a few decades, growth in the United States and Europe is progressing by speculative bubbles. Between two bubbles, the Western economy through a long cycle of low growth. The “law of Summers’ seems well apply to the current situation. After some boom years, many emerging countries are experiencing serious difficulties. The Turkey, the India, Argentina, for example, see their currency and their stock market collapse. These countries face a massive flight of capital: investors withdrew from these markets to fall back on the United States and Europe – less remunerative but safer.





30-01-2014 theday





Merkel schickt Schröder in Rente – Merkel sends Schröder in retirement

Despite massive criticism, the Cabinet decided a comprehensive retirement package on Wednesday. It stipulates the increase of so-called mother pension, the introduction of a discount-free retirement at 63 in 45 years of insurance, as well as improvements to disability pensioners. In addition, more money for rehabilitation should be provided… The presumed costs of EUR 160 billion by 2030 were criticized in particular by employers and younger politicians, who fear unwarranted burden of future generations. Federal Social Minister Andrea Nahles (SPD) and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) defended against criticism, which was presented on Wednesday in particular by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and the nearby employer initiative new social market economy (INSM) the decisions of the Coalition to the pension.


2014-01-30_independent 2014-01-30_dailymail2014-01-30_thetimes








The ABC in the headlines – Australian newspaper front pages Thursday 30 January

Asian newspaper front pages

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Just another banking error

January 30th, 2014 Comments off

ANZ review after glitch forces $70m in home loan refunds.

ANZ Bank is conducting a sweeping review all of its home loan, savings and small business accounts to ensure they are operating correctly, after a major glitch forced it to refund $70 million to 235,000 home loan customers.

Last week the bank commenced sending out letters to the customers, who were charged incorrect interest rates through their mortgage offset accounts due to processing errors by the bank.

Some of the errors dated back to 2003, and occurred because key processes were carried out manually, leaving the door open to human error.

Customer complaints first alerted the bank to problems with the offset accounts in 2010, which then led to a four-year review led by PwC.

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Asian newspaper front pages Thursday 30 January

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30-01-2014 bangkok30-01-2014 thaiarmy

30-01-2014 jakarta30-01-2014 contagion

30-01-2014 chinadaily30-01-2014 apology



30-01-2014 korea

30-01-2014 chinapost

30-01-2014 phil

30-01-2014 straits2014-01-30_malstar2014-01-30_netizen


From inside



The ABC in the headlines – Australian newspaper front pages Thursday 30 January

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The ABC in the headlines – Australian newspaper front pages Thursday 30 January

January 30th, 2014 Comments off

30-01-2014 ausdt

30-01-2014 australian30-01-2014 network

30-01-2014 cutting

30-01-2014 smh

30-01-2014 abbottturnbull

30-01-2014 age

30-01-2014 abc

30-01-2014 cm

30-01-2014 mercury\30-01-2014 hs

30-01-2014 advertiser

30-01-2014 gc

30-01-2014 ntnews

30-01-2014 townsville

30-01-2014 geelong30-01-2014 cairns

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The State of the Union and other American (North and South) newspaper front pages Wednesday 29 January

January 29th, 2014 Comments off











Más penado robar vacas que violar a un niño ¿QUIÉN PODRÁ DEFENDERLOS? -More punishable to steal cows that raping a child – who can defend them?


For Justice in these lands, it would seem more serious to steal a cow that raping a child. Unless that is stipulated in the Criminal Code of the State of Coahuila, establishing stronger penalties for the cattle rustling that for child abuse. The State Penal Code provides for sentences up to 12 years in prison who steal head of cattle, while for who abused a minor more sentence is nine years.



Se agilizó la venta de dólares, pero volvió a subir el blue – Was streamlined the sale of dollars, but it went back up the blue

There were 21.862 operations, compared the 235 from yesterday; the system ran at nearly all banks; doubts by 20% surcharge; parallel, to $12.55; another sharp decline in reservations: 188 million.


Emergentes elevam juros para acalmar mercados – Emerging interest amounting to calm markets

After three trading sessions of decline, emerging markets have had one day of relief with the increase in interest in India and the expectation of a similar measure in Turkey, which occured at night. The Indian benchmark climbed 0.25 point. In Turkey, where there are several rates, the rise reached 5.5 percentage points. Reversing trend of recent days, 17 of the 24 major moedasemergentes if valued against the dollar. The real, however, was the currency lost value. The dollar was quoted at R $ 2,427, on the sixth day in a row of high and highest value since August. Still, the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange was discharged of 0.29%. For analysts, the increase in interest in emerging, as was done in Brazil, is a good thing but tardy and limited effect. Confidence in these countries is still upset with the expectation that the u.s. will continue to reduce its economic stimulus program. The Fed’s decision to leave today.









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Abetz fights the last war and other news and views for Wednesday 29 January

January 29th, 2014 Comments off

Fighting the last war. So the Employment Minister Eric Abetz is worried that Australia risks a wages explosion that could push thousands of Australians out of work.  Here’s a version of the Abetz address as reported by those unpatriotic people at the ABC:


That sounds a lot like one of those generals preparing to fight the last war. See for yourself with these handy graphs from the Reserve Bank’s chart pack:




Hardly evidence there that in recent years unions in some sectors have gone too far in their demands for wage rises and conditions.

The Minister should have a read of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and turn his mind to reversing the growing concentration of income by the highest earners. See the extract below from Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth.

Surely Ray Hadley is just for campaign time. I wrote yesterday how the federal coalition government clearly is in election mode and I don’t criticise it for that. Griffith and Western Australia are important elections and Tony Abbott should be giving them plenty of attention. And part of successful campaigning is to get your message across and a sympathetic radio talk show host is a good way of doing that. But surely weekly chats with Ray Hadley are not going to be a long term substitute for actually answering questions from the mainstream media? To try and make it so guarantees that it will not just be the ABC and Fairfax that are giving the government what it thinks is an unfair and hard time.  There are few things so savage as a journalist spurned.

Righto John, time to give it a miss. I’m getting a bit tired of the constant appearances of John Howard commenting glowingly on the performance of his boy Tony. Surely it’s time for the old PM to start fading away and let his protege sink or swim on his own unaided.

From earlier in the dayPreventing government IT disasters

An international view. News coverage from outside Australia seems to be getting less and less so if you are interested in an international view may I recommend my regular daily features on this blog – Asian newspaper front pages, European front pages and American (north and south) front pages? Not tht I can’t be parochil too – there’s always my morning coverage of the Australian papers

Some other news and views noted along the way.

  • China Is Poised To Force ‘Times’ Reporter Out Of Country – “In a move that’s being seen as retaliation for negative stories about its leaders, China’s government has told a New York Times reporter that he must leave the country when his visa expires Thursday. The government has not granted a request for a new visa that was made last summer.”
  • Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth – “Even though worker productivity has gone up over this time period, wages and income have stagnated. Workers are not getting what they deserve according to economic theory and the societal norms we have adopted that say people should be paid according to their contribution to the productive process. We need to understand why the distribution of income is broken, and then figure out how to fix it. My own view is that the decline in unions and the increase in political power among the wealthy have caused a very unequal bargaining position between workers and firms. The unequal power relationship has allowed wages to stagnate while incomes at the top have soared. But whatever the cause, the mechanism that distributes income to various groups in society is broken, and this important problem needs to be better studied and better understood. That is why Obama’s shift in emphasis from inequality to opportunity and his fear of being accused of class warfare is a mistake. We need better opportunity, particularly at the lower end of the income distribution, but we also need to be sure that when those opportunities are realized income rises with productivity. When it doesn’t, correcting the problem through taxes and transfers or other means is not class warfare. It simply takes income that was undeserved according to societal norms, and sends it where it rightfully belongs.”
  • The UK’s vanishing Aussies are missed – “The success of their home, resource-driven economy is putting Australians off staying in Britain.”
  • The Three Leakers and What to Do About Them – “What should we make of Edward Snowden, Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, and Julian Assange? Their names are known across the globe, yet the actions that made them famous have also driven them to lives of intense isolation—in hiding, in prison, or in a foreign embassy. They have been lionized as heroes and condemned as traitors.”
  • Shadowy world of Britain’s discount hitmen revealed in new study – “Contract killing is one of the least studied, but most intriguing areas of organized crime; and new research into British hitmen has found that in some cases victims were murdered for as little as £200. The first typological study of British hitmen, published in The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, identified four main types of contract killer; the novice, the dilettante, the journeyman; and the master.”
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Preventing government IT disasters

January 29th, 2014 Comments off

We have had a few of these in Australia so should our legislators be following the lead of their US Congressional counterparts?

One Way Lawmakers Are Trying To Prevent Government IT Disasters : All Tech Considered : NPR.’s infamous failure to launch has inspired some fresh legislation that aims to organize and streamline the currently scattered — and expensive — approach to multimillion-dollar technology projects built by the government and its contractors.

Specifically, the measure, which is co-sponsored by Reps Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., calls for the creation a U.S. Digital Government Office, charged with reviewing and guiding major IT projects of all federal agencies. It also makes permanent the role of U.S. Chief Technology Officer, a position that has only existed in recent years under the Obama administration.’s disastrous debut brought to light long-festering issues with how the government handles technology projects — contracting processes favor entrenched vendors who don’t deliver efficiently or effectively, tech talent that’s available inside government is lacking and there are hundreds of agencies running in several directions on services that duplicate efforts and resources…

A few notable provisions in the bill:

  1. The Digital Government Office would have authority over all agencies’ large IT projects. (Currently these are run by the individual agencies and not overseen by a tech-savvy office that knows what it’s doing/buying.)
  2. It gives the Chief Technology Officer the power to hire people outside of the standard government pay schedule, allowing government agencies to pay people at salaries competitive to jobs in the tech private sector.
  3. The bill also seeks to increase competition for contracting work, which is currently a field made up of the same handful of players who tend to get expensive and often unsuccessful results. Currently, agencies have to go through a rigorous process to buy the work/start contracts for technology projects that cost more than $150,000. Projects smaller than that are comparatively simple to hire for and more agile companies bid for those. So the bill increases “small acquisition thresholds” from $150,000 to $500,000 — making it easier for government to buy small technology projects.

This won’t be the final form the bill takes; it’s only a draft right now. Lawmakers released it to invite discussion, which will be happening in the coming weeks and months.

Categories: Public service Tags:

European newspaper front pages Wednesday 29 January

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29-01-2014 thetimes

29-01-2014 moscow

29-01-2014 putin

29-01-2014 guardian

29-01-2014 turkey

29-01-2014 loserslobby


F inanzamt fordert 60 Millionen: Meinl klagt die RepublikTax Office demands 60 million: Meinl complains the Republic

Financial criminal proceedings provides for displeasure stepping in banker with assets

A tax back payment of EUR 60 million is threatening Vienna – the Meinl Bank. The financial believes that various management companies resident in Jersey were attributable to the Institute and to pay tax on their income in Austria. Although the Bank to appeal, she would have to form a tax provision 2013 for the balance sheet. This could consume the equity and lead to “Settlement” of the Institute, it says in a letter to the tax office, which is the default.

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29-01-2014 dertages

Maas will Homosexuelle gleichstellen – Maas wants to equate homosexuals


Minister of Justice implements judicial standard for adoption rights / topic in the controversial Coalition


Berlin – the controversial between the Union and the SPD debate about equality of homosexual civil partnerships could increase again on sharpness. Heiko Maas (SPD) is for the first bill he brings as Minister of Justice on the way, made an improvement of adoption law for same-sex couples and other steps announced.


The draft, which is the daily mirror, is a special area of the adoption law, the adoption of successive. That is, cases in which one of the two partners has adopted a child and the other partner would be also adoptive mother or father. This is already possible with heterosexual couples.


