October 17th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Mao's long shadow over China

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Mr Turnbull in a dilemma of his own making

VICTORIA: Partial backdown over Equal Opportunity Act

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Political lobby groups funded by your taxes

FOREIGN INVESTMENT: New foreign investment rules still fall short

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Immigration and Australia's economic future

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Why Ireland voted for the Lisbon Treaty

ENERGY: Nuclear power policy shift for Germany

WORLD WAR II: Odilo Globocnik, forgotten co-author of the Holocaust

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Abortion's dangers to health of future babies

OVERSEAS AID: Salesian missions to Philippines floods, Samoan tsunami

UNITED STATES: Message to America: learn to like taxes

OPINION: The Left's flawed concept of society

AS THE WORLD TURNS: China spells end of US dollar hegemony; Morality Hollywood-style; Australia's Frank Brennan SJ on same-sex marriage

CINEMA: Forgotten story of Victoria's early life - The Young Victoria (rated PG)

BOOK REVIEW: THE MARCH OF PATRIOTS: The Struggle for Modern Australia, by Paul Kelly

BOOK REVIEW: THE LOST SPY: An American in Stalin's Secret Service, by Andrew Meier

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China spells end of US dollar hegemony; Morality Hollywood-style; Australia's Frank Brennan SJ on same-sex marriage

News Weekly, October 17, 2009
China spells end of US dollar hegemony

Beijing does not need to raise money abroad since it has $US2 trillion (£1.26 trillion) in reserves. The sole purpose is to prepare the way for the emergence of the yuan as a full-fledged global currency.

"It's the tolling of the bell," said Michael Power from Investec Asset Management. "We are only beginning to grasp the enormity and historical significance of what has happened."

It is this shift in China and other parts of rising Asia and Latin America that threatens dollar domination, not the pricing of oil contracts. …

What matters is where OPEC oil producers and rising export powers choose to invest their surpluses. If they cease to rotate this wealth into US Treasuries, mortgage bonds, and other US assets, the dollar must weaken over time.

David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC said: "In the US they have near zero rates, external deficits, and public debt sky-rocketing to 100pc of GDP, and on top of that they are printing money. It is the perfect storm for the dollar."

The self-correcting mechanism in the global currency system has been jammed until now because China and other Asian powers have been holding down their currencies to promote exports. …

Extract from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "China calls time on dollar hegemony", The Telegraph (UK), October 6, 2009.
URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/6266790/China-calls-time-on-dollar-hegemony.html

Morality Hollywood-style

If a rapist escapes justice for long enough, should the world hand him a get-out-of-jail-free card? If you're Roman Polanski, world-famous director, a lot of famous and gifted people think the answer is yes. Polanski, who drugged and anally raped a thirteen-year-old girl in 1977 in Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor and fled to Europe before sentencing.

Now, 32 years later, he's been arrested in Switzerland on his way to the Zurich film Festival, prompting outrage from international culture stars. …

It's enraging that literary superstars who go on and on about human dignity, and human rights, and even women's rights (at least when the women are Muslim) either don't see what Polanski did as rape, or don't care, because he is, after all, Polanski - an artist like themselves. …

The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst. They may make great movies, write great books, and design beautiful things, they may have lots of noble humanitarian ideas and care, in the abstract, about all the right principles: equality under the law, for example. But in this case, they're just the white culture-class counterpart of hip-hop fans who stood by R. Kelly and Chris Brown and of sports fans who automatically support their favourite athletes when they're accused of beating their wives and raping hotel workers.

No wonder Middle America hates them.

Extract from article by US feminist writer Katha Pollitt, "Roman Polanski has a lot of friends", The Nation (New York), October 1, 2009.
URL: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/anotherthing/479379/roman_polanski_has_a_lot_of_friends

Australia's Frank Brennan SJ on same-sex marriage

I've just finished a national human rights inquiry. We've heard about [same-sex marriage] constantly around the country. I would approach the issue of gay marriage, distinguishing two things. One, people of a religious disposition may have a view about what they call the sacramentality of marriage. I would see that as a separate question from the civil institution of marriage.

Now, in terms of the civil institution of marriage, I think one of the welcome developments in Australia is we've got to the stage of saying that discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexuality should be wiped out completely and that we're a better society for that being the case.

In terms of the next step, whether or not in civil law there should be a recognition of the bond between two men or two women as being the same as marriage as it's presently understood, the real issue, I think, is whether or not that decision is best made by our elected politicians or whether it's made by our elected (sic) judges. And I think at the moment, in Australia, the view has been that that should be a decision of our elected politicians.

My own view is, moving around the country, I think that younger Australians, they don't see it as a problem. It's not an issue. I think for a lot of older Australians it's still an issue and, guess what, a lot of them happen to be married. So in terms of a free and democratic society, for those who are civilly married, then we've got to bring them with us as we look at any change on that issue.

Extract from Frank Brennan SJ, on Q&A show, ABC 1 television, October 1, 2009.
URL: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s2695716.htm

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