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News? Here's 7 bites for Friday + Week in Pics

They’re so grown up! The Harry Potter kids.

Welcome to a fabulous Friday.

It’s winter, it’s cold and it’s hard to get out of bed. If you’re one of the three people who still orders newspapers of a morning, don’t worry. You can read them later but for now, the news that everyone’s talking about is right here. Breathe. Relax. Particularly, catch up on the biggest story going around today: News of the World has been shut down. To protect News International CEOs or because the public backlash finally got to them? This case has so many layers and the story is far from over. But first:

1. Sob, Harry Potter stars doing the last publicity round

Oh dear. Oh no. I didn’t think I would, er, be so emotional about a film franchise ending. But come, Harry Potter the books are well over a decade old and the movies have been hitting our screens since 2001. Now it’s all coming to an end later this month when the last (8th) film is released. And look how old the cast are! Props to Emma Watson who looks absolutely stunning in a Rafael Lopez dress. Wow.

2. Some American schools abandon cursive handwriting

The American state of Indiana has decided to ditch the teaching of ‘running writing’ in schools in favour of typing practice. Individual schools can still do handwriting if they want to. Is anyone else constantly floored that we’re still doing this? At what point in our existence outside of schools is it necessary to write in such a way that all our letters are joined? Are we afraid they’ll get separated?

3. German motorist returns $1.3 million dollars he found

Just sitting there. On a highway. It kind of fell out of the back of a cash carry van. Would you have been so honest?

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4. Carbon tax details released

The big announcement is on Sunday but, as always, some of the major details have been leaked. So here’s the run down: the Gillard carbon tax will be $23 per tonne on carbon dioxide emissions and be paid by 500 big polluters. There have been concessions. The Greens wanted it to be more per tonne, the Government wanted it to be $20. It was also originally pitched as a tax the top 1000 polluters would pay, but that’s been halved. The Government is preparing a $12 million advertising campaign to publicise the details of the tax. Compensation will be made available to families, who on average will face a cost of living rise of $500 per year. The Government says about 75% will see no cost of living impact after compensation. Oh, and Channel 9 and Channel 7 have backed down from a refusal to show Gillard’s address to the nation and will do so, offering Abbott a right of reply.

5. The case of the Parliamentary ‘Meow’: mach 2

It’s happened again. This time it was Labor backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon who called out ‘meow’ across the parliamentary divide as Liberal Deputy Leader Julie Bishop was tearing strips off the Government about the carbon tax. Speaker Harry Jenkins asked for the culprit to own up and apologise, but nobody came forward. Shortly after Ms Gillard told the parliament she had asked Mr Fitzgibbon to personally apologise to Ms Bishop because she, ‘as a woman of the parliament’ found the remark inappropriate. Tony Abbott thanked her for her ‘gracious statement’.

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6. News of the World to be shut down on Sunday

Britain’s highest selling tabloid newspaper at the centre of a major phone hacking scandal is going to be shut down for good on Sunday after being in business for more than 160 years. News International chairman James Murdoch told newspaper staff that NOTW had failed when it came to the duty of holding itself to account. That wrongdoers had turned a good newsroom bad. He also admitted the organisation had made false accounts to parliament of the scandal and that he himself had authorised out-of-court payments to phone hacking victims. This is BIG. Critics said this will not by any stretch of the imagination ‘draw a line under the scandal’. The investigations will continue and there will be jail. For who and how many remains to be seen. Murdoch said the final paper would contain no ads (advertisers have pulled their money by the bucketload) but that any money raised would go to charity. Ummm, sure. A newspaper with no ads isn’t going to have anything to donate. I’d like to thank my journalist friend for breaking this story to. To me. Via text. In the minutes before I was due to wake and for which I will never forgive her.

7. First trailer for Meryl Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ released

Oh how I love Meryl Streep. Love. And it looks like her biopic of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher is going to be a cracker. The film follows Thatcher’s pursuits before, during and after she became Prime Minister. No matter what you think of her, this will be a fascinating film. Take a look:

Plus here are the pictures everyone talked about this week…

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