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29-01-2014 indep

29-01-2014 opinion


Sarkozy, l’omni-prés(id)ent – Sarkozy, omni-pres(id)ent


Since early 2014, the former head of the State accelerated its return movement in the political arena. “I expect the disaster,” he told a former Minister. Superstar from the right in the polls, the former head of State will be Thursday, January 30 in Charente-Maritime to decorate an ex-MP. Wednesday 29, his friends Association meets for its ritual lunch. His presence at the concerts of his wife Carla confidences of Bernadette Chirac announcing his return, Nicolas Sarkozy is since the beginning of the year in the heart of the conversations.

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29-01-2014 lemonde

  1. Chômage : les raisons de l’échec de François Hollande – Unemployment: the reasons for the failure of François Holland
  2. In September 2012, François Holland had promised to reverse the curve of unemployment ‘from here’ a year. The bet is lost. Significantly. The number of unemployed persons increased again – of 8,200 – in December 2013, bringing the total increase over the year to 177 800. Massive assistance job creation have not offset the increase in demography and the retirement more late Senior. Above all, the sluggish growth did not create jobs.

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29-01-2014 dailymail

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29-01-2014 i

29-01-2014 dailystar

29-01-2014 metro

29-01-2014 capeargus

29-01-2014 agansa

29-01-2014 businessday

29-01-2014 post

Asian newspaper front pages

Australian newspaper front pages

American newspaper front pages

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Asian newspaper front pages Wednesday 29 January

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Australian newspaper front pages Wednesday 29 January

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29-01-2014 smh

29-01-2014 age

29-01-2014 advertiser

29-01-2014 mercury

29-01-2014 heraldsun

28-01-2014 gc

28-01-2014 cm29-01-2014 dailytele

29-01-2014 townsville

29-01-2014 nt29-01-2014 geelong

29-01-2014 thepress

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Lead story on the NY Times website but too late for page one of the American newspapers on Tuesday 28 January

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Too late to make the print edition but it’s leading the New York Times website.

PETE SEEGER | 1919-2014

Champion of Folk Music and Social Change


Pete Seeger, a hearty singer who spearheaded a folk revival and spent a life championing music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for political action, died Monday. He was 94.


























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The Coalition’s need for continual campaigning and other news and views for Tuesday 28 January

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Continual campaigning. Working for the dole one day. Union bashing the next. The federal coalition government clearly is in election mode.

There’s Kevin Rudd’s old seat to be determined on February 8 with a really important poll to come if the High Court makes the expected decision on the stuffed up Western Australian Senate count. That’s reason enough, I suppose, for Tony Abbott to still be acting as he did in opposition but there’s probably a little longer term insurance being taken out as well. Much as the Prime Minister would like to avoid another full scale election later this year, he must be aware that one might be necessary if he is going to lead other than a do-nothing government. Clive Palmer is giving every indication that his PUP Senate team will be an extreme irritant after 1 July and Mr Clive is smart enough to realise that his chances of retaining a position of influence are increased if the next lot of Senators are elected with half the quota of his current lot.

Climate change – it’s the real thing. Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years. That’s the kind of analysis you could expect from some kind of rampant greenie. But a vice president of the Coca Cola corporation? Yes indeed. Jeffrey Seabright, Coke’s vice president for environment and water resources, was listing the problems that he said were also disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.”

Noted The New York Times: 

Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change.

Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force.

A real job for Anwar Ibrahim? The electoral system and some legal shenanigans might have stymied his chances of getting Malaysia’s top political job but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in line for a consolation prize. From this morning’s Malaysian Star:



Note: You will find the front page of this paper, along with others from around Asia, on the website HERE.

Some other news and views noted along the way.

  • Stephen FitzGerald: Abbott’s relations with China. – “With China, as with Indonesia, disagreements and policy differences can be managed, but it’s the way we’ve gone about it, and the language, and the idea from colonial times that if you speak English to these people loudly and clearly enough they will understand and do what they’re told. And for Beijing, there’s the unmistakable message that on matters it regards as vitally affecting its sovereignty, we stand with a particular US view that doesn’t want to accommodate Chinese power.” – John Menadue’s blog.
  • Former Coalition figures in demand by lobbying industry – Fairfax papers
  • Fethullah Gulen: Powerful but reclusive Turkish cleric – “Fethullah Gulen has been called Turkey’s second most powerful man. He is also a recluse, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US. An apparent power struggle between his followers and those around the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has reached a new pitch of intensity and loathing.
  • We Can’t Afford to Leave Inequality to the Economists
Categories: News and views for the day Tags:

Spying via “Angry Birds” and other European newspaper front pages Tuesday 28 January

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Tax evasion secrets of the HSBC files

«Le Monde» reveals the incredible story of the listings – listing the names of 3,000 French holders of an account in Switzerland

Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke has elements to involve HSBC Bank in an extensive process of money laundering tax evasion. Investigators have received for mission to audition the 2,956 French suspected of hiding their assets in Switzerland. Meanwhile, SCIF continues its own investigation, which already allowed him to straighten more than 700 taxpayers. Investigations after the provision of the data, in 2008, by the computer scientist Hervé Falciani, former employee of the Bank, have been constrained until 2013. On the listings appear the names of multiple personalities. Le Monde has contacted them.










Schwellenländer stemmen sich gegen Währungsturbulenzen -Emerging economies brace themselves against currency turbulence

Vienna – the fear of an economic downturn and political crises, as in Turkey and in Argentina, lead to a decline in many currencies in emerging markets. Investors pull their money for months. Three billion cash outflow in the previous week alone. This brings additional pressure on countries such as India or Brazil, because they can no longer finance their current-account deficits with foreign capital. The Turkish Central Bank responded with an emergency meeting on the falling lira, which has lost more than 20 percent since may, 2013. Experts expect a massive interest rate move to keep the prices stable. Argentina has again released the purchases of dollars locked since October, 2011, to stop the outflow. Because the purchases with $2,000 a month are limited, dealers believe that the peso remains under pressure. “The global implications of the recent uncertainty should remain but limited”, believes Julian Jessop of capital economics.






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Asian newspaper front pages Tuesday 28 January

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The government plans to empower mobile carriers to block phone lines used for financial scams and unsolicited bulk text messages or “spam,” officials said Monday. It is also seeking to strengthen requirements for short message service providers and ban financial services firms from sharing personal information of customers with their affiliates without giving prior notice to those concerned. These measures will be included in a revision bill on privacy protection, which will be submitted to the National Assembly next month, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).



2014-01-28 phil




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Australian newspaper front pages Tuesday 28 January

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Spam is the stuff that gifts are made of and other American newspaper front pages Monday 27 January

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2014-01-27_chictrib He was selling vegetables in Yemen at age 16 when he first embraced jihad, rising quickly in al-Qaida and eventually being tapped for a Sept. 11, 2001, suicide operation in Asia that was scrapped in favor of the airplane attacks in New York and at the Pentagon, according to U.S. intelligence records. He served as a trusted bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, and his sister became the leader’s fourth wife. But the militant’s career came to an end 12 years ago when he was captured near the mountains of Tora Bora by Pakistani forces and sent to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, becoming another nameless, faceless “high-risk” terrorism suspect with little hope of release. On Tuesday, the man identified by U.S. officials as Abd al-Malak Abd al-Wahab al-Rahbi will get his first shot at freedom under a long-delayed review process designed to help empty the military prison  Al-Rahbi will become the first Guantanamo detainee to receive a partially public hearing to determine whether his status as an enemy combatant should be changed, making him eligible for release. The program was unveiled two years ago by President Barack Obama, who continues to face pressure to make good on a campaign promise to close the prison.





Manifestante é baleado pela PM em Higienópolis – Protester is shot by PM in Higienópolis

Fabrício student 22 years, was shot in the chest and groin, in Higienópolis (Center), during yesterday’s protest against the World Cup. According to the PM, keys resisted arrest and assaulted officers before he was shot. Witnesses, however, say that the boy was shot three times after being rendered. He was operated on and is in a coma. The Governor Geraldo Alckmin defended the action of the PM at the protest, which left a trail of destruction in the Center: “Police averted a tragedy”.



In South Korea, Spam Is the Stuff Gifts Are Made Of

As the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, Seoul’s increasingly well-heeled residents are scouring store shelves for tastefully wrapped boxes of culinary specialties. Among their favorite choices: imported wines, choice cuts of beef, rare herbal teas. And Spam.

Yes, Spam. In the United States, the gelatinous meat product in the familiar blue and yellow cans has held a place as thrifty pantry staple, culinary joke and kitschy fare for hipsters without ever losing its low-rent reputation. But in economically vibrant South Korea, the pink bricks of pork shoulder and ham have taken on a bit of glamour as they have worked their way into people’s affections.

“Here, Spam is a classy gift you can give to people you care about during the holiday,” said Im So-ra, a saleswoman at the high-end Lotte Department Store in downtown Seoul who proudly displayed stylish boxes with cans of Spam nestled inside.












Cristina, con Fidel y dilma y un ojo en la crisis – Cristina, with Fidel and dilma and an eye on the crisis

In Havana she had lunch with the Cuban leader; requested the meeting with Rousseff

Havana (Special Envoy).-Attentive to news that arrived from the Argentina and with strong expectation by the reaction that will have the markets today, President Cristina Kirchner met yesterday with the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who received it with a lunch in the Jaimanitas district. The meeting he attended with his daughter Florence, was family run and conversados topics were kept in a strict reserve. Most public was meeting in the afternoon with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, at hotel Melian. The meeting was requested by Cristina Kirchner and his Brazilian colleague agreed immediately. They talked about the shocks by the devaluation of the Argentine peso and both warned on “speculative movements” against emerging countries. Cristina Kirchner arrived in Havana to participate in the Summit of the community of Latin American and Caribbean (Celac) and today could meet with other Presidents in the region. LA HABANA.-Finally, the agenda was. After the mystery printed her Government to the advancement of the Cristina Kirchner’s trip to this island, the surprise that both spoke at the delegation arrived and, as expected, was a meeting with Fidel Castro. “They invited me to lunch,” was the terse statement that was heard from the President when the press waited it out of the hotel Nacional, where staying. I wanted to tell it because before you put one foot in the car, turned, turning on itself and the distance launched the sentence to make it clear that it was not just one more picture, but a meeting of “friends”.

