‘Piracy on the high seas’: Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser addresses the Lowy Institute on Wednesday. Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has characterised Australia’s interdiction and detention of  more than 150 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers at sea as ‘‘piracy on the high seas.’’
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He said the apprehension of the vessel on which they were travelling in international waters and their transfer to an Australian customs vessel was ‘‘in breach of international law’’, and he was unsure how else to describe it, other than as an act of piracy.

Speaking at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, he cited wire reports that a Sri Lankan police chief had said  another 41 passengers recently picked up by Australia and returned to Sri Lanka would be proscecuted for leaving the country illegally.

‘‘The other thing [the police chief] said was that they would all be subject to enhanced imprisonment,’’ Mr Fraser said. ‘‘What is enhanced imprisonment? Is that a new name for torture? Sounded very like it.’’

On Monday, a Sri Lankan police spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying that those found guilty of leaving the country illegally would be subject to ‘‘two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine.’’

The Abbott government has not disclosed the whereabouts of the group of 153 Sri Lankans picked up at sea and is awaiting the results of a High Court challenge as to their fate.

Elsewhere in his address, Mr Fraser criticised the speech made  in Canberra on Tuesday by visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with its implicit warnings to China and subtext of a strengthening Australian-Japanese defence relationship.

Mr Fraser said Mr Abe was the ‘‘ second head of government who’s  made a speech that should only have been made on his own soil. The first was President Obama, when he made a speech  that should only have been made from American soil..’’

Mr Fraser was referring to Mr Obama’s November 2011 speech in Australia emphasising a United States ‘‘pivot’’ towards  greater involvement in the Asia-Pacific region, and the subsequent rotation of US troops through Darwin.

Mr Fraser said ‘‘there is a view in America that Australia is the best of allies because … we do what America  wants when America wants it, we won’t even ask any questions .. And that’s pretty accurate. And Obama’s speech in the parliament about the pivot was misguided and wrong.’’

He said ‘‘China has never, I think, been … through its very ancient history an imperial power in the way those Eruoepan states, Japan and America have been…’’

He also said that he did not think that the recent assertiveness of China posed any risks to Australia, though there might be some ‘‘risk’’ to some of those on China’s periphery.

Mr Fraser was speaking at the Lowy Institute in support of his recent book Dangerous Allies critiquing the US alliance. He queried the ability of Washington to prevail over Beijing in the event of armed conflict, which Australia risked getting sucked into.

Even with  America’s ‘‘massive’’ technical superiority  over the North Vietnamese, it had not been able to win the Vietnam war, he argued. So ‘‘ if America couldn’t beat Vietnam, do you think they can beat China? Not one hope in a thousand’’.

‘‘Australia [would be] left as the defeated ally of a defeated superpower and I think that’s rather an uncomfortable position to be in and will put Australia in greater danger than we have ever been in our history except for [when] Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.’’

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

State of Origin 2014: Game 3PHOTOS

State of Origin 2014: Game 3 | PHOTOS A “balletic” Billy Slater. Pic: Getty Images
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NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne grits his teeth. Pic: Getty Images

NSW Blue Greg Bird gets the leg drive into overdrive. Pic: Getty Images

Three, almost, on one at Suncorp Stadium during Origin III. Pic: Getty Images

Billy Slater holds on tight to the ball as NSW Blue Ryan Hoffman is sandwiched. Pic: Getty Images

Queensland skipper Cameron Smith scores. Pic: Getty Images

Cer-unch. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis spots a familiar face in the crowd after Cameron Smith’s try. Pic: Getty Images

Daly Cherry-Evans chips ahead. Pic: Getty Images

The wrestling continues over the line at Suncorp Stadium. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis attracts some attention from the NSW defenders near the stripe. Pic: Getty Images

The Maroons huddle up after skipper Cameron Smith’s try. Pic: Getty Images

Queenslander Justin Hodges does his best to shrug off NSW defenders. Pic: Getty Images

Paul Gallen stops referee Ben Cummins to ask a question in 2014’s third State of Origin match. Pic: Getty Images

