An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
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The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
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Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.
What can one say?!
Eight children from the same family are dead following a stabbing incident which has left the Cairns community in shock.
The 34-year-old mother of seven of the children is in hospital with chest and neck injuries and police say there is no safety threat to the public.
The victims are aged between 18 months and 15 years.
The injured woman is helping police with their inquiries.
I heard initially that the woman called the ambulance, who alerted the police. There’s a story now that a 20 year-old sibling came to the house and called the police.
We are told that there are no suspects, but there is nothing to fear. It doesn’t make sense.
And nine teachers.
The Pakistani city of Peshawar is burying its dead after a Taliban attack at a school killed at least 132 children and nine staff.
Seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests cut through a wire fence to gain entry to the school, before launching an attack on an auditorium where children were taking an exam.
Gunmen then went from room to room at the military-run school, shooting pupils and teachers where they found them in a siege that lasted eight hours, survivors say.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared three days of mourning over the massacre, which has sparked national outrage.
Mr Sharif pledged to avenge a “national tragedy unleashed by savages”.
Ken Fraser says that the attacks, while repellent and unforgivable, were not the work of mindless monsters. He explains the complex web of political interests and and cultural factors at play.
Samina Yasmeen warns against the danger of desensitisation. She says:
unless the resolve is sustained, with active participation from all political parties in supporting the moves by the military to eliminate terrorism, the situation will not change.
This requires an end to the oppositional politics being played out in Pakistan by PTI but also requires the government to take solid measures to train national law enforcement agencies, and strengthen counter-terrorism agencies.
The religious fraternity needs to promote the message of peace, openly counter the reading of religious edicts as justifying offensive and indiscriminate killings of citizens and soldiers in Pakistan and elsewhere.
The runner up, apparently, was “Team Australia”. Frankly, either we have been particularly unimaginative or the Australian National Dictionary Centre has lost the plot.
I think Newspoll didn’t bother, but Roy Morgan did and found that ALP support had surged to 57.5% (up 4%), well ahead of the L-NP 42.5% (down 4%) on a two-party preferred basis. This is what it looks like:
Gillard was cleared of criminality by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption although they found some issues with her professional judgement and her evidence.
You might recall that this was a big issue late in 2012, when the Roy Morgan poll above shows that Labor under Gillard was competitive in the polls. Julie Bishop led a merciless campaign in Question Time on Gillard’s credibility with Abbott eventually making a direct accusation of criminality.
Gillard says she is owed an apology. She is right.
OK, there is the presumption of innocence, but things look a bit crook for Andrew Crook:
Clive Palmer’s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been granted bail after being charged over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.
Palmer reckons it’s a plot to embarrass him politically.
We do these things in Queensland to keep the nation amused.