Categories: American media, Media Tags:

Is ‘Royals’ by Lorde an anti-materialism anthem like ‘Gangnam Style’? and other news and views noted along the way Monday 27 January

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In Scotland the vote gets closer. An opinion poll published this morning will revive interest in the forthcoming independence referendum 2014-01-27_scotp1a 2014-01-27_scotlandyesno   And the gap between “Yes” and “No” has certainly narrowed. 2014-01-27_votechanges But the “No” vote still the clear favourite. The market has taken note of the opinion polls but still has the “no” vote the clear favourite. On the Owl’s Election Indicator “no” is rated a 79% chance, down marginally from the 82% level recorded earlier this month. 2014-01-27_scottishindicator Not infallible. Two white doves released by children standing alongside Pope Francis in Vatican City as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds – the BBC What a surprise. Those that might pay it are against it. 2014-01-27_againstit Notes the BBC: There’s no let-up in the reaction – much of it apparently unhappy – to Labour’s plan to reinstate the 50p top rate of tax in Monday’s papers. The Financial Times and Daily Telegraph both say the business community is warning it could have a seriously detrimental effect on investment in the UK. See the front pages of other British and European newspapers HERE. Diplomatic differences. Each country to its own, it seems, when it comes to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In this morning’s Korea Times he is “a hawkish politician” who might end up “a diplomatic pariah.” Over in India Mr Abe was the government’s guest of honour at its national day celebrations with his presence signalling “a deepening of ties” between India and Japan. See the different attitudes in our Asian newspaper survey HERE. Some other news and views noted along the way. 2014-01-27_blankspaces

  • Staff of Hong Kong Paper Stage Silent Protest Against Beijing’s Encroachment – “It may seem like a tempest in a teapot, but Hong Kong citizens perceive a gathering storm darkening their windows. When the owner of one of the city’s largest newspapers tried to replace the editor-in-chief, its staff and columnists staged a dramatic revolt. The episode is the latest symptom of collective anxiety over the state of free press in this former British colony, more than 16 years after its handover to China. On Jan. 20, more than 110 staff stood outside the headquarters of Ming Pao, one of Hong Kong’s most respected Chinese-language newspapers. Dressed in black, each journalist held up a copy of the paper and solemnly observed a five-and-half minute period of silence in protest against the owner’s decision to sack the paper’s editor-in-chief, Kevin Lau. On the same day, four of Ming Pao’s writers sent in blank columns, also as a form of protest, leaving glaring white spaces in the print edition.”
  • The Real Challenges to Growth – “Advanced economies’ experience since the 2008 financial crisis has spurred a rapidly evolving discussion of growth, employment, and income inequality. That should come as no surprise: For those who expected a relatively rapid post-crisis recovery, the more things stay the same, the more they change.” By Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics.
  • Thousands stage anti-government protests in Paris – “Clashes have broken out during anti-government protests in France. Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris in a ‘Day of Anger’ against a host of policies introduced by President Francois Hollande.”


  • Grammys Watch: Is ‘Royals’ By Lorde An Anti-Materialism Anthem Like ‘Gangnam Style’? – “Our hyper-materialism is unsustainable. We have already overshot the Earth’s biocapacity — and the overshoot gets worse every year. Pop culture and the media mostly ignore constraints like climate change, while the message of conspicuous consumption reigns supreme. So it is worth noting the rare hit song that is explicitly anti-materialistic, like ‘Royals,’ which helped the teenage sensation Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor) garner four nominations for tonight’s Grammys.”
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The coming US revolution?

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Robert Reich (Why There’s No Outcry).

People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?

The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.

First, the working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has. In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. … No longer… No one has any job security. … Besides, their major means of organizing themselves — labor unions — have been decimated. …

Second, students don’t dare rock the boat. In prior decades students were a major force for social change. … But today’s students don’t want to make a ruckus. They’re laden with debt. … To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy. Which is why record numbers are still living at home.

Reformers and revolutionaries don’t look forward to living with mom and dad or worrying about credit ratings and job recommendations.

Third and finally, the American public has become so cynical about government that many no longer think reform is possible. …

Change is coming anyway. … At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.


Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.

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European newspaper front pages for Monday 27 January

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Auf nach Kiew – On to Kiev

Puzzle about puzzles: Ukraine’s opposition to the goal seems admirable weeklong protests in cold and snow. The besieged Moscow-loyal President Janukowitsch offers her the takeover of the Government. But she throws away her victory, rejects the offer. Why?

The Ukraine is nähergerückt us close and remained third. For the second time after the “orange” revolution ten years ago, risking tens of thousands of lives and health, oppose brutal militias in Kiev, Poltava and Winizja, request their chance for freedom, democracy and prosperity. Many in the West comes from the momentum of the European demonstrations. But now since the opposition fails power-sharing and risk a civil war, the fear, is growing. Molotov cocktails at police officers and burning barricades fit poorly to the dream of an inclusive Europe. Threatening since a European Syria right at our doorstep?

Up close look at the three opposition leaders not irrational. They have no confidence that the regime is serious about the power-sharing. You also have no confidence in the durability of their three federal. The pressure from above (regime) and down (the road) it holds together. If successful, they will compete soon the power. Wirddann Vitali Klitschko, who is regarded as a clean, but inexperienced in Ukrainian-Russian power intrigues, the movement is lead? Or the cautious Taktierer ARSENI Yatsenyuk from the party of imprisoned ex – figurehead Julia Timoschenko? Or nationalist Oleg Tjagnibok? They suspect that Yanukovych slightly against each other play them, if they sit in the Government partly continue the protests. Klitschko speaks of a “poisoned” offer.

They also fear losing control over the road if they settle victory with a half. The dodges, with where the regime prevented the EU approach to Russian pressure, brought the people on the street. With the torture of dissidents and the fatal shooting on protesters, it has driven more people on the side of the opposition. Now, whose leaders demand new elections so that reflected the new balance of power in Parliament and President.

2014-01-27_standardAustria: Opposition fordert Neuwahl, EU-Parlament erwägt Sanktionen – Opposition calls for new elections, Parliament is considering sanctions

Kiev/Berlin – intensified appeals from the EU, to resolve the conflict peacefully given unchanged hard fronts between the opposition and Government in the Ukraine on Sunday. The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, spoke out on the edge of the SPD Party Congress in Berlin to give stronger pressure on the parties to the conflict and attracted massive sanctions into consideration. “We will exert every possible pressure on both sides, to the attempt, to respond in dialogue, not violence”, said Schulz.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed a similar. Even Pope Franziskus called for an immediate end to the violence in the Ukraine.

There, the opposition rejected the offer by President Wiktor Janukowitsch, to enter into the Government, and insisted on new elections. The protests widened from Kiev to the West of the country. Several town halls were occupied.













2014-01-27_dailystarThis morning’s Asian newspaper front pages

This morning’s Australian newspaper front pages

American newspaper front pages



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Different views about Abe in Asian newspaper front pages for Monday 27 January

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Australian newspaper front pages Monday 27 January

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American newspaper front pages Sunday 26 January

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Ato em SP contra a Copa termina em vandalismo – Act in SP against the Cup ends in vandalism


“Banks, shops and cars are plundered; Police using gas bombs and holds 128


On the day of the birthday of Sao Paulo, a protest that brought together some 1.500 people against the World Cup ended in looting in the city centre at night. The March, which went for two hours peacefully, became violent after supporters of the protest tactic “black bloc” separated from other protesters. Get looted banks, shops, cars and a Metropolitan Civil Guard vehicle.


The military police, which followed the protest with 2.000 men, used bombs of moral effect. 128 people were arrested — the police turned a hotel on rua Augusta in basis for arrests. The Mayor Fernando Haddad (PT) and the Governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) condemned the vandalism.


Other 12 capitals had acts against the Cup. In Natal and Fortaleza, there have also been clashes, but on a smaller scale.”










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European newspaper front pages Sunday 26 January

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26-01-2014 observer

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Le président, le pape et le grand malaise des catholiques – The president, the Pope and the great discomfort of Catholics

For his first meeting with the Pope, president, criticized on ethical issues, addressed a message of openness to Catholics

A handshake – cold at first, warm at the end of the meeting between François and François Hollande, Pope Friday, January 24 at the Vatican – will not be enough to erase the discomfort of a portion of french Catholics. Relations between the Holy See and the French Republic were never a long quiet river. But the litigation has increased with the election of M. Holland.

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Weitere Todesfälle auf Baustellen der WM2022 – More deaths on construction sites of World Cup 2022

The FußballWeltverband FIFA has asked after the announcement further deaths at World Cup construction sites in Qatar by the hosts of the World Cup 2022 better working conditions. ‘In Qatar quickly and permanently consistently fair working conditions must be introduced, on a sustainable basis’, announced by FIFA on Saturday and reacting to a report by the British newspaper ‘the guardian’. The journal reported that during the construction of facilities for the World Cup in eight years in Qatar significantly more workers killed had been previously known as.

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Asian newspaper front pages Sunday 26 January

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26-01-2014 scarves

26-01-2014 bangkok

26-01-2014 voting

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26-01-2014 phil

26-01-2014 peace

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Poetic interludes and other news and views for Sunday 26 January

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Higher duties called on Friday so no postings on the blog but they did allow for a little bit of Australiana visiting which seemed appropriate on the approach to Australia Day. Called in at the birthplace of Henry Lawson who was born in a tent under a tree

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Here’s one of his more famous works:

Andy’s Gone with Cattle

Our Andy’s gone to battle now
‘Gainst Drought, the red marauder;
Our Andy’s gone with cattle now
Across the Queensland border.

He’s left us in dejection now,
Our thoughts with him are roving;
It’s dull on this selection now,
Since Andy went a-droving.

Who now shall wear the cheerful face
In times when things are slackest?
And who shall whistle round the place
When Fortune frowns her blackest?

Oh, who shall cheek the squatter now
When he comes round us snarling?
His tongue is growing hotter now
Since Andy crossed the Darling.

The gates are out of order now,
In storms the `riders’ rattle;
For far across the border now
Our Andy’s gone with cattle.

Poor Aunty’s looking thin and white;
And Uncle’s cross with worry;
And poor old Blucher howls all night
Since Andy left Macquarie.

Oh, may the showers in torrents fall,
And all the tanks run over;
And may the grass grow green and tall
In pathways of the drover;

And may good angels send the rain
On desert stretches sandy;
And when the summer comes again
God grant ’twill bring us Andy.

Another anniversary this weekend from the other side of the world.

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Remembering Under Milk Wood at 60 – “Sixty years ago this week, the actor Richard Burton starred in what many think the best radio play ever written – Under Milk Wood. In 1954 Burton was just starting a dazzling career as a movie star – but for the rest of his life he looked back on Under Milk Wood as one of his great achievements.”

Some other news and views noted along the way.

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  • How Vietnam became a coffee giant – “Think of coffee and you will probably think of Brazil, Colombia, or maybe Ethiopia. But the world’s second largest exporter today is Vietnam… Coffee production then grew by 20%-30% every year in the 1990s. The industry now employs about 2.6 million people, with beans grown on half a million smallholdings of two to three acres each. This has helped transform the Vietnamese economy. In 1994 some 60% of Vietnamese lived under the poverty line, now less than 10% do.”
  • Million sickness benefit applicants ‘fit for work’ – “Nearly a million people who applied for sickness benefit have been found fit for work, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions. The DWP claims 980,400 people – 32% of new applicants for Employment and Support Allowance – were judged capable of work between 2008 and March 2013. More than a million others withdrew their claims after interviews, it adds. But disability campaigners said the work tests were ‘ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair’.”
  • Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low
  • This Is President Obama’s Plan To Get The World On Board The Fight Against Climate Change
  • Is climate change a northern catastrophe or an Arctic opening?
  • Climate Change Could Melt the Winter Olympics – “Athletes are getting ready for a warm, soggy Winter Games in Sochi. But thanks to global warming, that could soon be the norm for the Winter Olympics. by mid-century, close to half of the previous host cities could likely be too warm for outdoor sports like Alpine skiing and snowboarding.”
  • Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding – “Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke about ending divisiveness in the party, which some call a civil war between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans. But Huckabee also stirred controversy when he spoke about winning the votes of women. ‘If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let us take that discussion all across America,’ Huckabee said. It didn’t exactly fit with the Republican Party’s rebranding effort, which began a year ago following the party’s poor showing in the 2012 elections. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus reacted cautiously to Huckabee. ‘I don’t know what he was talking about,’ Priebus said. ‘What I can tell you is that I think he was trying to make the comment that government can’t be involved in every part of everyone’s life.’ “

And another thought about global warming.

