The word around Foxtel corridors is that Kim Williams is trying to position himself as the next CEO of Telstra. Wasn’t he in Vegas last week too?

You’ve noticed the sacking of editors in the metros, but you’ve not noticed the mass culling across News Ltd with so far 800 jobs gone. With BCG at work globally, the tip is that Rupert wants at least 5000 overall. A lot will have to come from Australia.

As I ate lunch in Montmorency (suburban Melbourne, north east) on Friday about 11.30am, I saw two planes heading for each other. One was a small twin engine craft heading west for Essendon. The other a large twin engine airliner heading north west almost certainly traversing for a southbound landing at Tullamarine. Their paths intersected exactly and had they been at same height would almost certainly have collided. It’s obviously very difficult for a ground observer to know how different their heights really were, but what was notable was that the large airliner appeared to go into a climb as the two approached each other. Not what you normally see when an aircraft is on a landing run.

Regarding your story on journos using forums, a recent climbing fatality in the Blue Mountains had journo Paul Bibby posting on a climbing board trolling for info. He is the user “Puff” who started the thread. Originally the thread title was something different, changed later as it became a place for climbers to post memories of the departed climber.

Commsec just put up its brokerage rates. Nothing new in that but a 333% increase! Trade on $80,000+ up to 30th January 2009 is 0.12% — after the 30th of January its 0.40% a mere 333% increase. Lower trades go from a fixed rate to a percentage increasing brokerage fees considerably, but the rich boys trading over $1 Million get it for 0.11% per trade.

The Men’s Gallery in Melbourne sent our company’s female director complementary tickets to a P-rn Poker Tournament and Playboy Bunnies night. They were completely unsolicited and she was far from impressed.

As an engineer, I was shocked to read in a number of Australian newspapers (NT News, Advertiser, Canberra Times) that engineers and scientists say “Australia will probably have to go nuclear to tackle climate change”. Reading further, I noted that it wasn’t our peak body, Engineers Australia, making this outlandish statement, but another group, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Sure, the name “Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering” sounds respectable enough, but having never heard of them myself, I looked up their website. I laughed to see a large photo of the infamous Robin Batterham, President of ATSE staring back at me from the home page. Wasn’t Robin Batterham was the guy who claimed there was no conflict of interest by continuing to work for Rio Tinto while in the role of Chief Scientist? I wonder if he still works for Rio Tinto? If so, perhaps its not surprising that ATSE is promoting nuclear energy.

I suspect the views of engineers and scientists are more diverse and less favourable towards nuclear power than is claimed by ATSE. What a pity the journalists didn’t take a minute prior to publication to investigate the group making these claims, or seek the view of Engineers Australia, the true representative of engineers in this country. I would like to know more about ATSE, and was wondering if this was something Crikey could look into? All I know is that ATSE are a club of very influential senior people. E.g. membership is by invite.

Former NSW Government spinner Andrew Heslop has launched a $50,000 appeal via Facebook to fund his annual Neighbour Day initiative after a multinational corporate sponsor pulled out before Christmas, citing “the global economic downturn” (see below). Until September Heslop was the go-to man for NSW Deputy Premier & Minister for Transport John Watkins. Neighbour Day has gained kudos for Heslop across the political spectrum, an invitation to speak at the UN last May and earned a swag of award nominations including Australian of the Year for him.

While councils and shires run local promotions, events and campaigns to support the day Heslop has personally funded it since founding it in Melbourne in 2003 after an elderly woman was found dead in her home two years after passing away.

Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 20:14:43 -0800
To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Announcement: Are you able to help Neighbour Day? Andrew Heslop posted an announcement to the cause Neighbour Day.

Just before Christmas, after months of negotiation, the first ever National Support Partner for Neighbour Day decided not to proceed with their support due to the global economic downturn. Ironically this multi-national company initiated the approach because they wished to expand the domestic footprint of their business in Australia. This has caused some challenges, not least because their significant financial support was critical to finally creating a financial base, independent of me, for Neighbour Day.

You may not know that Neighbour Day does not receive any government, commercial, corporate or public funding. Since 2003 I have personally met all of the costs associated with the day. In addition to paying the overheads and administrative costs the partnership would have allowed a small, heavily discounted national print and online marketing campaign with The Big Issue, Avant Card and Facebook. This was to be the first ever campaign for Neighbour Day because from day one its growth has been organic … word-of-mouth and through generous editorial media support on radio, TV, in print and online.

The great news is that it’s not too late to rescue some of the plans and the challenge is to raise around $50,000 by 1st February. If you think you can help, or know someone who can, email me at [email protected]

Thanks for your support of Neighbour Day. The community you want starts at your front door.

Kind regards Andrew Heslop Founder — Neighbour Day

Peter Fray

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