tip off

Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

So this is governing. Then heaven help us when the campaigning starts. We have a Prime Minister madly flitting around the country — so busy that her staff cannot even keep her official events calendar updated.

I thought I would check this morning on Julia Gillard’s whereabouts but the best I can do is report where her website says she was last year.

With an eye for detail like that from her staff — who, incidentally, boast of their awareness of the importance of new fangled things like the web and social media — the wonder is not that she is misunderstood by the media but that they can even find her to misunderstand.

Torture in Sri Lanka? Opponents of the alacrity with which the Australian government is sending boat people back to Sri Lanka received support overnight from Britain’s High Court. Sitting in London the Court in London blocked the deportation of a group of failed Tamil asylum seekers scheduled to be sent back to Sri Lanka today.

The BBC reports that the ruling means they will be able to remain in the UK pending investigations into their contention that they will be tortured if they are made to return.

The UK Border Agency told the BBC that it was “disappointed” by the ruling, and that it would appeal.

Human rights groups say some Tamils sent back earlier had been tortured.

They say that in some cases they were subjected to abuse because of their alleged links to separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The Sri Lankan government denies this.

The High Court decision follows the publication earlier this week of a report by Human Rights Watch in New York providing detailed accounts of what it says are 75 cases of alleged r-pe and s-xual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centres throughout Sri Lanka. In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, men and women reported being r-ped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating.

News and views noted along the way.

  • House of Cads - The psycho-s-xual ordeal of reporting in Washington. “I think journalism schools should have workshops for young female reporters on managing old men who have no game and think, because you’re listening to them intently and probing what they think and feel, that you’re romantically interested, rather than conducting an interview,” says Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor at The Atlantic. “Every female reporter I know has had this issue at one time or another.”
  • Will High Marijuana Taxes Encourage Black Markets?
  • The welfare cost of lawlessness: Evidence from Somali piracy - “Somali piracy has created a major externality due to disruption to shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden. How costly is this anarchy? This column analyses micro-data on individual shipping contracts and finds that piracy increased transport costs by around 8%.”
  • Behind the Kenya elections - “Kenyans go to the polls on 4 March in a general election that has been overshadowed by memories of the violence which unexpectedly erupted after the disputed contest of December 2007. President Mwai Kibaki is not seeking re-election — his partner in the current coalition, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is a front-runner in the presidential race.”

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