Jarryd Hayne on the fly. Pic: Getty Images

Maroon Billy Slater has his sights set on scoring at Suncorp Stadium in the third State of Origin clash of 2014. Pic: Getty Images

Queensland players celebrate one of their five tries in the third State of Origin clash of 2014. Pic: Getty Images

Legs a-go-go. The NSW defence swarms. Pic: Getty Images

Aaron Woods celebrates with his Blues teammates after Josh Dugan’s try. Pic: Getty Images

The Maroons celebrate Aidan Guerra’s four-pointer. Pic: Getty Images

Dave Taylor feels the love as the Blues defence closes in. Pic: Getty Images

Beau Scott takes on the Queensland defence during game three of the 2014 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

NSW Blues skipper Paul Gallen holds the State of Origin Shield aloft at Suncorp Stadium.

The State of Origin-winning NSW Blues camp. Pic: Getty Images

The Queenslanders celebrate a strong win in game three at Brisbane. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd celebrates scoring a try with Queensland team mates Greg Inglis and Billy Slater. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd celebrates his try. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd evades Jarryd Haynes’ clutches to score. Pic: Getty Images

Queenslander? Pic: Getty Images

Nate Myles is put on his back. Pic: Getty Images

NSW skipper Paul Gallen knows one way – forward. Pic: Getty Images

Excuse me, says Billy Slater as he leaves Josh Dugan on his hands and knees. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis motors upfield. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis of the Maroons palms off Josh Reynolds. Pic: Getty Images

Josh Dugan celebrates scoring the Blues try with a quick pogo dance. Pic: Getty Images

TweetFacebookThere would be no “bluewash” or fairytale finish to the 2014 State of Origin series as Queensland gatecrashed the NSW party.

The Maroons left Suncorp Stadium 32-8 victors but, for the first time in eight years, a NSW skipper finished the series with the State of Origin Shield.

Blues players celebrate their series win after game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the NSW Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. Pic: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Film review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
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(M) ****

Director: Matt Reeves.

Cast: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer.

ONE of the biggest cinematicsurprises in recent years was Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – another unwanted reboot/reimagining/prequel that turned out to be one of the best films of 2011.

So here’s the sequel to that movie no one wantedand – surprise, surprise – it’s also really good.

While not as tautly scripted as its predecessor, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (known as DOTPOTA from here on in) is another great balance of emotional punch, great characters (all apes), and action thrills.

Eight years after chief chimp Caesar (Serkis) led his fellow chemically enhanced apes to freedom across the Golden Gate Bridge, the world is a very different place. A virus has wiped out much of humanity, with the survivors eking out an existence in small communities, such as one in San Francisco.

At the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge, Caesar’s colony is thriving, unaware any humans remain alive.

However a run-in between Caesar’s forces and a small group of human survivors led byMalcolm (Clarke) sets in motion a chain of events that will lead the two species to either mutually beneficialpeace or bloodywar.

DOTPOTA pulls a few of the same tricks as its predecessor (which we will call ROTPOTA), but it’s a very different film.Its misty forest and dark broken city settings give a suitably ape-ocalyptic (sorry) vibe to proceedings that’s a starkcontrast to the warm homely tonesand bright clinical labs ofthe first film.

This is also very much the apes’ film. Whereas Caesar (a combination of Serkis’ motion-captured performance and some CG wizardry) and hissimian sidekicksstole the show last time, this time theyown the show.

Theinterplay and relationships between Caesar, the tortured human-hatingbonoboKoba (Kebbell), the wise Bornean orangutan Maurice (Konoval), and Caesar’s son Blue Eyes (Thurston) are far more fascinating than thoseof the humans. While Clarke gets a lot to do as a sort-of go-between for the humans and the apes, Oldman does little but givevaguely rousing speeches and mourn for the past and Russell is a plot device disguised as a doctor.

This doesn’t matter though becausethe apes are the reason to watch. They are wonderfully realised charactersbuiltfrom nuanced performances (particularly from Serkis and Kebbell) and some near flawless special effects.

