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Thursday, July 9, 2009

The week that was! (and still is)

According to my McDonald-calendar (the only pin-up calendar I'm allowed in the house), we're already well into July! This being a far from newsworthy week and with a cold weekend ahead, I have decided to go public a couple of days early and go back to my warm bed. If anything earth-shattering such as another celebrity death or an utterance suggesting even a hint of intelligence from our elected leaders occurs in the next 48 hours, I shall add it to this blog later. In the meantime, here are the things that moved the world during the past five days.

The good people of Bundanoon, our little piece of Scotland in the Southern Highlands, have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a ban on bottled water. Only one of the 350 local resident voted against the proposal, along with a representative from the bottled water industry. No doubt they found they could cook their porridge with good ol' tap-water. Never missing a publicity stunt, the New South Wales Premier jumped on the water-wagon and orderd all government departments and agencies to stop buying bottled water. I can see public service recruitment going into overdrive as extra staff are be needed to make up for hours spent 'round the water-cooler!

To climb or not to climb? This question is hotly debated in the Northern Territory where a proposed ban on climbing Uluru in Central Australia has sparked debate between tourists, traditional owners and political leaders. A traditional owner of Uluru is relieved a ban on climbing the iconic rock is one step closer to becoming a reality. Vince Forrester from Mutitjulu says the rock is sacred to the local Aboriginal people and traditional owners have wanted the climb closed since the park was handed back to them in 1985. "You can't go climb on top of the Vatican, you can't go climb on top of the Buddhist temples and so on and so forth," he said. "Obviously you have to respect our religious attachment to the land too, so we're saying please do not climb Uluru - we've said it in all languages." The 346-metre high rock is visited by about 350,000 people a year, about half of whom are from overseas. More than 100,000 people climb the rock against the wishes of the traditional owners. Not everyone agrees with the ban. "It is not as if anyone built it. It was always there. Climb on it if you want. It is like saying you can't swim in Sydney harbour or walk around the Grand Canyon," wrote Ron Rat. No doubt, he'll be called names worse than that before the debate is over.

The Royal Australian Navy has confirmed four members of HMAS Success's company were removed from the ship in Singapore in May after female crew members made complaints about alleged sex games. (Are they the same women sailors for whom the Navy paid $10,000 each to have breast enlargements for purely cosmetic reasons?) The sailors from HMAS Success reportedly ran a contest to see who could sleep with the most female crew members. Records were allegedly kept in a book known as 'The Ledger' and dollar values were placed on each woman's head. The sailors reportedly dared one another to have sex in numerous locations, like the top of a pool table, and more money was on offer if a sailor could sleep with a female officer or a lesbian. In the Battle of the Sexes, "Australia expects that every man will do his duty."

And while on the subject, across the Tasman an enterprising teenager tried to sell some sexy photographs of his mother on an internet auction site after the pair had an argument. The 18-year-old student opened an auction for "five naked photos of my Mum" on the Trade Me site after being told to clear the family garage and sell any unwanted items on the site. Trade Me pulled the auction the next day, but the student, identified only as Michael, was soon back trying to sell a series of eight-year-old "glamour" shots of his mother, including one of her in underwear. His mother Jennifer, 44, who did not want the family name published, told the paper she was "pretty annoyed" when she found out about the first set of photographs. "He was quite naughty... I thought you cheeky little git," she said. But she was annoyed that Trade Me withdrew the second set of pictures, of which she approved. "I insisted Michael show me first, the little bugger. They are quite artistic. There is nothing dodgy about them. I wanted 50 per cent of the sale, but more than that I miss the nice comments." Some mothers do have them! And some sons do have them!

After Opposition leader Mlcolm Turnbull copped it sweet on the OzCar email debacle, he unveiled his own "debt truck" which will tour the country carrying a billboard highlighting how far into the red the Government is. Keep them rolling, Malcolm! Maybe there's a future for you as a carpark attendant!

Speaking of which, in downtown Jerusalem, several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews in their long coats and sable-fur hats have been throwing rocks at police, setting rubbish bins alight, even throwing dirty nappies or rotting rubbish at anyone who uses a municipal carpark on Saturdays - or Shabbat, the day of rest when Jews are not supposed to do anything resembling work, which can include something as simple as flicking a switch, turning on a light or driving. As the ABC's Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reported, "Suddenly the crowd turned on me, screaming in my face. Dozens of angry men began spitting on me. I found myself herded against a brick wall as they kept on spitting - on my face, my hair, my clothes, my arms. It was like rain, coming at me from all directions. Big gobs of spit landed on me like heavy raindrops. I could even smell it as it fell on my face." Why does Israel need the atomic bomb? All that spitting is enough to keep anybody away!

So you may not be travelling to Israel but you may have encountered this only all-too-familiar problem: you're at the airport and suddenly realise that you haven't got a single gold bar on you! The good burghers of Frankfurt have overcome this problem by installing gold bar vending machines at both the airport and the central railway station. Bon Voyage!