Given what we know already from leaks, the secrecy surrounding the Chilcot Iraq inquiry is as absurd as it is scandalous.
There really is no legitimate reason now for any of the inquiry into the invasion of Iraq to be held in private. Extremely sensitive information, intelligence material in particular, has already been disclosed, either here or in the US, by official inquiries or leaks.
In his long-awaited policy speech on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the creation of a Palestinian state - but only on condition that it was demilitarised, with no army, no control of its air space and no way of smuggling in weapons.
And he refused to halt the expansion of Israeli settlements, which US President Barack Obama demanded earlier this month in Cairo should be stopped. Netanyahu said settlers were not "enemies of peace" and that he backed the "natural growth" in existing settlements.
A Pandemic Emergency Committee meeting in Sydney has left Australia's influenza alert at the contain level, despite the World Health Organisation declaring the swine flu virus a global pandemic.
Victoria's alert level was upgraded to 'modified sustain' last week.
More than 1,300 people have been confirmed as having swine flu in Australia; six people diagnosed with the virus are in hospital but underlying medical conditions may have exacerbated the virus's effect on them.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon says there is no need to cancel sporting events and other public gatherings.
The Federal Government is continuing its attack on the Commonwealth Bank for increasing its home loan rate.
The bank announced on Friday that it would increase its standard variable rate by 0.1 per cent.
Treasurer Wayne Swan and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have both condemned the move.
Mr Rudd says the Commonwealth Bank should reconsider its position.
"I'd say to the Commonwealth Bank, join us and don't head in the wrong direction ... I think it would be good if everyone was on board for that."
from Crikey .....
Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane writes:
Iran and North Korea are working together to develop ballistic missiles and have made significant progress, the head of the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency says.
"It really is an international effort going on out there to develop ballistic missile capability between these countries," Army Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly told a forum on Capitol Hill.
A crucial CIA Inspector General's report from May 2004 is expected to reveal some long-hidden truths about the Bush administration's use of torture.
According to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "This report is sort of the big kahuna in terms of what we have been waiting to see from the government's own files on torture. That report, which is long and has been described by people who have seen it as 'sickening,' apparently stopped the torture program in its tracks."
Putting aside any political prisms, it's hard to see the David Letterman- Sarah Palin dust-up in any other way than this: Letterman was wrong for joking on his show about grown men having sex with a teenage Palin daughter, either teenage Palin daughter, and he ought to flat-out apologize.
There's an easy way to find oil. Go to some remote and gorgeous natural sanctuary, say Alaska or the Amazon, find some Indians, then drill down under them.
If the indigenous folk complain, well, just shoo them away. Shooing methods include: bulldozers, bullets, crooked politicians and fake land sales.
Australia's largest and wealthiest Anglican Diocese, Sydney, has been rocked by the global financial crisis, losing more than $100 million on the sharemarket.
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop, Dr Peter Jensen, has written to parishes about the 'very significant losses' after the Archdiocese borrowed to invest on the sharemarket, which crashed at the end of 2008.
The letter states that the strategy had made a special $20 million building fund possible in 2007, but that the investment value has now fallen by more than half.
The loss means funding for diocese services next year has been slashed to just over $5.5 million.
The Security Council's five permanent members agreed on Wednesday on a draft resolution that would ratchet up sanctions against North Korea by concentrating on its financial transactions and its arms industry, including allowing for inspections of its cargo vessels on the high seas.
Global military spending rose 4% in 2008 to a record $1,464bn (£914bn) - up 45% since 1999, according to the Stockholm-based peace institute Sipri.
In contrast with civilian aerospace and airlines, the defence industry remains healthy.
"The global financial crisis has yet to have an impact on major arms companies' revenues, profits and order backlogs," Sipri said.
Peace-keeping operations - which also benefit defence firms - rose 11%.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appealed for North Korea to show clemency and deport two US journalists sentenced to 12 years in a labour camp, calling it a humanitarian case.
"We think the imprisonment trial and sentencing of Laura and Euna should be viewed as a humanitarian matter. We hope that the North Koreans will grant clemency and deport them," she added.
The chief US diplomat, speaking during a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, called for their "immediate release on humanitarian grounds", but did not explain why they should be freed on those grounds.