August 22nd 2009

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Terrorism comes to Sydney

EDITORIAL: Is the financial crisis receding?

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Heavy-handed China shows its true colours

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Rudd Government bid to take over hospitals

QUEENSLAND: Anna Bligh's Labor Government on the skids

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Regional consultation needed on new Murray-Darling plan

RURAL AFFAIRS: Dairy and irrigation industries hit hard

ENVIRONMENT: Analysis of alarmism: ocean acidification

CLIMATE: Climate change devastation: apocalypse now

HUMAN RIGHTS: Grievance industry shows exponential growth

OPINION: How Australian authors fare in the free market

GOVERNMENT: Public service independence undermined by politicians

OPINION: Forced repatriations from Austria in 1945

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Teenagers rescued from suicide training camps; Demographic time-bomb transforming Europe; Shocking decline of British schools; Bismarck on politics

CINEMA: Portrait of the starship captain as a young hoon - Star Trek


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Teenagers rescued from suicide training camps; Demographic time-bomb transforming Europe; Shocking decline of British schools; Bismarck on politics

News Weekly, August 22, 2009
Teenagers rescued from suicide training camps

Murad Ali, one of five schoolboy suicide-bombers rescued from a Taleban training camp, looks haggard beyond his 13 years.

He was thrilled at first when he was given a gun, but Murad told the London Times last week of his ordeal at the hands of the Islamists, who have kidnapped 1,500 children like him to prepare for their fatal missions. ...

The Army believes that between 1,200 to 1,500 boys as young as 11, who were trained in Swat to become suicide-bombers, were recruited after the Pakistani Government signed a peace deal with the Taleban in February, handing over control of the valley to the militants. ...

The boys were rescued after the Taleban were forced to abandon their camps. Many are still missing, however, having been sold to militants in other areas.

The Taleban turned to children as potential suicide-bombers because they were impressionable, less likely to be detected, and better able to reach their targets.

Extract from Zahid Hussain, "Teenage bombers are rescued from Taleban suicide training camps", The Times (London), July 27, 2009.

Demographic time-bomb transforming Europe

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it.

The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.

How dramatic are the population changes? Everyone is aware that certain neighbourhoods of certain cities in Europe are becoming more Muslim, and that the change is gathering pace. But raw details are hard to come by as the data is sensitive: many countries in the EU do not collect population statistics by religion.

Extract from Adrian Michaels, "Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent", The Telegraph (UK), August 8, 2009.

Shocking decline of British schools

It is little wonder we are all ill-educated. My 16-year-old son has just left comprehensive school after having taken 12 GCSEs. A brief assessment of his "education" may explain.

In English literature for example he has read no single English novel. He took German but on a family visit to Germany last year found it impossible to order in a bakery, and was very upset about it.

He has left school knowing no works by classical composers, has no idea how to cook a decent meal, hasn't visited any of the local museums or places of interest and struggles to find cities on a map of the UK. In a test, his fellow students failed to find Cardiff, Edinburgh or even London.

Sports lessons wholly avoided using the four tennis courts available, and rarely used the all-weather pitch or athletics track, concentrating on football. The two items he made in "Resistant Materials" (woodwork) had to be planned in triplicate before he was allowed loose on the equipment, not conducive to spontaneity or a mind that works by experimentation.

Although some have their doubts about home education, I would like to suggest that it goes on in every household where parents care about the education their child is receiving in school.

There are such huge gaps and oversights that not to play a part in equipping your child for life would be an abdication of parental responsibility. Rather than home-educators being called on to justify their decision, perhaps it should be those parents who send their children to school, without questioning the education, or influences their child will receive, who should be asked how they will be making up the educational shortfall.

Extract from letter of Helen-Jane Burton (of Brinsley, Nottingham) to The Independent (UK), July 23, 2009.

Bismarck on politics

The 19th-century German statesman Otto von Bismarck ... gave us many insightful quips about modern democratic politics.

Even if you have never heard of Bismarck you know some of his observations; "Politics is not a science; it is an art" and "Politics is the art of the possible" are cardinal rules for professional politicians.

Another quote oft-attributed (possibly wrongly) to Bismarck: "Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made...", is one of the most incisive comment ever made about legislative politics.

To quote Bismarck again, "A statesman ... must wait until he hears the steps of God sounding through events, then leap up and grasp the hem of His garment."

Extract from Tom Suhadolnik, "Laws, sausages and healthcare", American Thinker, August 11, 2009.

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