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Saturday, August 15, 2009

That was the week, that was!

Remember when a Leo Gao in New Zealand ask for a $10,000 bank overdraft and was given $10 million? Good ol' Leo and his partner Kara promptly drew out the money and left New Zealand for destinations unknown. Now Westpac says the female employee who gave away that first million has been fired after making a similar mistake on a different customer's account. "You can bank on the WALES" (but that's perhaps before your time)

And spare a thought for the poor Saudi princess who had jewels and cash worth 11 million euros ($18.7 million) stolen from her hotel room in Sardinia. In 10 minutes at dinner time, without making any noise, the thieves managed to remove the safe which was only fixed with silicon to the wall.

This next one is completely silicon-free: the 34DD-sized Romanian tennis star, Simona Halep, has booked herself into a private hospital for breast reduction surgery. When asked about the decision, Simona stated the following: "This fall I'll have a breast reduction operation. The breasts make me uncomfortable when I play. It's the weight that troubles me - my ability to react quickly." While Simona believes that the reduction will give her less weight to carry around, the loss of her large boob size will also result in the loss of many fans. Let me be the first to shed a tear during this sad moment in the world of sports.

No tears will be shed over another big thing, the Big Prawn at Ballina. The Ballina Shire Council has received a submission seeking permission to demolish the Big Prawn. The Ballina mayor, Phillip Silver, says it is hard to say if the aging fibreglass structure is an icon or an eyesore. He says while some would be sad to see it go, he has already heard suggestions that it should be replaced by a big pelican.

With all that graft going on in Australian politics, one has to wonder if the City of Greater Geelong has got it right when it sacked two workers who accepted free steak sandwiches. The two men, Mick Van Beek and Peter Anderson, lost their jobs two weeks ago after doing a favour for a sporting club by filling several potholes in their car park. When they returned to the club a week later to buy lunch, the manager told them their steak sandwiches were on the house. They ought to have ask for a few hundred thousand dollars which would've raised no eyebrows at all!

In the meantime, another public "servant" isn't just accepting free sandwiches but a $1.95 million pay cheque for doing nothing at all! That's what Mike Quigley is being paid each year to run the company that will one day build the Government's $43 billion National Broadband Network. The Opposition's communications spokesman, Nick Minchin, says he is astounded at Mr Quigley's salary, given that the broadband network is no certainty. "[He gets] nearly six times what the Prime Minister gets paid, to head up what is nothing more than a facade," he said. "This is just a Government entity which has no employees, no actual business; doesn't buy or sell any goods or services to anybody. I think Australians would be staggered. "It could be run by public servants frankly, because there is nothing for them to do yet - we have a chairman on nearly $2 million a year, we have five directors on nearly $90,000 a year each," he continued. Good ol' Nick confirms what we've known for years: when it comes to doing nothing, you call in the experts: the public servants!

While talking of getting money for nothing, a Sydney Post Office licensee has been arrested and charged after allegedly committing Australia's biggest ever postal fraud worth more than $4.2 million. It is alleged the 43-year-old man was defrauding Australia Post in relation to monies paid to him for sales of postage stamps. That's a lot of stamps!

Maybe he had a drinking problem? A lot of Russians have which is why Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called time on the country's vodka tipplers, saying alcoholism has become a "national disaster". Doctors believe alcohol-related diseases cause around half of all deaths of Russians. Just 40 per cent of this year's Russian school leavers are likely to live to the pension age of 55-60. It sure takes the pressure off the Russian pension system!

If it's not alcoholism, then it's swine flu for which Israel has found a novel solution: about 50 rabbis and Jewish mystics have flown over Israel for an airborne prayer meeting in the belief it may stop the spread of swine flu. They chanted prayers and blew ceremonial trumpets as their plane circled. One of the rabbis says he is certain the danger to Israel has now passed because of the prayer flight.

And to seal off this week's news, give a thought to workers trying to knock off at the Cadbury chocolate factory near Hobart who were held up by an unexpected visitor. A large bull seal made its way onto Cadbury Road during a shift change at the factory about 10:00pm. Police officers managed to encourage the seal to return to the River Derwent. With a piece of chocolate, no doubt!