There seems to be almost universal support in this country for the abandonment of Australia's ODI cricket tour of Zimbabwe pencilled in for September. The pollies all agree, the commentariat seem to all agree, the Roman Catholic Church agrees, the only dissenting voices I have seen are from the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Australia (well he would, wouldn't he?) and former Test batsman Vusi Sibanda, who now lives in Sydney.
Australia is scheduled to play three one-day internationals in Zimbabwe in September. They should not go. Furthermore, they should not pay the $US 2 million break fee for not going.
It doesn't take rocket science to understand why. Playing international cricket in a country which has been governed into an absolutely ruinous state would be a sign of ceremonial largesse of the most unspeakable obscenity. Inflation is running at more than 2000 per cent per annum, 38 per cent of the population are malnourished (source: World Food Programme), 85 per cent are unemployed, about a quarter have HIV/AIDS, and President Robert Mugabe rules dictatorially, violently suppressing opposition and silencing contrary opinion in the media.
For the first time since 1983, the Cricket World Cup Final is on a Saturday. I think that's fabulous, especially as the game will be played overnight Australian time (11.30pm to about 7am).
Seeing my pre-tournament prediction of South Africa fall in a screaming heap in the semi-final, I would be very doubtful of anything other than a decisive Australian victory tonight. Sri Lanka, while they'll be the popular favourite and will no doubt have all of South Asia behind them, would in reality have to pull off an upset to win this time around.
"The Government will continue to support the UN goal of 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI as an aspiration and endeavour to maintain aid at the highest level, consistent with the needs of partner countries, our own capacity to assist and other priorities for Australian Government expenditure. In September 2005, the Prime Minister announced Australia’s intention to increase its overseas aid allocation to about A$4 billion a year by 2010. Such an increase will represent a doubling of Australia’s overseas aid from 2004 levels."
"It is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3% of its population."
- from "Close The Gap: Solutions to the Indigenous Health Crisis facing Australia", April 2007
The NACCHO/Oxfam Australia joint report on the state of indigenous health in this country makes for heartbreaking reading. Just one small extract from the executive summary makes for a depressing introduction:
It must be the first time in these more tsunami-conscious times that the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a tsunami alert for the NSW coast.
An 8.1 earthquake off the Solomons at around 6.40 this morning is known to have caused 15cm waves in the outlying Solomon Islands.
It seems low risk at this time, but links for more information are here:
Part of John Winston Howard's vision of expanding the historical knowledge of Australian schoolchildren has reached fruition. This from the office of the minister for, among other things, Heritage (Malcolm Turnbull):
AUSTRALIAN STUDENTS KEEP OUR HISTORY ALIVE
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull MP today announced the winners for the Howard Government’s 2006 inaugural Captain Cook Essay Competition and encouraged students to enter the 2007 competition.
Let's save the rest of the world's forests. But not our own. Oh no, we must not let Australia lose its competitive advantage blah blah blah...
Woohoo! We've made another worldwide top ten!
The Murray-Darling river system has been listed by the WWF as one of the world's top ten rivers at risk of dying. Up there with plenty of heavyweights, including the Ganges, Yangtze, Danube, Nile and the Mekong.
The World Wide Fund for Nature takes up the s