8 Thursday news bites (Sep 22)


1. Chaz Bono makes debut on US dancing show … and nails it

You might know Chaz as the transgender son (born Chastity) of pop singer Cher, which is why his slot on the US Dancing with the Stars caused such a controversy among some conservative viewers. Well, he made his debut and he rocked it. Chaz’s girlfriend, Jennifer Elia, was crying of joy in the audience. Chaz has faced death threats since it was announced he would feature on the program.

2. R.E.M call it a day

R.E.M fans will be hurting with the news the group has decided to split. The band announced the news on their website after 31 years and 15 albums. “To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M, and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the band wrote. “We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.” What was your favourite R.E.M song?

3. Facebook to launch ‘major’ redesign this week

You’re probably familiar with Facebook’s constant tweaking, but Mashable is reporting this new overhaul is massive with major changes to the newsfeed and content sharing from partner websites like Spotify (for live music streaming) and video browsers. It’ll be real time, too. So if you’re listening to Muse at one point in time, your friends will know. The redesign also hopes to make user stay longer and become immersed, which will be easy with way more content. It’ll be a hub. And you thought escaping now was hard…

4. Changes to superannuation mean big bucks, says Govt

Look, Super is hardly a conversation winner but this is kind of cool. The Federal Government yesterday released the final details of its superannuation reform which it calls the ‘Grand Final’. And it seems to be good news. A worker earning $45,000 a year for the next 30 years would end up about $25,000 better off when they retire. Someone on $68,000 a year would be $40,000 better off and so on. Australians have about $1.3 trillion in superannuation at present, but this would be about $3 trillion by 2020.

5. Speedo takes bisexual blogger to court

Speedo is trying to get a NSW man who calls himself a ‘bisexual blogger’ to hand over websites he has set up that feature the Speedo brand connected with nudity and ‘offensive images’. The ‘substantial and valuable reputation and goodwill associated with the name and trademark SPEEDO’ was at stake, it claimed.


6. Tassie devils to be saved on mainland


A deadly face cancer, spread by rampant biting in the close, natural Tasmanian devil community is wiping the marsupials out. If they stay unaided on the southern isle they’ll be gone. Already the facial cancer has wiped out more than 190,000 from the devil population and they could be extinct within the decade. But there may be hope on the mainland. 500 hectares of land in the Hunter Valley (donated by the Packer family) has been set aside to breed devils away from the deadly disease. The Devil Ark program hopes to have 360 animals by 2016, but needs more donations to reach its goal.

7. Homework: not so great?

The homework debate is back in the news with some researchers and academics saying it really isn’t that effective. Researchers from around the world argued that in primary school it had ‘slim to no’ effect with some effect in high school. But was it worth it? Some argued the time set by teachers in making the homework, collecting it and marking it was a waste because it wasn’t actually teaching time. Some students may benefit, but it depends on the home situation. What do you think?

8. This is just so sad

Jamey Rodemeyer made an ‘It Gets Better’ video in May. This week he was found dead outside his family home, apparently due to suicide. The 14-year-old had been battling with his own sexuality before coming out as bisexual and enduring the taunts and bullying both at school and online. He made a Formspring account where students posted things like “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” and “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” Reports suggest that Jamey had been offered counselling and therapy and was getting help but that it was still not enough. The news comes as America this week officially repealed the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ military ban on out and proud gay and lesbians and Tasmania’s parliament passed a motion in support of marriage equality.

Here’s his video:

00:00 / ???