The reaction to action. That social engineering does not have the precision of physical engineering is illustrated yet again by the reports that criminal syndicates have been making a mint running drugs to remote communities in the Northern Territory since widespread alcohol restrictions were brought in. The NT’s Chief Minister Paul Henderson has welcomed a decision by the federal government to spend $2 million for sniffer dogs and a drugs intelligence desk, focusing operations in Arnhem Land and the Katherine region. According to the Chief Minister, crime syndicates were running dope out to communities because they could make much higher profits than by selling in Darwin. The NT News reported Darwin Dog Operations Unit Officer-in-Charge Senior Constable David Young saying one-gram deal bags of cannabis were selling for $150 a pop in Numbulwar and $100 on Groote Eylandt compared to $30 in Darwin. The market is indeed a wonderful thing.

Last becomes first . The Moscow Times prides itself on running a serious internet news site. Ninemsn has no such pretensions. There is a perfect illustration today of the different approaches. Over in Moscow they ran 524 words on the first meeting on Saturday of a “National Assembly” organized by the Other Russia opposition coalition which featured calls for a strong challenge to the current government, while demonstrating much of the disarray that often plagues the Kremlin’s opponents. The last sentence of the story, which featured comments by former world chess champion Gary Kasparov, was :”A couple of pro-Kremlin Young Russia activists added to the commotion at the event by launching plastic phallus on propellers, which were knocked out of the air by security guards.” In the ninemsn version the Moscow Times headline of “Opposition Assembly Takes On State” was replaced by “Flying dildo places chess genius in check”. According to the ninemsn version Kasparov later saw the stunt’s funny side, remarking that it was “below the belt”.

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The Daily Reality Check

I have a confession to make. I had never heard of Tania Zaetta until she hit the headlines. This morning when she topped the most read list on all of the Murdoch tabloids I had to scurry to her website to learn that Tania is Australia’s action girl who has been a regular on our screens and a media favorite for the past decade with a long list of TV shows and other achievements to her name.

According to a Sydney Daily Telegraph report, those achievements can now be added to after Tania’s visit to our troops in Afghanistan, although why it was thought necessary for anyone in the military to mention her name in a briefing note to the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is beyond my comprehension.

A sure sign about petrol. It is a sure sign that the public is interested in a subject when the Sydney Tele devotes a special section to the subject so Brendan Nelson might well be on the right track with his promised reduction of 5 cents a litre in the excise duty on petrol. The Murdoch tabloid now is now running what it calls Fuelwatch Australia and bringing together all the news and views on the consequences of the continuing surge in crude oil prices and their effect on local motorists. Further north the NT News found a local angle to this story which will make car drivers everywhere but on Groote Eylandt extremely jealous.

Up in the mining town petrol is still $1.03 a litre with diesel at $1.25 because the mining company guarantees its employees that it will not add more than two cents a litre to the price it pays wholesale. With there being very few places to actually drive on the island there has not been a delivery for many months.

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage

What the world is reading on the net

Quote of the Day

Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy’s appointment as the first woman Bishop in Australia signals a turning point for the church and the nation as a whole … Although there is now a more equal playing field for women and men in the Australian Anglican community there are still many more fields to level … We need to ensure that equality between Australian women and men is an expected occurrence, rather than being so unusual that it becomes news.

Federal S-x Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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