26-01-2014 xkcdToday’s Australian newspaper front pages


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Australian newspaper front pages Sunday 26 January

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American newspaper front pages Saturday 23 January

January 25th, 2014 Comments off

Argentina facilita compra de dólar após moeda subir – Argentina eases buying dollar after currency rise

Faced with the strong devaluation of the peso against the dollar, the Government of Argentina announced that citizens of the country can again acquire the u.s. currency for investment. Acompra dollars for application was banned since 2012… In Davos, President Dilma said he was “very attentive” to the Argentine situation, but claimed not to believe that the crisis has “very significant consequences for Brazil”.

El Gobierno afloja el cepo, pero el dólar no cede y aumenta la incertidumbre – The Government loosen the clamping device, but the dollar does not yield and increases uncertainty

From day after tomorrow individuals may, prior authorisation of the AFIP, buy foreign currency for savings; they went back down to 20% surcharge to purchases with the card abroad; the station remained at $8 the official dollar and the parallel was sold to $11,

A day after the value of the dollar on the parallel market exceeds $13 and the official exchange rate recorded its largest increase in more than one decade, the Government surprised the market by announcing that, from day after tomorrow, it will raise partially foreign exchange stocks for individuals who want to buy foreign currency for hoarding.

Categories: American media, Media Tags:

Dusting down the law-and-order playbook for the Tasmanian election

January 25th, 2014 Comments off


What would an election be without it? Law-and-order has made its early election campaign appearance with the Liberal leader Will Hodgman promising more policemen on the beat if and when he becomes premier. The Liberals have promised to spend $33 million to put 108 extra police officers on the beat during their first four years of government and restore police numbers to the level preceding 2011 cuts made by the Labor government. And where will the money be coming from to ay for this initiative? Well the magic asterisk will do the trick – it will be taken out of savings made in the Liberals’ alternative budget.

If you can’t get a footballer, get a footballer’s mum. Clive Palmer has a penchant for footballers. His Palmer United Party stood several of them at the federal election and one of them will be a Senator come 1 July. This week in Tasmania there was a variation on the PUP theme. Debra Thurley, mother of Clarence football star Cameron Thurley,is the lead candidate on PUP’s five-member ticket for the seat of Franklin. Ms Thurley’s son, reports Ther Mercury this morning, was left fighting for his life last year after an accident at a Hobart nightclub in September. The former AFL player was in a coma for 23 days and his mother said the time she had spent with her son gave her the opportunity to see firsthand the difficult circumstances Royal Hobart Hospital staff worked under. ‘‘Cameron really, really wants me to do this and was very supportive when I was running before [in the federal election],’’ she said.

From this morning’s Australian papers.

Jakarta bent upon rocking the boat – Cameron Stewart in The Australian writes how Australia and Indonesia are fast losing patience with each other over asylum-seekers, putting at grave risk Canberra’s hopes of repairing the diplomatic damage from the recent spy scandal.

“Yet it is Indonesia that is setting the tone for this latest slide in the relationship. Indonesia’s inflammatory response this week to unproven claims that returned asylum-seekers were abused by the Australian navy says much about Jakarta’s prickly mindset in the wake of boat turnbacks and the spying controversy. So does its overreaction to the mistaken intrusion into Indonesian territorial waters by the Australian navy, which has prompted Indonesia to send extra military forces to patrol its border zone.”

‘Positive’ PM cuts impressive figure in Davos – Dennis Shanahan retains his title as Tony Abbott;s greatest cheer-leader with this piece in the Oz:

“Yet Abbott has used his three-day flying visit to Switzerland to full effect on every level and left a positive impression with some of the most senior business people in the world as well as ‘opinion formers’, WEF directors and other world leaders. Chief executives of foreign corporations were asking after some of Abbott’s presentations if they ‘could have one of him’ in their country because of his clear and positive outlook.”

Pilger deploys a bludgeon against ‘racists’ like us – Gerard Henderson uses his Oz column for a little film reviewing with a John Pilger documentary in his harsh sights:

Some of the alienated types are best described as belonging to the FIFOE set. That is, they are fly-in, fly-out-expatriates who make use of January 26 to give their nation of birth a dreadful pasting. Perhaps the most prominent FIFOE is John Pilger, the Sydney-born, London-based filmmaker and journalist who writes for the leftist New Statesman magazine. You have to admire Pilger’s chutzpah. For decades, he has been writing books and making documentaries about Australia, which he describes as a ‘secret country’. Never before has a so-called secret nation been examined in such detail from open-source material. Pilger’s latest documentary, Utopia, is produced by Dartmouth Films in association with the taxpayer-subsidised SBS TV Australia. Many of Pilger’s previous films have been shown on ABC TV. So Pilger gets taxpayer-funded assistance to reveal details about Australia which he claims were hitherto ‘secret’… Pilger’s alienated preaching seems to have little impact outside of the green-left set. His aggressive vox pops of selected Australians that feature in Utopia suggest he doesn’t like his fellow citizens very much and appears to regard them as uninformed racists. Australians tend to have good antennae with respect to alienated members of the intelligentsia who look down on them.”

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

  •  President Boehner? Not If That Rules Out Wine And Cigarettes – “House Speaker John Boehner used his first-ever appearance on NBC-TV’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk politics and, as President Obama and others have also done on late-night TV, have some fun at his own expense. Asked Thursday if he has any presidential ambitions, the Ohio Republican joked that: — ‘Listen, I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I’m not giving that up to be president of the United States.’
  • John Quiggin is, as usual, Brilliant.

European newspaper front pages for Saturday 25 January

January 25th, 2014 Comments off











Heizkosten steigen dreimal so schnell wie Einkommen – Heating costs rise three times as fast as income

The Germans must spend an ever larger share of their income on heating bills. Especially the low-income earners suffer.


Un chef, un rôle, un projet : les défis de l’UMP – A leader, a role, a project: the challenges of the UMP

It is implacable political laws. Defeats electoral major cause injuries that require more often, long convalescence, staked relapses and clashes. It is rare, in addition, that a party abruptly returned to the opposition escape the temptation to promise for tomorrow, what he has been able to achieve when he was in power.

The French right makes the experience since the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy, that soon two years. The meeting, on 25 January, the Council national of the UMP should offer a new demonstration, despite the United and combative front that wants to present its president, Jean-François Copé.

This is not a surprise. After his failure of 1988, it took years for Jacques Chirac to overcome the fronde of the young guard, too pressed to take over. Similarly, the failure of the dissolution of 1997 opened a long period of unrest and setbacks, that only the cohabitation and the unlikely victory of 2002 made it possible to exceed.

As yesterday the RPR, UMP faces four challenges. Find a champion, first…





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Asian newspaper front pages



Categories: European media, Media Tags:

Asian newspaper front pages Saturday 25 January

January 25th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Asian media, Media Tags:

Australian newspaper front pages Saturday 25 January

January 25th, 2014 Comments off













Categories: Australian media, Media Tags:

Offshore tax havens and corruption in China – news and views for Thursday 23 January

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

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  • Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite – “Files shed light on nearly 22,000 tax haven clients from Hong Kong and mainland China.” – by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
  • It’s farewell to the golden chopsticks – “This is normally the season to eat, drink and give away iPads in China. Before lunar new year, companies, institutions and government departments traditionally stage lavish parties in bling-bedecked venues where every raffle ticket is a winner. Think office Christmas parties, taken to another level. But now the decree has come from on high: no more golden chopsticks in the iron rice bowl. President Xi Jinping has inaugurated an era of Chinese abstemiousness and civil servants have been ordered to stop taking bribes, stop wasting money and stop talking nonsense at endless meetings. They have even been told they cannot get up from the table until they have cleaned their plates; talk about a nanny state.”
  •  Australia’s Asian tilt is a mere wish list – “Ordinary Australians show lukewarm support for greater engagement. There is increased xenophobia about immigration from Asia and foreign investment. Aside from mining and farming, businesses remain domestically focused. The new education minister is proposing a revision of the school curriculum to emphasise western civilisation.”
  • Snowden Says Allegations He Received Russian Help Are ‘Absurd’
  • Inquiry calls after migrants die under tow in Greece
  • Ignore the global elites and their Davos spectacle – “So what are we to make of Davos? My suggestion is to start treating it with indifference. An indifference that can help shift cultural power away from it – the power to have its views and ways receive widespread acceptance, as though they were self-evident – by refusing to sit and watch a dramatic performance that is only valid if it has an audience.”
  • ‘Fastest ever’ broadband passes speed test – “The “fastest ever” broadband speeds have been achieved in a test in London, raising hopes of more efficient data transfer via existing infrastructure. Alcatel-Lucent and BT said speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were achieved during their joint test – enough to send 44 uncompressed HD films a second. The test was conducted on a 410km (255-mile) link between the BT Tower in central London and Ipswich. However, it may be many years before consumers notice any effect. But the breakthrough is being seen as highly important for internet service providers (ISPs), as it means a greater amount of information can be sent through existing broadband infrastructure, reducing the need for costly upgrades.”
  • The Euthanasia of the Rentier – Paul Krugman writes how:

A commenter quotes John Maynard Keynes:

The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.

It is, of course, a perfect quote for our times, too.

Categories: News and views for the day Tags:

Deadly riots in Kiev and other European front pages Thursday 23 January

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

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From inside this Ukraine daily:

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From Russia’s Komersant – Украина ищет выход из Киева – Ukraine is looking for a way out of Kiev

Violent confrontation is pushing power and opposition to the Treaty

After several days of fighting in the streets of Kiev in Ukraine has a chance to avoid a relapse into civil war. A turning point in the Ukrainian opposition may become yesterday’s meeting of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych with leaders of the opposition, the first meeting of this kind for all time crisis. The saving option is outlined a compromise: extraordinary session of Verkhovna Rada and suspension have joined today by virtue of laws, which the opposition described as dictatorial and that have led to armed clashes.

Yesterday’s meeting of Viktor Yanukovich with the opposition troika is party leader BEAT Vitali Klitschko, the head of the faction “Homeland” by Arseniy Yatsenyuk and leader of nationalist “freedom” by Oleg Tâgnybokom even the day before was almost unthinkable. On the eve of the President of Ukraine was ready to talk with opposition leaders is that their assistants. Yesterday a meeting not just took place — it lasted more than three hours.

The negotiators did not give details, but the leaders of the opposition, leaving the President’s administration, only threw on the run, that all the information will be unveiled at the National Popular Assembly. However, the key is not even the content of the meeting, and its a fact. In fact, the first such contact between the Ukrainian authorities and the opposition, not only during the current crisis, but also for all the years. And it seems not because both parties suddenly saw the light and realized the harmfulness of further confrontation — rather, they understand the danger of this confrontation.

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Catherine Samba-Panza, l’espoir de la Centrafrique – Catherine Samba-Panza, the hope of the Central African Republic

A woman comes to access to the Presidency of the Central African Republic. And strong desire to believe that this change in Bangui is good news. Promising profile of Catherine Samba-Panza, age 59, is to heal the wounds of a country torn by its identity divisions.

Connection measured but firm, clear mind, commitment against corruption: many elements argue in its favour. Its origins also. Born in Chad to Cameroon father and Central African mother, this lawyer installed in Central Africa at age 18. The new President is Christian but spoke Arabic, which could be a great help to extinguish the xenophobic fire ravaging the country.

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The British weeklies

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Australian newspaper front pages

American newspaper front pages

This morning’s Asian newspapers

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Jakarta Post on navy call-out and other Asian newspaper front pages Thursday 23 January

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off
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Australian newspaper front pages Thursday 23 January

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

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Canberra’s fractious relationship with Jakarta faces new strains after Tony Abbott bluntly reaffirmed Australia’s intention to stop the flow of asylum seeker boats, prompting an immediate response from Indonesia. The Prime Minister said Australia was entitled to protect its borders and would continue to do so, irrespective of Indonesian concerns over territorial incursions. But the statement provoked Djoko Suyanto, the Indonesian security affairs minister, to hit back with a text message to Fairfax Media. Australia ‘‘must understand the meaning of the sovereignty of the republic of Indonesia, which the Australian navy breached in the way it did,” Air Marshal Djoko said.