The moral questions raised, the themes of trust and power, and the emotional moments are no less effectivefor being provided by a cast of CG primates.

As with ROTPOTA, DOTPOTA (yep, it’s ridiculous but stick with me here)takes usto a destination we’re expecting – a planet of, well, apes – but does so in an unexpected manner. It’s this that helped make the first one so enjoyable and intriguing and the feat isimpressive once again here.

Whilethe humans are the weakest link, the apes more than make up for it, creating asequel that’s well worth watching.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Joko Widodo claims early victory in Indonesia’s knife-edge presidential election

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his wife Iriana after casting their vote in Jakarta on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters/Darren Whiteside Former general Prabowo Subianto shows his ballot paper before voting in the presidential election at a Bojong Koneng polling station in Bogor, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Photo: AP/Achmad Ibrahim
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I’ve voted: a woman in Brambang Darussalam, Bondowoso, East Java, after voting on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters/Sigit Pamungkas

Jakarta: Joko Widodo and his political patron Megawati Sukarnoputri have claimed victory in the Indonesian presidential election, based on “quick counts” of ballot papers, less than two hours after polling booths closed.

But Tantowi Yahya, the spokesman for his rival, Prabowo Subianto, said it was far too early to make the call.

Mr Joko thanked his volunteers and urged them to watch the integrity of the official count against possible corruption.

“We are all grateful that based on the counting of quick counts, Jokowi-JK has won,” he said to a packed room of supporters.

“I think now it’s time for us to guard the counting, from the lowest level to the highest, so that it’s clean and honest and there’s no intervention. We ask for the people of Indonesia to guard the purity of the people’s aspiration, and so that nobody can try to stain what people have voted for.”

A number of polling companies are authorised to make quick counts, which include counting actual ballot papers, and which in the past have proved very accurate.

However, the claim of victory comes earlier than expected because many of the votes counted come from sparsely populated eastern Indonesia, where polling booths closed earlier, and not from the population centres of Java and Sumatra.

Earlier in the day on the streets of Jakarta, people lined up to vote for either Prabowo Subianto’s toughness or Joko Widodo as the man of the people.

“Jokowi is for the people, a leader who is born from the people and he’s for the people,” said Hery Wijaya, sitting with friends in inner-city Glodok.

Tanah Abang market stallholder Eti said: “I voted for Prabowo because I know Prabowo follows Suharto. He’s firm, he’s military. I want Indonesia to revive, be spirited, not just lame, so I want a firm leader, not a lame one.”

However, in Chinatown, which was razed during the turmoil of Suharto’s 1998 downfall, with hundreds dead and dozens of women raped, it is Jokowi all the way.

“We experienced it ourselves,” says Wini, with her husband Derry, who are part of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese minority.

“My parents lost their shops … We are still traumatised, and Mr Prabowo is more identified with [Suharto’s dictatorial] New Order, so we want some change; and we don’t want to go back to the old times.”

Turnout was expected to top 80 per cent of 190 million eligible voters in the world’s third-largest democracy, which some are saying faces a battle between its autocratic past and its democratic future.

Former general Mr Prabowo, accompanied by his son – Suharto’s grandson, Didit Prasetya – voted near his home in Hambalang, Bogor. He showed up to the polling booth at the local police station in a white Lexus, accompanied by two police on horseback.

Jakarta Governor Mr Joko and his wife Iriana voted in Menteng, near the governor’s mansion, which he will return to if he should lose the vote for president.

Neither man spoke to waiting media.

The final result will not be known officially for weeks, but “quick count” and exit polling companies are producing results even before the ballot closes, so unofficial results should be known by mid-evening Australian time on Wednesday.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

The union royal commission is too little, too late

Full coverage
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Any watcher of the union royal commission should be questioning why police and regulators appear to be missing in action in the building industry.

On Wednesday, Boral chief executive Mike Kane alleged that union boss John Setka may have been committing blackmail by threatening to ‘black ban’ his company if it continued supplying the union’s arch enemy, building firm Grocon.

