Was Hugo Chavez a Dictator? Some argue he’s won several elections, some by landslide, so that immediately rules out such qualification. He hasn’t, unlike his idol and mentor Fidel Castro, executed any dissidents by firing squad, so maybe he’s not quite there.
Venezuelan farmer Franklin Brito protested the invasion of his property by Chavistas groups (the government calls is an “expropriation”, in the name of Revolution) by going on a hunger strike, which was not only ignored but ridiculed by the regime. Brito died in the end, so can that be called some sort of execution?
But was he a ‘champion of Democracy and social justice’, like many in the left call him? He always showed passion for the poor, and indeed introduced a number of initiatives that seemed to give them more voice in Venezuelan society. And yes, Hugo Chavez is truly loved by many Venezuelans. But what’s the cost?
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We’ve lost a good one. And when we say “we”, we don’t just mean “we” of the journalistic fraternity but we the Australian public.
We could sum Harves up in as many words as the internet can hold, but the three words in the headline say it all. When he signed off with his dulcet “Peter Harvey, Canberra”, it was a sign that you’d just heard a report you could trust. No doubt it had been a story colourfully told too.
Our thoughts this evening are with Harvey’s family, including his daughter and our News Ltd colleague Claire Harvey. We welcome you to leave your thoughts below, and you can also read more about Peter Harvey at news.com.au.
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People with no interest in sport don’t understand why sports fans use words like “hero” to describe their favourite sporting figures. They find such terms over-the-top, and best saved for those who make the wider world a better place.
Jim Stynes, the transplanted Irishman and AFL legend, did exactly that. He made the world a better place. Saving his perennially struggling Melbourne Demons made him worthy enough of the hero tag. The Demons, after all, were a much-loved institution facing ruin, and Stynes as chairman mapped out a survival pathway. But it was off field that he made his biggest impact.
Stynes’s Reach Foundation, which delivered programs to tens of thousands of young people annually, was the mark of a man who understood that support is more important than competitiveness for many young people. That a sense of acceptance is often more valuable than the pursuit of excellence. How wonderful that a man who was so excellent himself in so many facets of life should realise this.
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Today’s weasel word award goes to the term ‘non-lethal’, frequently used to describe Tasers. It’s especially weaselly when the term is being bandied about so soon after a man has died. NSW police Tasered a man in Sydney over the weekend, alleging he resisted arrest. He died at the scene.
It may not have been the Taser whodunnit. Just like Tasers might not have directly caused hundreds of other deaths associated with their use.
Those cases could just be the results of a perfect storm, of someone high on adrenalin, with a faulty heart, and the delivery of 50,000 volts designed to make their muscles spasm were just another contributing factor. But that doesn’t make the phrase ‘non lethal’ any less oleaginous, disingenuous, and inaccurate.
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A genuine American war ace who did his greatest fighting 70 years ago over the skies of Darwin has passed away in California at the age of 95.
Colonel James Morehead played a crucial role in the defence of Australia, and proved with his courage that formations of the feared AM6 Mitsubishi Zeros and long-range bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy were not invincible.
He ended the war having shot down eight enemy planes, most of them off Darwin, flying in P-40s. These planes, the ones famously painted with shark teeth, were hopelessly outclassed by the faster and in all ways superior Zeros.
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So you want a career like the legendary Ian Turpie, who died on the weekend.
And you’re thinking, how hard can this thing be? You put on your Karandonis shoes, your fat tie, your suit so shiny it negates the need for studio lighting, and bingo! You’re ready to come on down.
Not so quick. This is tough work. To make it in the cut throat world of game show hosting, you’ll face some real heat. More heat than those namby-pamby miners up in the Pilbara. OK, so admittedly, most of that heat will come from tanning salon lamps, but all the same, this gig is harder than it looks. Here’s what you’ll need…
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He was always so healthy. Always looked after himself. I can’t believe Davy Jones, member of sixties pop sensation The Monkees, is dead of a heart attack at just 66.
I first met Davy Jones in the south of England in 1990. I was in England writing stories for a racing magazine owned by Kerry Packer and I was down near Brighton to interview the keeper of the queen’s horses, Lord Porchester.
Lord Porchester wasn’t available that day. But I had put in another call to Davy Jones, who lived nearby. He called me and said “come down to my house”.
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On May 1, 2011, with 18 purposeful steps, US president Barack Obama approached a lectern placed in the East Room of The White House. His 10 minute speech began with the statement: “Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people, and the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”
The announcement followed a raid by Navy SEALS on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden had been living, despite the widespread assumption that he was holed up in a cave or remote village in Afghanistan.
Bin Laden’s body was then taken to Afghanistan for identification, after which he was quickly buried at sea.
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Everyone is telling their Christopher Hitchens stories so here is mine.
I met him in Kuwait in the opening days of the Iraq war. We were in the same pointless scramble, trying to convince Kuwaiti border guards to let us cross into Iraq.
I said G’day and was sucked immediately into conversation. He laughed a lot. He was cock-a-hoop. The war was just as he wanted it. I was in a sour mood, tired after weeks in Baghdad, cranky at having been pulled out when we were the last Australian TV team there. I was bickering bitterly with Kuwaiti officialdom. Hitchens cheered me up.
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I will never forget a line that Peter Roebuck wrote in a cricket match report. It was wildly over-the-top and heavy-handed, and it symbolised what made his writing so very unique and special, but also, why he turned others off.
The line set the scene for a match report on a typically grey day of Ashes play in England in 2001 and went as follows: “Neither chill winds nor dark clouds that came like Heathcliff’s scowl over proceedings could quite drain the opening day of its tension or occasion.”
Most writers would have been content to write “grey” or “drizzly”. Not Roebuck. For him, only a reference to the chief character of Emily Bronte’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights would suffice.
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Welcome to a new semi-regular segment on The Punch, where we try to extract something meaningful from the week that was.
In yet another week dominated by the carbon tax and financial turmoil, the other big story was the guilty verdict on Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, who slowly poisoned Jacko with a toxic mix of anaesthetic and sedatives.
Jacko wanted a cure for insomnia so he could rest up for his imminent comeback tour. The thing is, why did he need drugs at all? According to the man himself, dancing could solve all problems. Let’s examine the video evidence…
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Apparently they found Ned Kelly’s remains today. Move along, nothing to see here.
While the discovery of a national legend’s leftovers would ordinarily be huge news, we’re not sold in this case. Why not? Because Ned has rarely been out of the news for the 130 years he’s been dead, that’s why not.
And Ned’s not alone. Many people in public life do their most productive and newsworthy work years after slipping from this mortal coil. We’ve come up with 10, but we invite you to add your suggestions.
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A news conference will be held shortly to shed more light on the accident which has claimed the lives of ABC journalist Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and chopper pilot Gary Ticehurst. We’ll update details as they come through.
For now, we invite you to share your memories of these three highly experienced professionals, and to offer your sympathies to their families.
The three were killed in a chopper accident in South Australia last night, north of Lake Eyre.
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Mostly flying doesn’t bother me, although there was a time when just the thought of a trip to the airport would make me break out in a sweat.
My head would suddenly fill with all the possible bad things that could happen, notwithstanding the fact they rarely do.
On the other hand, I rarely worry about a visit to the doctor, and while I’d rather not see the inside of a hospital ward, I don’t get the chills at the thought of it. Sure I know there’s chance of something going wrong in even the best-run hospital, but how bad can things really be?
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