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Terrorist groups are profiting as part of a money- laundering operation involving the hundreds of millions of dollars Australians spend on illegal drugs. The revelations come as Australia’s biggest money- laundering probe, Project Eligo, has identified hundreds of unwitting Australian residents being duped into helping launder the drug money overseas, including funds generated by outlaw motorcycle groups and people smuggling operations. The money- laundering investigation has uncovered 40 separate money- laundering operations across Australia that are involved in moving hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money offshore.

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NEWLYWED couples will soon be given a Government-funded $200 voucher for marriage and relationship counselling. Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has revealed $20 million had been set aside to fund the program, designed to strengthen relationships and prevent family breakdown.

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Categories: Australian media, Media Tags:

A gay verdict and other American newspaper front pages for Wednesday 22 January

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

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New York Times BEIRUT, Lebanon — Emaciated corpses lie in the sand, their ribs protruding over sunken bellies, their thighs as thin as wrists. Several show signs of strangulation. The images conjure memories of some of history’s worst atrocities.

Numbers inscribed on more than 11,000 bodies in 55,000 photographs said to emerge from the secret jails of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, suggest that torture, starvation and execution are widespread and even systematic, each case logged with bureaucratic detail.

This collection of images was identified as having been part of a voluminous archive of torture and execution maintained by the Syrian government and smuggled out by a police photographer who defected and was given the code name Caesar.

So far, only a few photographs have actually been released by lawyers commissioned by the Qatari government, an avowed opponent of Mr. Assad, and the claims about their origins could not be independently verified.

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Argentina – Sombrías expectativas sobre los negocios en la Argentina – Bleak expectations on the Argentina business – “Times are changing. Once the Argentina was shown as a success story in the World Economic Forum, which every year takes place in the Swiss city of Davos. Yesterday, when presented with the traditional survey collecting 1344 view CEO’s around the world, the Argentina was one of the worst qualified in areas like climate of business, expectations, confidence and quality of institutions. Numbers sample which produces every year the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are eloquent: just one of every 10 CEO of companies who are in the country said to be very confident on revenues of your firm in the short term; 12% said “not trusted”. The latter figure fell compared to the year earlier (had been 26%). The perception of the business in the country is far from the average. Russia tops expectations table (53%), followed by Mexico (51%) and Korea of the South (50%). Brazil was above the average (39%), with 42 per cent of positive evaluation. Among the worst-rated are Venezuela (25%), Spain (23%), France (22%) and Argentina, with a 10% lean.


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Guatemala: Banguat pronostica bonanza para 2014 – Banguat predicts bonanza by 2014 – The President of the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat), Edgar Barquín, told entrepreneurs that good economic prospects registered in 2013 with a growth of 4.3% will continue this year, and he is expected to be 3.3% 3.9%.


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This morning’s European papers

This morning’s Asian newspaper front pages

Australian newspaper front pages

Categories: American media, Media Tags:

No Australian interest rate change more likely

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

After today’s consumer price index figures the market rates no change in official interest rates as even more likely when the Reserve Bank board meets next month.

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Righto Daily Mail. We’re ready for you

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

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Industrial killing in Syria and other front pages of European newspapers for Wednesday 22 January

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

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„Industrielles Töten in Syrien“ – “Industrial killing in Syria”

Expert report documented systematic torture / human rights activists call West to intervene

Immediately prior to the peace conference for Syria an expert report on serious human rights violations has reduced the prospects for success of the meeting further Berlin -. In the report Assad accused by Bashar al the regime imprisoned thousands and systematically to have tortured and tormented to death. Especially the controversy over the participation of Iran had charged the complicated talks before.

The investigation, created by three renowned criminal lawyers, is based on the evaluation of 55 000 pictures. These shots, a former photographer for the military police to have made and before he fled the opposition provided. See emaciated bodies of prisoners who have massive signs of torture to the part. Some of the detainees had apparently been strangled, they killed others by shocks, according to the report. One of the authors, Desmond de Silva, former Chief Prosecutor in the war crimes Tribunal for Sierra Leone, said: the images documented a “industrial killing”. The experts made their investigation on behalf of a well-known London law firm, which represents Qatar also. His Government is one of Assad’s harshest critics.


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Politiques, Europe, institutions : la grande défiance des Français – Policies, Europe, institutions: the great mistrust of the French

Made from 8 to January 14, day of the François Holland press conference, by Internet with a sample of 1,005 people, this book poll once again a reflection entering the State of mind of a country where mistrust and pessimism held the top of the keypad; a very country mostly fearful, convinced of its decline, strongly tempted by the rejection of others and its corollary, the self-absorption.

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This morning’s Asian newspaper front pages

Australian newspaper front pages

North American papers overnight

Categories: European media, Media Tags:

Will Japanese researchers grow human organs inside pigs? and other news and views for Wednesday 22 January

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Something to think about.

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  • Will Japanese Researchers Grow Human Organs Inside Pigs? – A controversial technique to develop body parts from stem cells may someday save countless lives, but will society allow it? “If  all goes according to plan, professor Hiroshi Nagashima’s genetically-engineered pigs will grow up with functional organs. A few of those body parts, though, will have the genetic makeup of a human. In essence, they’ll be mostly swine, partly human.”

From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Indonesian outrage ‘unlikely to escalate’ – “Defence experts are playing down tensions over Australia’s accidental breaches of Indonesian waters and say Jakarta’s vow to boost its southern sea patrols could even work in Australia’s favour.” – Fairfax papers
  • Caution urged in alcohol-violence counter measures – “Governments are fond of tough-sounding announcements of more criminal penalties. They must believe that such measures are effective, but they are not. There is plenty of evidence that increases in penalties for offences do not produce corresponding deterrent effects (that is, less offending) and that mandatory minimum sentences do not deter offenders, but do complicate and add to the expense of criminal proceedings and require courts to act unjustly. The government proposes both of these courses for nine offences of violence (including sexual assault and assaulting police) ‘where drug [sic] and alcohol are involved’… But where drugs and alcohol are involved in such assault offences, the last thing likely to be on an offender’s mind is the penalty to which he will be liable if he is apprehended, prosecuted and convicted.” Nicholas Cowdery in the Sydney Morning Herald

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today

Front pages of this morning’s Asian newspapers

Australian newspaper front pages

North American papers overnight

Categories: News and views for the day Tags:

Thailand political crisis makes Asian newspaper front pages Wednesday 22 January but ignored in Australia

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

A big contrast between the way the newspapers of Asia are treating Thailand’s flirtation with civil war (see below) and the way Australian newspapers relegate it to inside coverage (see here).22-01-2014 bangkok

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Illegal immigrants passed among themselves 36 ways to escape the crackdown on them – to no avail. On the first day of a nationwide swoop, some 6,000 immigrants were checked by the authorities and more than 1,500 of them were arrested. MCA, meanwhile, is asking for the exercise be suspended until after the Chinese New Year because legitimate workers too are being held until their documents are verified. KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has called for the nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants to be postponed to prevent inconvenience to the people in the run-up to the Chinese New Year celebration.

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North American papers overnight


Categories: Asian media, Media, Uncategorized Tags:

Crime, law and order – Australian newspaper front pages Wednesday 22 January

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off
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Obama’s problems with the NSA and other north American newspaper front pages Tuesday 21 January

January 21st, 2014 Comments off
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Political sex and other European newspaper front pages for Tuesday 21 January

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

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Réorganisation territoriale : les voeux pieux du président – Territorial reorganization: the wishful thinking of the president

Of all advertised sites, on 14 January, by the president of the Republic, the simplification of the french “territorial Yarrow” is, at once, the more agreed and the most unlikely. François Hollande is not the first, indeed, to “put an end to the clutter and duplicates” of powers and prerogatives between municipalities, communes Department, departments and regions. It is not the first to consider the reduction of the number of regions or the redefinition of the role of the departments, to pool resources and each other and cut in public spending.

Already Jacques Chirac complained – but not touching – the stacking of our administrative structures, this incredible mosaic of institutions and powers: since 40 years, 100 Napoleonic departments (involving 4,000 cantons) and the 36,700 municipalities, have been added 22 metropolitan regions and some 2,600 intercommunal groups own taxation.

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from Turkey

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Today’s Asian front pages

This morning’s Australian front pages

Last night’s north American front pages

Categories: European media, Media Tags:

Ethics and managerial responsibility – South Korea’s different standard

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

Senior managers taking responsibility for failings of their underlings by themselves resigning is a novel occurrence in even the most scandal ridden western companies but things are different in South Korea. Up there managerial responsibility actually appears to mean something.

The Korea Times reports this morning that the chief executives of four financial services companies offered to resign on Monday over massive consumer data leaks that have hit the local financial sector.

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They are KB Kookmin Bank CEO Lee Kun-ho, KB Kookmin Card CEO Shim Jae-oh, NH NongHyup Card CEO Sohn Kyung-ik and Lotte Card CEO Park Sang-hoon. Along with Lee and Shim, all executives of KB Financial Group’s credit card and banking subsidiaries decided to step down. Eight other executives at Lotte also offered to resign to take responsibility for the country’s worst ever customer data leak.

“They have tendered their resignations en-masse to the group Chairman Lim Young-rok,” said a spokesman for KB Financial Group. “It’s not yet clear whether Lim will accept all of them.”

In addition, all executives of the Korea Credit Bureau, a private financial data provider, have decided to step down, accepting liability for the incident that may have been perpetrated by an employee.

KB Kookmin Card is one of three card firms that experienced the data theft, which may affect more than 20 million card users. The other two firms are Lotte Card and NH NongHyup Card.

“Sohn offered to resign to take responsibility for the theft case, and the company accepted his resignation,” an NH NongHyup official said.

The case couldn’t come at a worse time for KB Financial, which is still reeling from a series of high-profile corruption scandals involving its banking staff.

“Unfortunate things recently occurred at KB one after another, causing concern to many people. We hope the resignations will help produce a turnaround,” the KB official said.

Their resignations came hours after Prime Minister Chung Hong-won called for strict punishment for those responsible for the consumer data leaks.

Categories: Economic matters Tags:

Chinese confident about growth and other page one news from Asia Tuesday 21 January

January 21st, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Asian media, Media Tags:

Deflationary dangers and other news and views for Tuesday 21 January

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Tony Abbott’s audit commissioner accused of conflict of interest over pay TV advocacy – Sydney Morning Herald
  • Welfare must be reined in, says Kevin Andrews – “The nation’s welfare system is “unsustainable” and large, urgent changes must be made to the disability pension and the general unemployment benefit, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has warned. A 10-year report by the Department of Human Services shows that more than five million Australians received an income support payment in June 2012 – more than one in five Australians – with Disability Support Pension recipients hitting 827,000, while 550,000 people were on Newstart Allowance.” The Australian
  • Abbott’s first poll test – “If Glasson does not win Griffith narrowly, or come within 1 per cent of victory, Abbott can consider himself on the outer with Queensland voters for the time being. And if we still don’t like you up here in 2016 Tony, you’ve had it.” The Australian
  • Mates rate when it comes to court jobs – “Attorney-General Greg Smith is at the centre of a new O’Farrell government “jobs for the boys” affair after handing a $288,000-a-year magistrate’s job to the president of his local Liberal Party branch. Solicitor Michael O’Brien joined the Epping branch of the Liberal Party in March, 2012 ,and was president of the branch with Mr Smith’s backing for eight months before last week resigning from the party at the time of his appointment to the bench. Mr O’Brien is understood to be personal friends with Mr Smith.” Sydney Telegraph
  • Abbott’s political agenda backfires on Nauru – “The island’s instability has left asylum seekers exposed. It’s time to bring them home.” – Melbourne Age

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today

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  • Climate change’s new menace: mountain tsunamis – “Last summer more than 6,000 died after glacial melt cascaded through valleys in northern India. Scientists expect such disasters to become more common.”
  • There’s a Gene for That – “History is littered with horrifying examples of the misuse of evolutionary theory to justify power and inequality. Welcome to a new age of biological determinism. If you want to understand why humans wage wars, there is a gene for that. Want to understand why men rape women? There is a gene for that. Want to understand why the “national characters” of East Asia, the West, and Africa are different? We have those genes covered too. Indeed, if we are to believe most popular media, there is a gene for just about every inequality and inequity in modern society. Genetic determinism, and its uglier cousin social Darwinism, are making a comeback. Armed with large genomic datasets and an arsenal of statistical techniques, a small but vocal band of scientists are determined to hunt down the genetic basis of all we are and all we do.”

