Tuesday, January 30, 2007

News Round Up

A 10 year old boy led police on a 75km long car chase along West Australian roads. He hit top speeds of 170kmh, and only stopped when the car he'd stolen ran out of petrol. His passengers included two boys aged eight and nine years old.

Only two decades ago, Australian kids went to school with pencils and rulers in their bags and not much else. Now they're packing laptops and iPods into their back packs. The cost of putting a child through school in Australia has skyrocketed. A private school education, up to Year 12, can cost $350,000 on average. And they could still turn out to hate your guts.

Rapid climate change is expected to render the Great Barrier Reef "functionally extinct" within decades. Other key tourist attractions, like the glorious Kakadu National Park are also under threat, as are some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast.

The damage to some of Australia's most famous tourist attractions from climate change is expected to cost many billions of dollars and the loss of tens of thousands of tourism jobs.

An audience at a Sydney conference yesterday heard calls for the creation of global Islamic state.

The NSW premier, Morris Iemma, has freaked out and claims the conference's chief speaker had declared "war" on Australians and Australian values (still undefined, officially). He has demanded the group that held the conference, Hizb ut-Tahrir, be banned, or proscribed as terrorist supporters.

But Prime Minister John Howard, and the Attorney General, say that no laws have been broken.

Bizarrely, the Attorney General, Phillip Ruddock has sided with Muslim groups in rejecting calls for the group to be banned or proscribed as supporting terrorism and political violence.

He has told the NSW police chief and premier Iemma to "put up or shut up" on the issue of banning Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Interestingly, the man who made the vehement calls for Australian Muslims to help fight for the global Islamic state was invited to speak at a conference in Canberra in 2004, attended by the current foreign minister Alexander Downer. In fact, Downer gave the opening speech.

A 59 year old man has been jailed for 16 months after he was convicted of inflicting "unbelievably cruel" revenge on a small puppy as a way of getting back at his girlfriend.

The sick bastard smashed the puppy repeatedly with a crowbar, breaking bones and shattering its skull. The RSPCA NSW's Chief Inspector called the torture of the puppy "disturbing beyond belief".

Australia's media has been consumed in the past few days by the issue of recycling sewerage, or effluent, for drinking water. Queensland wants to do it, New South Wales refuses to do it (at least until after the coming election), West Australia says they don't need it, and Victoria has no plans to introduce it in the next decade.

The majority of Australians don't have a problem with drinking recycled sewerage (except when it's got chunks), realising that water shortages are not going to end any time soon.

The revolutionary plan by Queensland's premier Peter Beattie to turn body waste into drinkable water is making international headlines.

An Australian doctor flew to Zurich so he could have a quiet, quick and dignified death, before he was claimed by cancer. This remarkable feature tells his story.

The Australian Greens are getting ready to introduce a bill to back euthanasia inside Australia, so those wishing to end their life can do so legally, without having to leave their homeland.

Tourists visiting Sydney might want to check out this list of the city's most secluded and secret beaches. Well, they're secret only in that they aren't as crowded as Manly or Bondi Beach, and some are damn hard to get to.

On Australia Day, a massive brawl involving more than 150 drunken youths destroyed a public celebration of the national holiday in Adelaide.

Eyewitnesses claim the brawling began after a number of youths draped in the flag had it torn off them, ripped to pieces and spat on. Police are more inclined to point out the brawling had more to do with youths and alcohol than it did 'flag-related violence'.

A Bondi woman has been arrested for interfering with the council clean up of her home and yard, after a clean up crew tried to remove tons of rubbish from her yard.

The Bondi home has been tagged 'The House Of Horrors', because the yard was filled with more than 30 tons of kitchen rubbish, old computers, foam boxes, clothes, broken furniture...basically any old crap the woman found on local streets and dragged home.

She's quite industrious in her obsessive hoarding. This is the 13th time in 15 years the local council has had to empty her yard of muck and filth. She was still 'sorting' through the crap as a small bulldozer moved in and police arrested her.

A Sydney pub has opened a child care facility on its premises so that parents can eat and drink and socialise in peace. Not everyone thinks that's such a great idea.

The Daily Telegraph calls its discovery of the creche in one of Sydney's most popular pubs an "outcry", but there hasn't been any "outcry", and certainly not from the families who make use of the facilities.

In other booze news, Australian parents are giving kids as young as 12 years old alcohol, on what appears to be a fairly regular basis..

A survey reveals "the vast majority" of 14 year olds were already drinking, and ten percent of 12 year olds said they had had an alcoholic drink in the previous week.

37 percent of the kids surveyed said their most recent alcoholic drink had been served up by their parents.