Whether the blackmail allegation is fair or not, the alleged offence should have been investigated when it arose last year.

Over the last few years, policing agencies have gathered significant information about organised crime in the building industry and the involvement of some union officials and building company managers in illegal activity, including bribery.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has also begrudgingly mounted an inquiry into the Boral black bans, after stalling for months.

But proactive investigations into potentially illegal conduct have been minimal or non existent.

The announcement of the royal commission earlier this year led some crime fighting agencies to believe they could handball the building industry’s problems to the royal commissioner. But that is no fix.

The commission appears to have chosen not to employ police powers (like phone taps) and is on an incredibly short time frame (it must report by the end of the year).

It may expose bad behaviour, but eradicating it is a different proposition.

Complicating things is the fact that information sharing laws, and resistance from some senior Victorian police (in contrast to NSW police), has stopped some key information even reaching the royal commission.

As the union has rightly pointed out, the royal commission has also heard allegations of builders ripping off workers through the non-payment of superannuation and exposing workers to safety hazards.

Again, this suggests regulators responsible for ensuring workers are paid properly and kept safe are not doing the job they should.

This is why the union argues it has to be militant, although this hardly excuses the CFMEU from allegedly demanding the employment of Setka’s mates, threatening companies that don’t comply with its demands, and cosying up to gangsters.

The commission has this week sought to expose a union with pervasive influence over the building industry.

Whether that influence is good or bad depends on an assessment of the evidence and witnesses, their accusations of union law breaking, and the union’s defence that it is forced to act tough to protect the interests of its members and safety.

What is troubling for the CFMEU is the growing number of witnesses who have alleged that its officials intimidate or stand-over people to achieve an outcome.

Still, final judgement about this alleged abuse of power can not be made until all commission key witnesses are cross-examined.

It has been a mistake for the commission not to allow this to happen immediately because it denies Setka and his officials natural justice and plays into the hands of the CFMEU’s defenders.

But even they should have no hesitation rushing to judgement to condemn the organised crime figures lurking in the building industry.

Crime figures like Mick Gatto, in Victoria, and George Alex, in NSW, have made a fortune by leveraging off their willing contacts in building firms and the CFMEU to work as ‘union fixers’ and help builders obtain work, eliminate competition or collect disputed debts.

This sort of racketeering should be outlawed in Australia as it is in the United States, where Racketeer Influnced and Corrupt Oganizations (RICO) laws have helped combat mafioso, along with their corrupt associates in building firms and the union.

Of course, the problem in Australia isn’t confined to the strength of existing laws.

It is the failure to enforce them which makes the building industry one of the last bastions of racketeering in the nation, helps keep the dodgy unionists and corrupt builders in business, and, leaves ordinary workers out of pocket.

Mick Gatto, who drives around in a Rolls Royce, knows this all too well.

Follow Nick McKenzie on Twitter @Ageinvestigates

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner delivered to Air New Zealand

American country music group The Band Perry plays at the handover ceremony for the first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Air New Zealand. Photo: Bret HartmanAir New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon might well have emulated Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne when placing an order for the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and asked “Does it come in black?”
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It does, and Air New Zealand has become the first airline to take delivery of the new 787-9, a stretched version of the revolutionary Dreamliner aircraft.

The plane was handed over in front of more than 1000 Boeing employees and guests at the aircraft manufacturer’s facility in Everett, near Seattle in the US.

“It’s a privilege to be the global launch customer for this aircraft and our team is looking forward to flying it home to New Zealand.  The 787-9 is a real game changer,” Mr Luxon said.

The fuselage for the 787-9 is stretched by 6 metres over the 787-8, and will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 km).

Boeing’s Dreamliners feature several major differences from other major passenger aircraft.

It is the first airliner to be made of carbon fibre, not aluminium, and promises airlines more fuel efficiency – a saving of 20 per cent. It also offers 20 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than comparable aircraft.