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Front pages of today’s Australian papers

Categories: News and views for the day Tags:

Front pages of Australian papers Tuesday 21 January

January 21st, 2014 Comments off
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Pot not riskier than alcohol and other north American front pages Monday 20 January

January 20th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: American media, Media Tags:

Obama declares marijuana is not ‘more dangerous than alcohol’

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

Slowly the tide may be turning against the silly “just say no” policy so popular with politicians when talking about drugs. US President Barack in an interview with David Remnick recently posted on the website of The New Yorker declares about marijuana: “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

What the President said:

“When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. ‘As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.’

“Is it less dangerous? I asked.

“Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, ‘Scratch that,’ or, ‘I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.’

“Less dangerous, he said, ‘in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.’ What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. ‘Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,’ he said. ‘And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.’ But, he said, ‘we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.’ Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that ‘it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.'”

The Queen hands over the reigns and other European newspaper front pages for Monday 20 January

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

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 Schlimmer als Afghanistan – Worse than Afghanistan

Translated by Google

You are starving. Do you suffer from. You flee. Every day, every hour, every minute, non-stop. And they die. More than 130 000 Syrians should have al Assad since the beginning of the uprising against Bashar almost three years ago to life. A frightening, however abstract number. Because she can not nearly capture distress and misery of the people. Even seasoned war reporters are appalled by the brutality of the fighting. And the United Nations have apparently surrendered before the horror: the world Organization no longer even trying to count the victims. That sounds like: why bother? Makes no sense anyway.


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Le pétrole bientôt à moitié prix ? – Oil soon at half price?

World production of non-conventional hydrocarbons such as gas and oil from shale could depress the price of a barrel of crude by 2017.

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Front pages of today’s Asian papers

Front pages of today’s Australian papers

North American front pages for Sunday 19 January

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Front pages of Asian papers Monday 20 January

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

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Fresh grenade explosions near the Victory Monument protest site that wounded 28 people on Sunday are the latest sign of a serious escalation of violence that may force invocation of the emergency law. – Bangkok Post

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Singapore has started to see some progress in its efforts to raise productivity, but the country is still in the early to middle stages of its economic restructuring and so it has to press on with its efforts, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said. The upcoming Budget, which he will unveil on Feb 21, will therefore include more measures to help companies, especially support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to stay the course, he added.  Straits Times

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Narendra Modi on Sunday sought to change the narrative for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by asserting his OBC background, and saying that Congress failed to name its PM candidate because Rahul Gandhi would have considered it beneath his dignity to be pitted against a “backward” of humble origins who would hawk tea in trains and was brought up by a mother who would wash utensils and fill water in neigbours’ homes. Terming the Nehru-Gandhi family elitist and anti-OBC, Modi said their feudal mindset, casteist prejudices and sense of uniqueness, apart from Sonia Gandhi’s decision not to “sacrifice” the career of her son fearing certain defeat, were the real reasons why Congress did not project Rahul as the PM candidate despite clamour from the cadre. Modi levelled “casteist” charge against the Congress leadership, which also marked an aggressive outreach towards the politically crucial constituency, while addressing members of BJP’s national council. Iimes of India

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There is a glimmer of hope for abandoned babies to get out of orphanages and move into loving homes. But for abandoned senior citizens, it’s mostly despair. The Star

Front pages of today’s Australian papers

North American front pages for Sunday 19 January


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Amanda gives Cory a serve and other news and views for 20 January

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

The front pages of this morning’s Australian papers.

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

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  • When the Yellow Press Got Color – “The comics were the high-tech weapon of the great newspaper circulation war and tumult, if not violence, was the new medium’s stock-in-trade. The term “yellow journalism” itself derived from the first comic-strip star, a denizen of the teeming, single-image slum tableaux Hogan’s Alley, who became known as the Yellow Kid.”
  • U.S. lawmaker investigates whether Russia behind Snowden’s leaks
  • 60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History – “Written in the frenzied, emotional days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. But more than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world. Here’s how it came to be, and what it’s since come to mean.”
  • IMF warns on threat of income inequality – “Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, is concerned that the fruits of economic activity in many countries are not being widely shared… ‘Business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum should remember that in far too many countries the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people. This is not a recipe for stability and sustainability,’ she told the Financial Times.”
  • Indonesia’s Upcoming Elections – “Indonesia’s presidential elections, scheduled to be held in July, will be crucial to cementing Indonesia’s democratic reforms. As many developing nations around the world, like neighboring Thailand, actually have regressed from democracy in recent years, Indonesia has stood out as one of the clearest recent examples of successful democratization.”
  • Why, in 2014, are first ladies still expected to behave like 1950s housewives? – “Open your mouth and identify yourself as a human being while daring to be married to a high-powered politician, and the media is unlikely to look kindly upon you.”
  • The challenges of changing the culture of dying – “David Clark’s Transforming the Culture of Dying explores the historical context of the development of palliative care in the USA and is an essential read for all those concerned with the improvement of end of life care in any country.”
  • Are you a lark or an owl? – “Whether you prefer being up at dawn or burning the midnight oil depends on your genes, experts have found. Some of us leap out of bed each morning, raring to start the day. Others need at least one alarm clock – preferably one with a snooze button – to ensure they get to work on time. And some of us happily stay up chatting until the wee small hours, while others prefer to be tucked up listening to ‘Book at Bedtime’ with the lights turned out. We really are divided into larks and owls. And this is set by our genes, says neurogeneticist Dr Louis Ptacek of University of California.”

North American newspaper front pages Sunday 19 January

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Making migrants settle in regional areas and other front pages from the Australian papers

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

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The Courier-Mail can reveal the Newman and Abbott governments are discussing a quota system to funnel arrivals into cities such as Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton to promote growth.”

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20-01-2014 aus“WATER will be sold back to farmers on the Murray-Darling river system in a controversial decision to sacrifice some of the federal government’s vast reserves after a $3 billion spending splurge on irrigation rights. Setting up a new flashpoint in environmental policy, the Abbott government has backed the sale of millions of litres to farmers and irrigators in a tender to be unveiled today to raise cash.”

20-01-2014 dt“THEY are the men and women entrusted to uphold the law but 437 NSW police officers have criminal convictions to their name. Among them are 14 inspectors, five senior sergeants, 80 sergeants, 236 senior constables, 20 probationary constables and 13 student officers. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione (pictured) said he had no tolerance for officers who committed serious offences. However, one officer has twice been arrested; once for assaulting an off-duty officer and the second time for crashing a car while trying to elude a breath test. He has since been promoted and is now the acting crime manager in one of the state’s alcohol-fuelled violence hotspots — Kings Cross.”

20-01-2014 smh“The state’s largest and most violent venues face paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep their liquor licences, under a proposal being taken to cabinet on Monday… Under the scheme, a version of which Hospitality Minister George Souris will take to cabinet, venues would pay a periodic fee based on factors such as trading hours, capacity and licence type. The higher the risk, the higher the fee.”

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North American newspaper front pages Sunday 19 January

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North American newspaper front pages Sunday 19 January

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Indonesian President attacks Australian media for reports about his wife

January 19th, 2014 Comments off

A further snippet from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono’s book as published in the Sunday Jakarta Post:


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Preparing for the Daily Mail – Dumbing Fairfax websites down

January 19th, 2014 Comments off

A look at what stories are being read most this morning on Australian newspaper websites suggests that preparations for the arrival of the world’s low-brow champion, the UK’s Daily Mail, are well in hand. There’s hardly a serious story in sight and that goes for the once respectable Fairfax sites as well as well as the Murdoch offerings.

Here’s the list as at midday:

The Advertiser

  1. Jones visits Folbigg and insists she is innocent
  2. Did they keep the weight off?
  3. ‘I’m not sorry I punched my teacher’
  4. Packer set to buy Rabbitohs?
  5. Buzz: Nines loophole exploited
  1. Live: Inferno threat now easing
  2. Stokehouse won’t be gone for good
  3. Brynne is fantastic, says Edelsten
  4. Achievers stripped of their honours
  5. Labor pledges 24-hour weekend trains, trams

Courier Mail

The Sydney Morning Herald

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Asian and European newspaper front pages Sunday 19 January

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Abbott copies the wooden Gillard style and other news and views for 19 January

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From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Tony Abbott becomes a slow-talking PM – “Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews now than in opposition and is also speaking in a more monotone voice, according to a study of his speech patterns. The speech delivery of the nation’s leader resembles that of a puppet and is equal to the wooden communication style ridiculed in former prime minister Julia Gillard, says the director of the Voice Research Laboratory at the University of Sydney’s faculty of health sciences, Cate Madill.” – Fairfax Sundays
  • Battles in the Liberal ranks – “Preselections herald a period of uncertainty as the state Coalition heads into an election year.” – Sunday Age
  • Forestry high on agenda in election lead-up – “Just when you thought we were rid of the interminable debates about Tasmania’s forests, our state politicians have dragged forestry issues back to centre stage.” Hobart Mercury
  • Education authority denies that curriculum pushes Gaia worshipFairfax Sundays
  • Order out to arrest PNG opposition leader – “The country’s top cop, Tom Kulunga, on Saturday ordered the arrest of Belden Namah on allegations the former deputy prime minister threatened him in a letter. In the letter Mr Namah allegedly demanded Mr Kulunga reinstate four policemen who were suspended after a warrant was issued for the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. ‘Failure to accede to my request will result in me taking unprecedented measure to have you arrested and charged under Section 128 of the Criminal Code,’ Mr Namah is alleged to have said in a letter to Mr Kulunga on Friday. Mr Kulunga said the statement amounted to a threat.” – Fairfax

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

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  • Climate change: The case of the missing heat – Sixteen years into the mysterious ‘global-warming hiatus’, scientists are piecing together an explanation. – “Now, as the global-warming hiatus enters its sixteenth year, scientists are at last making headway in the case of the missing heat. Some have pointed to the Sun, volcanoes and even pollution from China as potential culprits, but recent studies suggest that the oceans are key to explaining the anomaly. The latest suspect is the El Niño of 1997–98, which pumped prodigious quantities of heat out of the oceans and into the atmosphere — perhaps enough to tip the equatorial Pacific into a prolonged cold state that has suppressed global temperatures ever since. ‘The 1997 to ’98 El Niño event was a trigger for the changes in the Pacific, and I think that’s very probably the beginning of the hiatus,’ says Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. According to this theory, the tropical Pacific should snap out of its prolonged cold spell in the coming years.’Eventually,’ Trenberth says, ‘it will switch back in the other direction.’ “19-01-2014 ironore
  • Iron prices take belated fall – “Iron prices have fallen to a six-month low, confounding analysts who are used to a run up in prices before Chinese New Year but had expected prices to tumble in the second half of 2013 when they stayed steady. The drop below the $130 a dry ton level floor that held last year could gather speed. Chinese steel mills are the world’s leading customers for traded ore and their production growth looks set to dip on official resolve to tackle overproduction that has contributed to horrific air pollution in northern China. Adding to the pressure on iron prices, new ore supplies are coming into the market from lower-quality Chinese mines as well as from Australia and India.”
  • You’ve Got Mail: Chinese Communist Party Received Almost Two Million Complaints in 2013 – “In 2013, China’s Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a Jan. 13 report from state-run website China News Online — but surprisingly, the article did not evince displeasure with the total, calling 2013′s anti-corruption efforts “the strongest in 30 years. Why did China News Online trumpet such a high number of complaints? In September 2013, finding itself on the defensive end of what it called a ‘public opinion struggle,’ the Chinese government began to crack down on social media chatter aimed at Chinese leaders. Around the same time, it rolled out a new website allowing users to report crooked bureaucrats directly to the party. Aggrieved netizens may now feel safer using official avenues of complaint rather than kvetching on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter.”
  • The problem for Christie isn’t what his aides did. It’s what they thought he wanted them to do.
  • Turkey purges regulators, state TV in graft probe backlash – “Turkey has extended a purge of official bodies to the banking and telecoms regulators and state TV, firing dozens of executives in moves that appear to broaden Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s backlash against a corruption investigation. The authorities have already reassigned thousands of police officers and about 20 prosecutors, and fired some state television officials in response to the corruption investigation, the biggest challenge to Erdogan’s 11-year rule.”

