A light little wine. For the Crikey outdoor set who spend weekends trekking up hills and down dales comes word of an important new product. Along with your powdered milk and Deb instant mash you can now put you instant wine powder in the knapsack. Just add water to the “Trek ‘n Eat Drinks Powder Type Red Wine” and you end up with a magic potion that’s eight percent alcohol by volume. The German made product has apparently been a steady little seller for years but escaped general attention until Italian chianti makers protested about the use of the word “wein” on the label, which has seen sales enquiries. An instant powdered beer is due to be launched next year.

Wonderful to behold. A group of world leaders who will all be well and truly gone from office in 20 years expect applause for agreeing to make a difficult decision about what tough rules should apply to their successors in 2050. Yet no agreement on what the world should expect in the near term when the G8 nations are run by them. If you believe in miracles you will believe that a meaningful agreement will be reached in Copenhagen on limiting carbon emissions.

An agreement by the leaders that they want to limit the rise in the world’s temperature to two degrees is as meaningful as saying they intend to abolish all wars and poverty at the same time.

Humiliating the challengers. The Jakarta Post called it a vote to “humiliate” his two opponents — Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono emerged from the Indonesian presidential election in a league of his own. Across the largest Moslem nation on earth the incumbent gained outright majorities that will make a run-off election unnecessary.

The steps towards a meaningful democracy in Indonesia truly are amazing. There have been no reports of major violence at the polling booths and the winning margin is go great that it is hard to believe that there is any real substance to former president Megawati Soekarnoputri’s claim that several million people were not on the rolls.

The travelling linguist. I heard this gem yesterday from our travelling Prime Minister: “programmatic specificity”. Can someone translate this from Mandarin for me?

Casualties creep higher. How much longer, I wonder, before the Afghan War starts being actively, rather than passively, opposed by Australians? After nine years of hostilities the casualties are steadily rising and not falling. These figures are from the website icasualties.org :

I’m alright Jack. The unemployment numbers are creeping higher with this morning’s Australian Bureau of Statistics figures putting the rate at 5.8% in June but as yet there are no signs of panic among those in a job that they will be next on the dole queue. The consumer confidence figures, on the contrary, show people still quite optimistic about the future. While that remains the prevailing sentiment there is still a good chance that Australia will escape the worst of this world financial crisis with the major threat probably being the external one of social unrest getting out of hand throughout China and not just in its western provinces.