News you can use - new, gigantic volcanic explosion in Iceland


The Federal Government's Climate Commission has handed down the first of its reports, detailing a world where climate change is fast getting out of control and the window to stopping it may be shut within a decade. The report also eyed off a potential one metre rise in the sea level if nothing is done, an increase on previous upper estimates which put the potential rise around 75 centimetres. Irrespective, this would be enough to cause widespread flooding and/or loss of coastline all around Australia. The proposal is a decarbonised economy by 2050. I look forward to Tony Abbott's response.

The Victorian Labor conference yesterday sidestepped a sequence of potentially gritty votes on gay marriage and same sex adoption after the more conservative forces in the party boycotted the session, meaning that they lacked the quorum required to actually take a vote. While they would have had no force of themselves, it would have produced a significant amount of policy momentum as the Labor party approaches its own national conference in December this year, where gay marriage looks set to be a major discussion.

Domininc Strauss-Khan, the until very recently head of the IMF, is witnessing the emergence of a Tiger Woods-esque sequence of sex scandals in the wake of his arrest on a charge of rape last week. So far there are two affairs, one attempted affair and two more claims of sexual harassment while he was at the hotel in question. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this has probably destroyed his chances of running for the French Presidency.

North Sudan is getting ready for South Sudan's independence in early July by sending a column of tanks into a contested border town in a move that has the capacity to spark an all out civil war between North and South. Before they have even split.

As Pakistan enters a political maelstrom in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's assassination, Wikileaks has decided to capitalise by releasing their Pakistan-related diplomatic cables through a local news website. For a country so plagued with political doublespeak, corruption and hypocrisy, this can only be a good thing. Although, this is at the same time as militants have stormed one of the country's largest military bases, killing ten people and taking at least partial control of the building, so maybe instability is the last thing they need.

The leader of protest-torn Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has pulled out of signing a transfer of power agreement at the last minute for the third time in as many weeks. Even with full immunity, it seems he wants more before he'll pull his craven, corrupt face from the country. 170 Yemeni protesters have been killed in the furore so far.

Classify under "more important than I thought at the time": the Queen has just returned from a trip to Ireland, the first time that a British monarch has made the visit since 1922. She used the opportunity to apologise for all the unpleasantness of the past and actually seemed to quite enjoy herself. Even Gerry Adams shook her hand. And nobody tried to bomb her either, so it's a win all round, really.

Mitch Daniels, widely seen as the best chance the Republicans had of unseating Obama, has decided not to run. This is not good news for the Republicans, especially when the rest of their prospective field includes Michelle Bachmann, who has declared, quite seriously, that the US has an obligation to protect Israel, and if they don't they will cause a Biblical curse to be placed upon them. Consider her Sarah Palin but with fewer critical thinking faculties.

There's been another volcanic eruption at an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, this one called Grimsvoetn. To be honest, I think that no-one has actually named these things, they just wait until one of them explodes and then the first person who talks to the media says "Oh, oh, that one? That one's called... uh... Grimsvoetn. No, that wasn't a sneeze. That was the actual name". They're not expecting the fallout to come anywhere near the level of the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption from last year, but still, it makes for some pretty pictures.



Esquire with a very tart, line by line analysis of Obama's speech on the Middle East. Full of sound and fury, signifying little? A political masterpiece then.

The Atlantic with a partial exculpation of Sarah Palin as a politician. Turns out that when she was Governor of Alaska, she actually did some kind of important stuff. Which is what makes her post-Republican Convention transformation all the more dispiriting.


How to spot a psychopath. An informative and entertaining guide.

A series of colour photos from the Depression Era. To prove once and for all that colour did actually exist in the world of the 1930s.



Vintage Colbert. After Newt Gingrich had the living crap beaten out of him by the media over a series of gaffes, everyone had his run for Republican Presidential nominee dead in the water. That was until he put out THE PRESS RELEASE. A masterpiece of floridly overwritten prose, THE PRESS RELEASE was both confusing and hilarious. And became even more so when Colbert brought on John Lithgow to give a dramatic reading of it.

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2 comments so far..

  • 4MW's avatar
    Date and time
    Monday 23 May 2011 - 3:04 PM
    Thanks for those photos. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.
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  • CaptainAwesome's avatar
    Date and time
    Tuesday 24 May 2011 - 9:27 AM
    I once asked my Mum what the world was like before they invented colour. I was, admittedly, four.
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