The front pages of this morning’s Australian newspapers.

Saturday front pages from North America.

Australian newspaper front pages for Sunday 19 January

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Front pages of North American papers Saturday 18 January

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Labour continues to lead in the UK polls and on the Owl’s election indicator

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

Opinion polls in the UK continue to show Labour with a substantial lead over the governing Conservatives  and their coalition partner the Liberal Democrats.


From UK polling Report

The verdict of the Owl’s Indicator give Labour a 56% chance of winning the most seats when the election finally comes.

The Owl’s UK election indicator


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No Australian interest rate change the prediction

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

A fall in official interest rates by the Australian Reserve Bank is rated as being more probable than an increase but no change is the firm favourite according to the Owl’s interest rate indicator.

2014-01-18_interestrateindicatorAll the current Owl’s Indicators are listed here.


Peter Reith’s barbed advice to Tony Abbott and other news and views for 18 January

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

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  • Global Warming Denial Hits a 6-Year High – “The new study, from the Yale and George Mason University research teams on climate change communication, shows a 7-percentage-point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they do not believe that global warming is happening. And that’s just since the spring of 2013. The number is now 23 percent; back at the start of last year, it was 16 percent.”
  • How Syria sank into all-out civil war

It’s Happening: GOP Is Rallying Around Embattled N.J. Governor – “Subpoenas are hitting his closest aides and allies. His approval rating in New Jersey has taken a modest hit. And suddenly, politicians long afraid of him are speaking out about his revenge-style of governing.But headed into a three-day weekend, there’s some good news for Christie. The conservative base of the Republican Party, long skeptical of the New Jersey governor because of his bro-hug with President Obama after Sandy, is beginning to rally to his side.

Australian newspaper front pages for Saturday 18 January

Indonesian President expresses disappointment in Tony Abbott

Asian and European newspaper front pages Saturday 18 January


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Asian and European newspaper front pages Saturday 18 January

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

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Euthanasie : l’affaire qui relance le débat – Euthanasia: the case that raises debate

A Google translation

Against the advice of doctors, justice objected to the judgment of the treatment of a patient in a vegetative state Francois Hollande, who wants a revision of the law on the end of life, fears a division of the French

Never the justice had been in a process of end of life: the administrative tribunal of Châlons-enChampagne created the surprise, Thursday, January 16, denying that medical CHU de Reims team committed a process of end of life for Vincent Lambert, a patient in vegetative since an accident. Seized by a part of the family of M. Lambert, opposed to the process of passive euthanasia, the judges felt that discontinuation of treatment “characterizes a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of the right to life.

This decision has shocked the medical team and the wife of Vincent Lambert. “I feel sadness and am devastated by failure to comply with the wishes of Vincent,” she says in the world. “Judges donned a white blouse and made Act of interference in the medical competence in deciding on the merits,” laments Dr. Eric Kariger, which could appeal to the Council of State.

Case Lambert relaunches the debate: to the Minister of health, Marisol Touraine, the current law, known as Leonetti, this ‘ambiguities to throw. François Hollande, who wants a revision of the Act for the end of the year, wants to avoid a new division of the French company as the debate on gay marriage.

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Indonesian President expresses disappointment in Tony Abbott

by Richard Farmer in International politics

Comments closed Comments

Australia dominates the Jakarta Post front page again this morning. Along with a report on the Australian apology for breaching Indonesian territorial waters there are extracts from a just published book by President  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In the book President Yudhoyono has expressed disappointment at the way Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott handled tensions between the two nations after revelations emerged of Australia’s suspected wiretapping of the President and his wife in 2009.

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Australian newspaper front pages for Saturday 18 January

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Australian newspaper front pages for Saturday 18 January

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Indonesian President expresses disappointment in Tony Abbott

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

Australia dominates the Jakarta Post front page again this morning. Along with a report on the Australian apology for breaching Indonesian territorial waters there are extracts from a just published book by President  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In the book President Yudhoyono has expressed disappointment at the way Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott handled tensions between the two nations after revelations emerged of Australia’s suspected wiretapping of the President and his wife in 2009.

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SBY resents Abbott in his new, controversial book

In the book, titled Selalu Ada Pilihan (There is Always a Choice), Yudhoyono said he initially refrained from following a harsh policy that could have affected relations between the countries after the eavesdropping revelations.

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However, Yudhoyono said the final straw came when he learned that Abbott viewed the incident as normal.

“When my best friend Tony Abbott made several statements before the Australian parliament suggesting the case was normal and refused to apologize, I could no longer stay silent,” said Yudhoyono in his book, which was launched on Friday.

He also said that as a strategic partner, he could not accept the rationale behind the incident, which violated Indonesian, Australian and international law.

“Also important is that the incident related to the moral and ethical side of being a good neighbor,” the President went on.

Yudhoyono said he deeply regretted the incident amid all-time high relations between the two countries.

Due to Abbott’s handling of the matter, Yudhoyono finally decided to suspend cooperation in the areas of military and defense, joint patrols on boat people, as well as intelligence and information sharing with Australia, resulting in ties between the two nations plunging to their lowest level.

Yudhoyono also said in the book that Australia should have honestly briefed Indonesia over the wiretapping incident two months before it was revealed in November.

“When I read the news of the wiretapping involving the US and Australia, I instructed Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa to seek clarification from Australia,” he said.

“But their reply was between ‘yes’ and ‘no’,” he said.

Yudhoyono said he had not received sufficient explanation from Australia since the incident occurred.

The row with Australia is dealt with in a chapter entitled “A leader has to be firm, but remain rational”.

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Asian and European newspaper front pages Friday 17 January

January 17th, 2014 Comments off

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Sarajevo revisited and other news and views for 17 January

January 17th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Demand for degrees ‘at natural limit’ – “After four years of rampant growth, demand for university places is on the wane, offering relief to Abbott government budget estimates but putting at risk key participation targets. All states will have made their main round of university offers by this afternoon. While most show a small increase in offers to school-leavers, declines of more than 10 per cent to non-school-leavers have been recorded on the back of falling applications. This group traditionally accounts for about half of all university entrants. Nationally, applications from Year 12 students are up 1.6 per cent while demand from non-Year 12 applicants has fallen 5.5 per cent.” – The Australian
  • Abbott-Bishop split looming over showdown for Liberal Party presidencyThe Australian
  • Meddling with act fraught with peril – “What is now a distressing hypocrisy surrounding the campaign to reform or even do away with section 18C of the act is that its advocates are generally the same people cheering on the use of the act as the basis of proceedings in the Federal Court against University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch… So, on the one hand the act is evil for affecting the free speech in the narrow provisions that deal with offending and insulting ethnic and racial minorities, but is heroic when its broad provisions are engaged as a basis of proceedings against lefty academics in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” – Sydney Morning Herald

And one from a website.

Australian newspaper front pages for Friday 17 January

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

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  • The Bosnian Knot – Conflicts Unchanged in Birthplace of WWI – “The 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo came in the midst of a bitter power struggle among major European powers in the Balkans. One hundred years and three devastating wars later, peace still eludes the multi-ethnic region.”
  • The Drug Industry’s Poison Pills – “One does not need to spend a lifetime in the global health-care sector to appreciate that substandard or counterfeit drugs are a major public-health hazard. These bogus products have infiltrated pharmaceutical supply chains from Azerbaijan to Zambia, wrecking the most promising programs to control, manage, and eradicate deadly diseases. Yet little is being done to stop this criminal activity.”
  • Obama’s NSA Speech: Just What Eisenhower Warned About? – “On Jan. 17, 1961, President Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn Americans that: ‘We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’ As Slate has said, ‘with the possible exception of George Washington’s departing speech,’ Eisenhower’s speech may be ‘the best-known presidential farewell address in U.S. history.’ (An argument could be made, of course, for President Nixon’s good-bye as well.) Tomorrow — Jan. 17, 2014 — President Obama will announce the changes he does and does not want to see in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.”
  • Democracy’s pains – “Disillusionment with political leaders is spreading across the globe… So what’s going on? Two factors seem to be at work, one healthy, one unhealthy. First, citizens seem to be increasingly unwilling to put up with the antics of unaccountable political elites, often all too willing to pursue policies that their voters do not approve of… The second sort is quite different, however. In several countries, vocal and well-organized minorities are proving unwilling to accept elected governments that have brought to power previously disempowered groups.”
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Australian newspaper front pages for Friday 17 January

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Belief in global warming – going up and down

January 16th, 2014 Comments off

There are a couple of things about global warming we can be pretty certain about: in Australia where it’s hot belief in it is going up and in the United States where it’s freezing it is going down. An article How warm days increase belief in global warming published in the journal Nature Climate Change explores the local warming effect shown in earlier research such as the 2010 paper Local Warming – Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming which established that although people are quite aware of global warming, their beliefs about it may be malleable;

specifically, their beliefs may be constructed in response to questions about global warming. Beliefs may reflect irrelevant but salient information, such as the current day’s temperature. This replacement of a more complex, less easily accessed judgment with a simple, more accessible one is known as attribute substitution. In three studies, we asked residents of the United States and Australia to report their opinions about global warming and whether the temperature on the day of the study was warmer or cooler than usual. Respondents who thought that day was warmer than usual believed more in and had greater concern about global warming than did respondents who thought that day was colder than usual. They also donated more money to a global-warming charity if they thought that day seemed warmer than usual.

The abstract for How warm days increase belief in global warming argues that although previous research has demonstrated that the local warming effect occurs, studies have yet to explain why or how temperature abnormalities influence global warming attitude.

A better understanding of the underlying psychology of this effect can help explain the public’s reaction to climate change and inform approaches used to communicate the phenomenon. Across five studies, we find evidence of attribute substitution, whereby individuals use less relevant but available information (for example, today’s temperature) in place of more diagnostic but less accessible information (for example, global climate change patterns) when making judgements. Moreover, we rule out alternative hypotheses involving climate change labelling and lay mental models. Ultimately, we show that present temperature abnormalities are given undue weight and lead to an overestimation of the frequency of similar past events, thereby increasing belief in and concern for global warming.

