The Greens to benefit. Thankfully no deaths this time but injuries to three Australian soldiers overnight suggest that the task in Afghanistan is getting tougher. With more troops almost certainly to be sent to the danger area it surely will not be long before the quietly held belief of a majority of Australians that our troops should not even be in the country gets expressed more strongly.

As the toll of dead and injured rises, the influence of the Greens in the debate will increase. Bob Brown and his team will be the only major political party in tune with the public view as Labor and the Coalition parties have trapped themselves into believing that what happens in Afghanistan will determine what happens to the training of jihadist terrorists.

If that logic is followed it will not be long before we are sending troops to invade Pakistan as well because that country appears to be the major training ground these days for terrorists.

It’s not cricket. It’s tennis actually and while the Indian Premier League has quit India and moved to South Africa, the Davis Cup is still scheduled for India in May. And Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt is not keen apparently to wield his racket in Chennai.

Tennis Australia has written to the International Tennis Federation asking for the Asia-Oceania Group I third round tie to be moved. The ITF on its part had sent out a questionnaire to the All India Tennis Association last week. The AITA answered the questionnaire and returned it to the ITF late on Monday.

The Indians are confident the games will go ahead as planned.

Speedy declines. It is hard to have much faith in economic forecasts when they can change so dramatically in a couple of months as is happening in Canada. Back at the end of January the minority Conservative Government cited private-sector forecasters as saying GDP would shrink by 0.8% in 2009 as a whole. Now the country’s independent parliamentary budget officer is predicting GDP to contract by about 8.5% in the first quarter of 2009 and by 3.5% in the second quarter.

A lesson from Canada. As the New South Wales government talks tough about cracking down on bikie gangs they should perhaps take time to look at what the Canadians achieved with seven years of court cases billed as the “most significant crackdown in Ontario history” when more than 80 people were charged in 2002, after a three-year probe into the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The major charges ended up being dropped this week and very few gang members ended up in jail despite the use of new anti-gang legislation.

Peter Fray

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