The aircraft promises a better experience for passengers too. The cabin air is, unlike other aircraft, drawn directly from outside, rather than through the engines, meaning it is fresher. The air is also more humid, and pressurised at a lower level – the theory being that passengers will feel better at the end of their flights. There are also larger windows and a more spacious cabin.

This week, Traveller’s Flight Test review of Qatar Airways 787-8 declared that the Dreamliner’s features made a big difference to the travelling experience.

Twenty-six customers from around the world have ordered 409 787-9s, accounting for 40 per cent of all 787 orders, Boeing said.

The Air New Zealand aircraft is scheduled to depart the US on Thursday morning, local time, and arrive in Auckland late afternoon on Friday.

This is the first of ten 787-9 Dreamliners to join Air New Zealand’s fleet.  The aircraft will operate the Auckland-Perth route from 15 October 2014 and to Shanghai and Tokyo later this year.

Another of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will be displayed by Boeing at the Farnborough International Airshow later this month.

Delayed for several years, the Dreamliner has faced criticism over its reliability from some carriers. All active aircraft were grounded for three months last year after a battery fire on one Dreamliner. The incident forced Boeing to re-design the powerful lithium-ion battery and enclose it in a tough new steel containment box.

Boeing admitted in January it was not satisfied with the aircraft’s performance. The Dreamliner’s reliability rate was at about 98 per cent – this meant that two out of every 100 flights were delayed for mechanical problems. The rate was higher than the 97 per cent recorded in October but was still short of Boeing’s target. The company aims to have the aircraft’s reliability up to the level of its long-range 777 model, which has a reliability rate of 99.4 per cent.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

GPS technology gets you from A to B by the most scenic route

A road less travelled: Taking the scenic route. Photo: David Fulmer / Flickr The Boston GPS route is compared to it’s scenic alternative. Photo: Yahoo Labs
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UrbanGems: Crowdsourcing quiet, beauty and happiness Photo: UrbanGems整形美容医院

Researchers in Barcelona are changing the way we think about GPS.

For the past two decades, GPS users have been moving from A to B via the most direct way possible.

Now, Daniele Quercia, a researcher at Yahoo Labs, has engineered a piece of technology to direct users via the most “beautiful” way.

“The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant,” the Yahoo team 

While motorists may still be more interested in the fastest route, the technology could have significant implications for pedestrians, particularly tourists.

Quercia and her team have worked out an algorithm to measure the beauty of specific locations.

“Compared to the shortest routes, the recommended ones add just a few extra walking minutes and are indeed perceived to be more beautiful, quiet, and happier,” the researchers found.

The user is faced with 10 sets of photos and asked to choose the most beautiful of the two. 

The results are then crowdsourced, in an attempt to eliminate some subjectivity.

The recommended scenic route comprises the 10 most “beautiful” photos along the path from A to B.

At the heart of the idea is that a user can enter a start and final location and the algorithm will be able to map the most beautiful route between the two.

Currently, the only two routes available are through Boston and London, but expansion plans are under way, particularly through the mass photo-sharing website Flickr.

The team chose 5 million pictures of specific areas and tried to work out what data could be associated with beauty.

As it turns out, the more beautiful the place, the more photos are taken of it.

There are also far more positive comments under the photo, so qualitative sentiment tools were used to track more beautiful routes.

The algorithm does have a couple of pitfalls however.

It currently has no way of differentiating between locations that are more beautiful during the day or at night.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Tara Moss assaulted in Sydney CBD

Tara Moss says a drug-affected man hit her near Hyde Park in Sydney. Photo: Peter Brew-BevanAuthor and model Tara Moss is suffering from shock after she was randomly attacked by a man in the middle of Sydney’s CBD on Wednesday.
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The 40-year-old said she was left with bruises after she was assaulted by a crazed man on Market Street near Hyde Park.

Moss wrote about her horrifying experience on social media and warned people to watch out for her attacker.

“Was just hit by a man in the street. He’s on Market St in dark clothing headed toward Hyde Park. Slim/white. Beware. Suspect drug affected,” she said on Twitter.

“Have spoken to police who will patrol the area – he fits the desc of a known perp. In the meantime be careful in Hyde Park, CBD area, folks.”

Moss has said she was “intentionally punched”.

“I’m okay. It was a random attack. Worried about others so speaking to police now,” she told one of her followers on Twitter.

“I’m bruising up but fine. But there are a lot of families in the park right now, so quite concerned.

The Australian-Canadian crime writer spoke to police near Town Hall following the attack but is yet to make a formal statement.

Many of Moss’ 38,000 Twitter followers wrote her messages of support and posted about their outrage.

The scary attack comes not long after Moss broke her silence about being the victim of a sexual assault.

She recently shared her story with Good Weekend, explaining that her latest novel delved into her experience as a survivor of sexual assault and rape.

The Fictional Woman was not intended as a confessional autobiography, but she said she realised that if she was going to address the fictions in other women’s lives, she had to expose her own.

”I had to write this book because there are things that need to be improved, that matter and influence real people’s lives,” she said.

”But I also had to make it part memoir, because one of the fictions about me is that I’m ‘Teflon Tara’ and nothing has really chinked my armour. What I’ve done with the book is finally throw my armour off, and I feel I’m fit enough underneath the armour that I don’t need it.”

She also told journalist Susan Wyndham that her experience had made her brave and compassionate.

The mother-of-one also said she wanted to fight the misconception that if women were careful they should be all right.

”The problem is that when someone isn’t okay, the tendency is to believe they’ve brought it on themselves, and this is extremely problematic when it comes to sexual violence.”

Moss, who lives in the Blue Mountains, recently finished her tenth book, broke the news about the alleged murder of an asylym seeker on Manus Island and is a UNICEF ambassador.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Is someone drunk tweeting from the CIA Twitter account?

The clandestine world of espionage isn’t normally known for self-deprecating humour and social media gags, but try telling that to the people behind the official Central Intelligence Agency account.
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After joining the network unfashionably late last month, the agency’s Twitter team has rubbished the catchphrase “we can neither confirm or deny” by commenting on issues ranging from Tupac Shakur to US goalkeeper Tim Howard’s efforts during the World Cup.

The CIA had opened up on its Twitter page briefly, announcing it would answer the top five questions in 10 minutes – including if they knew the whereabouts of Tupac, to knowing someone’s password.

And while there’s no suggestion the CIA’s tweeter was actually drunk, they’ve certainly taken it upon themselves to poke fun at the agency, and some of the questions hurled at them via social media.  No, we don’t know where Tupac is. #twitterversary — CIA (@CIA) July 7, 2014

Ogilvy managing director Yiannis Konstantopoulos said “they’ve been pretty tongue-in-cheek and have kinda been taking the piss out of themselves and what they do”.

“Everyone tends to think an agency like the CIA wouldn’t be too good on Twitter but it turns out they’ve got a pretty good sense of humour,” he said.

But Mr Konstantopoulos, who decided to follow the CIA earlier this week, said we shouldn’t expect the account to go anywhere near the contentious issues of privacy, Edward Snowden, or data security.

“It’s surprising to me that they’ve been able to push this account through given the nature of the work that the CIA does,” he said.

Mr Konstantopoulos said there was most likely a number of people behind the account with content being routinely reviewed by someone internally before publication.

The intelligence agency began their charm offensive on June 7 with a promise to share “great #unclassified content” and has since clocked up a touch over 700,000 followers.

Of course, the official WikiLeaks Twitter account hit back immediately saying “we look forward to sharing great classified info about you” – touché. . @CIA We look forward to sharing great classified info about you http://t整形美容医院/QcdVxJfU4Xhttps://t整形美容医院/kcEwpcitHo More https://t整形美容医院/PEeUpPAt7F — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 7, 2014

But it’s not all punditry and puns, the account kindly informed its followers that human blood boils at 63,000 feet and that it would take 33.7 million soccer balls in a row to span the distance between Washington DC and Rio de Janeiro. At altitudes above 63,000 ft human blood boils. Solution: Pressure Suit http://t整形美容医院/wfkcmUdCJn#U2Week#4July1956pic.twitter整形美容医院m/vAZQEauS45 — CIA (@CIA) July 3, 2014

The social media manager was smart enough not to follow the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose phone calls and text messages had been read by the National Security Agency for more than a decade.

