6 Friday news bites + Week in Pics (August 12)

Siyad Ali, 2 is one of the lucky ones. Picture: Reuters.

Morning all! It’s the morning news hour and we’re keeping you in touch with everything you need to hear. Rick’s back on deck for the news this morning:

1. As famine worsens, 1 in 10 Somali kids aged under 5 will die by November

That’s a frightening statistic as hope fades in the Horn of Africa. The famine is spreading faster than aid agencies can handle. The number of people affected by the famine has blown out from 10 million just weeks ago to the more accurate estimate of 12 million today. 1.2 million children need urgent assistance. If you’d like further information, including agencies to contact to donate, follow the link to MM’s cheat sheet on what’s happening.

2. Number of big polluters covered by carbon tax drops from 500 to ‘more like 400’.

It was originally meant to cover 1000 of the nation’s top polluters, and then 500 but the head of the Climate Change Department has told an inquiry into the carbon tax that it will cover ‘more like 400’ due to differing definitions over fuel polluters. The tax will be paid by organisations that pump more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year into the atmosphere, but not those who are exempt like the petrol industries and agriculture.


3. PM wants to reopen closed detention centre for asylum seekers … in Papua New Guinea

Ms Gillard has long wanted to re-open the centre on PNG’s Manus Island, which was closed in 2005, but has been unable to due to political instability. But with a new leader in PNG who has said he will give the matter ‘prompt consideration’ things are looking like moving into gear. With the High Court case offering an injunction to refugee advocates regarding processing and deportation, it has become politically necessary for Gillard to find a processing centre outside of Australian borders. Manus Island was a key plank in Howard’s ‘Pacific Solution’.

4. There’s a petition to get Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie to marry

Marriage soon?

Ever since New York legalised gay marriage thoughts have turned to whether Sesame Street’s most famous ‘housemates’ might tie the knot. Seriously. There’s a petition on line with more than 4000 signatures (at time of writing) to have the friends wed or, at least, to include a character who is Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex or Queer. Phew. Sesame Street has a history of being progressive but if it says Bert and Ernie are just mates, shouldn’t it stay that way?

5. Need to wear your pants really low but don’t want them to fall? Problem solved.

Those who still insist on wearing their pants well below their underwear line can now have the added peace-of-mind of not having them fall to the floor. Yup, it’s a new fashion ‘invention’ which is basically a set of underwear and jeans that can hook together at 3 different levels, to achieve the desired level of baggy-ness. Finally, a solution to a REAL problem*

*May or may not be sarcasm.

And here are the week in pictures: