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7 Friday news bites + Week in Pics (Sep 9)

John Galliano

1. Dog ban laws may go national

This is an update on a snippet we shared in the news bites recently when Victoria passed legislation to ban some dangerous dog breeds and impose harsh prison sentences on owners of dogs responsible for attacks on people. Now the nation’s dog laws (which are decided at state and territory level) look set to get an overhaul as the Federal Government’s Attorney General steps in. The Feds will lead a national reform that will likely ban dangerous breeds of dog like the pit bull, though there is not yet any detail on how this might work.

2. Designer John Galliano avoids jail for anti-Semitic remarks

The British designer who was head of the powerful Christian Dior fashion house until his drunken outburst has avoided jail time for public outbursts where he declared ‘I love Hitler’ and abused others in a bar in France’s Jewish quarters. Galliano apologised for his conduct and insisted he was not racist. He received a 6000 Euro fine and was ordered to pay a symbolic one Euro in damages to each of his victims. Though he denied racism, the prosecutor called the remarks: “…everyday racism and anti-Semitism, that of car parks and supermarkets, which is pitiful and disgusting.”

3. Abbott might not allow MP to leave for the birth of child (now confirmed he will).

UPDATE: Tony Abbott has now confirmed he will offer a pair to Craig Thomson.

So we talked about this recently when the Leader of the Opposition said he would not offer parliamentary pairs for MPs from both sides of the house to attend the memorial of painter Margaret Olley. Now he’s refused to say whether he would offer pairs for Craig Thomson (the Labor MP at the centre of a credit card misuse scandal) so he can leave the House for the birth of his child, if it occurs during the carbon tax debate. Parliamentary pairing is a long-standing tradition on both sides of politics but in the new climate of a minority Government, renewed focus has been placed upon them.

4. Aussies (almost) leads the world in smartphone usage

We DO have more mobile phones than people in this country and now a study by Google has revealed we’ve leapt to second place in terms of actual smartphone use. Smartphones are far and away more capable than your average brick from the late 90s and early Millennium.  Singapore is in first place. Mobile internet usage by Australians now rivals that of PCs for activities like social networking and, soon, shopping, Google found.

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5. Want women in high powered work? Send in the nannies.

Carolyn Hewson: we need to be OK with hiring nannies

One of Australia’s most prominent female board members, Carolyn Hewson, has suggested Australia needs to get with the program on accepting nannies in our lives if women particularly (but men too) are to make it to the top. She said: ”We do not have a nanny culture in this country, and it severely hampers us – and I speak here from personal and desperate experience. In Asia, and in Europe, there’s a much more appropriate nanny culture.” The Federal Government made an election commitment that by 2015 Govenrment boards would contain no more than 60 per cent of either gender.

6. Gaddafi broadcasts new audio tape, vows to fight ‘germs’ in Libya

Having denied fleeing to Niger, this audio tape was broadcast on Syrian television. Gaddafi said: “All of these germs, rats and scumbags, they are not Libyans, ask anyone. They have co-operated with Nato.” Rebel fighters who overthrew the dictator of 42-years said they had him surrounded in a 60km radius.

7. Chimpanzees see sunlight for the first time

I debated putting this video in because, even though this instance is such a joy to watch, the thought of other chimpanzees still in labs around the world made me a little sad. Thanks, Simone Heydon, for reminding me! The video is in German but you don’t need to hear the narration to understand what is happening. Some of these chimps had never seen the sun in their lives. Others had been locked up for 30 years.

And now: the Week in Pics. Happy flipping! All this, brought to you by Rick.