In fact the account only follows other government and defence departments like Homeland Security and the US Department of Defence, whose drab engagement accentuated the mysterious social media manger’s wit. It would take 33,707,520 soccer balls to reach from DC to Rio #Brazil2014#WorldCup#worldfactbookhttp://t整形美容医院/MOgGJgTuaI — CIA (@CIA) June 17, 2014

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Ricky Muir and Palmer United Party strike deal to save Australian Renewable Energy Agency

Senator Ricky Muir. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen David Leyonhjelm gets a warm welcome from Doug Cameron. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Coalition dealt another $1.5b budget blowThe Pulse Live: Judith Ireland blogs live from Parliament

The Abbott government has suffered yet another blow to its beleaguered budget after being forced to retain tax cut compensation due to start next year, as well as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Both were slated to go under the government’s carbon tax repeal package.

Amid growing internal concerns about its management of the new Senate, which is dominated by the crossbench, the government was first defeated on a procedural motion to force the carbon tax repeal to an early vote on Wednesday, and then learnt it would be blocked on the proposed abolition of ARENA.

Otherwise pro-repeal Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm then combined with the Greens, Labor and other crossbench senators to keep $1.5 billion worth of tax relief due to begin from July 1, 2015.

However, the government argued it had already factored in the retention of Labor’s second round of tax cuts, in light of the stated positions of Senator Leyonhjelm and the Palmer United Party. The developments capped off a day in the Senate marked by confusion and a sense the government has little feel for the various positions of the new players on key issues.

In a move nobody saw coming, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir refused to back the carbon tax guillotine motion even though he is aligned to the Palmer United Party, which backs the carbon tax repeal. The outcome left the government stunned, because it had counted the Victorian in its own column.

Senator Muir, the notional fourth senator in the PUP bloc, had proposed his own amendment to the carbon tax repeal package to save ARENA, prompting a flurry of negotiations.

In a last-minute deal with Clive Palmer, the amendment that would have further delayed the carbon tax repeal was withdrawn in exchange for PUP’s support for keeping ARENA alive, albeit with reduced funding in the short term.

The agency, which undertakes research into new energy forms and methodologies, will now limp on until 2017-18, when its funding is likely to increase under the deal. After first thinking it would achieve its goal to scrap the carbon tax on Wednesday, the government now expects there will be a vote to repeal it by Thursday lunchtime.

The news was a big setback for the government, which this week alone has been rebuffed over some $10 billion in savings it had already booked in its budget projections from scrapping the mining and carbon taxes and a range of spending programs connected to them. Funding will now be needed to finance a lift in the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $19,400, with more needed to keep ARENA going.

There are also addition costs associated with retaining the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Renewable Energy Target – all of which it had hoped to dump in exchange for its Direct Action policy.

Mr Palmer attempted to explain the outcome by suggesting it had been his preference all along

”We have decided to support the government’s plans to reschedule the agency’s funding,” he said.

”The Palmer United Party will not vote for the government’s other upcoming legislation that seeks to abolish ARENA altogether. I had extensive discussion with former United States vice-president Al Gore about ARENA and was convinced by his arguments in support of this important agency.”

The carbon tax repeal will cut ARENA’s budget by $435 million and will enact a previously announced deferral of $370 million in funding by the former Labor government.

It will leave ARENA with only about $100 million over the next four years for new projects, but blows a $1.3 billion hole in the government’s savings attempts, with that money committed to ARENA beyond the forward estimates.

However, the government believes it can negotiate over coming months to have that $1.3 billion figure significantly reduced.

”I have been a supporter of renewable energy for a long time and I am very pleased with this outcome,” Senator Muir said on Wednesday. ”This is a win-win situation for the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, the Palmer United Party and the community.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.