News you can use - Egypt on the verge of another revolution
Who's saying what
The long awaited, lethal and much fought over mining tax looks certain to become law after the Government last night managed to win the final backing of the Greens. This led to a sequence of post-midnight votes in the House of Representatives that didn't finish up until 2:42 AM. With Parliament now on hiatus until next year, the Senate won't approach the package until 2012 but with the preponderance of Greens in that chamber there shouldn't be any issues with passage. And in the meantime, it brings to an end a chaotic, brutal, dispiriting, saddening, maddening year in Australian Federal politics that against all the odds managed to facilitate two of the most important economic reforms of the last decade. Even better, Gillard just leapfrogged TAbbott as preferred PM (even if Labor's primary vote collapsed even further). All her Christmases are coming at once!
Further suggestions on Lateline on Monday that Qantas had been planning that whole industrial action thing after couriers came forward and said they'd been hired to work the Sunday, handing out grounding notices days before the supposedly snap decision to ground the entire fleet. Alan Joyce continues to claim that noone knew anything until Saturday morning, which is about as convincing as the emotions expressed in a Looney Tunes cartoon. They followed it up by launching a Twitter-based competition yesterday asking people to tell them what #QantasLuxury meant to them. Suffice to say, they well and truly lost control of that hashtag.
Thirty years after the event and after numerous moments where it seemed like the whole thing was about to collapse, the trials of the three most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have begun. As a quick refresher, in the four years of their maniacal rule, somewhere in the vicinity of 1.7 million/one third of the population of Cambodia was killed or worked to death. So, you know, here's hoping for justice.
Up until recently one of the most brutally despotic and repressive regimes on the planet, over the last 12 months Burma has been liberalising at an almost unbelievable pace. So much so that the once primary enemy of the state, pro-democracy campaigner Aung Sun Suu Kyi is about to stand for parliamentary elections. Against the regime that imprisoned her for close to two decades.
As protests round the fourth day and the death toll climbs to at least 33, Egypt's interim civilian government has been nice enough to/has been forced to resign. Which is pretty funny because almost all of the problems causing the protests are stemming from the military right now. Har har har. The country's first elections are still due to be held next Monday, but the foofaraw has caused the head of the army, Field Marshal Tantawi, to appear on TV offering a sequence of concessions, but in scenes eerily reminiscent of those played out in February, the gesture has been rejected by the tens of thousands of protesters in the square. The Atlantic has an intense image gallery from in and around Tahrir while the Guardian's live blog is tracking things as they happen.
Libya has announced its new interim government, a finely tuned balancing act bringing in members from various rebel groups and different ethnic backgrounds that will almost certainly piss off half the country.
Ethiopia is joining the anti-al-Shabab party after hundreds of tanks and soldiers reportedly poured across the border into Somalia. Al-Shabab, the hyper-militant, hyper-religious, hyper-evil Islamic sect, are suddenly looking to be in increasing amounts of trouble, with African Union forces almost having purged them from Mogadishu, Kenya pushing toward their port of choice in the south and now Ethiopia cutting across the middle of the country toward one of their primary bases. While under normal circumstances this would piss of the long-suffering Somalis no end (the Ethiopian occupation of 2007 being one of the primary instigators of the al-Shabab uprising), al-Shabab have been so immensely awful to the failed country that they appear to be welcoming their invaders with open arms.
Now THAT is how you destroy evidence – around October last year, starting to realise the enormity of the case against them, News of the World apparently started shredding not only documents, but entire laptops too. Stick that in your data retrieval program and smoke it.
You want to know exactly how vast the US' debt is and exactly how unlikely it is that they'll ever pay it off? This piece on The Drum makes for instructive reading. Even if after finishing it you feel like you need to take a good, solid lie down for a while.
Oh God, this is harrowing - "at least 10 times as many girls are now trafficked into brothels annually as African slaves were transported to the New World in the peak years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade".
The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal on why we shouldn't blame the officer who pepper sprayed the students at Berkley (along with a brief history of protest suppression).
The guy behind the always incredible xkcd has created the most exhaustive comparative money chart you will ever see. From a dozen apples to the combined productivity of the entire human race to date.
Authorities in Denver tried to make life difficult for the good folk of Occupy Denver by requiring that they elect a leader. So they did: Shelby, a border collie mix. Behold the movement's new overlord!
New York, New Yorrrrrrrrrrrrrk!
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