One of the darlings of the Australian comedy scene has revealed she is gay while offering her support for same sex marriage. Magda Szubanski, the Kath and Kim and Full Frontal star, said it was high time rights were afforded to all. “We pay taxes, fight wars for this country, nurse you when you are sick, make you laugh, sing and dance for you, play netball for you, star in your movies, cook your meals, decorate your store windows. And, chances are, gay people designed whatever it is you’re wearing. All Australians, including gay Australians, should have exactly the same rights, including the right to love, marry and take care of our partners. The law as it stands means that you could be a serial killer and have killed all of your spouses and yet you would still be considered fit to marry.”
One of the biggest money-spinners is death, it seems. Pop stars who pass away earn a fortune in death and Sony Records knows it. They inflated the price of Houston’s The Ultimate Collection album, released in 1997, by 60 per cent to $11.73. Sony says it was just fixing a wholesale price error. The price adjustment flowed on to iTunes but, as Fairfax reported: Apple quickly – and quietly – returned the album to its original price late Sunday and by Monday it was the second-highest selling album on iTunes amid a global outpouring of grief in the music industry. The singer’s death also proved a sudden boost for The Grammy Awards broadcast on Monday, with US broadcaster CBS reporting preliminary estimates of the show’s ratings were the highest recorded in more than 20 years. More than 39 million viewers watched the three-and-a-half hour broadcast, up 41 per cent from last year’s broadcast and the highest ratings since 1984, when 43.9 million tuned in to watch Michael Jackson take out a number of awards.
The tech giant Apple, which makes snazzy gadgets like the iPhone and iPad, finally looks to be facing up to the fact its products are made in oppressive factories in China, on the cheap. Of course Apple isn’t alone among the technology companies with this problem, but under Steve Jobs it was generally ignored. Apple CEO Tim Cook asked the Fair Labour Association (FLA) to do an assessment of its suppliers in places like China. “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers. The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope. Apple said the FLA will: “…interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA’s team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.” Tech factories in cheap labour markets have an horrific reputation of low wages, terrible conditions and poor safety controls. Apple’s factories have been rocked by two separate explosions which killed four and injured 77, and in 2010 a spate of suicides rankled critics who said Apple had aided and abetted the problem in the face of ever increasing profits. Apple shares rocketed past $US500 for the first time ever today.
That’s the million dollar question for some online daters who are hiring private detectives and investigation firms to suss out the people they meet online. The services are used to verify that men and women pass the background check: no secret marriages, not lying about their wealth and, importantly, no nasty criminal records. ulia Robson, from DateScreen – which specialises in investigating online Romeos – says she receives about 20 calls a day to the service she launched in June last year. Ms Robson says the checks are not only saving people from a broken heart, but in many cases, tens of thousands of dollars. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says Australians were scammed of more than $21 million while trying to find love online last year. The average loss reported to the consumer watchdog was $20,000. The real cost of online love scams – in which a scammer woos a genuine dating site user to get them to provide money or personal details – could be much higher, given many people are often too embarrassed to report it.
For Greece, there’s no gain if there isn’t some pain first. The country’s parliament approved new austerity measures yesterday so that it could receive the latest round of bailouts from the European Union worth $130 billion Euro. The measures are some of the harshest in the nation’s history which require the sacking of 150,000 public servants by 2015, a 22 per cent cut to the minimum wage and cuts to pensions. But the catch is the money would be stored in an escrow account that Greece couldn’t touch until it paid down vast chunks of its debt, a move many in Greece see as a loss of sovereignty. Tens of thousands of protestors and rioters took to the streets of Greece yesterday to rebel against the vote. The extreme measures were do-or-die for the country, but it doesn’t make it an easier realisation when unemployment is at 21 per cent. Half the country’s youth are unemployed. And it remains unclear whether the latest round of bailouts will even help spare Greece a default. If it does, the ripples in European economies will be felt almost immediately.
Born a decade before Gina Rinehart, Hilda Kickett would become part of the stolen generation – raised in a Perth orphanage – while her half sister would be born and go on to become one of the richest people in the world, the richest in Australia. But Ms Kickett, who is the child of a relationship between Lang Hancock and an Indigenous station cook, says she isn’t interested in money, just the relationship she has with Gina’s kids. “I just love them dearly, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them if I could – that includes Gina. The thing is, who they are – they’re privileged to be who they are and they should never move away from that. But they are so down to earth.
They’ve been out there, they know what it is all about.” She says Lang Hancock never forgot her and would send shoes and presents and once took her to visit his home for a week, where she saw Gina in this ‘big blessed pram’ and took her in the river to soak.
Adele was the star of the night when she took six Grammys, including the biggest three: song and record of the year for ‘Rolling in the Deep’, and album of the year for ’21’. Bon Iver won the best new artist and best alternative album. Kanye West won the best rap album. Dubstep wunderkind Skrillex won twice for best dance recording (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites) and best dance album by the same name. Taylor Swift won twice for best country solo performance and song for ‘Mean’. And the comedian other comedians say they love, Louis CK, won best comedy album for ‘Hilarious. What did you think of the winners?