US rejects Russian missile call …..
Talks between the US and Russia about a US anti-missile system in Europe have ended acrimoniously and without any sign of progress.
The US rejected Russian appeals at the talks in Moscow to halt the scheme.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would take steps to neutralise the threat posed by the missile system if it went ahead.
If you do the crime, Johnnie
Chris Graham, Editor of the National Indigenous Times, writes:
Let's talk about John Winston Howard, and his 11th hour epiphany that the "Aborigine people" really aren’t that bad after all.
The main things chameleon species do have in common is their foot structure, their eyes, their lack of ears, and their tongue.
There must be some logic to building the United States' - and the world's - largest embassy in the world's 44th largest nation, coming somewhere after Nepal and Uganda.
But the logic seems apparent only to the Bush administration, so work plods forward on our Vatican-sized fortress embassy in Baghdad. The massive $600 million project is behind schedule and nearly $150 million over budget. It was conceived in the heady days when the Bush administration believed we would be welcomed as liberators, the war would pay for itself and an efficient government of pro-U.S. Iraqi exiles would have taken over.
PM does an about-face on reconciliation
Prime Minister John Howard has delivered an extraordinary election eve mea culpa to indigenous Australians, promising a referendum to recognise them formally in the constitution.
After years of refusing to apologise to Aboriginal Australians over their past treatment, Mr Howard admitted he had failed to recognise the importance of symbolism in healing the rift.
In an interview last Friday, President Bush dismissed rumours of a US-planned attack on Iran as "baseless gossip" and "empty propaganda".
PM promises referendum
Prime Minister John Howard has announced his plans to hold a referendum to formally recognise indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
In a speech to the Sydney Institute Mr Howard promised to hold the referendum within 18 months of the election - if the Coalition is returned to office - which would incorporate a Statement of Reconciliation into the Constitution's preamble.
Mr Howard acknowledges he has often "struggled" with the issue of reconciliation during his time as prime minister.
Army Defends Recruitment Standards
from the washington post …..
The Army last year again increased the number of its recruits
The Pentagon's top personnel official defended the policy, saying it's so
2007 Australian Citizenship test
* Do you understand the meaning, but are unable to explain the origin of, the term 'died in the arse'?
* What is a "bloody little beauty?"
* Are these terms related: chuck a sickie; chuck a spaz; chuck a U-ey?
"I often ask myself whether the Mabo decision in 1992 or the Wik decision in 1996 would be decided by the High Court the same way today," he said.
After listing a series of developments that emerged from dissenting judgments, including expanded freedoms of the press, free speech and rights to a lawyer, Justice Kirby said: "The answer to all of these questions of whether such cases would be answered the same way today seems to be: probably not.
If the hype about global warming is top of the charts for massive public deception and the public being completely led astray on hype, exaggeration and political opportunism, surely the argument about water can't be far behind.
On the one hand you hear about drought, well what could you expect.
We, after all, are a dreadfully dry continent.
The reality is Sydney gets more rain than London.
In fact it would be more truthful to say there's water everywhere.
But then we're told, well it's too dear to get it from A to B.
Vaile says NSW must commit on Hwy upgrade
Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile says the New South Wales Government cannot support any Federal Labor plan to upgrade the Pacific Highway, if it refuses to back the Coalition's proposal announced today.
Mr Vaile and Prime Minister John Howard have today promised $2.4 billion in federal funding to upgrade the Pacific Highway in New South Wales.
Defence to spend $8m on Eden-Monaro roads
The Federal Government has announced $8 million worth of funding for road upgrades in the marginal seat of Eden-Monaro and is challenging state and territory governments to chip in.
The money will come from the Department of Defence which is building its new headquarters near the town of Bungendore.
Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says it is unusual for Defence to fund road upgrades but it is part of preparing the area for the new command centre.
The "coalition of the willing" is over. One by one, its members have ceded the bloodstained ground to the battling Iraqis and the unyielding U.S. president. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's decision Monday to halve the vestigial British military force in Basra was inevitable; backing the U.S. in Iraq has become a political albatross for governments all over the world.
Australians too optimistic according to insurance company
A new survey has found Australians are optimistic about life, to the point that they are underinsured.
Insurer "AXA" has released the findings of an international study, that compared insurance rates and attitudes in 11 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, the US and Japan.