Apparently there was an election in America or something - 10 things
The return of Barack Obama to the US presidency has been welcomed by most people around the world and a slim majority of Americans, but sadly, there are some that aren't quite so happy. Karl Rove, the Republican strategist that was the Palpatine to George W. Bush's Vader was tying himself in knots on Fox in the dying moments of the race trying to come up with a way that Mitt Romney could defeat reality (see below), while well known crazy people Donald Trump and former SNL comedienne turned right wing loon Victoria Jackson let Twitter know how disappointed they are with you. Trump called for an uprising against the system, declaring "Let's fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us", while Jackson put the blame right where it belonged: religious people who didn't vote hard enough: "Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me." Yeah, because that's what Jesus would tweet.
In other people-not-so-happy-about-the-result news comes work that the Republican senators Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin - best known for their recent misogynist hits 'Pregnancy From Rape is a Gift from God' and 'Legitimate Rape (Women Don't Get Pregnant From), respectively - have had their political arses handed to them with sound rejections from the electorate. Despite what were predicted to be close races, neither came close to unseating the incumbents (Joe Donnelley and Claire McAskill), proving that yes, it turns out that you can in fact be too crazy for the American people.
Also, it appears that the US may be getting a new state: Puerto Rico - a US protectorate since 1917, making it technically part of the United States without giving residents pesky responsibilities like "voting rights" - held a referendum on election day in which it appears a strong majority would back full statehood. The referendum is non-binding, mind - hey, why should the White House listen to a bunch of people who can't even vote? - but Obama has previously said he'd respect their decision in the case of a clear majority. So maybe there's going to be another star on that flag before too long.
It's not all sunshine and lollipops and right-wing schadenfreude, mind you. There is a dark cloud on the horizon in the wake of Obama's victory. We don't mean the fallout from an insanely wasteful campaign, or the still-Republican-controlled lower house that will continue to block legislation: no, Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am is about to release his second "victory song". "In 2008 I wrote 'it's a new day' 1week before @barackobama won" he tweeted, modestly accepting responsibility for the election, "and last week I wrote another victory song…it will be out in 1week". Consider yourself warned.
And in more tragic news for America, word from Paramount is that the suicide of Top Gun director Tony Scott in August means that the proposed Scott-helmed sequel has been canned, and the re-release of the original in 3d may be reduced to an exclusive short-run release next February. The issue apparently is less one of respect for the dead and the feeling that there's no point doing it without a sequel to promote. Will no-one think of the cross-promotional tie-ins?
The Red Cross has visited Nauru as the hunger strike among asylum seekers hits its first week, with concerns that 50 of the 377 people detained on the island are now refusing water. Our PM, however, seems OK with the situation, reiterating to the press that "…If you get on a boat you don't get a resettlement option any more quickly than if you had stayed put." Well, that oughta teach them, then.
In news that will rock Australia's wool and bogan industries, the ugg boot is now apparently over as a fashion item. Sales of the fleecy, pungent footwear by biggest ugg-house Deckers have dropped 31% in the UK, suggesting that the inexplicable popularity of the boot is on the wane. Our prediction for replacement: fleecy crocs. C'mon, fashion: we dare you.
And it all just gets better and better with news that the Great Barrier Reef's decline is down to "nutrient rich slurry from farms" sluicing off the coast for almost a century, according to researchers at the University of Queensland. Short version is that extra nutrients encourage seaweed growth, which prevents coral from growing: in fact, the last time the reef was unaffected by human activity was the 1920s, according to the analysis of coral cores.
The trial of Paul Douglas Peters, the chap who put the fake "collar bomb" on Mosman schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver last year, has just gotten even better with the news that Peters otherwise completely-not-insane plan would have worked perfectly if he'd only, um, jotted the address down correctly. Turns out his plan was to extort money from a family he'd acquired information on during his years as an investment banker, but then went to the wrong house. The court has already rejected claims that Peters' actions were determined by either an undiagnosed bipolar condition or alcohol, though do appear to concede that he suffers from being kind of a dick.
And despite promising free broadband to all New Zealanders and a return to the halcyon days of unregulated file sharing and theft of intellectual property, German national Kevin Dotcom - the millionaire behind Megaupload - has announced that he's not making any more announcements on his Twitter as his legal team continue to fight attempts to extradite him to the US, where he faces charges of of money laundering, racketeering, fraud and online copyright theft. "As much as I enjoy keeping my followers informed, I have to tweet less" he announced from his current home in NZ, in advice that could apply equally well to everyone on Twitter all the time.