UK citizenship now available only to comedy nerds - 10 ThingsBits of Australia are currently wetter than they've been in decades thanks to the last flurry of Cyclone Oswald overnight producing storms that broke dams in Queensland, led to emergency evacuations in Grafton, and leaked through the ceiling of Vine contributors' apartments in Marrickville. All roads between NSW and QLD are currently cut off, the carpet in my loungeroom is noticeably damp, and a bunch of Sydney suburbs copped record-breaking rainfalls, including Bankstown, Camden and - with a massive 155mm of rain - Frenchs Forest. State Emergency Services were kept busy too, adding that most of the callouts were from people reckoning they could sashay into flood-affected areas with impunity. Word of advice from those who do the rescuing in such circumstances is as follows: don't. We'll be following progress of the slow rebuilding of the front room at APS Towers over the coming week, including reports on the Replacing of the Sodden Towels and Outcomes of Escalating Conversations with the Landlord. Watch this space.
It's good to know that Australia isn't the only country big on using arbitrary criteria to keep foreigners out: the new UK Citizenship Test tests important knowledge about British culture, and is now finally catering to geeks with questions relating to Monty Python (and, er, the Two Ronnies). So just in case anyone's planning on returning to the motherland and needs a quick primer, here's a masterclass for you.
Triple J have announced that they might change the voting system for next year's Hottest 100 in light of the 92-out-of-100-songs accuracy of the look-at-the-publicly-available-data-and-make-some-statistical-analyses Warmest 100 site (as we talked about yesterday, as it happens). And this news should comfort those who lost the most from the existence of the stats-nerd site: Australia's hard-working bookmakers. Yep, betting was suspended on the Hottest 100 a week before the countdown amidst fears that people might bet and, y'know, win - which is not the idea with betting, after all. WILL NO-ONE THINK OF THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY?
While we're on the subject of referencing yesterday's news, apparently insurgents did leave a little present for French and Malian forces in Timbuktu: charred ashes where their libraries had been. In what military experts call "a total dick move" the Islamist rebels thought that torching two buildings that housed "thousands of priceless historical manuscripts" dating back to the 13th century and then scurrying away would win hearts and minds in the West African nation. Mayor Hallé Ousmani Cissé told the Guardian "The manuscripts were a part not only of Mali's heritage but the world's heritage. By destroying them they threaten the world," before somewhat bluntly adding "We have to kill all of the rebels in the north." So there you have it, insurgents: a push to conquer territory as part of a religiously-motivated civil war is one thing - but when you start messing with Mali's paperwork, shit gets real.
Occasional musical artist and full-time violent dickhead Chris Brown has once again demonstrated that he's not above using physical assault to deal with hurt fee-fees, having punched the Odd Future member and out'n'proud r'n'b superstar over a parking space at Westlake Studio in LA. There are two different accounts floating around, depending on whether you think that Ocean jumped Brown or vice versa, and neither side is pressing charges (although police want to question Brown, who left the scene: Ocean remained and gave a statement to authorities). Of course, given that one has form for brawling in nightclubs and beating the shit out of his girlfriend for discovering evidence of his philandering, and the other does not, we're going to take an educated guess as to who has the shorter fuse. The two do have beef, incidentally, after getting into a Twitter spat in 2011 that led to Brown's cousin chasing Ocean in a car. Maybe arseholery has a genetic component.
Today in How The Eurozone Is Falling Apart news: Greece is bracing itself for a load of fresh new strikes, with transport workers back on the job after nine days but power workers about to take a 24 hour break in support, while Ireland are hiking up property taxes and a scandal involving corruption within the venerable Italian bank Monte die Paschi looks set to end in a Eurozone bail out. So in other words, everything's looking much the same as ever.
Jennifer Lawrence enjoyed a symbolic dress-imitates-art moment at the Screen Actors Guild awards last night when her outfit decided to represent the fractured mental states of the protagonists of the acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook by splitting in half. She coped well with the unexpected conversion from Christian Dior gown to minidress, holding it together while giving a speech that was hailed as "hilarious" and "real" by a bunch of sycophantic celebrities who were tweeting those sorts of compliments at the time.
2Day FM have totally not dumped disgraced announcers Michael Christian and Mel Greig - the "royal pranksters" that rang King Edward VII's hospital pretending to be the Queen and asking to speak with Kate Middleton, which allegedly contributed to the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha last December. Sure, the station's not putting them on the air or anything, and they have no plans to do so, and they've replaced their show with something completely new - but they're definitely standing by the pair with Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Rhys Holleran telling the SMH "We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents – we will discuss future roles with them when they are ready." Reception? Accounts receivable? Tidying the breakroom? The world is very much their oyster.
A teenager has been found in the Blue Mountains after almost nine weeks: 18 year old Matthew Allen went missing from his family home in Westleigh in late November and was thought to be somewhere in Sydney - but it turns out he'd been hiding in bushland a couple of kilometres from his home. It hadn't worked out that well for him, mind: by the time hikers stumbled across him he was in a bad way, having dropped half his bodyweight, with gangrene affecting his lower legs, and being covered in leeches. He's currently in Hornsby Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
And finally, the storms on the Sunshine Coast had at least one awesome moment when police helping direct a bus through a torrent of foam had to leap from the path of a car that emerged unexpectedly beside it, like a triumphant phoenix from the flames, only reimagined as foam belching up a mid-range sedan. Anyone planning on going for citizenship in Australia might want to watch this video, if only to understand the Aussie gift for public criticism: "What a dickhead - well done, champ." Yes, champ: well done indeed.
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