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News: The RSPCA has a free-range problem...

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RSPCA under fire for ‘welfare for hire’

Farmers groups have blasted animal welfare agency the RSPCA for services they call ‘welfare for hire’. Free range farmers say the labelling the RSPCA uses for pork products sold in supermarkets is misleading and could give the false impression pigs were raised in free range conditions, when the opposite may be true. Humane Choice, which accredits free-range egg, beef and pork farms, has lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, alleging the RSPCA’s labelling is misleading. The RSPCA revised its approved farming scheme for pigs in August, removing references to the term ”free-range” when it classified and labelled pig production systems. Humane Choice said the RSPCA receives a commission of two per cent on sales as companies pay the organisation to accredit their products. The RSPCA denied these were royalties and said the money went toward the cost of assessing farms.

Public school funding not keeping pace

An analysis of the National Report on Schooling has shown Independent and Catholic schools are receiving funding increases at a greater rate than public schools. But funding per student (both state and federal) was still highest for public school students. The Australian reported: “…state and federal government funding over the past seven years rose 82 per cent for independent schools and 64 per cent for Catholic schools. By contrast, government funding of public schools rose about 48 per cent. The analysis shows governments provided independent schools with an average $8336 per student and Catholic schools with an average $6991 per student while $11,591 was provided for the average public school student.” But when all sources of funding (including private fees) were taken into account, Catholic and public schools remained about even while private schools averaged around $16,000 per student. The Federal Government is yet to begin its official review of school funding.

Huong Hoang

Actress sues after true age revealed on Internet

A low-grade film actress is suing the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) after it revealed her real age (40). Huong Hoang, from Texas, claimed the website could only have gained access to her true age based on her credit card details after she purchased a professional membership to the site. The star of flicks such as Gingerbread Man 3 and Saturday Night Cleaver says she has lost major work opportunities because of the ‘outing’ and is suing for $1 million in damages. An interesting case in and of itself, but what does it say – if true – about Hollywood if a 40-year-old actress can lose work because they are too ‘old’? Hollywood certainly makes a habit of pretending its actors are younger than they seem. Remember these?

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Whaling protestors held ‘hostage’, may be imprisoned

Three anti-whaling activists from Sea Shepherd have been held by Japanese whalers after they boarded the Shonan Maru No. 2 security ship under cover of darkness. The three evaded the razor wire to climb aboard with a demand for the Japanese crew to take them back to shore and abort the hunt. Tokyo’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR, which organises the whale hunt) flagged the possibility of jail for the three. “No decision has been made yet on the fate of the men who boarded the vessel,” ICR spokesman Glenn Inwood said. “But they risk being taken back to Japan to face charges and possible imprisonment. What these guys don’t understand is that the government of Japan’s tolerance for Sea Shepherd and its supporters is extremely low and they risk facing that back in Japan.”

Molly Meldrum

Molly Meldrum beginning to speak

It’s all baby steps say those closest to the music industry legend who is still recovering in intensive care after falling and hitting his head before Christmas. “There has been some improvement over the last day or so but we don’t know when he’ll be coming out of intensive care,” his manager Mark Klemens said. “He’s breathing a lot better and he’s able to engage in some limited level of conversation. If he’s told something he seems to be able to comprehend it and respond.”

Music festival with neo-Nazi links to be held in Brisbane

That’s right. And police and the city council are powerless to stop it. The international Hammered Music Festival will be staged in Brisbane in April this year, organised by the Southern Cross Hammerskins whose members have apparently been convicted of race-based assault and murder. Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke this week labelled the event as ‘abhorrent to our community’. Websites promoting the festival have praised the achievements of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich throughout World War Two.

Oh, and Beyonce and Jay-Z had a baby. We wrote about that right here.

What else caught your attention in the news?

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