Need to read: Monday's 6 top news bites

Monday always seems so non-threatening from the vantage point of Friday. But it’s here and it’s never as fun up close. But don’t worry. We can make the transition back into the working week a little easier with the easy to digest bite sized pieces of news.

It’s everything you need to know … without the effort. Some would call it cheating. We like to make our own rules.


1. Ita Buttrose says Gillard needs to call an election. Now.

The Herald Sun conducted a whip around of some high profile women to get the low-down on what they thought of PM Julia Gillard. Ita Buttrose was withering in her response, saying Gillard needed to tell the Greens and Independents that ‘the party was over’ and call an election now. Dawn Fraser said she didn’t agree with what the ‘refugees were getting’ and argued pensioners deserved more help. What’s your constructive criticism for the PM?

2. Easy Tiger airways, is this the end?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has totally grounded the fleet of 10 Tiger planes until at least Saturday after a litany of safety concerns, pilot error and poor performance. The authority can legally only ground the craft for five working days but is believed to be seeking court approval to go for longer. The move would likely destroy the business model and see the Singapore owned Tiger removed from the air for good.

3. Italian company fires women, so they can ‘stay at home’.

Aye, fahgeddabout it! An Italian electric fan company fired 13 of its 30 employees due to a drop in sales, but apparently made the decision based on who should be staying at home anyway and looking after the kids. You guessed it, the women! The company also said they were just second income earners in order to justify the retrenchments. It’s an isolated case in a big country, but the debate about the status of women continues. Especially with PM Silvio Berlusconi in charge…

4. Former CIA operative talks of torture


He was one of the CIA’s go-to men after September 11 and Glenn Carle was in charge of interrogating a suspected senior member of Al-Qaeda, whom he came to believe was innocent. Carle wrote of the experience in ‘The Interrogator’ and details a secret US prison outside the reach of the Red Cross and international law. At ‘Hotel California’ as the site became known, operatives tortured the prisoner known as CAPTUS with heavy metal music blasted into the ear drums to cause pain and disrupt sleep. The killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this year reignited the debate about how useful torture was. Is there ever an easy answer?

The late Dr Victor Chang

5. The sex assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on shaky ground

While the charges of sexual assault against the former International Monetary Fund head still stand, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is free on bail and has had all restrictions (except one barring international travel) lifted after investigations into the background of his accuser unearth ‘certain facts’. The maid can be heard on one recorded telephone conversation telling a drug-dealer in prison ‘don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money, I know what I am doing’. She also apparently lied to a grand jury about the facts of the case, telling them she reported the assault immediately when she did not. The case is far from over but legal analysts believe there is no way DSK is going to be convicted.

6. Today marks 20 years since heart surgeon Victor Chang was murdered.

He was a pioneering heart surgeon, murdered on July 4 1991 in a poorly planned attempt at kidnap for ransom. The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute – a dream of Victor’s – was built in 1994 and continues to carry out lifesaving work to this day. It was Victor who carried out Australia’s first successful heart transplant in 1984.

And, to sign off, we’re going to try putting our Video of the Day at the end of the daily news bites so you don’t miss it. To get us started, have you seen the latest Wikileaks ad? It’s a parody of the MasterCard commercials.

Julian Assange: brilliant reformist or pompous git?

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