The White House War on Fox News

White House escalates campaign against Fox – Thursday, the Obama administration escalated its war with Fox News by trying to bar the cable channel’s White House correspondent from a press pool event. To their credit, the four other members of the pool — ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN — told the White House if Fox were barred none of them would participate in the interview session – Baltimore Sun

Fox wins, Obama loses – None of the US cable networks are unbiased. Demonising Fox News has succeeded only in hurting the White House – London Guardian






Indonesia calls for crisis talks as asylum-seekers’ children head for detention – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to visit Australia next month to discuss a historic “Indonesia solution” to the asylum-seeker crisis – The Australian

‘Life of brutality’ in crowded Indonesian lock-up – Detainees at the Indonesian immigration facility yesterday described a life of brutality instead of the freedom they had dreamed of attaining in Australia – The Australian

Labor charged with mistreating boat people – The Human Rights Commissioner, Catherine Branson, has criticised conditions on Christmas Island and demanded the Rudd Government stop detaining people there immediately. She also slammed the Government for its failure to overturn laws that excise thousands of islands from the country’s migration zone – Sydney Morning Herald

People smugglers paid $500, court told – Indonesian fishermen who pleaded guilty to smuggling asylum seekers into Australia on board the boat that exploded on Ashmore Reef were abandoned by their captain, a court has heard – Northern Territory News


Liberals search for star power in 2011 push – The Liberal Party’s search for candidates at the next state election has it talking about recruiting everyone from the former ABC broadcaster Sally Loane to the former right-hand man to John Howard, Arthur Sinodinos, Liberal sources say – Sydney Morning Herald


Secret tape links ‘bribe’ to developer – A prominent property developer was behind a $57,000 ”bribe” to a workplace safety representative just days after work on the Mercy Hospital site was stopped after workers were exposed to asbestos – Melbourne Age


Canberra gouges aged-care pensions – The federal government has been accused of hypocrisy for gouging from aged-care home residents two-thirds of their recent pension increase through increased fees – The Australian

Drop rent rises for pensioners: Swan – The federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, will go over the heads of state treasurers and demand that the premiers Nathan Rees and John Brumby back down on plans to increase rents for pensioners – Sydney Morning Herald

Public service

Fat cats rake in millions – Public service fat cats have been lavished with millions of dollars in bonuses while taxpayers queue for late trains and hospital beds. In the past financial year bureaucrats lapped up more than $7 million in performance incentive payments – Melbourne Herald Sun


The not-so-quiet achiever – Graham Richardson is wearing out his welcome, particularly among erstwhile Labor colleagues, report Kate McClymont and Deborah Snow in the Sydney Morning Herald

Law and order

Bill to boost pub troublemakers ban – Troublemakers face lifelong bans from individual pubs, clubs and bars under the threat of criminal prosecution for attempting to breach the orders under laws to be announced by the State Government today – The West Australian

Problem party animals face lifetime ban for violence – Drinkers who play up at popular nightspots face a statewide ban for life following another spate of drunken violence. The State Government is to undertake a feasibility study of a linked ID scanner network across Queensland’s main entertainment precincts – Brisbane Courier Mail


Tuna quota slashed, jobs to go – Meeting in South Korea, the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna decided to cut the global quota by 20 per cent amid fears their stocks could collapse. Port Lincoln tuna fishers say the decision will cost jobs, forcing a major cut to their $180 million worth of quotas. The talks centres on a scientific report that estimates the spawning stock of the fish is as low as 5 per cent of 1940s levels – Adelaide Advertiser

Bridgestone Adelaide tyre factory closure to cost 600 jobs – Premier Mike Rann has held emergency meetings with department heads in a bid to ensure training and job opportunities for Adelaide’s 600 sacked Bridgestone workers – Adelaide Advertiser

Racing industry

Racing Minister Michael Wright ‘knew about SAJC vote-rigging’ – Stev Ploubidis, the acked South Australian Jockey Club chief executive, has accused Racing Minister Michael Wright of being aware of the increase in membership before the SAJC’s controversial board election – Adelaide Advertiser


Rudd plays it tough to win high ground – Paul Kelly in The Australian believes Kevin Rudd’s policy reforms, guided by Immigration Minister Chris Evans, have been measured and sensible but pretending they have no consequences whatsoever is not credible.

