8 Thursday news bites (Oct 6)

Angelina Jolie: More work for the UN?

1. Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, has died

Associated Press and Bloomberg’s is reporting that Steve Jobs has passed away. Apple has confirmed the death. He was 56.

2. Angelina Jolie to have bigger role with United Nations

The mega-star and one half of Brangelina is already a Goodwill Ambassador with the UN but she and the organisation are working together to find something ‘new and bigger’ which would involve dealing with refugee issues around the world. The agency said it and Ms Jolie wanted to get things ‘right’ before settling on any options. Among the possibilities under discussion are a new role as special envoy on the refugee crisis affecting Afghans fleeing for Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan and Iran host some 2.7 million Afghan refugees. Jolie told diplomats and officials with the refugee agency that her work for them has been “moving, sometimes heartbreaking, but always rewarding, and unforgettable”.

3. Major world scientists and economists write to PM

A group of some of the world’s leading scientists and economists have sent Prime Minister Julia Gillard a formal letter congratulating her on the carbon pricing legislation, set to pass through Parliament before the end of the year on fast-track. Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Sir David Hendry, head of Oxford University’s Institute for New Economic Thinking and 11 other leading academics from the US, Britain, Norway, Spain and Denmark sent the letter yesterday. They said addressing climate change was ”one of the greatest and most urgent economic challenges facing the world” and the carbon tax, moving to an emissions trading scheme, would ”help ensure emission reductions at the lowest possible cost”.

4. Same sex couples may benefit from new Passport forms

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Australia changed legislation to allow transgender men and women to carry passports in their identified gender without the need for a sex change and now the application process is about to become a lot fairer for same sex couples. The Federal Government is considering the option of a ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’ to appear alongside the ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ on application forms. It says there has been confusion from existing same sex couples with children in filling out forms for minors.

5. Should Gen Y be able to use Super to buy a home?

It’s no secret that houses are expensive. And there’s been plenty of chatter about how the heck Generation Y are ever going to afford them. Well, economist Nicholas Gruen suggested at the tax forum in Canberra that super savings should be used early on in life to purchase property, which becomes a long term investment in itself over the life of the working young person. Thoughts?

6. Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is a feminist. Who knew?

Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper)

He’s not exactly the world’s biggest gentlemen while in character for Mad Men, but in real life actor Jon Hamm is a bit awesome when it comes to his understanding of women’s issues. At a recent Mad Men sponsored benefit for the Rape Treatment Centre in LA, Hamm said: “It is an important thing to instill in a younger generation about the impact of rape, the lasting impact of rape. Children from grade school to high school to college are incredibly susceptible and incredibly malleable, as we all know. To get them early, to teach them about the facts and figures and other realities of rape is key. It is an important issue to me as not only a man, but as an educator, as a human being and as a person on this planet.” He particularly lamented the lack of good male role models in his life and the importance of reaching out to men and boys to show them ‘normal’ responses to everyday events.

7. Oz Sex Party called Victorian bong ban ‘racist’.

The Victorian Government is banning the sale of bongs – used to inhale marijuana smoke – in a move it says will finally end the ‘mixed message’ of selling equipment that is obviously used for smoking an illegal substance. But the Australian Sex Party says it is showing a racist double standard by allowing Middle Eastern used hookahs – a device for smoking tobacco – to remain on sale, even if those sales are restricted. The Sex Party also said the bong ban would have no effect on young people’s use of cannabis.

Before and after shots of Audrey Hepburn's retouching

8. Audrey Hepburn: Photoshopped before Photoshop

Not sure if this should be surprising or not. You be the judge. A new book due for release shows an original promotional photo of Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s which shows the pencil mark directions from the director where her skin was to be ‘retouched’ to fix visible ‘flaws’ like blemishes and crows feet. The book is being released for the 50th anniversary of the film.

Today’s news brought to you by Rick.

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