7 news bites for Thursday (13 Oct)

Kevin Rudd congratulates Julia Gilard over the carbon tax vote

1. Government plans for ‘Malaysia solution’ law change may be defeated

Federal crossbench MP Tony Crook has this morning indicated he will not support the Gillard Government in its attempt to change the Migration Act to bypass a recent High Court ruling that banned the Malaysia Solution. The Government needed his vote to pass the legislation and has now called a snap Cabinet meeting to discuss its options which means the vote may not go ahead today.

2. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission prepares for a carbon tax blitz

With the pass of the Carbon tax in parliament yesterday, the consumer watchdog is gearing up for a carbon tax blitz to protect consumers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims revealed some taxi drivers had already been caught trying to add a “carbon levy” to fares, while a few companies were being probed for price rises that were “just silly”.

Mr Sims said the ACCC would launch a nationwide campaign and issue detailed guidelines showing what price rises would and would not be allowed.


Rena, the ship that struck a reef on Wednesday causing an oil leak that has spread over 5km


3. Fears as stricken ship Rena on verge of breaking up

The stricken container ship Rena has “significant structural failings” after large cracks were spotted in the side of the vessel, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said yesterday. The cracks have elevated fears that it could break up and send more than 1300 tonnes of oil into the sea.

Oil already leaked from the ship continues to wash up on the Bay of Plenty coastline, and critics have asked why so little oil was salvaged in the days immediately after the boat first struck the Astrolabe reef last week.

“We wish we had a magic wand we could wave to make this all go away,” said Mr Key. “That’s not the way of these things and we need to work through it piece by piece and make sure that we clean up the environmental damage.”

4. Group buying sites warned to lift their game

Authorities have warned group buying sites such as Scoopon, Living Social, Cudo and Spreets that they need to stop duping consumers or government will step in to help the swelling tide of angry customers. Complaints about unclear refund policies and lack of available stock on products offered on sites have been rising in line with exponential growth of the industry, tipped to be worth $400 million by next year.

A voluntary code of conduct – including a ban on misleading advertising, a promise to use “plain English” on vouchers and a clearly stated refund policy – is currently being reviewed by a small section of the industry but is yet to be finalised for wider release.


Gaspar Llamazares and the Osama Bin Laden photofit

5. MP to sue FBI after face used in hunt for al-Qaeda pair

The FBI used the face of Spanish MP Gaspar Llamazares to represent Osama bin Laden on a ”most wanted” poster. Then they doctored his image again to make him look like senior al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman on another poster.

Now the Spanish MP Gaspar Llamazares has had enough and says he plans to sue the FBI, after pointing out that both men ended up dead. ”I’m going to sue the FBI because they have not made things right apart from offering a weak apology through clenched teeth,” he told Spain’s Cadena SER radio station. ”I’d like to remind you that the two people whose images were put together using parts of my face have since been assassinated.”

6. Women on the pill pick less attractive partners, study claims

When probing the effect of contraceptive hormones on mating choice, researchers questioned 2519 women in 4 different countries. Craig Roberts of Stirling University in Scotland, who led the investigation, suspects birth control pills skew the sub-conscious “chemistry” by which a woman makes a mating choice. He found that women on the contraceptive pill tend to pick “less attractive partners”.

“Such women may, on average, be less satisfied with the sexual aspects of their relationship but more so with non-sexual aspects,” he said. “Overall, women who met their partner on the pill had longer relationships – by two years on average – and were less likely to separate.”

Beyonce shows off her baby bump at the MTV VMAs

7. My bump sure is real, says Beyonce

The 30-year-old singer has been forced to refute the claims following her appearance on Molly Meldrum’s Sunday Night program and increasing speculation over her changing form.

Footage of the interview has gone viral on YouTube after the cameras seem to show her bump being squashed and moving as the star sits down. US gossip websites say she is wearing a prosthetic bump and conspiracy theorists are speculating she is faking the pregnancy while a surrogate carries the baby.

A spokesperson for the singer told America’s ABC News today that the prosthetic theory was “stupid, ridiculous and false”.

Today’s news bites were brought to you by Nat.


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