Labor in hold on refugee numbers – Kevin Rudd’s government is accepting fewer refugees as a share of the total immigration intake than at any time under the previous Coalition government writes George Magalogenis in The Australian

Boom has a price – Michael Stutchbury argues in The Australian that our most influential economic thinkers – Treasury secretary Ken Henry, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens and academic Ross Garnaut – foresee an unprecedented platinum age of Australian prosperity on the back of China’s rise. But their agreement masks a raging debate over whether the political process fashioned by Rudd Labor will fumble the opportunity – The Australian

No shots fired in war on gambling – Pater van Onselen writes that we now know that Rudd hates poker machines so little that the only recommendation in the Productivity Commission’s draft report into gambling (released this week) that his government has committed to act on is to lift restrictions on online gambling sites within Australia. In other words, measures that will add to the gambling industry, not take away from it – The Australian

091024australoianuhlmannSt Kevin’s halo may choke him – ABC 7.30 report journalist Chris Uhlmann on The Australian describes Kevin Rudd busy picking specks from the eyes of others as his moral indignation rises to a shriek.

Left for dead like a Dutton chop – Annabel Crabb considers knotty ethical questions like: 1. Can it possibly be considered humane to send an asylum seeker back to his homeland, if to do so risks significant chance of death or serious injury? 2. What if that person is judged to be of particular social value? Does this factor alone excuse an otherwise egregious act of queue-jumping? These question were considered, primarily, in the case of The People of Dixon v Peter Dutton, Liberal MP – Sydney Morning Herald

No worries, mate: living with a deficit – Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald on how it’s deeply unfashionable to worry about Australia’s big current account deficit and the huge and growing foreign debt it has produced. But if you’re among the unfashionable, then get ready to do a lot more worrying.

Rudd stays on top by keeping off the playing field – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald on how Kevin Rudd has not made any serious effort to argue his case for six months. Of course, he has responded to many questions on the subject. But he has not truly set out to lead public opinion on the issue for half a year.

Foreign Minister aims to defuse China crisis – Malcolm Maiden writes in the Melbourne Age that an attempt to defuse tensions between Australia and China is about to begin. On Monday morning, at 10am, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will get to his feet at Australian National University and deliver a speech aimed at re-grounding the relationship.

A capital idea back in 1981 – Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Canberra and its Parliament HOuse and the changing views of two former Prime Ministers.



Ship of fleeing Tamils stir fears of hidden Tigers – Federal officials fear more ships full of ethnic Tamil asylum-seekers could be bound for Canada after fleeing from Sri Lanka, where a postwar security clampdown is prompting an exodus of migrants – and militants – Toronto Globe and Mail

Economic matters

091024latimesBank bonuses are in Fed’s cross hairs – Escalating the government’s intervention in corporate pay practices, the Federal Reserve moved Thursday to restrict the ability of thousands of banks to pay bonuses in an effort to curb risky practices widely cited for helping to trigger the global financial crisis. Under its proposal, the Fed would examine the compensation of any bank employees — including senior executives, securities traders and loan officers — who individually or collectively could significantly increase the amount of risk taken on by their employer. The central bank could order changes to policies that encourage too much risk – Los Angeles Times

Shock figures show UK economy still in recession – Britain in its longest recession on record after official data shows GDP fell by 0.4% in third quarter – London Guardian


Why curbing finance is hard to do – Martin Wolf in the Financial Times of London argues that to tackle the task of making finance safe we must first create a set of laws and institutions that make it possible to bankrupt any and all institutions, even in a crisis. Second, make financial institutions safer, with much higher capital requirements, against all activities. Third, prevent off-balance-sheet activities. Fourth, impose dynamic provisioning. Fifth, require huge cushions of contingent capital. Finally, cease to favour debt-finance, throughout the economy. If we did all this, the world of finance would be duller and safer.