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Illegally aborting female foetuses and other page one stories from the Asian & European papers Thursday 16 January

January 16th, 2014 Comments off

16-01-2014 zbangkokProtesters, govt trade blame for violence – A series of minor attacks on Tuesday night has fuelled fears of escalating violence as the conflict between the government and its opponents shows no sign of abating. 

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Note the poll reference at top right. More on this later.

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Australian newspaper front pages for Thursday 16 January

What the north American papers say – front pages for Wednesday 15 January

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Big business and tax – News and views for Thursday 16 January

January 16th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Big business in charge of own tax – “The Australian Taxation Office wants to allow big business to oversee its own tax returns, internal documents reveal, despite the potential for conflict of interest, greed and even corruption. The Tax Office has been working on a “transformational” plan to fundamentally change Australia’s corporate tax system with companies allowed to use their own accountants to sign off on their tax bills, effectively outsourcing tax oversight to the private sector. But discussion papers obtained by Fairfax Media concede the plan, which will bring huge savings for the ATO, comes with dangers of conflicts of interest, greed or even intimidation corrupting the process. The cash-strapped ATO, which plans to shed 900 jobs in the next six months, has been working behind the scenes for about 18 months on the scheme, which would be open to companies with annual turnover of between $100 million and $5 billion.” – Canberra Times
  • Australia ranked one of the three best countries to do business in – “The Heritage Foundation, a conservative US think tank, has once again named Australia as third freest nation in which to do business, putting us behind Hong Kong and Singapore, and above New Zealand and Taiwan in fourth and fifth place. ”With an economy that benefits from sound fundamentals including monetary stability, low public debt, and a vibrant employment market, Australia has weathered the global economic uncertainty well,” the Foundation said.” – Fairfax papers
  • Opaque policy gets results – “While an intense border protection operation continues in great secrecy on the oceans to Australia’s north, it is becoming clear that the real reach of Operation Sovereign Borders extends to the Middle East, Africa and the mountains of Afghanistan. The Abbott government’s tough asylum-seeker policies appear to have discouraged many asylum-seekers from travelling to Indonesia to begin their boat journeys to Australia.” – The Australian
  • Australia turns back asylum seeker boat from Indonesia – “Australia has turned back another boat which Indonesian authorities believe was unseaworthy, leaving local villagers to rescue stranded asylum seekers from the ocean.Indonesian authorities have quoted the asylum seekers on board saying Australian navy personnel fired shots as part of the operation to turn around the boat carrying 25 people.” – Fairfax papers

One of my own you might have missed.


  • Out With a Whimper – “How the technocrat economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left India’s economy in tatters.”
  • Africa Attacks the International Criminal Court – “The court’s future now rests to a large extent on the battle being waged between African leaders with little interest in justice and those Africans, including many activists and victims, who see an end to impunity for mass atrocities as essential for Africa’s future. One can only hope that the welfare of African people takes precedence over the perceived interests of African leaders.”
  • U.S. Official: Afghanistan Could Become ‘Narco-Criminal State’
  • Deceptive Labeling: Brussels Plans Tougher Organic Food Rules
  • 2014-01-15_asterixSpecially Pict – “One of the many joys of the Asterix series is its unapologetic embrace of national and regional stereotypes – a form of satire that meant something slightly different in 1959 when the series was created, with memories of the Second World War still fresh… In Asterix and the Great Banquet (1965), Asterix and Obelix toured around France sampling provincial delicacies and poking fun at the locals: the obfuscating Normans, the hot-blooded Marseillais… The series has, however, in recent times shied away from its popular formula of swashbuckling adventures in foreign lands… Asterix and the Picts, then, is something of a reversion, though also a departure: the first book in the series to be produced without either of its original creators.”
  • Quick Question: Time To Leave Smokers Alone? – “‘I believe in treating people like adults,’ says Don Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. ‘And being an adult consists of making your own assessments about how to nurture and enjoy your life.’ If some people want others to stop smoking, Watkins says, ‘they should have the freedom to try to persuade them to stop. If they don’t want to patronize restaurants that allow smoking, they should be free to take their business to the diner across the street. But when a group of politicians decides that they get to impose their ideas, judgments and values on us, that is far more dangerous than any cigarette.’ ” Disclosure of interest: Richard Farmer is a dedicated smoker.
  • Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The Healthy Food Rankings

According to the advocacy group Oxfam, here are the easiest and hardest countries in the world to find a nutritious and diverse diet.


1. Netherlands

2. France, Switzerland

4. Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Belgium

8. Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Luxembourg, Australia


121. Yemen

122. Madagascar

123. Ethiopia, Angola

125. Chad

Australian newspaper front pages for Thursday 16 January

The north American newspapers overnight.

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Australian newspaper front pages for Thursday 16 January

January 16th, 2014 Comments off
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What the north American papers say – front pages for Wednesday 15 January

January 15th, 2014 Comments off
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Some ABS figures on assaults – a statistically significant decrease in men experiencing violence

January 15th, 2014 Comments off

They have been doing their best at the Australian Bureau of Statistics during the Sydney tabloid silly season to inject a few facts into the mock hysteria of the drunken one punch assault explosion. “Looking for statistics on crime? The ABS has publications on recorded crime, victims, offenders, prisoners and personal safety. For these and other crime and justice data visit our National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics.” Alas the message has not attracted the attention of the beat-up merchants of the Tele and the SMH. So here are a few items from Personal Safety, Australia, 2012  that was released back in mid-December last year.

In 2012 it was estimated that 8.5% of all men aged 18 years and over (723,400) and 4.6% of all women aged 18 years and over (403,200) had experienced physical violence in the 12 months prior to the survey. Further, 1.2% of all women aged 18 years and over (102,400) had experienced sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey. In 2012 it was estimated that 49% of all men aged 18 years and over (4,148,000) and 41% of all women aged 18 years and over (3,560,600) had experienced violence since the age of 15.



Between 2005 and 2012 there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of men aged 18 years and over who had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to interview. In 2005 an estimated 10.8% of all men had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to interview compared to 8.7% in 2012. This change was largely driven by the decrease in the estimated number of men who had experienced physical violence in the 12 months prior to interview (10.4% in 2005 compared to 8.5% in 2012).

While there was a statistically significant decrease from 1996 to 2005 in the proportion of women aged 18 years and over who had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (from 7.1% in 1996 to 5.8% in 2005), there was no statistically significant change from 2005 to 2012 in the proportion of women who had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to the survey. In 2005 an estimated 5.8% of all women had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to interview compared to 5.3% in 2012.





As to differences  between states the ABS said that for women aged 18 years and over, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of violence for women in each State/Territory compared to the national estimate, with the exception of the Northern Territory where women experienced violence at a higher rate. Of all women aged 18 years and over in the Northern Territory, an estimated 8.1% had experienced violence in the 12 months prior to survey compared to the national estimate for women of 5.3%.

For men aged 18 years and over, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of violence for men in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia or Western Australia compared to the national estimate. No data for men was available for Tasmania, the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory.


The 2012 PSS collected information from men and women aged 18 years and over about whether they perceived alcohol or drugs had been involved in their most recent incident of violence (for each of the eight different types of violence) and how it was perceived that alcohol or drugs had contributed, including whether: they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs; if they believed the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and/or if alcohol or drugs contributed in other ways.


In comparing men and women who had experienced physical assault by a male in the past 20 years:

  • Women were more likely than men to have experienced physical assault by a male in their home. An estimated 62% of women (1,055,200 out of the 1,716,300 women who had been physically assaulted by a male) compared to 8.4% of men (195,800 out of the 2,322,800 men who had been physically assaulted by a male) had experienced their most recent incident of physical assault by a male in their home.
  • Men were more likely than women to have experienced physical assault by a male at a place of entertainment or recreation or at an outside location. An estimated 34% of men (793,100 out of the 2,322,800 men who had been physically assaulted by a male) compared to 5.3% of women (90,700 out of the 1,716,300 women who had been physically assaulted by a male) had experienced their most recent incident of physical assault by a male at a place of entertainment or recreation (e.g. pub, nightclub, sporting venue). Further, an estimated 27% of men (630,700 out of the 2,322,800 men who had been physically assaulted by a male) compared to 7.7% of women (131,600 out of the 1,716,300 women who had been physically assaulted by a male) had experienced their most recent incident of physical assault by a male at an outside location (e.g. street, laneway, park, car park).

When it comes to death by assaults, the ABS publication Causes of death Australia 2011 shows this pattern:

Assault accounted for 190 deaths in 2011. The deaths from assault represented 0.1% of all registered deaths and 2.1% of all external causes of death in 2011. Almost twice as many males (120) as females (70) died from assault in 2011, closely following the trend since 2001. The median age at death for assault was 40.1 years. Median age at death for males was 40.5 years, compared with 37.5 years for females.


Categories: Political snippets Tags:

None of that underdog nonsense for Clive – announcing a new Premier

January 15th, 2014 Comments off

Short, sharp and to the point.


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Nicotine cocktails, black dogs and other news and views for Wednesday 15 January

January 15th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Australian papers.

  • Joe Hockey sets hard line on handouts – “Taxpayer subsidies will not be paid to struggling companies that fail to fix their problems under a hardline edict from Joe Hockey aimed at forcing employers and unions to scrap workplace deals that push up costs. Rejecting aid for ‘lazy’ companies, the Treasurer told The Australian that federal cash would not be used to shore up dividends or to continue poor industrial practices.” – The Australian
  • ‘Billions wasted’ in grants: A-G – The Australian
  • Entering the post-Australia Post era – “Propping up a postal service few of us need or use is a waste of taxpayers’ money.” – Fairfax tabloids
  • Alex Somlyay fraud claim papers sent to federal police – Fairfax tabloids

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today

15-01-2014 nicotinecocktails

  • Tobacco Returns To The Bar, This Time Inside Cocktails – “Take a sip of the Oaxacan Fizz at Father’s Office in Los Angeles and you’ll discover the unmistakable taste of tobacco. That’s because this cocktail is sweetened with a small amount of tobacco-infused sugar syrup. ‘A lot of people say, ‘I only smoke when I drink,’ says chef-owner Sang Yoon. “We say, ‘Now you can do both.” Mixologists are helping tipplers enjoy tobacco even as smoking bans spread to more than half the states in the U.S. Though some may drink the cocktail in search of a buzz, mixologists say tobacco adds an unexpected flavor profile that pairs well with dark liquors. Creating the tobacco syrup was a trial and error process for Yoon. ‘We took a Marlboro Lights cigarette apart and tried doing an infusion, which turned out to be horrible,’ he says. ‘We tried chopping up cigars; that tasted horrifying. We tried snuff, which didn’t work.’ Pipe tobacco was ultimately the winner. ‘It’s much sweeter aromatically and on the palate,’ he says. And it echoes the smoky elements of the San Juan Del Rio mezcal, which forms the drink’s backbone.”
  • Productivity crisis haunts global economy – “A productivity crisis is stalking the global economy with most countries failing last year to improve their overall efficiency for the first time in decades.”
  • Hollande ducks First Lady Valerie Trierweiler question
  • Atheist Afghan granted religious asylum in UK – “An Afghan citizen has been granted asylum in the UK for religious reasons – because he is an atheist. The man fled to the UK from a conflict involving his family in Afghanistan in 2007, aged 16, and was allowed to stay in the UK until 2013. He was brought up a Muslim, but during his time in the UK became an atheist, his legal team said. They said he would face persecution and possibly a death sentence if he was returned to Afghanistan.”
  • Out of the frying pan, into the fire – “We celebrated too soon: UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to amend the