News: They lost 11 members from one family. Now, hope.

Tau Taufa

Out of the ashes springs hope … and a home

They lost 11 members of the one extended family. It all happened in one night, in one horrific house fire. But now the survivors of the Brisbane family have been given hope and a new home, built by some 150 volunteers and 40 companies like Mirvac and Hutchison Builders in the suburb of Slacks Creek on the same parcel of land which last year carried so much heartache. reported:

Tau Taufa said he felt they were still with him in spirit.

‘‘My family are very much alive here. Thank you to all you guys,” he said.

”You drive away all my sadness and fill me with gladness.”

Tau lost his wife, daughter and three grandchildren in the August 24 blaze which also took another six relatives. He said although they had been taken, their spirits were ‘very much alive here’.

The home features 11 columns and 11 trees planted in the backyard.

Schapelle Corby

Will Schapelle Corby gain clemency?

There are reports out of Indonesia that the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is considering a clemency application regarding convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. If granted, it could halve her 20-year sentence and make her eligible for release in 2014. Possibly immediately if previous sentence reductions (traditionally small reductions are given around holidays in Bali). reported:

“While details of the recommendation from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry have only just emerged, a senior official confirmed the final report was handed to … [the President] months ago.”

Those granted clemency in Indonesia are usually required to confess to the crime, something Schapelle Corby has never done.

Corby last night said she was too scared to get her hopes up.

Women lose out on superannuation … mostly thanks to babies

The average amount of superannuation a man between the age of 58 and 62 has is $210,000. For women? $95,000. So why the huge difference? A report for the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees says the major discrepancy is mostly due to the time out of the workforce mothers spend having and raising kids.

Now, the figures are for those nearing retirement age so they’ll be different – hopefully much closer to parity – for women just entering the workforce today, but it’s still a shock to see, especially for the women who are newly single and approaching retirement with no financial backing.

CEOs deserve praise for high pay too, says ANZ chief

The CEO of ANZ bank Phil Chronican has lamented the prevailing attitude in Australia which lauds athletes and entertainers for earning the big bucks but ladles scorn on business executives for running complex ventures.

“We seem happy and even proud when our sportspeople make it onto the list of the top 20 paid people, or similarly when our entertainers make it on Hollywood’s best paid list,” told the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia yesterday.

“Yet for some reason when people are managing large complex businesses it (remuneration) is seen as excessive.”

Mr Chronican said it wasn’t right because CEOs had careers that ended abruptly, too. He attributed the attitude to the national pastime of ‘bank bashing’.

Judge says shock jocks help keep crime sentencing ‘real’

Senior Supreme Court Judge, Justice Peter McClellan, said tabloid newspapers and reactive talkback radio provided an insight into what many Australians were thinking.

‘My partner and I were robbed in our apartment only last year,” he said. ”But we do not live where drive-by shootings have occurred or gang activities put people in fear. It is thought to be safe to walk our streets in the evening and to use public transport at night over the short distance from the city to our home.

”As a consequence, I ask myself: do I understand the reason for community concerns about crime reflected in the tabloid media?”

Miss Universe contestant Jenna Talackova

Transgender Miss Universe contestant allowed to compete

Billionaire property mogul Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant, has allowed a transgender woman to compete. The oganisation says 23-year-old Jenna Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago, can compete in the 2012 competition to become Canada’s pageant contestant.

But it’s not a clean start. Ms Talackova had originally been disqualified because the competition’s rules state contestants need to be born a woman. She was hours away from launching legal action based on discrimination when the new decision to allow her to compete was made. But it was based on her proving she met the legal gender requirements from her home country.

“I am a woman. I was devastated .. I have never asked for any special consideration, I only wanted to compete. I saw the statement by Mr Trump’s representative and I found it quite confusing,” she said.

“I wish Mr Trump would just say in plain words whether or not I would be allowed to compete and, if I win, whether I will be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition.”

Housing report dire for under 35s

The report Houses for All shows around 22 per cent of Australians own 55 per cent of the residential property market … and you guessed it, it’s worst in Sydney which has a ratio of median wage to house price greater than New York and London. 30 years ago the average home was three times the median wage, now it is nine times. Perth and Melbourne are building twice as many homes per 10,000 people than Sydney. The report also shows around 70 per cent of under 35s in Sydney will be excluded from home ownership if they stick around.

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