The Chinese Disconnect – China’s bad behavior with its outrageous currency policy is posing a growing threat to the rest of the world economy. The only question now is what the world — and, in particular, the United States — will do about it – Paul Krugman in the New York Times


Coles takes the lead from Woolworths – Coles supermarkets appear to have overtaken Woolworths in the first quarter of the financial year, reporting real sales growth running at almost double the pace of its arch-rival – The Australian

Green light for $3.5 billion Felix Resources sale – China’s stake in Australia’s mineral wealth continues to grow significantly with the Federal Government approving Yanzhou Coal’s $3.5 billion bid for Queensland-based miner Felix Resources, the largest Chinese investment in Australia to date – Brisbane Courier Mail


Ottawa dashes hope for climate treaty in Copenhagen – Hope is vanishing that a historic deal to address climate change can be concluded in Copenhagen, and Environment Minister Jim Prentice says the best chance is for a political agreement that would pave the way for a treaty to be signed later – Toronto Globe and Mail

091024clZshofyellowhammersPhotographer, 16, spends 2 days in freezing hide and beats 43,135 rivals with this stunning imageDespite the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions, the keen young Perthshire photographer Fergus Gill was determined to capture a perfect shot of yellowhammers that had gathered to feed. His patience and hard work were rewarded last night when he was crowned Veolia Environment Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his dramatic photograph Clash of the Yellowhammers The Scotsman

New hope for viable clean coal projects – An unpublished government study has raised hopes that Australia will be able to develop commercially viable clean coal projects because prospective underground storage sites are close to power generation plants – The Australian


The Conservative leaning British papers came down hardest on the BNP Leader and the BBC
The Conservative leaning British papers came down hardest on the BNP Leader and the BBC

Controversy and chaos but BBC is delighted by BNP leader’s ‘humiliation’ – The BBC said that it was delighted with the outcome of Question Time last night, insisting that the decision to change the format of the show to focus almost entirely upon Nick Griffin had humiliated the British National Party leader. But the reaction from viewers suggested that the gamble had not been a complete success, with many of the audience writing on internet messageboards that they felt the programme was one-sided and allowed Mr Griffin to claim that he had been victimised – London Times

Teachers warned off online contact with students – Queensland have been banned from contacting students on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites amid growing concern over inappropriate relationships – Brisbane Courier Mail


Real estate

101% performer: house prices double in a decade – For those who prefer the safety of bricks and mortar to the sharemarket, it has been a stellar decade – Sydney’s property prices have doubled. But the trend may not continue, with the gains expected to slow markedly over the next decade – Sydney Morning Herald

Fears of housing bubble growing – An emergency meeting of State Government officials, builders and developers will be held next week amid growing fears a new Perth property boom could price everyday workers out of the metropolitan area, forcing them to commute long distances to the city from rural towns – The West Australian

Melbourne house prices uo $30,000 in three months – The average Melbourne house price surged to a record $480,000 in the September quarter – a $30,000 rise over the previous three months. And the number of suburbs with a median of more than $1 million reached a record 18, with Brighton East making the list for the first time – Melbourne Herald Sun


Results for phonics make great readingThe Australian reports on the Millner Tutorial Centre in Darwin where the Exodus Foundation, using federal government funding to provide the remedial reading course Multilit (Making Up Lost Time In Literacy) program developed by Macquarie University education researchers, based on the direct and systematic teaching of the sounds that comprise the English language, known as phonics.


Childcare centres fail basic standards – Childcare centres are routinely breaching health and safety rules, with one in 20 caught failing to protect and properly supervise young children – The Australian

The drink

Caffeine fears trigger crackdown on drinks – A national crackdown on caffeinated energy drinks has been given the green light by state and federal food ministers after NSW findings that most of the drinks exceed the legal limit for caffeine – Sydney Morning Herald

The punt

Poker teen wins $1.5m on internet – Adelaide teenager James Obst, says he has won $1.5 million playing online tournaments in his bedroom  – Adelaide Advertiser


Doctors vetoed on late-term abortion – A woman was denied a late-term abortion at a leading Sydney hospital, forcing her to carry a severely deformed foetus with no chance of survival for an extra week, in a decision that has infuriated senior doctors. The doctors at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick are angry senior management vetoed their clinical decision and have called for clarification – Sydney Morning Herald


Standing on shoulders of giants – Miranda Devine visits Sydney University’s rare books collection, in the bowels of the Fisher Library, and tells a fascinating yarn.

Working hours

Long hours take toll on workers’ health – The 38-hour week is dead, with 2 million Australians working more than 50 hours a week – Brisbane Courier Mail

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