Australian politician investigated for perjury over fake DMCA notices to Twitter

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Kelly O'Dwyer is a politician from the Australian Liberal Party who sent Twitter DMCA notices that shut down an account that compared her to Sophie Mirabella, another Liberal politician who lost her seat in a landslide in the last election. Read the rest

Australian educational contractor warns of wifi, vaccination danger to "gifted" kids' "extra neurological connections"

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Wise Ones, an Australian "gifted" education programme offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that "gifted children" have "extra neurological connections" that make them vulnerable to "extra sensitivities to food or chemicals." Read the rest

Gallery show of forks stolen from rich people, sealed to preserve crumbs & saliva

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Australian artist Van Thanh Rudd, nephew of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, spent 15 years stealing forks that had been used by the rich and powerful, vacuum sealing them to preserve leftover morsels, saliva and DNA, and now he tours them as a gallery show called "Rich Forks." Read the rest

Australian government issues report calling for copyright and patent liberalisation

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The Australian Productivity Commission has published its long-awaited, 600-page draft report on the country's copyright and patent laws, which are largely the product of diplomatic pressure from the US government, fronting for US entertainment industry associations. Read the rest

Qantas delays flight because of wifi network named "Detonation Device"

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QF481, from Melbourne to Perth, was delayed last week because a passenger spotted a wifi network called "Detonation Device." Read the rest

Watch Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's creepy recorded apology to Australia

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The room is bland and off-white. Could be anywhere. Daylight seeps through curtains that could have been manufactured at any time since the Second World War. The convicts look down at a camera. They're disheveled and maybe afraid. The camera is a cheap one, probably a cellphone. They aren't political prisoners in North Korea, though; it's Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Australia. In the recording, made for an Australian court after the two snuck their pet dogs into the country, however, they do confess their crimes – and render a eulogy to biodiversity.

In the video apology released by the Australian government, a stony-faced Heard sits alongside Depp to state she is "truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important."

"Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people," the actress said.

"Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world. That is why Australia has to have such strong biosecurity laws." Depp added: "Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell your firmly. "

When the Australian government found out Depp and Heard had brought two Yorkies Pistol and Boo to Australia with them in their private jet, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have the dogs killed. Depp and Heard left the country immediately, according to CNN, but were later charged. Read the rest

After biggest bribery scandal in history, police raids and investigations

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It's been two days since the first article detailing the contents of a trove of leaked emails from Unaoil, an obscure family company from Monaco that was revealed to be the fixers in a global web of bribery in corruption that helped the biggest blue-chip companies on earth loot the oil-fields of some of the world's most vulnerable, poor, and war-torn nations. Read the rest

Catholic Church-owned insurer has secret files on paedophile priests

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Catholic Church Insurance, Ltd, owned by the Australian Diocese, assembled thousands of pages of dossiers on rapes committed by paedophile priests in the 1990s when survivors of the assaults started coming forward with compensation claims. Read the rest

Crowdfunding to send Australian sex-abuse survivors to Rome for testimony of notorious cardinal

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Cardinal George Pell presided over decades of horrific abuse of Australian children by his clergy; now the active, vigorous crime-boss says he's too weak to return to Australia from the Vatican to attend a commission on the crimes, meaning that he won't have to confront the survivors of the abuse he abetted. Read the rest

Australia, the driest country on Earth, eliminates basic climate science research

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Virtually all the climate scientists working at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation -- Australia's answer to NASA -- have been fired or moved out of climate research. Read the rest

1907 telegram: "Send arsenic...exterminate aborigines"

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In 1907, Charles Morgan of Broome Station sent this telegram to Henry Prinsep, the Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia, in Perth: "Send cask arsenic exterminate aborigines letter will follow." Read the rest

Australian PM Tony Abbot ousted in own-party coup

Australia's Liberal Party voted out its own leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

Overgrown sheep sheared back to safety

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In Australia, an animal humane society brought in a champion sheep-shearer to trim a badly overgrown sheep that was found wandering in the woods near the capital.

From the Guardian:

A bushwalker spotted the sheep near Mulligan Flats, just outside Canberra, and called the RSPCA, which mounted a rescue mission on Tuesday.

Tammy Ven Dange, the chief executive of the Australian RSPCA, said five staff members were needed for the job.

It appeared the sheep had become lost from its herd. Ven Dange said merino sheep were bred to grow wool and could suffer infections or flystrike if they were not regularly groomed.

Of the wool removed by that award-winning sheep shearer, the RSPCA rep said, ““It’s pretty disgusting. I don’t think anyone is going to want it.”

Read the rest

Beautifully shot video of a different kind of string quartet

Jordan sez, "Fourplay are a one-of-a-kind string quartet. Much more of a band than a classical ensemble. They jam out songs, they have vocals, they rock. We did a film clip!" Read the rest

Mirrored Ziggurat melds earth with stairway to the skies

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Sydney's Underbelly Arts Festival included this cool Mirrored Ziggurat by Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad.

Inspired by the pyramidal structure of Ziggurat in ancient Mesopotamia, this installation offers a transformative view of the self. The Mirrored Ziggurat acts as a staircase, which seeks to connect nature with human beings and to create union of ancient history and today’s world. For Abedinirad, mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture, and a medium creating an optical illusion.

Read the rest

You probably need more Tasmanian imps in your life

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Baby Tasmanian devils are called imps. There's a big push underway to breed the ornery marsupials in captivity due to a facial tumor epidemic ravaging wild populations. Upside: lots of baby pictures. Read the rest

Australian court hands copyright trolls their own asses

The studio behind "Dallas Buyers Club" will be able to demand that people caught downloading the movie without permission pay for the cost of a legit download, plus a small surcharge to cover the cost of getting their details through a court. Read the rest

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