Without knowing what he was doing, Sohaib Athar, aka @ReallyVirtual, more or less live-tweeted the raid in which terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed. The IT consultant resides in Abbottabad, the town where bin Laden was found and killed by a US military operation. Athar first posted about events surrounding the raid 15 hours before the publishing of this article, writing, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” He didn’t realise that he’d been tweeting about a top-secret attempt to kill an internationally wanted terrorist until nine hours later. Athar reported that one of the helicopters he’d heard had crashed, and that the aircraft were not Pakistani. It is now known that four helicopters had been sent to raid bin Laden’s mansion in the town, and one was hit by enemy fire from the ground.
The number of homeless families in Sydney has risen alarmingly, says a report out today. Families are the hidden face of homelessness, making up between a quarter and one-third of Australia's homeless population, says the Wesley Mission, which provides crisis accommodation to about 500 people each night. Contrary to the popular image of homeless people as male, single and sleeping on the streets, the report, based on interviews with 50 homeless families, finds that just 7 per cent of Sydney's homeless sleep rough, with the rest in crisis accommodation or ''couch surfing'' with family or friends.
Tony Abbott's campaigns against the carbon tax and detention centres have lifted his standing and kept the Liberals ahead of Labor. In the past month, as the Opposition Leader has criss-crossed the nation meeting steel workers, miners, Christmas Island detention centre staff and indigenous leaders in Alice Springs, his voter approval has jumped back to its best level since the beginning of the year. There are still more people dissatisfied with Mr Abbott than satisfied with him - and he still trails Julia Gillard as the preferred prime minister - but the Liberal leader has come out of a three-month personal slump.
In March 2003, when in opposition, Julia ‘radical’ Gillard gave a speech at the Sydney Institute titled ‘Winning the culture war’, in which she bemoaned the fact that Australia was, in her words, in “the grip of a neo-conservative political correctness that is out of touch with the values of the majority of the Australian people”. According to Gillard the left had “lost the culture war” as a result of then Prime Minister Howard’s success at imposing his cultural agenda on the nation and it was time for the left to “muscle up, for the hard task of winning the culture war and creating a new vision for this nation”. Fast-forward to recent events like the celebration of ANZAC Day and the Royal Wedding and it is clear the left has definitely lost the culture wars and that generations of Australians continue to embrace and support conservative ideals and values.
A South Australian MP has been suspended from the Australian Labor Party after being charged with child pornography offences. ALP state secretary Michael Brown said the move was unanimous and followed a request from Premier Mike Rann. The move allows the MP to remain in Parliament as an independent. However, conviction would result in immediate expulsion from office and the party. Mr Rann led the push to have the Labor MP charged with child pornography charges suspended from the ALP during a phone hookup this morning, which included members of the state and national executive.
Channel 7 News has reported that there has been a backlash against anti abortion billboards on display in the western suburbs of Adelaide. The billboards were created by an unidentified individual and sponsored by a group 'Howgoodisthat'. Gerda Jezuchowski reported that one of the billboards was removed because it "sensationalised the consequences of a medical procedure". South Australian Minister for the Status of Women, Gail Gago "took off her political hat" and offered her opinion, saying "I personally find the billboards to be offensive and most unhelpful to women" and that they are "arrogant and patronising to women".
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