The nation’s capital was abuzz this summer as almost half a million people from across the country and from overseas flocked to Canberra for a once in a lifetime opportunity – to see some of the world’s great artistic masterpieces on display.
With an extended season and even an overnight opening, names like Gauguin, Van Gogh and Monet helped inject almost $100 million into the ACT economy thanks to hotel stays, taxi rides and restaurant visits all associated with this blockbuster exhibition.
It was a stunning success, breaking all previous visitation records for the NGA and exceeding the expectations of just about everybody involved in getting the exhibition to Australia. At the same time it showed just how much Australian’s are engaging in the arts and how much excitement an exhibition of this calibre will generate. But the rub here is that it’s not just about blockbusters.
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This is, er, gold. Convicted killer and drug dealer Carl Williams - the crim who used to knock about in tracksuits - is being buried in a gold-plated coffin. There’s full coverage of the funeral here.
We can safely assume he’s not on one of those complete funeral packages advertised by earnest middle-aged people on daytime TV. Your sudden death as a result of an encounter with some exercise equipment could leave your family struggling to pay the bills. For as little as $1.50 a week you can have all the costs of your funeral covered, and for just 50c extra a week, we’ll throw in a comically gangsta gold coffin.
What has happened to this guy’s assets? What has been seized? And how much of his drug money is still sitting in a bank?
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If you haven’t already seen the graphic below take a minute to have a look.
This is an explanation the United States’ plan for victory in Afghanistan, and formed part of a PowerPoint presentation given by the US Military to some of its top brass.
This PowerPoint presentation is not only emblematic of what may have gone wrong in Afghanistan, but, without wanting to sound too alarmist, what’s gone wrong with the way we’re being taught to think.
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The World Twenty20 starts this week, and Australia has already lost a warm-up match to Zimbabwe. It’s no toughie to work out why. Beyond Dave Warner, Shane Watson and Cameron White, our batting order lacks firepower. The bang crash wallop only one man can deliver. But that man, presumably, is on a fishing boat somewhere.
I was in India last week on assignment for Alpha magazine. One of my stops was the IPL match between Dave Warner’s Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers, captained by Adam Gilchrist and starring Andrew Symonds.
Symonds was just unbelievable. On a tricky, slow pitch where all other batsmen failed to dominate, he produced an array of heaves, swipes and dabs. One minute he swung his revolutionary Mongoose bat like a lumberjack. The next, it was a delicate wizard’s wand.
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I had a chuckle recently when I read about the scandal ahead of Pope Benedict’s September visit to the UK.
A young civil servant, after a brainstorming session with a group of junior officers in the UK Foreign Office, sent an email outlining suggestions for the “Ideal Pope visit”, such as opening an abortion clinic and launching a range of “Benedict” condoms.
This sparked outrage and of course, an immediate apology.
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Yep, everyone should have access to childcare. It should be affordable, accessible, high-quality. But there’s a limit to what society should pay.
People are outraged that the Federal Government has decided not to build more than 200 childcare centres. Yeah, they broke an election promise. They did it because they need to claw back a whole lot of cash for a bunch of other stuff – health reform and such.
They say they also worked out that there are already too many childcare centres. According to their statistics, there are thousands upon thousands of spare places. If that’s right, then they shouldn’t spend precious taxpayer dollars on more places.
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Australia’s population will be a major issue at the coming federal election. Not just because of the ongoing problems with Labor’s border protection laws but because Australians are increasingly concerned with the sustainability of our country.
Last year in a rare moment of clarity the Prime Minister made very clear that he ‘believed’ in a ‘big Australia’. He made these comments on the day that his government announced its population target for Australia of 36 million by 2050
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It’s Friday at The Punch
Today in 1975 Saigon announced its surrender to North Vietnamese forces, marking the end of the Vietnam War.
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Federal government tax on cigarettes goes up by 25 per cent from midnight tonight. Here’s a quick calculation on what it means for me. I usually smoke eight 20-packs of the revolting, filthy things each week.
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First she won the Oscar, then her husband got caught playing away, then she adopted a baby, and now we find out she’s had him circumcised... Sandra Bullock has turned into the answer to every news editors prayers.
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